I first became aware of Naked Boys Reading, the London-based literary salon event featuring - naked boys reading - a few months ago. I considered the idea of taking part myself maybe, in London, and had a look at their website to see if it was possible or what it might entail, especially as most of the readers are performers, performance artists, writers and porn boys.
Anyway, while perusing the site I spotted a gem of information: they were planning an event in Manchester.
Before I knew it I had emailed Bren O'Callaghan, the curator of the Manchester event - scheduled to be part of the Manchester Pride Fringe Festival - expressing my interest and with details of my performance CV. And I was in. That was a few months ago.
Naked Boys Reading: True North is this Friday (15 August).
Whilst completely happy with the idea of taking part, I admit to having a mild panic attack when the event went live on Facebook. When my name appeared on the event pages and digital poster. Somehow 'a great idea' suddenly seemed very real.
I am excited at the prospect, but in many ways NBR is the biggest performance challenge I have yet set myself. Firstly, there is no safety in numbers. It will be just me - one of five readers - with a microphone, under lights, in front of a paying audience. This is scary. Naked. And Reading. I'm pretty confident as a silent performer. But reading?
I'm now just days away. I have practised my reading. I have even practised my reading naked. I am going to do this. I really am. And if I fuck it up I will do it with humour and good grace. Obviously, I hope I will be amazing. I hope it will open doors and cement productive new relationships. And I get to be photographed by Lee Baxter, the offical Manchester event photographer, an amazing photographer who would not under normal circumstances have any cause to shoot me.
Let's see if I really am a performer. Maybe I can start to drop referring to myself as a 'performance art participant'.
NB: Not wishing to shatter any illusions, for this event, as usual for performance work, I'm doing this under my own name, not the Tim Peters brand.