By Ella Bukbardis
On the weekend I visited the Duke of York’s picture house to see a vintage 35mm showing of David Fincher’s ‘Fight Club’, the screen adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s novel of the same name. The film was superb as always, it was great to be sat in a movie theatre with people who all shared the same love for it as me. The use of the 35mm film reel which created imperfections on the screen and ‘cigarette burns’ in the top right corner which made the whole experience even more authentic, I felt as if I was in an old school theatre watching the film for the first time in the early 90’s. Any fans of the film will have the question at the back of their minds ‘was there any porn spliced into it?’ The answer, luckily, is no! (I hope!)
After the film was shown there came the moment which every die hard Palahniuk fan was waiting for, the man himself had appeared on stage for a brief interview and q+a, as well as a reading of a short story. When Chuck Palahniuk appeared to be seated on stage I couldn’t help but think ‘what a suave guy’, tall and bespectacled dressed in a polo neck jumper and clutching a glass of red wine, he reeked the stench of academia, even perhaps looking a little bit intimidating. As things moved on, it was clear Palahniuk is a quietly engaging individual, well balanced and friendly with an air of a teacher or a university lecturer. Firstly he talked about the successes of ‘Fight Club’ his first published novel, mentioning the famous afterword in which a fan had come up to him and reluctantly admitted to impairing (I’m using this word to make the act seem more innocent) Margaret Thatcher’s food in a five star restaurant at least five times, similar to the character Tyler Durden’s actions in a luxury restaurant in which he works. He then goes on to talk about a few of the other books he has written such as ‘Doomed’ and ‘Damned’ and plans for his new book to be released next year. When questioned on how he thinks the book will be received by the public, Palahniuk replies simply, ‘this new book will be the revolution.’
Proceeding onwards Palahniuk then read a short story called ‘Romance’ which was to be printed in Playboy Magazine, but was so controversial the magazines team had to get Hugh Hefner to review the piece beforehand. Personally I was relieved that he didn’t read ‘Guts’ (a short story produced in the thriller novel ‘Haunted’) a sensational yet disturbing tale which has in fact caused over 70 people faint whilst being read, you could probably tell that made me a bit nervous. The event ended with a q+a in which a microphone was passed round the theatre so the audience could ask Palahniuk questions, through we learned (with a collective sigh of relief) that it had in fact taken him a long time to get his work published, he advised any inspiring writers in the room to ‘never make your work similar to any of the writers you admire, in the beginning I tried to make my writing too much like Stephen King’s or Edgar Allen Poe’s and it just wouldn’t sell’.
The audience were glued to Chuck Palahniuk as he talked with beguiling ease about the most disturbing stories you could possibly imagine. He is truly an interesting individual full of cynical, ironic humour dotted with crazy anecdotes and I have to say I’m thankful to say I managed to see him. The £15 I spent on a ticket honestly seems a little meagre to be in the presence of one of the most famous and talented novelists at this present time.