Few consistently bestselling novelists are also considered cult icons, but since the runaway success of Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk has occupied a privileged position in the mainstream, bringing out books that are seen as shocking and alternative, but sell to huge cross-sections of the reading public. It has been claimed, believably, that his books sell to people who don’t normally read books. Currently on the promo trail for Doomed, a follow up to 2011’s Damned, Palahniuk’s tour across America befits his literary rock star status; Adult Bedtime Stories has been packing out university theatres with literally thousands of devotees, all following Fight Club-style rules about what to wear and bring.
Unlike the one guy queuing in his dressing gown, I decided not to follow the instructions on Chuck’s website to turn up in my favourite pajamas and slippers, clutching a stuffed animal. The UK leg of the Doomed tour is a much quieter affair, but the opening night at White Heat, an indie clubnight at Madame JoJo’s in the seedy heart of Soho, reinforced the rock’n’roll vibe. Here are ten things we learned from the reading, the audience Q&A and a 5 minute sit down in the club’s dingy fire escape with the man himself.