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Sunday, March 19, 2006

A Proper Post with Stuff In

There. Nobody's quite certain whether it was a mysterious website problem or a mysterious Blogger problem, but whatever it was has now just as mysteriously gone away, leaving me to upload a dozen photos for a second time, this time one by one. And it worked, more or less. (I still wish I'd been using a camera and not a cellphone.)

So the Stardust shooting begins this coming Saturday in Iceland. I won't be there -- I'll be in Glasgow, doing Wolves In The Walls stuff. (Actually, I'll be working, for I believe that's the day I talk to the audience about the play and the story, afterwards. So if you're in Glasgow, come along and say hi on Saturday.) So from this point forwards, Stardust-the-movie continues pretty much without me, alas, although I'd love to be around to watch it being filmed.

There's oodles of cool stuff I haven't had a chance to post, and dozens and dozens of intelligent letters from people I'll try and answer here over the next few days. In the meantime...

There's a great article about Wolves in the Walls at The Times (lots of quotes from Vicky Featherstone and Julian Crouch, and descriptions of the Wolves) while the Scotsman talks to them and to some of the actors (http://living.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=427032006) and the Evening Times has a lovely photo (click on the smaller version) of our Lucy, Frances Thorburn, coming face to face with an actual wolf who looks like he was photoshopped in, but wasn't. And over at http://www.nationaltheatrescotland.com/content/default.asp?page=s148 they now have up a small video interview done with me at the end of the last trip in to work on Wolves (which was just at the end of all the Anansi Boys touring last year, which is why I look so very tired. I'm much perkier now.)

...

Incidentally, about 20% of the mail in over the last month on the FAQ line is people asking if I'd heard about Margaret Atwood's Long Pen signing device, and if I have, what I think. (If you've missed any mention of this, there's a whole article about it at http://books.guardian.co.uk/news/articles/0,,1724405,00.html)

In http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/2005/02/and-saw-tibet.asp you'll find the link to my original comments on it, although her comments on my comments are locked behind some barrier somewhere. (Googles "Gaiman kissing Atwood" and finds that Ms Atwood has the letter to the Globe up at http://www.unotchit.com/faq.html, and comments on it from back then at http://www.writerswrite.com/writersblog/wblog.php?wblog=213051 and http://www.overtherhine.com/orchard/lofiversion/index.php/t4084.html)

...

Anansi Boys proved very popular with the readers on the SFSite (thank you, people): http://www.sfsite.com/columns/best06b.htm

And I'd promised myself I'd mention that Dr Who started showing in the US on the Scifi channel on Friday March 17th, but I wasn't expecting to be out of internet contact, followed by everything stopping working for a few days, and anyway, I didn't. However, it's started and you can find out about it at http://www.scifi.com/doctorwho/.

I've recently been re-reading my old issues of Sandman and got to the Convergence issues and it got me to wondering something. Is a large group of rooks really called a parliament because they converge in a large open area and listen to one rook caw for several hours before they either all fly off or peck it to death or did you make that up because it sounded incredibly cool...which it is. Thanks very much. -Jared Smith

I didn't make up that bit of rook behaviour, no. I'd read about it in old bird books, and since then people have sent me copies of articles which describe it occurring (including one in the Smithsonian magazine). When it comes to the collective nouns for rooks, the most usual ones are a building of rooks or a clamour of rooks. Parliament is more usually reserved for owls. But whether it started with me or not, parliament has now also slipped into the lists of collective nouns for rooks.

It's a kindle of kittens, by the way.

A question about Anansi Boys..

In the book you have a few Anansi stories/tales/call-them-whatever-you-likes and one of them was about how Anasi's grandmother died and then he played that trick on the barkeeper (poor him). Anyway, me and my friend were reading H.C Andersen's stories and there's this one called Little Claus and Great Claus in which there's part where Little Claus's grandmother dies, too, and he tricks an unlucky landlord the same way Anansi tricked the barkeeper. And Great Clays gets embarassed like Tiger. There are many parts which are practically identical, so I was just wondering where did you first hear/get the idea of the Anansi's story?

(Oh, and apparently you can read the whole thing in here: http://hca.gilead.org.il/li_claus.html. The whole story's a lot longer, but somewhere near the middle this part comes up.)

And one absitively unrelated thing, I don't know how much you like internet comics, but there's one called Otter Soldiers (when translated, it's originally in Finnish) which is absolutely hilarous. http://iperyys.net/ssos/ At least the "for your information" part about translating the names made me crack up. Thought you might enjoy it.

Buh-bye, mr Gaiman.


That story predates Anderson -- it turns up in Grimm's as well, and in other places. But the place I got it from was

http://www.sacred-texts.com/afr/jas/jas135.htm

(and you'll find the story of Anansi pretending to be dead and the peas and the tar man at http://www.sacred-texts.com/afr/jas/jas021.htm at the bottom of the page.

...

I spent a pleasant day yesterday at Dave McKean's house, and I can report that he is currently working on the long-awaited DVD of all his short films. He's even made a small documentary to go on it (my favourite bit is when he interviews himself-eight-years-ago), and has finished several unfinished films, including an animated film he made as a student and WHACK!, a film he made about Punch and Judy characters originally done for the Mr Punch CD Rom that never happened.

And, her sping break over, Miss Maddy went home this morning, flying as an unaccompanied minor, and I just got the call from Mary to let me know she'd picked her up safely at the airport. She was a delightful traveling companion, and has promised to do a list of books she likes and wants to recommend for this blog, when she remembers.
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