Saturday, August 04, 2007

why I am no longer a journalist

A few weeks ago I read an article in The Times that ended with a quote that seemed astonishingly unlikely...

“Nobody does goblins like the Brits,” said one Warner executive. “I am not sure it’s healthy. But the world sure love those wizards and ghoulies. It’s your biggest export since the Beatles."

What an odd quote, I thought. It doesn't sound like anyone I've ever run into in any Studio ever. It sounds more like someone's idea of a quote from a studio exec. And why would it come from an unnammed studio exec? Studio execs may talk off the record if they're slagging someone off, but they're all about getting their names in the papers if it's something that might resound to their advantage. Even if it's a quote that sounds made up.

And then I thought no more about it, until today. BRITONS INVADE THE LA FILM SET we discover, in a long non-story, where I learned about...

Neil Gaiman, the novelist whose books Stardust and Coraline are being filmed with Robert De Niro, Sienna Miller and Teri Hatcher.

“Three years ago I could walk down the street. Now I am uncomfortable with the attention I am getting,” said the 46-year-old writer, who lives in the distinctly unHollywood state of Minnesota. This is before he sells his 10-part supernatural saga, Sandman, to Hollywood in what could be a record-breaking cash deal.
which (apart from the fact the quote itself is either invented or out of context enough to be invented, or is, most likely, an awkward rephrasing of what I said in Time magazine last week -- “Five years ago, I was absolutely as famous as I wanted to be. I’m now more famous than I’m comfortable with.”) is a remarkably misleading thing on so many levels, not least because it implies some kind of interview or that the person writing it knows what he's talking about. (Er, for starters, Warners bought the Sandman rights from DC over a decade ago...).

Ah well. At least it's a positive mention and they spell my name right and namecheck Stardust. I'm probably too sensitive right now. Yesterday I read this Michael Holroyd Guardian article twice before concluding that he genuinely hadn't realised the dedication to Anansi Boys was not written for, as Holroyd suggests, some "great love or friend" that I had not met yet, but was simply a dedication to the person reading the book and was also meant to be funny (something that I get the impression that everyone else reading the book seems to have understood without difficulty), and then I got grumpy on Roger Avary's behalf when I read that
Avary, who despite sharing an Oscar for best original screenplay with Quentin Tarantino for the pair's 1994 tale has directed only two cinematic releases in the past 15 years
and couldn't figure out what having an Oscar for best writer had to do with how many films you've directed since getting it.

Right. I shall stop being grumpy. Possibly I shall also stop reading newspapers until Stardust is safely out. I just cooked a wonderful meal, and pretty much everything was from the garden. Here are some Russian Stardust posters. Stephin Merritt is sending me some demos from his Coraline stage musical [which is not the movie]. We have honey and bees and blueberries.The world is a pretty good place to live in...

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