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Saturday, November 01, 2008

The final days

Just starting to come back to humanity again. Huge quantities of email waiting for me, some of which will undoubtedly get overlooked, and if you sent me a big important businessy email and I seem to have missed it, then wait a few days and send it again.

The original schedule this week was perfectly fine. It was only when we learned that Monday in Dublin was a bank holiday, and Dublin moved from Monday to Thursday that it became impossible, but none of us actually noticed, so I wound up doing the week on about 4 hours a night's sleep, and yesterday began at 6:00am with me on breakfast TV in Dublin, then I flew to the UK and was interviewed, signed boxes of books, drank tea, then did a reading. Was a bit grumpy at the reading, mostly I think due to lack of sleep. (I learned that it is not a good idea to let your cellphone ring when I'm doing a reading and tired. Nor is it a good idea to take photo after photo when the house-lights have been left up, the digital click on your camera is too loud, and I'm heading for a good bit.) I signed for many, many hours for a lot of people.

Fell asleep fully dressed on hotel bed at some point.

Today was a meeting on The Graveyard Book possible one day film, seeing friends and family, and a trip to see the last French and Saunders show at the Drury Lane, where I got to tell Dawn that I really liked her book of letters, "Dear Fatty". Which I did.

I have an almost infinite number of tabs open, and will list as many as I can, so I can close them and thus speed up this computer:

An M is for Magic pumpkin: http://www.flickr.com/photos/75966475@N00/2979008524/

Aint It Cool see 30 minutes of the Coraline film. So does CHUD.

An interviewer in Wales asked me about Richard Dawkins trying to stop children reading fairy tales. Then a friend sent me a Daily Telegraph article to show that he'd gone over the top. The odd thing about the article is that the quotes from Professor Dawkins don't say what the article says he says, if you see what I mean, and the quotes themselves seem rather devoid of context, as if he was answering questions which we can't see. Odd.

Bookwitch talks to me in Edinburgh.

Sneak over to Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab and check out the preliminary scents in their Graveyard Book series: http://www.blackphoenixalchemylab.com/graveyardbook.html

There was a fake bookshelf that inspired an issue of The Lifted Brow. Songs and poems and stories and more, all with titles of the titles of books on a fake bookshelf. My song on it, Bloody Sunrise, is available right now on http://www.saidthegramophone.com/archives/you_could_beat_him_with_a.php for a while, anyway. It's sung by Claudia Gonson, and is a smal song by a sad sixties vampire.

At Said The Gramophone they say: If the Magnetic Fields had been asked by Said the Gramophone to write a Hallowe'en song for us to post today, they would have written Neil Gaiman's "Bloody Sunrise". But Neil Gaiman would have already written it, and submitted it, pretending to be Magnetic Fields, but in that way that you have to start by looking up before you climb. In any case, it's here now, and it's for all of you who are just putting on a zombie movie and having a fire and handing out candy to lonely little happy kids in the evening.

(Michael Hearst helped Claudia and arranged it.)

A CBLDF event on Saturday the 8th of November -- details here. Comics will be performed. I will be in the audience, and will not be performing.

Here's me on the Borders website, wearing the jacket that Jonathan Carroll gave me. I do not appear to be calling for a boycott.

A long SFX interview by Jayne Nelson with me starts at http://www.sfx.co.uk/page/sfx?entry=neil_gaiman_exclusive_part_1

A.S. Byatt and I talk about ghosties and such on the BBC World Service: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/arts/2008/10/000000_strand_thursday.shtml

A somewhat odd Graveyard Book review (spoilers, I guess, but mostly as reliable as the description of the weather in the opening): http://www.metro.co.uk/metrolife/books/article.html?The_Graveyard_Book_follows_in_the_footsteps_of_Harry_Potter&in_article_id=378314&in_page_id=28 and one much less odd: http://www.computercrowsnest.com/articles/books/2008/nz13226.php And another: http://www.thebookbag.co.uk/reviews/index.php/The_Graveyard_Book_by_Neil_Gaiman

An amazing review of the book in the Independent. From title onwards, The Graveyard Book wears its homage to Kipling's Mowgli stories lightly, but it treats the triumphs and terrors of growing up with equal respect and has a similar delight in storytelling. It's carefully weighted between mystery and revelation, chase and contemplation, banality and outright lunacy: a breathless cross-country abduction by night, featuring a bunch of lolloping ghouls called things such as the Duke of Westminster and the Thirty-Third President of the United States, and the hauntingly evanescent moment in which the dead leave the graveyard to dance with the living townsfolk, are cases in point. And there are at least two moments of sufficient scariness to chill the blood of even the most resilient adult.

This brief, dark, savoury adventure deserves to become a modern classic of children's writing: it has more mystery, excitement and wisdom in a single chapter than all the soap-operatic dilemmas, empty acrobatics and moral dogmatism in those thousands of pages of Potter franchise.


A shorter one in the Sunday Times. A lovely piece by Amanda Craig in the Times Saturday Book Pages, with a photo of me reading in Abney Park Cemetary.



A Coraline-the-knitting-pattern contest. http://ysolda.com/wordpress/2008/10/30/coraline-contest/

And la. I am a common pleasure, and think this is a wonderful thing.

Okay. Bed. I leave early tomorrow for home.

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