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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Revealed! The Rulers of the Darkness of This World

So about 40 bookshops had Graveyard Book parties in the Hallowe'en period. The grand prize was to be a signing by me, in the Winter Holiday Season. One. One signing.

The people at Harper Collins winnowed it down to the final eleven stores -- it would be one grand winner and ten runners up -- and sent me eleven reports on eleven parties. Some of these were videos, some were photos and descriptions. There were big bookshops and small, and all sorts of different kinds of parties.

(And it can't have been easy getting it down to those eleven. I'd read on the web a description of 13 Graveyard Book Parties, all of which looked like they could have been finalists.)

I looked at the videos and read the reports and looked at the photos. The parties were amazing. I watched them again. And again. They got no less amazing. Still, two were ever-so-slightly out in the lead. I watched their videos over and over, trying to decide. I wondered if I could legitimately award points for climate, or for whether I actually wanted to go there or not, (suddenly throwing Octavia Books in New Orleans into the lead), or deduct points for it being probably rather cold in, say, Winnipeg, in the winter. No, I couldn't. It was all about the parties.

Then I called Elyse Marshall at Harper Childrens. "Look," I said. "I can't in all conscience pick one of these over the other. If you're willing to give two grand prizes, and fly me to two bookshops, I'm willing to give up another day to do another signing."

She said she'd check.

She checked, and reported back. They were willing. And so was I.

So here is the official announcement, along with the second and third prize winners. (And, truthfully, the 28-odd runners up were good enough that I need to figure out something nice for them too.)

I'll sign in Decatur on Monday the 14th at 6.00pm, and in Winnipeg on Tuesday the 15th at 6.00pm.

...

I spent the last few days on the road with Amanda. It was mostly fun. I loved visiting Northhampton Ma - my first chance to wander the streets since I lived in The Old Bank on Main Street, writing the last two parts of A Game of You en route to Tucson, in 1991.

The venue, on Pearl Street, was run by the kind of people who save money and lose goodwill by not turning on the heat in the winter. Ever. There were two dressing rooms backstage, but only one had a little heater, so everyone crammed into that room (which did not ever make it to warm. It just wasn't cold) and read the sad graffiti from bands not (as is usual in these cases) bragging about their sexual conquests or drawing bits of their anatomy, or just writing the name of their band (size of band-name graffito is always in inverse proportion to whether you will ever have heard of them). No, the Pearl Street Ballroom dressing room wall was covered with mournful comments from bands about how much they hate the venue and the people who own it and how much they wish they could turn on the heating.

It was a wonderful gig, although I wore a sweater and a coat to watch it. We signed for people afterwards.

On Saturday Amanda and I drove through the rain to Brooklyn, which went fine until the car in front of us stopped suddenly, and we stopped suddenly, and the moment of triumph as we didn't hit the car in front of us was slightly spoiled when a car slammed into us from behind. We got to the side of the road, did all the things you do in circumstances like that, traded information, waited for the police to arrive, worried that Amanda might miss the gig (this may just have been the people in my car, which was me and Amanda), and were generally shaken. I wouldn't have wanted to perform after that (and in fact I declined to, when Amanda asked if I'd like to read a story from the Who Killed Amanda Palmer book that night) but she did an amazing gig that night - one of my favourites ever. Her backing group (who are also the support act), The Nervous Cabaret, are incredible, and they sound fantastic as a team. I've only ever really known her as a girl with a keyboard alone on a stage, before. Other highlights (for me) included the Brel song "Amsterdam" (which I knew as Bowie B-side, as a teenager) and a "Pirate Jenny", which always makes me think of Watchmen, and, for Maddy (who was originally meant to be there, but wasn't, so will see it onYouTube) a Ting Tings cover. And we did a signing afterward.

That was not the most exciting thing. The most exciting thing was that up in the dressing room beforehand (which was warm and nice and carpeted and had no sad graffiti at all) Sxip Shirey and I listened to the last of the music tracks that Sxip had done for my silent movie as we watched it in Quicktime on Sxip's powerbook, I chose the strings instead of the piano for the scene in the car when Bill Nighy is driving away from the pub, and we watched it all through, with Sxip starting each bit of music at the right place, making it the first ever play-through of the film with finished music.

The film (which is called STATUESQUE) will be broadcast in the UK over Christmas, on Sky 1 and (I think) Sky Arts. I am not sure which day yet, as there are eleven of these films, and the running order has not yet been decided. I'll post it when I find out.

...

With all the links to the film versions of the Hallowe'en Other Mothers (and Coraline families) I put up here, it's nice to put up a link to someone who was the Other Mother from the book:
http://never-travelled.blogspot.com/2009/10/other-mother.html

Which reminds me a bit of this wonderfully slimy article at http://www.magic-city-news.com/Old_Embers/Two_Stories_for_Children12574.shtml which I found actually offensive. Not because of how it characterised me and Coraline...
Those who made "Coraline" are also likely to endorse the evils of abortion and homosexual marriage, and given a chance, could easily change America into a Soviet-style hell on earth. That is - if you will - Mother Hulda shows the soul of the Right, and Coraline, the tormented soul of the Left.

A side-by-side comparison of the two stories reveals that ours is much more than a political struggle. Ours is truly "a battle against principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places.*"
...but because of the way it mis-described and omits important things from the Grimms' fairy tale it opens with (and ineptly compares Coraline to). Here's a link to the actual story: http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/diamondstoads/stories/holle.html

(Ah. A Quick Google showed me that someone had already done a sane demolition job on it.)

...

And finally, it's that time of year again. Tonight is the Moth Ball, a ball that exists to support The Moth, the wonderful true story-telling entity. And, as they did last year, they are auctioning off Tea With Neil Gaiman: It's at http://www.cmarket.com/auction/item/Browse.action?auctionId=99195129 and the auction has two days to go.

Theoretically it's tea in New York. Last year it was tea (and many small cake, sandwich and sweet-like nibbles) in New York in January, but was not at the Player's Club, because they were closed at the time that worked best for the people who won the auction. In truth, if you're somewhere I'm going to be near in the next six months, then we could probably arrange things to be near you.

I don't suppose I need to point out that, no, I don't get any of the money, it all goes to support the Moth - http://www.themoth.org/ -- but you never know.

It's going to a very good cause. If you aren't a Moth fan, check out their podcasts.





*i.e. me. Well, me and Henry Selick.

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