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Monday, August 22, 2011

In Edinburgh winding down

My Edinburgh Diary has been hectic and mostly fun. Not seen as many shows in the last few weeks as I'd hoped, but I've got more writing done than I expected to, and signed a lot more books than I'd realised I was going to, which made people happy, so it works out.

This evening is Amanda's gig at HMV Picturehouse, where her new band make their proper debut (along with her cousin Hugh the bagpipes player and a Horn Section) and I'm trying to decide what to read in my Guest Spot. I think it'll be a new piece called "The Rhyme Maidens" which I haven't read in public yet.

A day later - I didn't post this in time: Actually, at soundcheck Amanda asked if I'd like to sing "The Problem With Saints", our 8in8 song. I'd performed it twice out here - once at our little late night reading with the Belt Up Theatre people - although that time with the lyrics in front of me - and once when Jason Webley asked me up onstage at his Forest Cafe concert (http://blog.theforest.org.uk/savetheforest), so it seemed less intimidating doing it up onstage than otherwise...

The gig last night was fascinating. Amanda's built a new band "Grand Theft Orchestra", and is trying something very glam and glittery and dancey. My friend Chris Cunningham said, "It's like when David Bowie went from Hunky Dory to Ziggy Stardust." He also said that it was his favourite of the many Amanda gigs he'd seen, and it was one of the best gigs he'd ever seen. I don't think it was my favourite (I think I like the wistful and weird songs too much), but I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens as the band gets tighter, as the new songs get worked out and performed more. And I loved the glitter and the make-up and the show - including Amanda's cousin Hugh MacInnes on bagpipes.

Tonight, Amanda's playing in Glasgow, and I'm staying home and having a few authors over for drinks. It's a good world...

...

Back when I did WITS for Minneapolis Public Radio I also recorded a show for The Current, the MPR music channel. I was a guest DJ. It was meant to have been a half-hour radio show, but we talked for about an hour, and I walked out of the show feeling very sorry that they were going to have to edit out so much of what we'd talked about.

They didn't edit it. They just extended the show.

You can find the page at http://minnesota.publicradio.org/collections/special/columns/music_blog/archive/2011/08/theft_of_the_di_35.shtml

and listen to the show there (and watch some videos of the songs I picked).

Or just click here:




...

According to http://www.comicsbeat.com/2011/08/20/well-said-neil-gaiman/
this carpet is in the new Gungahlin Public Library in Canberra, Australia:





Which is wonderful.

...

Last week I finished, in handwriting, and then read to a small late-night audience a few hours later, a story I wrote for Ray Bradbury.

On Ray's 91st birthday, which was Monday, I sent it to him, all typed and in second draft. I am now even more nervous than I was when I read it to the late-night audience, and I was amazingly nervous then.

I just heard that he liked it, and was happier than words can express.

...

Over at http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/audio/2011/aug/24/neilgaiman-edinburgh-book-festival?CMP=twt_gu you can hear the talk I gave at the Edinburgh BookFestival on American Gods, with John Mullen, for the Guardian Book Club.

And finally, here's an interview done with me, also for the Guardian by a really smart young interviewer:







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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Early Warning

I was writing in the front room, which contains a piano, when my wife put her head around the door and told me I had to write somewhere else as she needed to practice the piano. So I crept away.

She is playing Evelyn Evelyn music, in preparation for the week of Evelyn Evelyn at the Fringe. (They'll be playing at the Assembly George Square from the 17th to the 21st.) And I am blogging before I get back to work.

...

This came in this morning on the FAQ line:

I was wondering if you will be coming to North West anytime soon for any reason that would allow fans to meet you. More specifically the Portland/Vancouver area. I just recently started reading your stuff and absolutely love it.

And I thought, funny you should ask that...

I'm putting this up as an early warning, as a "Keep the Date Free" sort of a thing.


Photo from http://audramariedewittphotography.tumblr.com/


I'm Guest of Honour at World Fantasy Con in San Diego this year, just before Hallowe'en. I'm also going to be, with Amanda, in Seattle on November the 11th, for our friend Jason Webley's huge party-event-spectacular.

Amanda and I started discussing ways to get from San Diego to Seattle, and we thought it might be fun to drive, but that the journey would go by too quickly, and then one or other of us suggested the idea of having a reason to stop along the way, and I was just about to do the American Gods tour and was receiving lots of messages from people who were grumpy that the talks had all sold out and loved the idea of getting out and reading to people...

And we thought, well, we could do "An Evening With Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer" (or vice versa) and stop off in smaller, nicer theatres, and just fill an evening with story-readings and with songs and with poem-readings and such. I hope that Amanda will do the songs, although I want her to read or help read a few things and she has asked if I would sing "The Problem With Saints"... We'll probably answer questions together. Amanda thinks we should write a new song during the performance in each location. I think that would either be fun or insane (I waver).

It should be a very unusual evening. I'm not sure yet whether we'll rehearse and plan and organise a show together, or whether we'll each take half of a show and change it around each night. Or, more likely, some sort of mixture of both. We have time to decide, plan and create it either way.

(The hardest thing for me to decide is whether to try and keep the things I read all on the shorter side, or whether I should read some half-hour long short stories.)

I do not know whether there will be a signing afterwards of anything - it may depend mostly on the venues and when they need to close their doors by. But we are planning to have tour tee shirts, a tour poster, and possibly even a signed limited edition print or two. Whatever we can fit into the back of a car.

(Yes, we know where we are going to be, theatre by theatre. No, we are not announcing that bit until the tickets go on-sale.)

Keep your eyes open here on the blog for the actual venue/tickets announcements. (I'm afraid tickets will probably sell out very fast in some of these theatres.)

So. The dates. I've cut and pasted (and slightly modified) this bit from Amanda's blog:

Oct 28&29 i have SOLO shows in san diego and LA....then neil & i join forces for:

Oct 31st - Halloween Night in Los Angeles, CA

Nov 3rd - BAY AREA, CA

Nov 4th - Sacramento, CA

Nov 7th - Portland, OR

Nov 8th - Seattle, WA

Nov 9th - Vancouver, BC, Canada!


the 10th is Neil's birthday and we'll probably spent it hanging out in seattle, helping Jason Webley make papier mache coffee percolators or something equally absurd for his big seattle show on the 11th.


Will we ever do this show again, or do it anywhere else? I have no idea. It depends mostly on how much we enjoy it, I suspect. And if we do enjoy it, then we might try it the next time we decide to break up a long drive, or the next time we go somewhere unusual together.

It's quite possible we won't enjoy it. Or that Amanda will be off album-making and touring for the album for most of the next two years, while I'll be novel-writing and making some other stuff, so this may be the only one of these there is.

And that's all.

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Monday, August 08, 2011

Three Weddings and a Fringe

I'm in Edinburgh.

Last week Amanda and I had a sort of a family wedding-party in Skye, where much of Amanda's family is originally from, mostly so that our families could meet each other. They all came a very long way, and we were touched and impressed. Only family, no friends (except Sxip Shirey and his bandmates in the Luminescent Orchestrii, who were the "wedding" band). The party was at Clan Donald, and the people and the food were both wonderful.

It made me happy watching Amanda's white-bearded gentlemen in kilts encounter my North London Jewish relatives. At one point Amanda and I were hoisted onto chairs for a Jewish chair dance, while the bagpipes played. I do not believe this is something that has happened a lot in human history. (The piper was Amanda's cousin Hugh.)

I suspect both sides of the family think we're a bit mad, but they are happy to indulge our madness, and we were glad that they did.


Neil Gaiman's photo Saturday Night. From the seven-months-after-the-wedding Wedding Party. You can't tell that the music is bagpipes and klezmer, but it is. (Photo by my cousin Elaine Wolf.)
Neil Gaiman on WhoSay

(Here's a photo by my cousin Elaine. The actual photos were done by my cousin Elliott.)

For those keeping count, this was our third wedding: the first was the art-surprise flashmob one that Amanda astonished me with in New Orleans, the second was the real one on January the second. I think we're done now, although we've talked about having a party for friends, and we may still...

Amanda, Holly, Maddy and I are staying in a rented house in Edinburgh. I'm writing and catching up on email, Amanda is catching up on email and planning her next couple of years, and we're going to a lot of Edinburgh Fringe events.

(So far I think my favourites, of many, have been Belt Up's The Boy James and what I think was the tightest incarnation of Fascinating Aida I've seen in 28 years. Holly and Maddy both loved The Damsel in Shining Armour and Maddy also wanted me to mention how much she'd liked Sunday in the Park With George.)

Amanda and I co-edited the Scottish Big Issue's Fringe Supplement. We interviewed old friends (I talked to Iain Banks - an interview that's in The Big Issue all over the UK -- Amanda to Margaret Cho, both of us talked to Dillie Keane), we recommended things. Here's my link to Book Festivally things - http://www.bigissuescotland.com/features/view/558). And here is Amanda's guide (with occasional interpolations from me) to more theatrical/comedy/musical things: http://www.bigissuescotland.com/features/view/559.

I'm doing pretty good - Over the last couple of days I've written an introduction to Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, and I wrote very short story yesterday for the Guardian, in addition to the longer stuff I'm working on - but I'm starting to think seriously about retiring from email. I can't keep up with the amount coming in, and after a long day's e-mail answering I feel like I've done a day's work, and I haven't.

Sigh. And grumble.

Loving the time with both daughters. Missing the dogs and the bees. Felt almost guilty when I heard that we'd got the blue ribbon for honey and cut comb at the country fair for the Fourth Year running: guilty that I wasn't there, and that Lorraine had to extract the honey and cut the comb.

...

This endearing silent film made by children in Toronto, is probably an entry for the 90 Second Newbery award. You can find out about the award at http://jameskennedy.com/90-second-newbery/ By the way, the award entry date has just been extended to October 17th...



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