Journal

Monday, March 14, 2022

An Evening With Neil Gaiman

I start touring 6 weeks from now. It's the first time I've done something like this since before Covid -- get out there every night, read stories and poems and suchlike, answer questions and generally try to interact with a living, breathing audience. I'm a bit nervous, to be honest. Still, the idea of interacting with living, breathing human beings seems wonderful.

Here's the list of places I'll be appearing, with links to get tickets. Right now there are tickets available to all of the venues except Madison Wisconsin. If you are sad I'm not going to be somewhere near to you, I also am probably sad about this too.

(There are different Covid regulations at different venues, please check your venue for their protocol.)

And I'll see you there, I hope...


Thursday, April 28, 2022

Schenectady, NY

Proctor’s Theatre. 7:30 PM

https://tickets.proctors.org/TheatreManager/95/tmEvent/tmEvent13763.html

 

Friday, April 29, 2022

Boston, MA

Emerson Colonial Theatre. 8 PM

https://www.emersoncolonialtheatre.com/Online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loadArticle=Load&BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::article_id=D8EA3E70-5B3E-474C-949D-98ED0073B67E

 

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Seattle, WA

Venue: Benaroya Hall 7:30 PM

https://www.seattlesymphony.org/en/benaroyahall/bh-calendar/benaroya-hall-events/neil-gaiman

 

Monday, May 2, 2022

Eugene OR

Venue: Hult Center for the Performing Arts / 7:30 PM

Link: https://tickets.hultcenter.org/971/972?_ga=2.26526261.902947090.1628807551-307867051.1626909133

 

Tuesday, May 3, 2022  

San Francisco, CA

Sydney Goldstein Theater / City Arts & Lectures / 7:30 PM

Link: https://www.cityarts.net/event/an-evening-with-neil-gaiman/

 

Thursday, May 5, 2022  

San Diego, CA

Venue: Balboa Theatre   8:00 PM

https://artpower.ucsd.edu/event/an-evening-with-neil-gaiman/

 

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Austin, TX

Venue: Dell Hall, Long Center   7:30 PM

https://bit.ly/NeilGaimanAU

 

 

Monday, May 9, 2022

Denver, CO

Venue: Paramount Theatre   7:30 PM

https://www.ticketmaster.com/neil-gaiman-denver-colorado-05-09-2022/event/1E005B63DDA12DA5

 

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Hartford CT

The Bushnell Performing Arts Center. 7:30 PM

https://bushnell.org/shows-concerts/an-evening-with-neil-gaiman

 

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Philadelphia, PA

Merriam Theatre : 7:30 PM

https://www.kimmelculturalcampus.org/events-and-tickets/202122/kcp/neil-gaiman/

 

Friday, May 13, 2022   

Chicago IL

Auditorium Theatre 8 PM

https://mytickets.auditoriumtheatre.org/overview/3019?queueittoken=e_presaleneilgaiman~q_8f2b69c0-de3a-45c1-9688-d97522585888~ts_1636660722~ce_true~rt_safetynet~h_16adf9e6a35024c0d734c9c67136c1fc0c92bef38b10b630f2b0c7073fe03c25

 

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Madison, WI

Venue: Orpheum Theater 8PM

https://madisonorpheum.com/event/an-evening-with-neil-gaiman/

(This one is sold out, I'm afraid.)

 

Monday, May 16, 2022

Indianapolis IN

Clowes Auditorium at Butler University  7:30 PM

https://butlerartscenter.org/performance/neil-gaiman/

 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Cleveland OH

Playhouse Square  7:30 PM

Link: https://tickets.playhousesquare.org/online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loadArticle=Load&BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::article_id=ACAD824C-ED50-471B-8438-87A341A602C6

 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Columbus OH 

Palace Theatre. 7:30 PM

https://my.cbusarts.com/3190

 

Friday, May 20, 2022 

Dallas, TX 

AT & T Performing Arts Center. 8:00PM


https://www.attpac.org/on-sale/2022/an-evening-with-neil-gaiman/


 

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Houston TX

Jones Hall / Society for the Performing Arts. 8 PM

https://spahouston.org/events/neil-gaiman/

 

 

Monday, May 23, 2022

Los Angeles CA

The Theatre at Ace Hotel. 8:00 PM

https://www.axs.com/events/403235/neil-gaiman-tickets

 

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Pittsburgh PA

Carnegie Music Hall   7:30 PM

https://www.ticketmaster.com/event/16005B64C93844CE



All the details are also over at https://www.neilgaiman.com/where/

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Thursday, January 06, 2022

Letting the cat out...

 So, let's see.

I was the castaway on Desert Island Discs. This probably doesn't mean anything to anyone who isn't from the UK. (You can hear it at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00120cb.) 

The Ocean at the End of the Lane opened at the Duke of York's Theatre in St Martin's Lane, with a press night on Nov 4th. I saw it (my father-in-law Jack was there as my family guest) and marvelled at how something I thought was as good as it could be when I saw it at the Dorfman Theatre had somehow managed to become bigger and better and more powerful. 

It's collected a slew of five star and four star reviews, and a bunch of award nominations.

If you're in or near London, you should see it. It's special. https://www.oceanwestend.com/




It's on until May 14th 2022, when we lose the theatre to another show, and Ocean goes on tour around the UK.

(Remember, every day they release a limited number of £25 Rush tickets at https://www.todaytix.com/london/shows/21527-ocean-at-the-end-of-the-lane)

In October and November I was working on Good Omens 2 and on Anansi Boys, each on a different side of Edinburgh. Both astonishing casts and crew. Anansi Boys is shooting in one of the biggest studios there is. You won't believe Brixton...

I'm back in New Zealand currently to be with a small boy and his mother. (I got very lucky in the MIQ lottery.) I've been able to showrun remotely, because technology is amazing these days and lets you do that, but it's definitely easier to do while I'm in Scotland, and easier on everyone else to have me there.

Which reminds me... There's a piece of Good Omens news I've been keeping close to my chest, but I think as we prepare to go back to shooting, it's time to let this particular Cat out of the bag:

When I first started planning Good Omens 2, I thought it would be a good idea to have what I started referring to as "minisodes" -- stories that begin and end within a larger episode, ones that dive into history. And I thought it would be fun to invite some other people to write the minisodes. We have three of them.

We've announced that I'm co-writing the show with John Finnemore. We haven't told you that John has also written a solo-story set in biblical times, though. He has. It's thoughtful and funny and wise.

We haven't told you that novelist and screenwriter Cat Clarke wrote a story set in Victorian times in Edinburgh, have we? She did...

I asked Cat if she wanted to say something about it, and she replied,

 ‘When Neil kindly invited me to join Good Omens 2, I bit his hand off. (Terribly sorry about that, Neil. Hope you’re managing to type OK?) It’s been an absolute joy to play in the glorious sandbox that Neil and Terry created. I can’t wait for the world to see our favourite angel and demon get into a wee bit of a pickle in Edinburgh.’

And there's one other minisode, written by two people working together: Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman. Jeremy is a writer (and one of the members of the League of Gentlemen -- he was portrayed by one Michael Sheen in the League of Gentlemen movie) and Andy's a writer, a worker of strange miracles and an actor. They are best known as a collaborative team for writing Ghost Stories, as a play and a film. Their story is set in London during the blitz.

They sent me a message too: ‘We’ve had such a great time writing for Good Omens 2. It’s been a true privilege to be allowed to dive into Aziraphale and Crowley’s lives. We hope we’ve been able to bring laughs, magic and a few scares to this wonderful world.’ 

...

Sandman on Netflix is doing brilliantly. I can't wait for everyone else to see what I've been seeing.

And from 28th of April until the 26th of May, hitherto unknown strains of Covid permitting, I'll be on an American Tour, doing most of the cancelled and postponed Evenings With Neil Gaiman from 2020 and 2021. Details at https://www.neilgaiman.com/where/ and links to tickets on each entry. (Madison WI has already sold out.)


...


And I didn't get to write a New Year's Wish, because I've been sole parent for Ash while Amanda is away at a lovely Yoga and Hiking retreat in the South Island, and there wasn't the time to write one and stay up with a small boy to welcome in the New Year. Perhaps I'll write a belated one, perhaps not... (This blog is being brought to you by an iPad and Scooby Doo and Mystery Incorporated.)















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Saturday, November 13, 2021

Art and Climate

I really ought to blog about making Good Omens (we're in week 4 of shooting) and making Anansi Boys (starts shooting next week), and about the astonishing Ocean at the End of the Lane play at the Duke of York's Theatre in London (and now that I've said this, I know I will) but yesterday I spoke (via Zoom, because of Covid Protocols) at COP26, the Conference of the Parties on Climate Action, and I thought I ought to just put what I said up here. So it doesn't get lost.






Art is how we communicate. Art began when we left marks to say we were here. 

The oldest art we have is the 200,000 year old handprints of Neanderthal or Denisovan children, on the Tibetan Plateau, making marks with their hands because it was fun, because they could, and because it told the world they had been there.

The human family tree has been around for millions of years, Homo Sapiens for a much shorter time. We are not a successful branch of the tree, because, unless we use our mighty brains to think our way out of this one, we don't have a very long time left.

We need to use everything at our disposal to change the world, and show that we can compete with the ones who were here before us. And by compete I mean, not make the world uninhabitable by humans. The world will be fine, in the long run. There have been extinction events before us, and there will be extinction events after we’ve gone.

When I was young I wrote a short comics story about the use of the planet Earth as a decorative ornament. It was about our tendency to destroy ourselves. Back then, I worried about nuclear war: one huge event that would end everything. Now I'm worried that we are messing things up a little at a time, until everything tips.

We who explore futures need to build fictional futures that inspire and make us carry on. When I was a kid, it was going to the stars that was the dream. Now it has to be fixing the mess that we've left behind, and not just walking away, leaving the Earth a midden.

We need to change the world back again. And that will take science, but it will also take art. To convince to inspire and to build a future.

We need to reach people's hearts, not just their minds. Reach the part of their hearts that believes it's good to plant trees for our grandchildren to sit beneath. Reach hearts to make people want to change, and to react to people and organisations despoiling the planet and the climate in the same way you would react to someone trying to burn down your house, while you are living in it.

So that 200,000 years from now, children can leave handprints in clay, to show us that they were here, and because making handprints and footprints is fun.


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Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The Other Half of the Secret

I mentioned that making Good Omens two is half of what I've been working on, and will be working on for next eighteen months, and I said I'd tell you soon enough what the other secret project I've been working on is.


It's this.





And I cannot tell you how happy I am to be making it, and making it in the way that we're making it.


Anansi Boys started in about 1996. I was working on the original Neverwhere TV series for Lenny Henry's film company, Crucial Films.


I loved a lot of what we were doing in Neverwhere. 25 years ago, it felt like we were doing something ahead of its time. 




Lenny and I went for a walk. Lenny grumbled about horror films. “You'll never get people who look like me starring in horror films,” he said. “We're the hero's friend who dies third.”


And I thought and blinked. He was right. “I'll write you a horror movie you could star in,” I told him.


I plotted one. I tried writing the first half-dozen pages of the movie, but it didn't seem to be right as a movie. And I was beginning to suspect that the story I was imagining, about two brothers whose father had been a God, wasn't really horror, either.


I borrowed Mr Nancy from the story I had not yet told and I put him, or a version of him, into AMERICAN GODS. 


In 2002 I was having lunch with my editor, and I told her the story of Anansi Boys, and said it was probably a novella. She waved her fork at me. “That is a novel,” she said, very certain. I was impressed enough with her certainty that I wrote the novel.


The creation and publishing of the novel is documented here on this very blog. Here's a useful bit, explaining its relationship to American Gods, and also explaining what Anansi Boys is:


https://journal.neilgaiman.com/2005/05/anansi-boys-question-of-day.asp


(For those of you who don't want to click, I talked about describing it thus:


My new novel is a scary, funny sort of story, which isn't exactly a thriller, and isn't really horror, and doesn't quite qualify as a ghost story (although it has at least one ghost in it), or a romantic comedy (although there are several romances in there, and it's certainly a comedy, except for the scary bits). If you have to classify it, it's probably a magical-horror-thriller-ghost-romantic-comedy-family-epic, although that leaves out the detective bits and much of the food. 


Which, oddly enough, is still a pretty good description.)


The book came out and was my first New York Times Number One Bestseller. 

https://journal.neilgaiman.com/2005/09/theres-first-time-for-everything.html 


(This is the Ukranian cover.)








A top Hollywood director wanted to buy the rights to Anansi Boys, but when he told me that he planned to make all the characters white, I declined to sell it. It was going to be done properly or not at all.


And then, about ten years ago, two things happened at the same time. Hilary Bevan Jones, a producer who had made a short film I had directed (called Statuesque) mentioned she'd love to make Anansi Boys as a TV series, and a man named Richard Fee, who worked for a company called RED, spotted me eating noodles in a London noodle bar, waited outside so he didn't seem like a stalker, and told me how much he loved Anansi Boys and that he'd love to make it into television.


I loved the TV that RED had made, loved Hilary and her team at Endor, and, unable to decide between them, suggested that they might be willing to work together. They both thought this was a good idea. 


Work started. Somewhere around 2016 I agreed to work on it to help it get made, but we all knew that we would have to be patient as I was writing and making Good Omens. And when Good Omens was in post production we began to move forward.  Amazon had loved making Good Omens, and were blown away by the viewing figures and reaction to it, and wanted to make more things with me, so Endor and Red now had a place to make it for. We put together a fabulous team of writers -- Kara Smith and Racheal Ofori and Arvind Ethan David, not to mention Sir Lenny Henry, who came on board both as a writer and as an Executive Producer to make sure that the soul stayed in it. (I'm writing the first and the last episode). 


Douglas Mackinnon agreed to co-showrun it with me, because I knew I never wanted to be the sole showrunner of anything again and after the Good Omens experience I would trust Douglas with my life and (which actually may be more important) with my stories. We planned to shoot it all around the world...


Paul Frift had been the producer of Good Omens during the South African leg of the shoot, and was indomitable, so we were very happy when he agreed to come on board as our producer.


And then in 2020 Covid happened. The Prime Directive of making Big Budget International television suddenly became “Don't Travel and Especially Don't Travel All Around The World. We Mean It.”


Douglas came up with a Plan to bring Anansi Boys to the screen that was audacious, creative and brilliant. All we needed to make it work was the Biggest Studio in Europe and access to an awful lot of cutting edge technology. 


The biggest Studio in Europe happens to be in Leith, outside Edinburgh. 


Before Covid, the plan had been first to make Anansi Boys, then immediately to make Good Omens 2. (Good Omens 2 was going to be shot in Bathgate, outside Glasgow.) That was the plan we were working on through most of 2020. Then, in September 2020, Douglas and I got a call from Amazon. “We've got good news and complicated news for you,” they said. “The good news is we are greenlighting both Good Omens and Anansi Boys. The complicated news is... well, how do you feel about making them both at the same time?”


So...


Anansi Boys is coming.


Hang on. I want to do that again in a bigger font.


Anansi Boys is coming.


I'd loved the pilot episode of Star Trek Picard, and talked to Michael Chabon about the director, Hanelle M. Culpepper, and he gave her a rave recommendation as someone who could tell a story and stay in control of the technology. We reached out to her, sent her the scripts and the novel, and she loved the project. Hanelle is going to be our lead director, and will direct two episodes.


Hanelle, Sir Lenny Henry, Hilary Bevan Jones and Richard Fee are executive producers, as are Douglas and I.  Hanelle,  Jermain Julien and Azhur Saleem are our three directors.


We will start to announce the cast soon (it's thrilling).  (The crew are, to me, just as thrilling.)


(But I'll give you one clue: one of our cast members was on a public event with me at some point in the last five years. The first thing she said when we met backstage was that her favourite book was the audiobook of Anansi Boys, read by Lenny Henry. And when I told her that there was a part in the book I'd originally written with her in mind, she was overjoyed. So when it became a reality, she was the first person I asked, and the first to agree.)


(The Anansi Boys image above is by Michael Ralph, our amazing production designer.)










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Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Really bloody excellent omens...

Many, many years ago (it was Hallowe'en 1989, for the curious, the year before Good Omens was published) Terry Pratchett and I were sharing a room at the World Fantasy Convention in Seattle, to keep the costs down, because we were both young authors, and taking ourselves to America and conventions were expensive. It was a wonderful convention. I remember a huge Seattle second-hand bookstore in which I found a dozen or so green-bound Storisende Edition James Branch Cabell books, each signed so neatly by the author that the bookshop people assured me that the signatures were printed, and really ten dollars a book was the correct price. 

I could afford books. Good Omens had just been sold to UK publishers and then to US publishers for more money than Terry or I had ever received for anything. (Terry had been incredibly worried about this, certain that receiving a healthy advance would mean the end of his career. When his career didn't end, Terry suggested to his agent that perhaps he ought to be getting that kind of advance for every book from now on, and his life changed, and he stopped having to share a hotel room to save money. But I digress.) Advance reading copies of Good Omens had not yet gone out, but a few editors had read it (ones who had bid for it but failed to buy it) and they all seemed very excited about it, and thrilled for us.


On the Saturday evening Terry left the bar quite early and headed off to bed. I stayed up talking to people and having a marvelous time, hung in there until the small hours of the morning when they closed the hotel bar and all the people went away, and then headed up to the hotel room room. 


I opened the door as quietly as I could and tiptoed in the dark across the room to where my bed was located.


I'd just reached the bed when, from the far side of the room, a voice said, “What time of the night do you call this then? Your mother and I have been worried sick about you.”


Terry was wide awake. Jet lag had taken its toll.


And I was wide awake too. So we lay in our respective beds and having nothing else to do, we plotted the sequel to Good Omens. It was a good one, too. We fully intended to write it, whenever we next had three or four months free. Only I went to live in America and Terry stayed in the UK, and after Good Omens was published Sandman became SANDMAN and Discworld became DISCWORLD and there wasn't ever a good time.


But we never forgot it.


It's been thirty-one years since Good Omens was published, which means it's thirty-two years since Terry Pratchett and I lay in our respective beds in a Seattle hotel room at a World Fantasy Convention, and plotted the sequel. (I got to use bits of the sequel in the TV series version of Good Omens -- that's where our angels came from.)


Terry and I, in Cardiff in 2010, on the night we decided that Good Omens should become a television series.


Terry was clear on what he wanted from Good Omens on the telly. He wanted the story told, and if that worked, he wanted the rest of the story told.


So in September 2017 I sat down in St James' Park, beside the director, Douglas Mackinnon, on a chair with my name on it, as Showrunner of Good Omens. The chair slowly and elegantly lowered itself to the ground underneath me and fell apart, and I thought, that's not really a good omen. Fortunately, under Douglas's leadership, that chair was the only thing that collapsed. 




The crumbled chair.



So, once Good Omens the TV series had been released by Amazon and the BBC, to global acclaim, many awards and joy,  Rob Wilkins (Terry's representative on Earth) and I had the conversation with the BBC and Amazon about doing some more. And they got very excited. We talked to Michael Sheen and David Tennant about doing some more. They also got very excited. We told them a little about the plot. They got even more excited.


Rob Wilkins and David Tennant on the second day of shooting.

Me and Michael and Ash aged nearly 2.
What it was mostly like shooting Good Omens: peering into screens while something happened round the corner.



I'd been a fan of John Finnemore's for years, and had had the joy of working with him on a radio show called With Great Pleasure, where I picked passages I loved, had amazing readers read them aloud and talked about them.


(Here's a clip from that show of me talking about working with Terry Pratchett, and reading a poem by Terry: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p06x3syv. Here's the whole show from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7OsS_JWbzQ with John Finnemore's bits too.)




L to R: With Great Pleasure. John Finnemore, me all beardy, Nina Sosanya (Sister Mary in Good Omens) Peter Capaldi (he played Islington in the original BBC series of Neverwhere).

I asked John if he'd be willing to work with me on writing the next round of Good Omens, and was overjoyed when he said yes. We have some surprise guest collaborators too. And Douglas Mackinnon is returning to oversee the whole thing with me.


So that's the plan. We've been keeping it secret for a long time (mostly because otherwise my mail and Twitter feeds would have turned into gushing torrents of What Can You Tell Us About It? long ago) but we are now at the point where sets are being built in Scotland (which is where we're shooting, and more about filming things in Scotland soon), and we can't really keep it secret any longer.


There are so many questions people have asked about what happened next (and also, what happened before) to our favourite Angel and Demon. Here are, perhaps, some of the answers you've been hoping for. 


As Good Omens continues, we will be back in Soho, and all through time and space, solving a mystery which starts with one of the angels wandering through a Soho street market with no memory of who they might be, on their way to Aziraphale's bookshop. 


(Although our story actually begins about five minutes before anyone had got around to saying “Let there be Light”.)






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