Monday, August 26, 2002
According to the Guardian Unlimited Books | News | Edinburgh festival diary "I've just missed Neil Gaiman, author of Sandman, in town to promote his new children's novel, Coraline. One aspect of his appearance outlives his performance: the priceless vision of Charlotte Square Gardens, this year pitched as "an oasis of calm", overrun by black-clad Gaiman fans tramping the lawns in German army boots. These goths are armed only with books, ready for signing."

Which is a lovely story. Of course, as with all the signings, there were a handful of goths, just as there were a handful of people with beards and a handful of people in expensive suits. Most of the people in the audience who I met in the signing line (which was the longest one at the Edinburgh Book Festival) were utterly indistinguishable from the people in the signing line that followed (it was Iain Banks's).

But as the reporter says, he wasn't there, and the tale obviously grew in the telling. And "guy you've never heard of gets more people in his book-signing line than anyone else" is much less anecdotally interesting than "Charlotte Square Covered by Menacing People in Black".