Saturday, April 26, 2003

Castles and pointy ears and such

So the Elf Festival is in a castle in Holland, somewhere near Utrecht. It's a terrific castle, which looks like it was designed by Mad King Ludwig's younger brother Relatively Sane Prince Beppo. It's a 19th century fantasia built on the site of, and incorporating, the ruins of an old castle. In the grounds are tents, and in the tents are people, many of whom are wearing cool clothes and elf ears, and artists and authors. I suspect in the sun it would be gorgeous, but it was grey, and it rained, and people's boots churned the ground to mud. On arrival, I did a couple of interviews, and took advantage of a little downtime to pull out my computer and finish the introduction for Alan Moore's Voice of the Fire.

Then there was an interview over lunch. Lunch consisted of chocolate and cheese. The two most common foodstuffs in Holland seem to be chocolate and cheese. I bet if they have those illustrated posters of food pyramids in Dutch schools, half of the pyramid is probably chocolate, and the rest is almost certainly cheese.

I did two half hour readings-and-answering-questions (hoping I could be heard, over the sound of the drums from the drum and dance tent over the way, and the patter of the rain on the tent), and after each talk I did a half hour signing, which was not long enough for all the people there, but I did the best I could not to disappoint too many people, and then in the late afternoon I went to a bookshop in Utrecht and signed some more.

Then I went back to the castle, found Brian and Wendy Froud and we went into Amsterdam to dinner to talk about the film. Ate a lot (it was a lovely dinner and actually there was no chocolate or cheese involved at any point, except for the huge cheese display in the glass case as you walked into the restaurant). We talked a lot. I told them many of the ideas I was most nervous about and they liked them, which was a relief, as Brian will have to make them into reality one day.

Tomorrow is another round of signings and readings and questions. Today, I read bits from CORALINE. Tomorrow I may read something else. Or not. We'll see. Goodnight.