Saturday, June 14, 2003

Cheap plugs for friends, mostly

Hi Neil!

I just wanted to ask if you know if the Neverwhere DVD from A&E will also be sold via online stores like The problem with A&E's webstore is that they don't ship internationally, and thus it's impossible for me (in the Netherlands) to order from them.


Sean van der Meulen

They'll definitely be selling it through Amazon and so forth. The main advantage to ordering it through A&E's Neverwhere page for those in the US, is you get it a month before it ships or goes on sale any other way. (It's probably worth reminding people in PAL zones that the BBC still has the video of Neverwhere for sale... at among other places.)

Yeah, travel agents have been effectively neutered by the airlines over the last few years. My ex-girlfriend (who used to make the CONvergence travel arrangements before she moved to Toronto), when she began working as a travel agent, was able to get any and every flight, find the lowest price, and still get a commission from the airlines. Then the airlines started lowering commissions until they were pretty much nonexistant or not cash at all (All Nippon Airlines once sent her $150 in gift certificates at the Gap). Nowadays, most travel agencies charge a service fee to book air travel and are unable to get all available flights. They still get commissions for "ground", i.e. hotels, car rental, and tour packages.

So there you go. It's not entirely the travel agents' fault.

- Jeremy from DreamHaven

I never really thought it was -- and I kept using a travel agent, out of some kind of loyalty, long after there was any reason to. (Indeed, it would add complications -- if something needed to be changed or corrected while I was on the road I'd have to call Los Angeles rather than just phone the airline directly.) But I think that the airlines and the websites have now managed to effectively sideline the travel agents.And overall, I think that's probably a pity.

Hello. Is the Adam Stemple you are referring to the Adam Stemple from the band The Tim Malloys? If so, could you remind your MN fans that they play every Tuesday night at the Half Time Rec in St. Paul? They are great-- Local Irish music,with an occasional sheep bleating sound thrown in and its always good to support local bands. And hey, the place sells Guiness and sometimes cheap tacos. What more could you ask for? Pub songs, sheep sounds, and food...

I always wanted to grow up to be Jim Henson. Still do. I've collected so much muppets stuff over the years no one could ever mistake me for a real adult. Labyrinth has always been my favorite movie..."where everything seems possible and nothing is what it seems." Yep, he ranks right up there with Einstein for me.

Yup, same Adam Stemple. Musician, composer, author and member of the Tim Malloys, a wonderful Irish band, consisting, as the best Minneapolis Irish bands always do, of three people whose non-irish national origins would sound like the beginning of a joke, if they all walked into a bar together.

(Adam's solo record "Three Solid Blows to the Head" is available through the Fabulous Records website.)