Thursday, August 28, 2003

"And I shan't get shirty when they say I look peculiar..."

I had a long sort of day. I learned that while the INS tell you to be there at 6:00am and they deal with the first 300 people, you actually should be in line outside their offices at 4:00am if you want to be certain to be seen, and right now they're only seeing the first 150 people. Arriving at 6.00 am, and seeing a fairly long line, I got on the back. When they opened the doors at 6:30, I was around #180, and was in the group that was going to be sent away, but they made a final check for people who had Come A Long Way, and I had, and was admitted, along with a couple who had had a death in the family and had to fly to France.

So I spent from 6.00am until 1:30pm standing in lines, and then 1:30 until 4:00ish sitting waiting. And then, at 4:00pm, I spent about a minute showing a helpful INS officer my passport and getting the stamp in it that will let me go to Canada and come back.

I got some writing done, but it's hard to write standing up shuffling forward an inch at a time for hour after hour, so mostly I just wished I'd brought a book. And I wished my cellphone didn't have a potential camera attachment, thus making it something that wasn't allowed in a government building. And I wished I'd thought to bring something to eat...

But, at the end of the day, I got my stamp. It's valid for a year, and by October, I was told, I should have my new green card.


Phill Jupitus interviewed Thea Gilmore recently on Radio 6 -- the interview (with songs removed) is at It's a fun, burbling sort of chat, during the course of which I discovered that Thea used to do cover versions of Jake Thackray's song "Lah-Di-Dah", something I'd love to have heard. (She also used to do Jake's "Castleford Ladies' Magical Circle".)

Thackray was a very individual singer-songwriter, with a delivery half-way between a sort of North Country Noel Coward and Jaques Brel, who could do some remarkable things with poetry and humour and the places he put his rhymes and the way the words worked. I keep meaning to ask Terry Pratchett whether Jake's song about Old Molly Metcalfe informed the shepherdess stuff in The Wee Free Men.

Neil, I hate to do this but I'm going to keep bugging you and bugging you until I a) get an answer to my question somewhere in your journal or b) it eventually turns up on the Vertigo website. I kept hearing about a Sandman: Endless Nights Special that was supposed to come out at the same time as the hardcover. This individual comic supposedly is an extra Dream story published separate from the Endless Nights collection. Please, if you can find just a moment to address this it would mean the world to several dozen comic book geeks and geek-ets in the suburban Detroit area. Thanks!

Always in love with your work,

Thanks. It's not an extra story -- it's the Miguelanxo Prado Dream story from Endless Nights, reprinted in comics format (which is a smaller size than Endless Nights) so that comic shop people will have something to sell customers who find the idea of buying a 180 page $25 oversized hardback sort of scary. If you're getting Endless Nights anyway, you don't need it, unless you want to give it to your friends as a present.

Sandman: King of Dreams arrived through my mailbox today. Today.
Today not being early november, I found that a little strange. sent it to me in Scotland, so do us Rule Brittania Kids get it first? Or do Titan publish it here and then DC print it for the U.S in November? Just Curious, but its a great book, and I can't believe you almost killed Matthew!! Shame!

Hamza Khan

Well, Titan don't publish a separate print-run -- they tack on to the back of Chronicle Books (not DC)'s printing of the book. But it certainly looks like they got it out first, which makes me sort of happy -- it's nice when the UK gets something before the US. And very unusual.

And finally, the last word (I hope) on the subject of ...

Kittens & Nostrils --

Alas, I am sad to report that my formerly-feral cat, Buddy, an all-black mongrel found on the streets when he was about eight months old, is now nearly three years old and STILL trying to insert himself into my nostrils at night. He has also discovered that a singular claw, inserted delicately into a nostril, hooked around the edge of the skin and then yanked back forcefully, will indeed make me jump out of bed screaming like a banshee.

So, I guess what I'm trying to say is it will only get worse. Once a nostril-abuser, always a nostril-abuser.


Colleen @ Del Rey Books