Sunday, September 07, 2003

all over the place...

Took Maddy to the renfest again, where she played her violin for the crowd and she and her friend had their hair braided. Was delighted to see that Lorraine and Paul and Trevor (aka Folk Underground) seem to be becoming really popular, and are selling enormous quantities of CDs to people who thought they were just trying to get in early for good seats to see Puke and Snot, and who become converts.

Unfortunately, their biggest hit is 'The Tea Song' (which Emma renamed 'Tea and Corpses' when the Flash Girls did it. She also renamed 'The Lalala Song' to 'A Meaningful Dialogue'. You may see a pattern here, consisting of laziness on the part of the person who wrote the song, and desperation on the part of the person who put it on the CD. Still, 'The Herring Song' stayed 'The Herring Song'.) And the Tea Song isn't on their CD. Which probably means they'll have to do another one.

Came home late, dusty and dehydrated.

Any chance you'll be at World Fantasy this year?

--Michail Velichansky

It's possible, but very unlikely. While I have several hundred friends there, and am nominated for two World Fantasy Awards, and would love to go to Washington, I'll have just got back from pretty much a month on the road, about ten days before, and the week after World Fantasy I have to to the UK for a Coraline/Wolves signing tour. And it's looking like once the tour is done I may have to hide and write for several weeks. So the idea of getting two weeks practically uninterrupted at home, and reading to Maddy, and so on, becomes even more attractive than the idea of going to Washington in the middle of that time at home...


There's a photo of a bunch of Hugo winners unsure of where they are meant to be looking as a sea of camera flashes goes off here at Not one single person is looking at the camera that took the picture in question. (This is because SF fans are too polite to yell "yo! look over here!' like newspaper photographers do.)

I'm the one on the bottom left.

When I was younger, and felt that fine enemies were important things to have, I took Julie Burchill's hatred of comics as a sort of badge of pride. It wasn't that I hated her as a person -- I'd had a perfectly pleasant lunch with her, her then-husband Cosmo, and author Kathy Acker, shortly before she began making her pronouncements on comics, but she's an opinionated, terribly smart, shit-stirrer whose columns seem sometimes to exist in order to irritate as many readers as possible. So her much-quoted statement that "There are no comics for adults, because adults don't read comics" was down on my list of great stupid things that sound good, and from her articles attacking those who made and those who read, comics, graphic novels, and the like, at least I knew without any doubt which camp she was in.

The discovery that she's become a wishy-washy convert in her old age, and now recants, and admits to liking Dan Clowes and Terry Moore is sort of troubling:,5673,1026555,00.html. I think I preferred her on the other side, really.


There's a librarian action figure on the way. Some librarians are apparently complaining about the "shushing" action of the figure, and, perhaps, that it isn't glamorous enough. Meanwhile there's a profile on the librarian it's based on in the Seattle Times. I think it looks genuinely fun. (I can understand a profession complaining that they are being mocked or stereotyped, but a real person isn't a stereotype.)


Don't know if you remember me, but I met you briefly in Evanston at Stars Our Destination on your American Gods tour (it's closed its doors and become mail order only, shame!) Tall, a bit portly, definitely a bit awestruck. Anyway, at the time, I mentioned to you a Sandman Timeline I had compiled which, although presumably having some errors, is kinda fun ... you suggested I send the URL into you ... so now that the FAQ line is fixed yet again, thought I'd give it another try, despite having tried a few times in the past to no avail. We'll see if it goes through this time 'round!
Thanks so much for your tales ... they've meant a lot to me over the years.

-- Mike

You're welcome. Mike's Sandman timeline is a remarkable thing, and made me feel justified for putting all the work into making the movement of time actually work, on the basis that "one day, someone will check up, so I better make it all work just for the someone, as well as for me". And because I could never get comics timelines to work in my own head (when I was a boy I'd puzzle over whether 12 monthly issues of a comic add up to twelve days in the life of a character, or to a year?)


First, I'd say the only way to eat porridge is with Lyle's Golden Syrup (unless you're a Scot, like over half of my mother, in which case you eat it with salt).

Golden Syrup, the one in the green and gold Victorian tin which has a picture of a dead lion and bees humming out of it because 'out of strength comes forth sweetness'. You'll probably also know that this is a quote from Virgil.

Virgil was very keen on farming but was a better poet than he was farmer. He instructs us in the Georgics that a dead animal is the way to catch a swarm of bees (Now I'm sure you'll catch a swarm of *something* if you leave a dead animal lying about, just not so sure it'll be bees).

Love Kass

I think it's actually a quote from the bible -- I'm pretty sure it's Samson's riddle in the book of Judges, after slaying a lion, and finding a swarm in its chest cavity, some time later. Virgil, I think, believed that dead animals spontaneously created bees, but it's late and I'm not sure where to start looking...

By jove, it's amazing what you can find on the web with a google click or two. Here's a site all about strange bee lore -- and you'll find Samson, and Virgil, and even Pliny (who doesn't really get mentioned much but was consistently wronger about bees than anyone could be without working at it)...

Second, have you come across Join Me yet?

It's an account of how Danny Wallace set up his own cult by placing a cryptic small ad in Loot, one of our local newspapers. All it said was "Join me" and people did. Now he's going Stateside (website:

It was Danny Wallace who made another curious journey with Dave Gorman - they tracked down all the Dave Gormans they could worldwide and made a book/tv series about them all.


I'm already a fan of Danny Wallace and Dave Gorman ( see here, from a year ago). I bought lots of copies of "Are you Dave Gorman?" and sent them to friends.

Join us looks like fun...


Thanks for the comic book locator link - very useful. :) However, the site does require JavaScript for the drop down menus to function, which is a pet peeve of mine as a lot of people won't have JavaScript or have it switched off, so I wrote is an accessible version of the site, no JavaScript or anything else required. I thought this might come in use to some (or possibly one, or none :) ) of your blog readers.


Thanks Matthew.


I found this site today about censorship in New Zealand. Namely the Indecent Publications Act of 1910 which was revised in 1954.

"The 1954 Act incorporated new measures to deal with comics, which were a cause of some concern at the time. This Act extended the definition of indecency to include undue emphasis on matters of sex, horror, crime, cruelty or violence. In 1961 the Act was amended to include sound recordings."

Under this Act Sandman was not let into New Zealand until 1994 when new legislation came in to force and adults were finally allowed their own comic books.

I thought you might have been interested on the way things work in such a small uninvolved country.

Slowly working my way through the Sandman series backwards as that's all I can ever find at my local library. I haven't seen much more of your writing out here but then I haven't really trolled all the books stores like I should.



I've always found it odd that while, in the US, comics were coming under attack for being unamerican, all over the rest of the world they were being attacked for being evil items of American cultural imperialism -- Martin Barker wrote an excellent book on the history of UK anticomics legislation, which turned out to be the only legislation that the British Communist Party pushed into existence in all the years they were around. (The book's called Haunt of Fears, and it's probably long out of print.) (Yup, it is, but there are plenty of second hand copies, places like here.)

Lots of people point out that LEGENDS II has just appeared on and is listed as coming out in the US on December the 30th. (Which is odd, as I thought I'd mentioned that already.) (And I've misalid the info on the Australian release.)

Hey, Neil,

Figures I'd choose to shoot you a first message at the EXACT SAME TIME your FAQ starts to fall apart.

To repeat (with apologies if this's utterly redundant because the original message penetrated somehow):

An oddball pronunciation question: How do you personally pronounce the word "prelude," as in "Preludes & Nocturnes"? The Honda pronunciation is clear, of course, but I hear -- hear, get it? -- the jury's still out on PREL-yood versus PRAY-lood for the ordinary noun. So, which is it for you?

(I liked learning that "Chabon" is pronounced SHAYB'n. Does wonders to know the correct pronunciations for things, especially words.)

Both pronounciations are right. And I'm a prel-yoods person.