Sunday, October 31, 2004

"On Hallowe'en the Old Ghosts Come..."

Happy Hallowe'en.

Let's see. Just got an e-mail from Thea Gilmore in Poughkeepsie, letting me know that she's now on tour on the US East Coast, supporting Joan Baez. If you can, go see her at:

Monday November 1st
Support to Joan Baez University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
Wednesday November 3rd
Support to Joan Baez Performing Arts Centre, Charlottesville, VA
Thursday November 4th Philadelphia Tin Angel 215 928 0770
Saturday November 6th Support to Joan Baez Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY

The Philadelphia gig is Thea Gilmore headlining, not supporting anyone. Thea's probably the smartest, sharpest UK singer-songwriter since Elvis Costello. She's also an amazing performer. I've been plugging her stuff on this blog for years and years (which is how we met -- she e-mailed to say thanks). If you can, if you're in the area, go and see her. (On her last US tour, anyone who told her that they'd come because of learning about it here got a cool freebie. I'm not sure if she has any freebies with her on this tour, but tell her I sent you anyway.)

(And yes, the NY gigs are 21+, so if you're in NY and under 21 you should go on an expedition to Philadelphia anyway. Lovely place. City of brotherly love. Er.)

Go and listen. You're probably not doing anything on Thursday night anyway.

I was amused and irritated in equal parts to see a local Republican Party (in Howell, New Jersey) accusing their opponent in a mayoral race of being "satanic" because he writes horror.

Norine Kelly, chairwoman of the municipal GOP club, said the site Farkas uses to promote his writing is "rather disturbing" and has "Satanic tones." ...

"I had no idea he even wrote a book until someone sent me an e-mail about his Web site," Kelly said yesterday. "It's very gory-looking to me. As a grandmother and a mother, I opened that page and said, 'What the hell is going on?' I don't like the messages. Some people have said Stephen King has become popular with horror stories, but in my opinion Stephen King writes a lot of Satanic books."

Doesn't she know about Goths For Bush?

As I type this the all-day Hollowe'en Marathon is already going on on Fox Movie Channel, with alternate versions of the me-and-Malena intros and outros. Seeing that we're on the last day, I don't feel like I'm giving anything away if I reveal what most of you have probably figured out already, which is that you can watch the secret interviews at

(replace with .mov for the Quicktime versions, and .rm for the Real Audio).


Hi, Neil.I'm an Apple employee and it always drives me bonkers when people insist on perpetuating the iPod battery myth. So thanks for your reply to that guy who seemed to have a chip on his shoulder about it. I myself have a 10GB that's two years old and still going strong (and alas, shall be replaced shortly by the kick-ass U2 iPod as soon as it starts shipping). Another thing you might want to mention is that Apple also has AppleCare for iPod - it's $60 and well worth it, because it doesn't just cover the battery but all the iPod components. So when those little ear-buds die (and they do, and far more often than the batteries do, to be certain), you can just take 'em to an Apple Store and they'll replace 'em for free. And if you're already spending $300-600 on the suckers, another $60 to keep it healthy is well worth it. But so long as people remember to keep their iPod's software updated, and to run the battery all the way out before recharging it, and to turn it off when it's not in use, they shouldn't have any problems with the battery life. Anyway, thanks for the defence (and the plug!).- A.

You're welcome. And I should have mentioned the AppleCare -- I got it on the last iPod (the one that is now Holly's).


Two Fiddler's Green questions:

Neil: Any chance of getting the items up for auction at Fiddler's Green to be auctioned off online as well? Sometimes I've been to auctions where there's dual bidding; you can bid in person OR online. I only ask because those Death Docs are a STUNNING work of art (as are they all) Sax in Ohio

The people at Fiddler's Green are Actively Looking Into It. For now, if you want something -- and I'll try and post a link to the auction list here -- your best bet is to contact someone who's going to be there and ask them to bid on your behalf, or to e-mail one of the Fiddler's Green people and ask them to do your bidding. If you see what I mean.

Neil, I'm a poor aspiring writer from Maryland who's about to come into enough money to attend Fiddler's Green, but won't get it until it's just about time for the con, and my question is this: What are the chances that, should I make it out to Minneapolis by hook or crook or maybe even aeroplane, I'll be admitted (assuming, too, that I have money enough)?

I'd say the chances are 100%. I asked the Queen of Fiddler's Green, Davey Snyder, and she said:

People arriving on Friday and wanting full-convention memberships are about certain to get them.

Davey also mentioned that they will be doing day-memberships for locals and that "day memberships also include a copy of the Souvenir Book, as do supporting memberships. (They all want a copy. They really do. And yes, any extra copies will likely be for sale after the convention is over, but members get them first and for certain.)"


I expect you've already been alerted by somebody with less snailmail lag, but in case you haven't: I have just become possibly the first, and probably the last, person to receive a *second* free signed Cerebus issue from Dave Sim under the current offer. Dave Sim's account of the circumstances will soon be available, punchline-destroying typo and all, on the Sim/Gaiman Project letters archive at - and as Dave Sim tells the story better than I would (which, I suppose, is why he's a famous writer and I'm not), I shall leave it at that. Paul A.Kalgoorlie, Western Australia

Alas, the letter in question isn't up at the letters website yet, so I don't yet know how you got your second signed Cerebus. (I'm happy that people are still writing for their free signed Cerebus, though, and that Dave is still sending them out.)

If you look through those letters -- particularly this one: -- you'll see mention is made of Phase II "Good Things For the CBLDF".

Now, I am in pretty much as much mystery about what "Phase II" has transmuted into as you are (I know what Dave's initial proposal was, and it may well tie into that).

The other day an e-mail arrived from Gerhard, Dave's collaborator, containing the "first Quarto" of Phase 2, which Joe Fulgham has kindly put up over at The Dreaming.

So for any of you who are wondering about it (or even if you just want to see what I looked like as a 25 year old journalist, wearing a suit and grey sneakers, in Dave's Savoy hotel suite), you'll want to click on And there will be another installment in a few days' time.

(I didn't usually wear suits back then, but I'd long previously learned my lesson about going to things at the Savoy: if you didn't wear a suit, and you wanted to be in a public area, they would find you a blazer, and make you wear it.)

(The most frustrating thing about the interview I did with Dave Sim was that it was for the article the UK Sunday Times Magazine had commissioned me to write on comics. I interviewed Alan Moore and Frank Miller as well, and other critics and creators and such, and wrote the biggest and best article on comics that I'd ever written, and sent it in to the editor who had commissioned it. I'd got unpublished art from Dave Gibbons and Brian Bolland and others. It was going to be the first, biggest article on this cool new thing that was happening. I was really proud of it and excited. When, after some days of silence, I phoned to find out why I hadn't heard anything from the editor, he explained that he had a serious problem with it. "It's not that it's not a good article. But it lacks balance," he said. I was very puzzled: I'd written a really comprehensive article about the world of comics, the budding world of graphic novels, circa 1986. "Lacks balance how?" I asked. "Well, these comics..." he said. "You seem to think they're a good thing." And I realised that I wasn't going to be able to provide the sort of balance that he wanted (the kind where you need to give equal time to the people who think that Stephen King is working for satan, who don't read comics and want to tell you why you shouldn't either), and so did he. So he paid me a larger kill fee for the article than I'd ever been paid for anything I'd ever had printed, and even though I was young and hungry, I would still have had the article published than the money.)