Wednesday, November 24, 2004

art as a stew

I had one of the pleasantest yesterdays I've had in a long time, as an unexpected houseguest of my friends Matthew and Claudia, deep in the Suffolk countryside. As Matthew showed me round their new five hundred year old country estate, I couldn't figure out if I was in a P.G. Wodehouse country house novel, or an Agatha Christie country house novel. And then I started wondering why P.G. Wodehouse never wrote any murder mysteries. Things like that can keep me happy for weeks. Spent much of today talking about Stardust. It looks like interesting things are happening...

I just re-read "Goldfish Pool and Other Stories." In the end, all three fish are mentioned as being completely white. Did Princess loose the "lip prints" when the groundskeeper died? If so... that's brilliant and I can't believe I never noticed that before.

Yes. (It's one of those things that people would have noticed in a comic, I've always thought...)

Hi Neil,You just mentioned that "I've just learned chocolate is a more effective cough suppressant than codeine." Was this your own research, or did you read an article on the matter. Science demands to know! And I've already wasted entirely too much of the morning trying to search medline for the subject.

Here's a link from the Telegraph, here's one from the Guardian.

Hi Neil,Here's an interesting article on plagiarism in the New Yorker: No reason for this really, I just thought others might like to read it. Anyone who is a writer or interested in writing should read it. It's ugly territory, plagiarism and accusations thereof, and I'd hate to see someone stumble into it without a map.

I'm listening to U2's new album right now (I love it) and it reminds me of a story Bono once told me ... did you really push him overboard when sailing with him and The Edge? Or maybe he just fell off; I'm assuming your yacht has a well-stocked mini-bar.Cheers, Rick

Actually, the yacht was film producer Paul Berrow's. And most of what I remember was wandering down some French lanes talking with Bono about how and why you should reinvent yourself from time to time as an artist. Very nice guy, very bright.

Thanks for the link to the Gladwell article. I think that's basically what I was trying to talk about yesterday. It reminds me of the metaphor (which I think I may have borrowed from Terry Pratchett anyway) I used back when a couple of journalists claimed that Harry Potter was just Tim Hunter under another name: art (and you can pick what you want for any value of art here, be it music or fantasy fiction or whatever) is like a big bubbling bowl of stew. When you're starting out, you ladle out some of the stew. As you go on, and you make more art, you start putting things back into the stew, for the next round of people to ladle out. Art (except, perhaps for some outsider art, and I'm not really convinced about that) is a dialogue (or, perhaps, a conversation) not something that happens in a vacuum.

[Edited to add: you can go and read the metaphor and comments at, entry for March 19, 1998]

Hello: I'm glad Dave McKean is nearly finished with MirrorMask. When do you think he'll release the extended trailer? Also, do you know what cities MirrorMask will play in during its limited theatrical release? Thanks. Raissa Devereux Tempe, Arizona USA

When he's done with the film, he'll do the trailer. Some time very soon, I think. And since Mirrormask was accepted at Sundance the powers that be at Sony are taking it a lot more seriously, which means that a) we don't know yet which arm of Sony will be releasing it, and b) it may get wider release than we had originally expected, depending on how it's received at Sundance. Fingers crossed.

Hello Neil, Do you know if there were any of the souvenier programs from Fiddlers Green left afterwards. There was something said about selling the left over ones and I would like to get one. Could Davey Snider get Dreamhaven to sell them for you and make some more money for CBLDF? Dave G.

I don't know. But I'll find out. The souvenir books are an astonishingly well-assembled reference on Sandman as well as being just souvenir books, by the way.