Monday, May 08, 2006

what bears do on the lawn

I forgot to mention yesterday that I took a small detour on the way home from the airport the other day, and, in a small coffee shop off the highway, I met My Dealer. My Dealer handed over The Merchandise (I don't think anyone spotted us) and we went our separate ways. Which meant that two nights ago Maddy and I watched the New Earth episode of the new season of Dr Who, and things felt like old times. (Some oddly me-ish moments of dialogue in there, too, which made me smile.) Last night we watched Tooth and Claw which I thought was a better episode (and no me-ish dialogue at all).

Currently trying to break up working with things like getting some exercise, smearing paint samples to help Holly pick a wall-colour, wondering when the bear is going to leave so I can buy new birdfeeders to replace the ones he destroyed (we were hoping he'd have moved on by now, but a google of "bear scat" confirmed my suspicion that the things that bears traditionally do in the woods are still currently being done on my lawn), discovering that you really can get an eleven-year-old's bike into the back seat of a Mini convertible if you take the top down, and trying to work out if the chocolate-coloured slinky thing living down by the pond is a fisher or a mink...

Several people wrote to let me know that the Sultan's Elephant had its own website --

Cora Bisset, who plays the mother in The Wolves in the Walls show, was compared by a couple of newspaper reviewers to Kate Bush. Not a comparison that I would have made, but over at you can hear her sing Cloudbusting...

Last year I posted some puzzled -- possibly even tetchy -- comments about how the press was making up stories about Angelina Jolie and Beowulf -- Ray Winstone's take on it is at,,1769179,00.html.

And then I got the lead in Beowulf with Angelina Jolie. You know they said in the paper, before she was even on set, that we were having murderous rows! Why don't they leave this kid alone? She's a great girl. I came home one day and I said to my wife, "I've had a bastard day, a really hard day." She said, "Why, what's the matter?" and I said, "I had to keep kissing Angelina Jolie." And she went [pause while he collapses with laughter] "Well someone's got to do it!"

Robin Pearson writes...

ok, i've got a strange little thing about reading People online...but
today had a picture from the set of Stardust!,19884,1192364_10,00.html

I don't actually think they're in on set in London, though. I think -- at least according to this -- that they're at (The place, not the website.)

A quick blogsearch showed more pictures of Sienna in Wall up at
and commentary on the photos at

Hi Neil,

Over the past couple of months you've made some offhand, disparaging comments about Wikipedia. Since offhand, disparaging comments are pretty scarce in your journal, I wondered if you wouldn't mind explaining your disdain. In a search of your archives, it seems that in January, you went from linking to 'wonderful articles' to calling it a 'hive mind'. What changed?

Mostly, I used it more. And several of those wonderful articles have been replaced in the meantime by ones nowhere near as good, and in some cases ones significantly less accurate. In addition, lots of things would come in on the FAQ line beginning "It says on Wikipedia..." and then going on to ask about something that someone had got wrong somewhere -- most of which I'd just sigh about, some of which I'd correct here. For good or ill -- and it wasn't meant as disparagement, just as a statement of fact -- the creative entity behind any Wikipedia article is a hive-mind: it produces some excellent work and some real rubbish and there's no way for anyone reading a specific Wikipedia article to know which s/he is reading at that precise moment of its incarnation.

A friend -- a movie writer -- recently commented to me that, while he used Wikipedia a lot, the Wiki articles on anything he actually had personal knowledge of were mostly only about 60% accurate. "I think you can change them," I told him. "That's part of the Wiki thing, isn't it?"

"I did," he said.

"Oh. Well, then.That's all right."

He shook his head. "I checked last week. Somebody already changed them all back."

It's fairly easy to judge most works of reference. You check a couple of things you know something about and if they get them right you figure they've done their homework, and if they don't you discount the whole thing (well, I do). You can't apply that to Wikipedia. There's great stuff there, there's bollocks, and they exist side by side. (Also, by its nature, it privileges things you can link to.)

Picking something at random, I just looked up Aziraphale on Wikipedia. And was suprised to see that it had an entry. (I was going to do Sandman characters next.)

Aziraphale did fairly well, then concluded Also, Neil Gaiman mentioned in his blog that Aziraphale and Crowley are currently living in the South Downs. When he was asked in a book signing just what the two were doing there, he told that Aziraphale and Crowley were 'sharing a cottage'. It also got mentioned that Aziraphale watched porn, taking notes -- this quite suggests a certain kind of a relationship. Neil Gaiman discussed this at a book signing in Cambridge, MA. A video of this discussionwas taken by Vampie6 and posted the Livejournal community Lower_Tadfield on 23 Septemter 2004. *Update: the link to the video is broken, but there is a brief mention of this account to be found in the same LJ community.

Which seems like a rather desperate attempt to make slash canon (which it isn't) by half-remembering and then misunderstanding a reference to a running joke from the sequel to Good Omens we never wrote (which had Aziraphale trying to watch a complete soft-core porn movie in the hotels he was in across America in the free two-minute increments that he'd get when turning on the TV). (I think we talk about it in the Locus interview which this -- -- is extracted from. ) And I can't see what any of it's doing in that entry to begin with...

So I'll use Wikipedia but not rely on it. Does that help?


The megatalented Thea Gilmore has a new CD out soon - Harpo's Ghost. Details at and at Thea's myspace place -

The equally megatalented, although significantly shorter than Thea Gilmore, Stephin Merritt, is being defended against what seem to me to be remarkably wrong-headed accusations of racism (he said on a panel that Zip-e-dee-doo-dah was a great song from a bad movie) this morning over at Slate.,,1762746,00.html mentions that there's a Jake Thackray 4 CD boxed set out (something that will probably only interest five people reading this blog, but I bet they'll be really interested, and it interested me.)

Dear Mr Gaiman,

I wrote a movie script and would like to sell it. What do you can advice me?


Probably first to register it with the WGA. I'd read up a bit on Hollywood (if that's where you're going)-- William Goldman's books Adventures in the Screen Trade and Which Lie did I Tell?. Maybe Jane Hamsher's Killer Instinct. And beyond that... Find someone who likes your script and wants to make it, I guess. I don't know. (Thinks for a moment.) I think I'd point you at a reliable place where there's lots of advice for people in your position. Right. Go to It's Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio's site. They write movies, they want people to write good movies, and they know their stuff. Read their articles. Explore their links.