Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Catching up

So, I'm home and writing this in bed before the day starts and the phone begins to ring. Am expecting the jet lag this week to be pretty hellacious, as it was last time I did one of these "nip across the Atlantic for a few days" jaunts.

Let's see...

The screening for 50 People on Sunday night was nerve-wracking (these were not people chosen for their diplomatic abilities -- if they'd disliked it, I would have known) not least because this was the first time I'd seen something close to a finished cut.

I put up some links to reviews in the last entry. I've noticed a few more: Here's big hairy Mitch Benn on his myspace blog, for example.

Monday morning I had breakfast with Michael Chabon, who had also been to Hay and was staying in my hotel, and then it was interviews, from early in the morning -- mostly magazine pieces with long lead times, but also some TV and radio, most of which will come out in the UK in October when the film does. Lunch was on Rotten Tomatoes UK, and was recorded in a Japanese restaurant for a podcast which will mostly consist of chewing noises I expect.

The oddest moment of the day was being interviewed by the BBC for a BBC4 documentary on Fantasy. They did the interview in an old church in Paddington, in the crypt, and as the car pulled up I had one of those feelings of deja vu that you only get when you really have been somewhere before. And as I went down into the crypt, I knew. "We filmed Neverwhere here!" I told the interviewer. "This was the Black Friars' place." I was being interviewed where Richard Mayhew was given his nice cup of tea, before the ordeal.

Then back to Soho for food -- Ten Ten Tai in Brewer Street, which is my favourite unpretentious little Japanese restaurant in London, and is also the nearest eating establishment to Paramount London, so when I'd eaten I walked around the corner and went downstairs and was interviewed by The Man at the Crossroads, Paul Gravett, and answered questions for people who'd just seen Stardust.

Dear Neil,

I was lucky enough to be at the Stardust screening in London on Monday where you also talked about the process of writing the original story, and about your involvement in the film.

I wanted to ask you how it feels to see your original idea filtered through so many different people - going from you, through (in some regards at least) Charles Vess illustrating it, and then through Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn in production of the film's script. How does this process change your feelings about & connection to that original idea - if at all?

You see, I really did want to be intelligent and to ask this on Monday. But I was so excited at seeing the film that my brain went a little bit gloopy and wouldn't work properly. So instead I asked about your dog.....

Lou M

The expression on Paul Gravett's face when he realised that the first audience question was "How's your dog" was a wonderful one.

You always fall short of the original idea. Sometimes you make something else on the way. But I feel like Stardust, especially the illustrated one, is very similar to the thing I set out to make in the first place.

The film is a film (and a really good one) which squeezes and pushes and slides in order to tell the story as a movie, and, I think, succeeds beyond my dreams. I think I must like collaborating.

Anyway yesterday Holly and flew home. My dog was happy to see me. Maddy and Holly and Holly's friend Sarah and I watched the first part of the Dr Who two parter (how could I not like an episode which begins on my minus forty-seventh birthday? And has a little girl holding a red balloon?). I had a fight (well, a difference of opinion) with Holly and Sarah about them not watching the next episode without us, of the dammit this is a communal family TV watching experience variety, which I suspect in retrospect I only won because they didn't know where the second half DVD was, so we'll all watch that today. Lovely stuff, Paul Cornell should be justly proud. And an enormous relief after the last couple of episodes.

And then bed and, with my sleep schedule all mixed up, not much sleep at all. Oh well.

Hi Neil,

BBC Radio 3 is repeating the documentary on HP Lovecraft you contributed to -- Sunday 10th June at 20:00 BST.

Best wishes


Particularly good news as I missed it the first time.

Also, this coming Saturday the Times (the UK newspaper, which is just called the Times) will be publishing an article of me talking about H. G. Wells's short stories.

Which reminds me...

Why is your voice different when you're talking to some anonymous interviewer about Lovecraft from when you're talking to a con audience about Fragile Things? Your "I can't tell you why that is, other than that Lovecraft is Rock and Roll" voice is much lower than your "They're buying my books, just waiting to get sued" voice. Do you deliberately modulate the pitch of your voice to match the situation, or did you get your soul eaten along the way, rendering your voice higher for some unfathomable reason?

which just left me shaking my head in puzzlement. (Does your voice always sound the same, and not change with what you're talking about?)

I met Lynn Hacking from Final Draft at a trade show this weekend, and he told a very funny story about being caught between you and Roger Avery in an argument. So I have to ask: one space or two after the period?

You can actually tell from a script Roger and I have collaborated on who wrote what, because I always put one space after a full stop, and he puts two. The reason you can tell now is because he has finally sighed and stopped carefully going through anything I write and inserting that extra space, having given it up as a lost cause.


Friends of Amacker's (and those who worry) can follow her medical progress as they put her back together over at, which is the blog her brother is keeping.


And I feel guilty I didn't mention this before, as some of the events have already happened, but go to to learn about the exhibition of Charles Vess Stardusty stuff at the William King Regional Arts Center "serving far Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee". They have amazing Charles Vess original art, along with the books I handwrote the story in and lots of other cool things.

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