Monday, October 01, 2007

What I did today

Dear Diary,

I sent off the Guardian article on Fairy Tales around midnight last night. Assuming they like it, it'll be in the Saturday review next week.

This morning I went off to Shepherd's Bush for the read-through of the BBC World Service ANANSI BOYS adaptation, with Lenny Henry (as Spider and Fat Charlie), Matt Lucas (as Graham Coats and Tiger), Rudolph Walker as Anansi, Dona Croll as Mrs Noah and the Bird Woman, Tameka Empson as Mrs Higgler, Petra Letang as Rosie, Jocelyn Jee Esien as Daisy, and Ben Crowe as Cabbies and extra voices. As you can see from the cast list, it's a very compressed sort of drama, but Mike Walker did a heroic job in shrinking the novel down to an hour's length, and the excellent Anne Edyvean is directing (we first worked together on the BBC Radio 3 version of Signal To Noise in 1996). I was able to offer a few suggestions that were useful, so felt like it was a good thing that I was there.

It will broadcast on the World Service on 17 November 2007.

Then I went to Headline books to sign 300 copies of the Stardust paperback.

Now back at the hotel.

In my not-much-actually free time I've been reading Ekaterina Sedia's THE SECRET HISTORY OF MOSCOW, a lovely, disconcerting book that does for Moscow what I hope my own Neverwhere may have done to London. It's part of the genre I think of as Magic City books, and in this one all of Russian myth does gloomy duty in a sort of Moscow Beneath that is a reflection and refuge from of Moscow above. In 1990s Moscow people are turning into birds, and each night the birds are flying out of reflected windows. The prose and the atmosphere is beautiful and decaying, and everything's grey with astonishing little bursts of unforgettable colour. It reminds me a little of a more pagan The Master and Margerita, but that may be because I haven't read enough Russian fantasy to compare it to something more apt. Deep, dark, remarkable stuff.

There are about 150 tickets left to the Criterion event tomorrow (6.00 pm, Tuesday the 2nd), which should cover the people who turn up at the door, unless there's a lot of them. ( is the link to get tickets if you want to be sure of getting in).

And here's the last word on the "Me and You" posts...

Dear Neil,
I know I come late to the "me and you and me" party (having spent all of yesterday at the National Book Festival, which was a whole lot of dusty fun!), but I thought you might be interested to know what my mother, an American Advanced Placement English teacher at a very good public high school, has to say.

According to my mother, "and Suzanna Clarke" is a participial phrase modifying "me," and, for your intended purpose, works just fine. Because you are notifying people who want to hear YOU, chatting with Suzanna, know where they can do so, your construction of the sentence is more clear. Technically, it IS considered more correct to say, "so and so and I..." but it is a matter of personal preference, and, for the purposes of your sentence, your phrasing is more direct and to the point.

So that's the 2 cents of an American English teacher with over 20 years experience and a more-than-usual insistence on proper grammar.

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