Friday, March 21, 2008

Oh to Be In England etc etc

In the UK for Eastercon. It's nice to be home (and amazing how comfortingly home it still feels after 16 years away).

I noticed that Terry Moore's STRANGERS IN PARADISE won the GLAAD award for Best Comic -- congratulations. Somewhere I have the beautiful GLAAD award that Sandman took for the same thing, about a decade ago. And then I read the small print of the Awards Press Release and realised with pleasure that STARDUST took the award for Outstanding Film (Wide Release) -- I was very pleased for Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman (and Robert De Niro), but wish that I'd known that it was happening. I called Matthew and Jane and told them. I wonder who accepted the award -- someone at Paramount? It says on the press release the awards ceremony will be telecast on Bravo, so I'll set the TIVO and find out.

The Eastercon is at a hotel near Heathrow, and because I took Silverjet in to the UK (this is the second time I've flown them, and I'm really impressed. The tickets are much cheaper than regular business class, every seat on the plane is business class, and you don't have to worry about checking in for an international flight many hours beforehand, as they have their own little check-in-lounges at the airports. I hesitate in plugging them because right now it's easy to get seat and to change flights) I landed in Luton, where I was picked up by a Taxi from the convention, which was a nice surprise (especially when I saw the lines of stopped traffic outside Heathrow).

I had a bath and then slept some more.

The con is, I am told, pretty full, but there are still memberships and day memberships.

I'm doing a signing on Saturday at 4.00, and my Guest of Honour speech/reading is Sunday at 2.00pm. There's another signing "on scooters" I am assured, on Sunday night at 8:15.

As a sort of general thing at the con, if you see me and I don't seem to be doing anything, and you have something with you you want signed, and you sidle over and mutter "It's for Norman" (if your name happens to be Norman) then I'll probably scribble on it for you.

Right. About to wander out into the world to see old friends and make new ones.

I have noticed that you look identically cool-writery in all your photos. I would like to know how this is done, please. When I'm in family photos whoever's taking it looks at the camera screen and gets a little frown and then they say "we'll just do that one again." I'll say sorry and then they say "That's alright, dear, you can't help it." and they take four or five and then just give up and email whichever one had my eyes most open and my mouth most closed.

Is there some trick?

Yes. You don't let anyone put the photos of you with your eyes shut, or with a goofy grin, or looking like you just dropped something, or drooling, on the back of a book or in a newspaper. Then people think that you always look like that.

Hey Neil,

I love your audio books. Listening to you reading is like having my Dad read me a bedtime story. Will you be reading The Graveyard Book and if so when will it be available?

Looking forward to it...



I'll record it within the next month or so and it should be out in September when the book comes out.

I'm also planning to collect together all the live readings of chapters from the Graveyard Book as well... maybe make them downloadable or watchable from

So probably a thousand people have asked by now, but what does coffee which has been partially digested by a civet cat taste like? I've never quite been willing to shell out the extra money to find out. Is it worth it?

It was a perfectly nice, fairly mild, not-at-all acidic coffee -- with an astonishing caffeine kick to it. But I'm a tea drinker, not a coffee drinker, and while I could probably describe different teas in ways that might communicate things to other tea drinkers, when it comes to coffee it was a very nice, not-bitter, not-acid, cup of coffee, and someone else will have to describe the underlying notes of cinnamon and vanilla and red wine in civet-coffee, for it will not be me.

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