Thursday, June 11, 2009

Taking stock...

Good morning world.

If you want to watch selected highlights of the me-and-Amanda HousingWorks gig last week (which raised 10K for HousingWorks, hurrah), Spin has them up at (I read "Feminine Endings" aloud for the first time, and I think it works aloud, which makes me happy.)(Also one of my favourite "I Google You"s)

So the last two weeks of madness is over and I am starting to look around and hoping one day to catch up.

Chicago was fun, in a strange, sleepless sort of a way. I got in on an early in the morning plane, sleepily left my garment-bag behind on the plane (my assistant and Maure Luke made this better), had planned to spend several hours working in my hotel room on the speech. But the hotel room, when I got there, was already occupied, and the morning got stranger from there, which meant that my acceptance speech was rather more impromptu than I had hoped, but people liked it.

It had been Decided that I wasn't doing a signing afterwards, something I thought was a bit disappointing when I learned about it. But I crashed shortly after, slept through both the Chip Kidd and Ivan Brunetti panel and the Chris Ware and Lynda Barry one that followed it, woke in time to have dinner with Jill Thompson and her husband, Brian Azzarello, at Katsu.

Breakfast with Chip Kidd, who got to look at the first copy of Who Killed Amanda Palmer, and said nice things, and then to the airport and off to Toronto.

I dined with Mark Askwith, who I have known for 22 years. We met in Gotham City -- literally, on the set of the first Tim Burton Batman movie -- and I would like to say that we have not changed, but we're both mellower and more contented and less spiky than we were then. We were both journalist-explainer-connectory people who loved comics and wanted to write them, and although he would write some comics he went one way, into television production, and I went the other.

Next morning I went off to CBC to record The Hour. In the car on the way I was told that they'd decided the night before not to do an interview but instead to have me read off a list of 5 Crap Superheroes. I looked them over. They weren't funny. I asked the producer about it, when I got there, and wound up rewriting them, very fast, so they weren't quite as not-funny as they had been, but I'm not sure they ever made it all the way to funny. Then up from the deep basement to a radio studio where Sook-Yin Lee interviewed me for Definitely Not The Opera about fathers and sons, and it wound up being one of the most real and personal interviews I've ever done.

The downside of being interviewed a lot is that people ask you the same questions a lot, and you wind up saying the same things over and over. Sook-Yin wanted to know things nobody had ever asked, and that I was happy to talk about. It goes out on the 20th of June.

The Luminato event was really fun and fine. Mark Askwith introduced me. (A quick google found a review of the event here , another with more photos here, and Mark Askwith's blog, with his introduction, here.)

My favourite event was the next morning: I went to Nelson Mandela Park school. I read to the kids and answered their questions, then I was shown around the school and finally was taken to a room where thirteen small actors portrayed scenes from the first chapter of The Graveyard Book. It was delightful.

In other news: Duncan Jones's film MOON opens tonight in LA and New York. I saw a preview back in February and loved it. Really good SF movie of the kind nobody makes any longer.

I have been nagging Mitch Benn to set up an internetty sort of place to sell his songs directly for a year or so, and he now has it at Please buy music from him, so he does not feel it has been a waste of time.

The Graveyard Book -- and this Blog! -- have been nominated for British Fantasy Society Awards:

Here's a New York Times article about the CORALINE musical and the way it uses diferent kinds of pianos.

This came in from Mike Berry:

Neil -- Congratulations on the "Coraline" musical. Thought you might be interested in this video of Schuyler Rummel-Hudson retelling the story of "Coraline." Schuyler has a brain malformation that inhibits her ability to speak, as recounted in her father Robert's excellent memoir, "Schuyler's Monster." Still, she's a remarkable storyteller in her own right.

Here's the link:

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