Thursday, April 07, 2011

If this is thursday then I must be at home


I've been all over the place. I went from Scotland to London (on the sleeper train. Nobody was murdered, which disappointed the Agatha Christie-loving part of me) where I made breakfast for my daughter Holly, ate breakfast with Mitch Benn (whose comedy song podcast is now essential listening) then flew home for long enough to hug Maddy and walk the dogs, then flew to San Francisco.

I had a late dinner with the Chabons and got up early the next morning, worked out for an hour (not as virtuous as it sounds, the getting up early - I think I was still on UK time) then went to breakfast. A gentleman who looked sort of English looked at me and said "you're Neil?" and I admitted that I was. He was actor Mark Sheppard. I moved my food over to his table, and we were soon joined by director Toby Haynes and Nerdist Chris Hardwick.

And we chatted and we chatted. There was a small background crisis, because I wasn't comfortable with the original clip from my DOCTOR WHO episode that was going to be shown. I'd got permission from the BBC to show another, but we weren't sure how to get it shown until I said "Er, I've actually got it on a flash drive.." and had to go off to my hotel room and rummage around until I found it, marvelling at the magic of living in the future all the while.

We did a panel. It was great fun.

We also did lots and lots and lots of interviews. The title of my episode has now been announced, so I was able to at least say that, although not to go any further into it. Probably still said too much, all things considered.

Here's the whole panel for the curious.

The bit I think I was happiest with is about 16 minutes in, when I was asked what I would say to someone worried about having to know 47 years of backstory before watching Doctor Who, and I said:

“No, look, there’s a blue box. It’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. It can go anywhere in time and space and sometimes even where it’s meant to go. And when it turns up, there’s a bloke in it called The Doctor and there will be stuff wrong and he will do his best to sort it out and he will probably succeed cos he’s awesome. Now sit down, shut up, and watch ‘Blink’.”

Toby, Mark, me. Why do we look so pleased with ourselves?

Later in the afternoon, I wound up walking down Geary Street with Mark Sheppard, enthusiastically singing Ian Dury's "This is What We Find" but it was San Francisco, so nobody batted an eyelash (or, come to that, eyelashed a bat).

Up the next day at 4:30 am to fly to LA, where I attended a meeting on the mysterious upcoming American Gods adaptation project. The results were all I could have hoped and more. (I know I sound coy, and I'm doing my best not to, but I can't really talk about it until everything's ready, and the real announcements won't come from me.) More meetings. An earlyish night, an airport hotel, another bloody hotel gym and now on Chapter 47 of Bleak House. Then I flew home...

Which is where I am now. The snow has not quite finished melting, but it's warm enough, and sunny, and very very muddy, and, in E E Cummings' words, puddle-wonderful.

Let's see. Upcoming things...

You should keep an eye on WHERE'S NEIL as we're trying to keep it up to date. But I'm putting things up here that haven't made it to there yet...

On April 25th... well, that one's so unlikely as to make me think I might have imagined it. Ben Folds, Amanda Palmer (aka my girl) Damian Kulash (from OK Go, last seen on the stage of the Fitzgerald Theatre singing "Happy Together" with me during John Hodgman's WITS episode) and I will be writing and recording 8 songs in a day, with the aid of Twitter and madness. On the 26th we'll talk about this and perform them. This is all at the Re-Think Festival at Berklee in Boston.

Then on April the 27th, it's Selected Shorts - again at Symphony Space. This event has already sold out, I'm afraid, although per the website there will be standing room tickets on sale on the day. You'll be able to hear it on your radio eventually though. Four short stories, two read by me, two not read by me.

On June the 24th you can see me, host John Moe, and my musical guest Josh Ritter in WITS at the Fitzgerald Theatre in St Paul. Tickets and info at

Right. Having typed all that, I'm going back to work. Here's the just-posted video of me telling my tale on The Moth in 2007 to keep you company in my absence:

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