I left work ten minutes early yesterday to rush off to a book signing at Forbidden Planet comics in Shaftesbury Ave for 5.30. Only, having never been to a book signing before, and not really getting my head around numbers of people in London, I should have left work maybe an hour early! Nevermind, I got on the end of the very long line and waited for 2 hours and 20 minutes to get a moment and some autographs from Neil Gaiman! If I’d known how long I had to wait I may not have gone… Nah I probably would have anyway!
I made sure I brought his book, Anansi Boys when I left home Tuesday morning. At lunch time I went to a second-hand bookstore up the road from work, the Fantasy Centre. I bought Neverwhere (as I’ve wanted to read it for a while and as it’s set in a fantasy, underworld in London, think I should definitely read it while I’m living here). BUT, the Fantasy Centre people had recently been to some fantasy convention and their Neil Gaiman books were all signed by him already! Could I take along a book that was already signed?
(Our copy of Anansi Boys has the blue cover)
I got to the shop at 5.30, bought his new book of short stories, Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders, and then asked about lining up (the shop was large but didn’t seem very busy). I was directed around the block to the back of the store, to a very, long line! Oh dear! So I waited and waited and made friends with other people in the line and listened to a really annoying guy who loved the sound of his own voice, and who was racist and he wasn’t even there to see Neil but was waiting with his friend.
So, I got Fragile Things signed for Paul and Anansi Boys and Neverwhere signed for me (and apologised about Neverwhere already being signed and said that I only bought it that day and it was already signed and I asked him to put something about London because I was excited about reading it while I was living in London- He wrote ‘Mind the Gap’). He was really nice and friendly and chatty and thanked us for waiting so long.
I left on a bit of a high actually! I was really tired and I wandered up to the tube station with a big grin. I didn’t want to be an embarassing fan and I didn’t want to say ‘I really like your books’ even though that was all I could think to say (I didn’t say it – I figured he’d know that as I’d waited to see him).
Anyway, while I was at work yesterday I did a bit of searching on him and I found that he is aparently really good friends with Tori Amos – she wrote a foreword in one of the Sandman books. Aparently she mentions ‘Neil’ in lots of her songs!
Also, I found on the internet yesterday (yay for Amazon) that there is an album (coming?) out with songs by various artists, all inspired by Neil Gaiman’s work and Neil wrote extensive liner notes for it and the art is by Dave McKean! How cool does that sound? There’s a song by Tori Amos of course. I think I’m going to go looking for it; it’s called ‘Where’s Neil when you need him?‘
I think that should be all for now…. Or maybe I could do a bit of a list of Neil Gaiman work for the uninitiated?
You should totally check out the collection of ten Sandman graphic novels which are a collection of all the sandman comics written by Neil Gaiman with art by a really large number of people (meaning that there’s a really interesting range of different sytles, which right now kinda reminds me of American Splendor which is written by and about Harvey Pekar but is illustrated by a number of different people so Harvey looks different depending on who is drawing him). The Sandman is about Dream, who visits people in their sleep. His siblings, the other Endless, also make appearances. Their names are Destiny, Death, Desire, Despair, Destruction and Delirium (when Delirium was younger, she was Delight). These books are really beautiful and they reference so much literature, religion and myth and modern and ancient culture.
Neil Gaiman’s work I’ve read: ten volumes of collected Sandman comics, Endless Nights, American Gods, Mr Punch, Stardust, Smoke and Mirrors, Death: The High Cost of Living, Violent Cases, Death: The Time of Your Life and (books for children), Coraline, The Day I Swapped my Dad for Two Goldfish, The Wolves in the Walls and his novel with Terry Pratchett, Good Omens. I guess you could say I’m a fan.
This was meant to be a quick update. Yikes!
Love to all
p.s. I think it is appropriate to have the photo of me in the underground accompany this post (you will have to read Neverwhere to find out why).
I forgot to say, when I asked one of my managers if I could leave work early yesterday, it turned out he is a big fan of the Sandman comics! Yay! He asked this morning how it went.