Did you ever wonder what an organized mob looks like? If you were in Chapters for the Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer signing then it would give you a good idea! I arrived at about half four with the youngest son and thankfully I got there then- there was probably about 250 people there at that stage and after some manoeuvring I managed to find a spot where Cillian was able to see the button-backdrop festooned stage.
Then the wait…there was a woman in front with a rather interesting tattoo so that helped while away the time but it was a little bit late kicking off and when Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer came out he apologized- as the book he was reading from is not yet in print it would have been helpful if he had printed off some copies before he had left. A very good spirit in the crowd though and at this stage he said there were over 500 people there.
So they kicked off the event with Neil reading from the book Who Killed Amanda Palmer (which should be available for pre-order shortly) with the story about the death of Amanda Palmer and before he began Amanda did some cat-walking of the pics that will be in the book. He has a great cadence when reading and thankfully you can hear it for yourself with a video from an avid fan…
[EDIT] Check out Cheryl Morgans post with all of the videos and pictures of the event- top quality as she was just behind the stage and you can hear and see everything as if you were there…or even better depending on where you were standing!
Neil Gaiman’s Readings #1
Amanda Palmer then did the cure tune In Between Days on the ukulele and followed up with some more pics before the second of Neils readings which was an excellent story of a young Amanda going off to get drugs for her mother- hopefully a video of that will surface soon.
Amanda’s second song was the same as the one last night about her mother selling the family home- House That I Grew Up In and another catwalk with a picture of a dead 2003 Amanda Palmer on the ground with the 2008 Amanda Palmer standing over her sword in hand!
Neil’s third reading was then quite obviously about the future Amanda going back in time to kill herself- hopefully a video will surface of this as well since there was really some good lines there especially the bit about the future Amanda preparing a kick-ass-speech for the past Amanda about why she had to die…alas she didn’t ask so the future Amanda never had a chance to say it.
The real life breathing Amanda then did a third tune which was a cover of Radiohead’s Fake Plastic Trees an was then followed by a Q&A session with some good questions being asked. One directed to Neil was about working with Tori Amos and I remember Neil saying quiet humorously when he first met her ‘I made you up!’ There was also a question directed at Amanda about giving away her ukulele to the questioner…she gave the history behind the $19 instrument and said that even with one of her friends buying her a $600 dollar one that the sound from her original cheap one was better and that unfortunately she was going to hold onto it. There were a few other questions that I don’t particularly remember but the memory of how approachable they were will stick with me longer.
So then the wait for the book signing began- the staff had to move everybody back into some organised line that snaked around all of the bookshelves and thankfully myself and Cillian ended up about halfway through. The que didn’t move for ages but at least it was a chance to talk to some of the people and have a look at the books. At one stage we were in the modern history section and one of the guys up front had noticed Mein Kampf and wondered what the reaction would be if he had presented that for signing…yes waiting in a que for over an hour really can go to your head!
Eventually we got up to the table and I have to say it was worth it- even after an hour and a half of signing both Neil and Amanda were friendly and chatty and Cillian even had a very special picture done in the front of his book along with the signature. Alas I only had the ticket from Amandas gig last night so I had that signed. When she asked if I enjoyed the gig- I of course said I did but added that it wasn’t quite what I was expecting…when she asked for elaboration I had said it was excellent because it was so unrehearsed! Yeah que-brain-deadness is not a good thing and I should have said spontaneous! Neil elaborated though and said that Amanda is very good at being unrehearsed and that it takes a lot of rehearsing to actually appear that way!
As it has been over a week there have been a few things put up- from Neil’s blog there is a link to Cheryl who was videoing at the side of the stage- her post is here and she will hopefully have the videos up soon. [EDIT] All videos up here. There is also a YouTube user called Miholik who has put up some videos of the readings and tunes. For some pics and other words on the event check out Amanda’s blog- read some of the other posts as well since she really puts all of her thoughts up there and it is excellent to be able to get into her thinking as well as her tunes.
I am never one for bringing a camera to these events or gigs but I did take a quick phone pic of the picture Neil did for Cillian’s Graveyard book…if he didn’t have a fan for life before he certainly does now!