Sunday, January 23

Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer, some Tassie wildlife (and me!!)

I know I have heaps to catch you all up on but for now bear with me. This past Wednesday was the BEST HUMP DAY EVER! Through a wondrous twist of fate and the good graces of my friends at the Bookend Trust I spent last Wednesday night with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer on a private night tour of the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary! Whoo. I'm still recovering.

Forget vegemite - this is my ultimate sandwich.

I know there are a few philistines among you who won't know who I'm talking about. Actually, I think I was included in the group because I have consumed the majority of the creative works each have produced. Neil is the awe-inspiring author of (amongst many other things) American Gods, the Graveyard Book, Stardust, Coraline and of course Sandman. If you haven't read any of his work you should first punish yourself and then get hold of one of his books. The libraries here have huge waiting lists for most of his work, which is wonderful, but you won't regret buying them. And if you tell me you don't need to read them because you've seen the films then I'm sorry but we can't be friends anymore.

Me and Neil Gaiman. This photograph will always make me smile.

Amanda Palmer is another kettle of fish entirely - goddess of punk cabaret, street performer, and allround queen of awesome. She's a big fan of Australia and her new album, a tribute to this land down-under, came out this week and you should buy it (download for a donation of 69 cents or more) at least for the Vegemite song. Not to mention "Map of Tasmania" which has been stuck in my head all week and which has a film-clip that everyone should watch at least twice because you will never find a more wondorous collection of merkins in one place. That being said it may not be safe for work for fear of being misconstrued if viewed from a distance. Thus I shall link it rather than embed it. Watch the video already!. And while you're there, pick up a copy of her acoustic, ukulele driven Radiohead covers which, though bizarre in concept are somehow even more beautiful and powerful than the originals.

Me doing my best not to explode with excitement all over Amanda Palmer. And failing.

Oh yeah, also, the two of them were recently married!

Anyhow, that should be enough back story to catch up the un(pop)cultured few. We went to Bonorong. It was the evening, the Sanctuary was closed and the animals (being Australian and nocturnal) were just waking up and getting ready to be fed. It was a gorgeous night - still and dry but not hot. There were only about 12 of us all up, between their party and the Bookend group, including Amanda's super cool tour manager who I bonded with over a mutual love of Portland, Oregon. Our guide from Bonorong for the night was Greg Irons, the devil-whisperer himself.

Gorgeous evening!

There was much petting of the super friendly forester kangaroos.

And if you catch them just right under the chin they roll back in kangaroo ecstasy. The poor little fellas can't reach that spot with their paws - a bit like the t-rex in Toy Story who needs someone else to cover his eyes when he gets scared.

Neil and Amanda were brave enough to feed Eric 1 and Eric 2 the sexually ambiguous but very friendly echidnas. I say brave not because of their spikes but because their food is a mix of condensed milk, minced meat and I was too grossed out to hear the rest, which they eat by lapping it from your gloved hand with their 15cm tongues!

After having followed both Neil and Amanda on twitter and their blogs (they are prolific sharers) their physical selves were pretty close to my imaginary versions of them (except that I'm actually able to hold a conversation with the imaginary ones without turning into a shy mute or blubbering fool). They were both wonderfully down to earth and exuded a kind of calm enthusiasm - Neil's tinged with unending patience and the sense that he was stockpiling every sensation for later examination and Amanda's with a restless energy and wonder. (For Sandman fans - Amanda is a wonderful mix of Death and Delight with a fierce intelligence thrown in the mix).

At the end of the night I finally plucked up the courage to ask Neil to sign the two books I'd spent the day lugging around; the beloved's copy of Odd and my copy of the collected Sandman vol 1. Josie had the right idea suggesting Odd which was at least 10 times lighter than Sandman!

Neil signing Sandman. Me holding my breath.

Not only did he sign my book, he freaking drew Morpheus! I have no words, only happy grins.

PS. Today Josie made me wash the t-shirt I was wearing that night...

29 comments:

Freckled Sparrow said...

These photos are AWESOME Jac!! LOVE LOVE LOVE them!!! Yay for you fan girl :D
xx
PS> My word verification is holyas. I'll say.

Mothersupex said...

I can honestly say I have not seen that wonderful smile since Marty was born. Well done, but you did not tell us of this!!! What a wonderful experience and something you will remember always. Congrats to a magnificent experience

Laura said...

Ooooh, oooh, oooh! Wow! Ooooh! Wow. *fangirlish flailing*

Josie said...

Yes, my dear Laura! The very copy of Odd that you gave us, now has something written in it that makes it even more special. (I always intended to get YOU to write in it as well)
Your "fan girlie flailing" made me giggle . . . I miss you! Thanks for giving the book in the first place!
Love to you, Fred and Sweet Cassie

Oh and Boyfriend if you read this, the copy of Sandman still has the thoughts you put down for Jac inside the front cover too! Ditto on the miss you.

Ha word verification says it all "hystr": an excited state one gets oneself into when close to impressive people

Kate said...

Great to see the very happy fan girl pics! It is strange to get a glimpse into a couple like this electronically and then just see them (and have a story read to you) let alone lucky Jac meeting them!

Now I really must read some... or listen! I loved hearing Neil read his story with Fourplay (a string quartet) the other day - Jac and Jo missed out. It might not be too late though as (according to twitter)Neil was recording the reading today so maybe you'll all get a chance!

Ruthie said...

You've made me smile :-) not to mentioned expanded my mind yet again!
Had to comment as the word verification is...

....undingl...

The mind boggles!
Love to all
Ruthie
xxx

Dumblond said...

JEALOUS!!!
That is so cool!

Clare Blue's Alias said...

Magnificent. I can't believe this actually happened! How wonderful :)
x

Big A said...

It happened alright! I was there and saw it. And two nice people, for the record.

Anonymous said...

Read this because of Neil Gaiman and liked reading your blog. No Facebook link (did I miss it?)? I know, it's Facebook. But, it is an easy way to work all of these great connections into a busy day. Anyway, awesome photos and descriptions about your amazing day, thanks!

timelady said...

Another Neil refugee. I got to meet Amanda last year. You completely nailed her character. I think I have almost recovered - but I wish I hadn't. I made her penguin waffles.

And nice to see an other geek chick rocking it out:) Hoe you don't mind if i stick around to follow things for a bit?:)

pmrussell said...

How very exciting! The rest of us can only imagine such a wonderful day with our favorite entertainers and authors. Thanks for sharing.

sex scenes at starbucks, said...

Jealous. Came here via Mr Gaiman's blog.

Jac said...

Thanks everyone, especially all the folk who came here from Neil's blog (still reeling from that one). Hopefully some of you will stick around and hopefully I'll get back to posting!

@anonomous 1. I don't do facebook but I really should at least have retweet links built in. Have been slack with the code of late. In fact I've been slack all round considering the title is nearly a year out of date!

@timelady. Penguin waffles sound like a perfect choice, assuming they didn't contain penguins that is... Maybe we should form a support group for recovering from Neil impacts. We can't really call ourselves 'the young ones' though - leave it open for way too many bad Neil jokes!

@Laura. I miss you. You would have loved it. If you guys come to Tassie we will take you to Bonorong for Kangaroo cuddles.

CraftyJeweler said...

That is awesome! You are so lucky, I've dreamed of meeting him since I was 12. What a magical place, too! Thank you so much for sharing.

ggray said...

Thanks so much for writing this blog with such detail and enthusiasm! AS an long time American fan of Neil Gaiman and Amanda F. Parker I was so thrilled to share in your thrill at such an odd experience for both of the newly married couple. Gaiman was the inspiration for me to write my first novel, and Amanda continuously pushes me over the edge with inspiration. Your wonderful treatment for your experience made me feel as if I was with you - as you combined so many of my loves - including Australia which figures largely in one of my current novel projects even though I've never been there! Thanks wonderful escapade! (and your descriptions of Neil and Amanda are just as I picture them!

taramis said...

Wow!! What a fabulous, magical, and enviable trip! So so cool. Thanks for sharing!

Vikki said...

Great night, story AND pics!

Anonymous said...

You write really well, and I am so jealous of you: Neil, Amanda and animals. I would have been in heaven, though I would have brought my whole library, not just 2 books ;)

Angela Gripesalot said...

dude, thanks for conveying the exact way I feel when I think of that man :D

Miss Miao said...

Darling Jac,

Such a smile! I can't believe you didn't tell me this happened earlier. I can't believe I didn't know you were a Neil fan too. I would say that I'm jealous but seeing your smile I'm glad it was you not me.

<3 Adrienne

emilie said...

Also came here from Neil Gaiman's blog. I found your blog pretty funny, you write with a great sense of humor. Nice pictures!

Rena said...

Ha! These photos are too perfect. Especially the one where you are 'bout to explode.

And what is a merkin again?

Rita said...

!!!!!!! So awesome!

I've been thinking about you guys lately. Missing you! Hope all is well.

voyance sérieuse said...

creepy !!

Lee Shin said...

spot on with this write-up, i like the way you discuss the things. i'm impressed, i must say. i'll probably be back again to read more. thanks for sharing this with us.

Lee Shin
www.trendone.net

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