Tag Archives: Neil Gaiman

As for pacing ourselves…

I suppose it wasn’t bad that we lasted nine days? Good Omens was great enough that there was a limit to how long we could string it out. (I suppose we could always watch again.)

Good Omens

But as a friend said on social media, she hadn’t really seen much chat about Good Omens. Not like there always is for certain other television shows or new films. Whereas she started a bit of a discussion with that, it was still tame, and a few people didn’t know it was on, or what it was on. (That seemed to go for the religious people of America, as well, as they wanted Netflix to ban it…) And someone doesn’t like Terry Pratchett or Neil Gaiman.

We do, though, and we enjoyed all of it. I especially felt that Martin Sheen was Aziraphale. Whereas David Tennant as Crowley was mostly the Doctor, but that’s fine. There wasn’t really anyone I objected to, and you know how unusual that is. As for Dog, he was a lovely hell hound. Or was it the other way round?

The question is, watch again, or read again? I mean, in which order? Come to think of it, Son has the book. I might have to get my own copy, not in the slightest signed by either Terry or Neil.

It felt like a long wait, but now that it’s here I marvel at how they did it so fast. I think Neil hadn’t written the script when the news was made public at Terry’s memorial service. I hope Terry is satisfied with it. With an Aziraphale like that, and Dog, he surely must be?

Good Omens

A good omen

Good Omens

It’s a good start. We watched two episodes of Good Omens on the first day, and we like it. One shouldn’t be greedy and watch it all, but this was a cheering thing.

I’d not been able to think ahead, as to whether Michael Sheen and David Tennant would be right for the roles. They are, though. I remember only enough of the details of the book to know that this is good and fun, and not so much that any dreadful discrepancies are able to howl at me.

But then, do you get those when the script has been written by [one of] the authors?

Now, how to pace ourselves a little..?

Comets and comics

‘Is that really him?’ asked the Resident IT Consultant, when Neil Gaiman appeared on the screen in Big Bang Theory (yes, I know. We’re a few weeks behind in our viewing). I’m glad I’m our Resident Neil Gaiman Consultant. And he’s probably the only cameo celebrity on BBT that I ‘know.’

Big Bang Theory, The Comet Polarization, with Neil Gaiman

Is it me, or have they had a lot more famous [for other things] people on the show recently? Maybe it’s just that they are inviting ones I’ve heard of and recognise, without having to Google them after.

With Bill Gates the other week I was shocked to discover I was old, and so was he. When Leonard started babbling about having met Gates as a child – Leonard, not Gates – I did a mental double-take and worked out that it was indeed both possible and probable. And that I too could have met the young Leonard and been an adult at the time…

Back to Neil. It made a lot of sense to have him, with the comic connection. And poor Stuart could really do with some success and attention. I know the Gaiman effect from personal experience. If he links to your whatever-it-is, your hits shoot up dramatically. It happened to me, and when Daughter put a photo of Neil on her photo blog, I said to send Neil the link and sit back and wait. Don’t think she believed me, but the old witch was right, yet again. When Neil says ‘click’ to his fans, they click. And there’s a lot of them, as Stuart discovered.

And speaking of discoveries, ten years ago Penny wouldn’t have cared about having her name on a comet discovery. She’s gone geek over time. But she’s right, we should all have our names on what we find, be it comets or planets, or anything else.

Photo © Chuck Lorre Productions, Warner Brothers

Doctor Who – Nightmare in Silver

Wow! So that’s what it takes to have fully watchable Doctor Who? A ‘real’ writer like Neil Gaiman. Let’s do that again. Please? I enjoyed myself so much I was beginning to regret we are getting close to The End of Matt Smith.

Doctor Who - Nightmare in Silver

There was a time – admittedly a very long time ago – when I believed all writing for an important medium like television would be good by default. Likewise the efforts of the actors. They are actors, so obviously they do a perfect job. At least if they are famous. (Yeah, I was an idiot.)

Then there is the slight fear that an author can be too famous for his own good, and end up being a not terribly capable writer. But for all his fame, not to mention riches, Neil Gaiman simply does a great job whenever he writes stuff. Yes, you can hate the man and what he stands for if you like. But he can write. And he’s pleasant to talk to. That’s enough for me.

Doctor Who - Nightmare in Silver

Cybermen! Because I’m not a real proper Doctor Who nerd I hardly ever muse over what is possible and what might happen. Cybermen are too scary not to let them return, so naturally they had to come back at some point. You don’t invent Daleks and Cybermen or those Angels and then ‘kill’ them off, never to be seen again.

Nightmare in Silver was a dream, and I’m struggling to think of anything that wasn’t good. The plot was excellent. The characters and their actors were all fantastic. Not a single one I would have different. Warwick Davies in particular was marvellous, as you could sense the minute he turned up.

Doctor Who - Nightmare in Silver

Clara made a surprisingly good commander, and her child charges were just right. I’d be happy to have these children in the Tardis again.

It would obviously help if I understood chess, but like Harry Potter I’m happy to leave my fate to the hands of someone Who does.

Doctor Who - Nightmare in Silver

The Doctor’s Wife

Am I the only one who doesn’t feel that the Doctor can have the Tardis for his wife? Even if she is sexy? That said, it was a good episode, and maybe they should ask Neil Gaiman to write some more.

Neil Gaiman, Suranne Jones and Matt Smith

And preferably they should gag the Times who reputedly provided the full plot in today’s paper. Bad enough when they do that in a review after the programme’s been on.

Great to have Rory as ‘the pretty one’. No reason he shouldn’t be. Amy can’t have it all. Fun with the Doctor building himself a new old Tardis. Looked a bit half-built to me, though. And a well spoken baddie is always charming.

The Doctor's Wife

Angels

Wall angel

Should I be concerned? Even worry? There are an awful lot of angels here now. And you know, I used to think they were nice. ‘People’ to be trusted.

From this point of view it was unfortunate that I read L A Weatherly’s Angel last week. Her angels being of the not very nice kind, I now find myself eyeing the angels in my house rather differently. Might not be as benevolent as I imagined. Not even mostly harmless.

And Christmastime is when they appear. They hadn’t arrived when I blogged about Angel the book last week, but now they are here in force. On the other hand, this ‘beanpole’ looks so very sweet and innocent. Doesn’t she?

GM Angel 2

GM Angel 1

IN Angel 1

HG lookalike angel

The one at the top of the tree has always struck me as sweetness itself. Likewise her sister creature further down the tree.

Friend Pippi’s hand-tatted angels, with and without body, look serene and kind. The Daughter (younger version) lookalike from the furniture giant may have a hole in her head, but is otherwise quite angelic. If that’s not a stupid thing to say.

I noticed the same Daughter had positioned the little dumpy CW-shaped angel in the white tutu near my chair, so that she and I can stare at each other. Her wings are ridiculously tiny and will fly her nowhere.

The tree at CultureWitch Towers has a dozen angels, if not more. We never had angels when I was young, so I wonder if it’s fashion, or maybe the foreign influence of living in a strange country. Very strange. (But nice!)

Perhaps I should simply ignore the badness of Lee’s fictional angels? There are other angels in books. Philip Pullman’s are fairly nice, and on the side of good. Neil Gaiman’s and Terry Pratchett’s angels in Good Omens are a little bad, but not in a terribly unpleasant way.

BW shaped angel

Though I always felt a bit uncomfortable with the angel in David Almond’s Skellig. Might be just me. Tim Bowler has several characters with that same angel feel to them, though I don’t think Tim actually says they are angels. A bit scary, though.

IN Angel 2

And then there is my bathroom radiator…

(This post co-published with Bookwitch.)

From Cutline to Coraline – no thanks

You know the Other Mother, the one with button eyes? Scary. You wouldn’t want to wake up and find your mother had changed like that. And you don’t really want to sit at your computer, blogging merrily away, totally awake, to find that you now have an Other Blog Theme. Nightmare stuff.

So were they thinking of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, those lovely people at WordPress, when they named the ‘other’ Cutline ‘lookalike’ theme? Sounds similar enough to Cutline, doesn’t it? And there is the clone idea from Coraline.

Without warning, too, or as near without warning as they could. One admin post on the homepage on Thursday to say that on Monday it would be all change. And one admin post on the day, when the switch had already been made. In other words, one weekend to make changes and to prepare. In prime holiday time. The very same weekend all the WordPress support staff went away, to make life a little more exciting for us bloggers.

I feel like Arthur Dent. How was I supposed to know it was going to happen? And like that? Even the bulldozers were gone when I went to look for something to lie down in front of.

Should really have seen this coming. There had been several witchy premonition types of comments made and chats with innocent bystanders, and I should have known that the world as I knew it was about to end.

It seems – as I have gleaned from other aghast bloggers – that Chris Pearson’s Cutline design (the best I’ve seen!) was pulled because of business politics. It’s not as if it was outdated, or anything. ‘Just’ hurt feelings in the design world. I especially loved the font and the numbers. Those numbers..!

At this point you are all peering like mad at the blog and wondering what’s got into me, because you, who are not this blogs’ mother, can’t tell the difference. But it’s a cuckoo in the nest. It’s not my baby. Really it’s not. Just like the Other Mother wasn’t Coraline’s mother.

I didn’t sleep much on Monday night. There was too much haemorrhaging to go to bed. OK, if they’d ‘only’ changed themes, however inadvisedly. But they changed what you see, and hid things and published private facts from my dashboard. Reorganised some things alphabetically, except they didn’t even get that totally right.

I have four blogs. Luckily they didn’t all change simultaneously, so I could salvage some stuff from the other blogs. They also didn’t change the same things on the four blogs, so clearly it was not a planned thing at all. The church blog lost most of its sidebar information and then had an added feature of flickr photos. Except they weren’t mine. And they weren’t suitable for a church blog.

Photowitch – bless her – picked this very day to have a photo of Neil Gaiman. And simply writing my blog post here appears to have triggered some WordPress instinct to self destruct.

So, to get back to my earlier posts on Bookwitch about change. No, I don’t want change. If I do, I’ll change properly, by myself. None of this cloned cuckoo stuff.

I’m a bad mother

‘I’m not going near the bloody book!’, said Daughter as we left the cinema after watching Coraline. Excuse her language, but I am A Very Bad Mother. Now, I thought it wasn’t going to get much worse than this, but it seems I underestimated the scariness level of Coraline, the film. So if the film was bad, then she will do well to steer clear of the book. I found the book scarier. Or rather, at least the novel was a little scary. The film was just boring, I thought.

So one person’s nightmare is another person’s yawn.

Lucky we went to a crummy cinema that doesn’t run to 3D, as presumably the film would have felt even worse if things were jumping out at us.

Who is the film aimed at, I wonder? I was the only parent in the audience with a teenager. All the others were parents with really young children. Were they thinking ‘Disney’? Or were they themselves Neil Gaiman fans? All the other teenagers in the foyer were there to watch other films. I do subscribe to Neil’s belief that children need to be scared sometimes, but these were too young to ‘get’ the film, I’d say. And for the British cinema going public, weren’t those bare breasts a little on the bare side? For a PG film?

After months of waiting for the film, this was an anticlimax.

Stardust

Coincidence. That’s all it is. But funny anyway. With all those items on Daughter’s birthday wish list with the big online shop, which I didn’t buy any of, she went off to Germany and came back home with a DVD. Not just any film, either. Last week being filled with all things Neil Gaiman, the film turned out to be Stardust, which she didn’t even know before noticing his name on the box.

Stardust

Convenient, too. We watched it this evening, and what a perfect film it is. I’ve already been enthusing over Neil’s books, which have taken me straight back to my childhood stories. So did Stardust. It’s really, really beautiful and enjoyable. And funny.

Full of big names, and not so big names, but still very good. If I mention somebody as having been my favourite, I’ll immediately realise that many of the others were also favourites. But I did like Robert De Niro dancing. The inept princes were quite amusing,and it was my second axe in one day. The witches were wonderful, but then I would think so, wouldn’t I?

Simply a great fairy tale.

Two castles and a restaurant or two

Culture has been thin on the ground for the last week. Yesterday we had the rock star style event of cult author Neil Gaiman wowing his Edinburgh fans. I’m sure that if he gave up writing books, he could just tour anyway, chatting to his fans.

On the way to the Neil Gaiman venue, the witch passed Edinburgh Castle, fully floodlit and looking magnificent, rising up out of the dark. And before this, Julie Bertagna and I had dined at Centotre, which is an Italian restaurant housed in a former bank. So far I’ve escaped old banks, but I can see now that they make for a really impressive setting for a meal out. The food was good, and so was the service. And it’s the first restaurant I’ve been to with Italian language lessons in the toilet.

Tonight it was the turn of Stirling Castle, and while it wasn’t quite so brightly lit up, it’s a rather nicer castle. It, too, floated about somewhere high up in the dark, on my way out to dinner, again. It’s tough with all this eating out, but I can handle it. My Glaswegian author dinner companion was replaced by nine family members and at long last I was taken to the Sheriffmuir Inn, up in the wilds above Dunblane. I’d heard of it before, but had never been. Lots of tartan, but nicely done, and very good food and service. And their toilets offered individual towelling hand towels.

It’ll be back to tins of baked beans tomorrow. And no castles.