The time had finally come. July 9th had arrived and the weather was tolerable. I was filled with a mix of anticipation and dread. the reason for the mixed feelings is I had invited my girlfriend and she’d never read any of Gaiman’s stuff. Describing the show aloud sounded odd and weird, but I was hopeful and sure shed’d like it. What was worse was when she’d told the babysitter, her mom, the puzzled look further cemented this was weird.
For those who don’t know how these sort of shows work, I’ll give you a quick rundown. The author or director… whomever shows up and they talk. They talk about whatever they want to. That’s it. You pay money to see your person/s, in this case Neil Gaiman, to listen to him talk and field questions. Sounds odd, but for fans of insert name here it is awesome.
After we trek through the hills of Mordor for 12 minutes, we finally arrive at the gates. The sun blazing in our faces and breeze at the perfect mph to keep the sweat to a minimum, we walked around and explored. People were lined up in a facetiously infinite line for merchandise that wasn’t there. A “Question Table”, which I thought was interesting, sat nearby the merch line.
One thing I loved about this is he had the questions written and delivered to him beforehand. The reason I loved this, and most people would agree, is there is nothing worse than someone getting up and thanking the guest, telling them how much they admire the person for everything they’ve done, and then asking a weird jumbled question. It is awkward, and terrible for empathetic people like myself. Then to top it off, the next person feels they need to out do the last person on a question and then repeat this cycle for the whole show.
Thank you so much Neil for setting the Q&A up as you did. It kept the show moving.
The other cool thing I noticed was how “chill” the environment was when we entered. While it was bustling, the people and atmosphere seemed, like home. That may sound weird, but I guess we were around “our people”; Story Lovers.
One thing we talked about on our podcast, is the group of us were overly impressed and surprised by how charming and funny Neil was. Not that I think we expected him to be morose, or like Robert Smith from The Cure, but instead one of those people at a party who is just mesmerizing.
The show consisted of Neil fielding some questions and a some recitals of “The Jabberwocky” and “Click-Clack the Rattlebag”. He also brought up the upcoming six-episode television series “Good Omens” co written by Terry Pratchett and himself. He also read one of the stories from his new book Norse Mythology. The crew enjoyed it, but since we had just read it, we wanted him to talk about something else as it took up a good portion of the show.
After the sun settled the vibe in the place changed. Before when light was abundant, you felt like were hanging out at a comedy show. I say that with the idea that it was most definitely not, but… When the sun slowly faded, the silence and attention he commanded was physical. With the venue being located in the woods, the wind breezing, lighting set to low-lit blue and red, and the quiet of the night encroaching slowly but surely, we all felt like we were in a different world.