The following video footage is pretty much a complete recording of the Amanda Palmer & Neil Gaiman event at Chapters Bookstore in Dublin on February 17th, 2009. It features Amanda singing, and Neil reading stories from the forthcoming book, Who Killed Amanda Palmer.
Before I start, two quick comments and a preview. Firstly I realized as I was creating these videos that throughout my coverage of the event I had been putting Amanda on the wrong side of an ampersand. I could have kicked myself. Of course Neil is much better known by my readers than Amanda is, so it makes sense. Even so, I shall never be able to listen to that song again without cringing in embarrassment. For this post, it will all be Amanda & Neil. I hope she’ll forgive me.
Secondly, I know some of you are editors, and even copy editors. I have always spelled ukelele with more e’s than u’s. I discovered when doing these videos that it can also be spelled ukulele, and indeed that is a more common usage. Neither is “correct”, as the original word is Hawaiian and the rules for translation into English and the Latin alphabet are somewhat hazy. But Amanda spells it ukulele, and therefore so shall I in what follows.
First up on the video is a preview of the event that I shot at the store on the morning of the event. It features my good friend Pádraig Ó Méalóid who was the brains behind the whole thing. I understand that I managed to mangle the pronunciation of Pádraig’s last name quite horribly in this. Thankfully I have not yet been banned from Ireland for my ignorance, and I promise to do better next time.
The event began with Amanda & Neil talking a bit about the book, and how it came into being. Amanda also talks about how you can get hold of a copy once it is printed. The pre-order details are here.
The first reading from the book is what Neil calls “liner notes”. I know what he means here. The writing you used to get with vinyl LPs back when Neil and I were kids was often very impressive. Music journalists seem to get away with so much more style. Every time I tried to do something creative with a review in Emerald City I’d get a stern talking to from people who thought that book reviews must always be serious and objective. Anyway, I would have been a useless music journalist. Neil, on the other hand, would have been rather good. Here he is.
Here is the picture that goes with the liner notes. As Amanda said, it is used for the cover of the album (only without her head). As with many of the photos in the Who Killed Amanda Palmer book, this one is by the very talented Kyle Cassidy.
Amanda’s first song is a cover of a Cure number, “In Between Days”. I’ll leave the introduction to her.
So, that was Amanda Palmer. Time to kill her, I guess. Neil is the man for the job. This story doesn’t appear to have a title in the book, so I have called it “The jewel girl”.
This is the photo that goes with the jewel girl story. It was taken by Amanda, when she was younger and had eyebrows.
The next segment features what is fast becoming my favorite Amanda Palmer song. I still think it needs a full orchestra in the background, particularly some sweeping string arrangements, but it is fabulous with just the ukulele as well. Here’s “Dear Old House”.
If it hasn’t become obvious already, the next segment should make it clear than Amanda and Neil had way too much fun creating this book. Here is Neil with two very short stories; “The Two of Them” and “Sword”.
Here is the photo for “The Two of Them”. Once again the photo is by Kyle Cassidy.
Our final photograph (again by Kyle Cassidy) is for “Sword”. Larger, better quality versions of these photos, along with very many other pictures of Amanda being dead in an astonishing variety of ways can be found in the Who Killed Amanda Palmer book (which I am lucky to have a review copy of – trust me on this).
Amanda’s third and final song is also a cover. This is Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees”. If you listen carefully you can hear one of the kamikaze buttons making an attack run at Neil and landing on the floor.
At the end of the event, Amanda and Neil did a Question and Answer session. I have had to break it up into several pieces in order to keep within YouTube’s time limits. In Part I Neil explains about the kamikaze buttons and talks about Amanda’s life as a fictional person, while Amanda talks about Ben Folds.
In part II of the Q&A Neil talks about his favorite films and Amanda declines to give up her favorite ukulele, even if she is asked very nicely. I was impressed with how well she dealt with a totally off-the-wall question.
Part III of the Q&A sees Neil talking about writing stories in Ireland, and writing stories set in Ireland. It includes the tale of the Sandman book that never was.
And here we are at the end. Neil talks about fairy tales and declines the offer of a comb; an engagement is announced; and Amanda talks about how the event came to be.
After that, everyone got a book signed. Amanda & Neil were hard at it for around 3 hours, after which they went into the store room and signed stock. If you want to see the size of the queues, check out my photos.
And finally, if you want a copy of the book, Who Killed Amanda Palmer, and why would you not after listening to that, you can find out about pre-ordering a copy here.