Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Weekend Neil Gaiman came to the Philippines

This weekend saw the seesaw battle in the realm of Philippine politics. However, it was also the week that writer Neil Gaiman came to the Philippines. One has to thank the Almighty also for small blessings. Although the event might be viewed as trivial by some given the current political impasse, but I think its important also to remember that politics is not the sole preoccupation of a person and there is a need to step back and enjoy the roses so to speak.

Saturday, I had just reached Rockwell from Greenhills where I was checking out the price of this Mazinger Z die-cast metal toy at a shop in Shoppesville, the price for this less than six inches figurine was one thousand four hundred and thirty or eighty pesos. The event was scheduled to start at around 3:00 in the afternoon at the tent, since there is only one tent in Rockwell it would not be difficult to find. Meandering through the mall one notices several people cruising around. This was a weekend. Although were they there also to escape the news of politics? Retreating from the drumbeat of political discourse. GMA had not yet resign. Whatever one’s opinion is about this woman one had to admit she is resolute and strong willed.

The restaurants were full to the brim, it was lunchtime, and so it took some time before I was able to eat.

It was fascinating to see other people reading a lot of Neil Gaiman books in front of me. Sales must have really picked up. At one coffee shop I espied a burly man reading Stardust. Inside KFC were a group of Filipino Goths carrying their copies of Gaiman’s “Death: The High Cost of Living”. And then there was this guy who seemed to have stepped out of comic book, black cape and all. Not it was not a cape but a black gown, the one what one wears during graduation. Maybe he was about to graduate.

Needless to say, there were a lot of people outside the tent. Unfortunately there were no lines. So nearly everyone was massing up the single entrance to the tent. Among the mass of people assembled I overheard a lot of people complaining about the signing mechanics, especially the ones who had bought books from the store. Maybe Fullybooked should look into this the next time they have a book signing event. Just before 3 in the afternoon the doors opened and the crowd like water rushed in and quickly filled up the place.

Inside the tent were the stage, a few kiosks selling food, souvenirs and of course books and comics. No seats were provided except for two or three rows near the stage and were secured from the crowd by a small white fence. The crowd inside was an odd assemblage of people, comic book fans, Goths, geeks, artistic types and a few others. There were also some who seemed to have just recently embraced Gaiman’s work and also purchased his stuff a few moments before the event took place. I hope they enjoy the book, because they did not get it signed that day.

A rock band opened the event for Neil Gaiman. It seemed odd to me the whole event had the touch and feel of a concert. People even screamed when Gaiman went on stage. Gaiman told us that we, the crowd, were noisier than the Brazilians. Not livelier but nosier. He read a passage from his new novel Anansi Boys, showed a preview and a documentary about Mirrormask , and answered some questions taken from the egroup, maybe they asked him why does he always prefer to wear black shirts. In between that and after the events Neil Gaiman was signing books, around 500 to 700 people obtained signing passes for that day. The book signing lasted up to 1 in the morning. And then there was of course the raffle. Well I did not win the raffle but is a one in a million shot right. For me I was just happy to see one of my favourite authors in the flesh and get to hear him talk about his work.

The crowds for the book signing last Sunday and yesterday were legion and the lines serpentine..

One thing I brought home from the Gaiman event though was the colds. I ended up convalescing a cold until Monday with tea and calamansi juice, which Neil has taken a licking to . I still am happy though I was part of the event. Now thinking about buying the soon-to-come-out novel the Anansi Boys.


Blogger eruannie said...

hey, let me know where there are copies of anansi boys. will buy one too. :-)

3:43 PM  
Blogger juned said...

Will d :)

1:26 PM  

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