The last day of the Singapore Writers Festival and I certainly had tickets to the talk for Sunday. And as usual, have a video summary of this whole post first if you’re in a rush and can’t read it yet:
Heh, what he said was soooo true.
Right, we headed off to the Victoria Theatre which wasn’t that far from the Arts House. Technically we arrived at the Arts House at noon but I was waiting for the rest of the crew (Raven Silvers, Jo and Nerwen) to appear before getting there. Met Justin of Nanowrimo too and thus we headed off there by 12.30pm.
Oh why… Hello people who have arrived before us even though it’s 12.30pm and that the talk starts at 2pm… When it comes to Neil Gaiman in Singapore, people are willing to queue up for best seats. Well, that and because that this is Singapore, people are willing to queue up anyway since this was a free event.
In fact, those that didn’t have tickets queued up too. There was a little line on the other side and fortunately for some of them, those that were lining up in my line had extra tickets due to their friends not coming and thus, gave some away to the no-tickets line. Not sure if everyone got in though but that was nice of them who gave the extra ones away.
The queue for my line snaked out around to the other side of the theatre. Meanwhile, the ice cream man was enjoying brisk business from us all by being parked a few metres away from the entrance. It was clearly a hot day and I got myself a durian ice cream wafer sandwich as I waited.
Fortunately, the organizers also wanted people to get out of the sun so they were trying to get the doors open as soon as possible before the event started. We got in at around 1pm ++ which was really nice and everyone was buzzed about seeing Neil Gaiman there. You can’t tell from here but there’s a second floor above everyone that had more people coming in once the first floor was full.
The Singapore fans of Neil are really intense. Or at least we all are because it’s not often you can get a famous writer to visit our country! Someone handed us a bag of cut out shaped papers that’s usually sold in bookstores. We were told to write a message on it and pass the bag around. Eagerly, it was done! This was organized by a fan by the way. The result was a bag full of messages for him that would be passed during the autograph session.
And soon it was 2pm, Bernard of G&B and Amanda Palmer strode out with Neil Gaiman and (unfortunately, I forgot his name) the moderator from stage left. Bernard and Amanda walked off to the side to their reserved seats while the moderator and Neil got on stage. The talk itself was very engaging. In fact I have a video of the talk here:
It’s in a playlist so you can play all 3 parts continuously if you go to the page directly. I didn’t record the “questions and answers” section though. I’m sure someone else recorded the whole thing and posted it on youtube though. The questions asked ranged from wanting to know why his nickname was “Scary Trousers”, about bees (if I remember right) and the last one (at least I can’t remember if there’s one more question), a lady asked him if he was happy with any of the film adaptation of his stories or if any of them turned out exactly how he wanted it to be.
Apparently he wasn’t. Sure, he was happy with the adaptations but the question was in regards to if it looked like what he wanted it to be which led to him saying that there was one story that would be it and it was called Statuesque which is a short film made a few months ago. He directed and edited etc, so it did look like exactly how he wanted it to be. Hopefully we’ll get to see that soon somehow! It stars Amanda Palmer as one of those living statues, heh.
With the talk finished, we were told that the signings would be held at The Arts House. Promptly… Everyone ran there. As in RAN there like it was some odd marathon where the baton were books because everyone had something they wanted signed.
It was rather exciting, the queue of around 900 people ended up close to the river and technically, with a misstep or an unfortunate jab of an elbow, they could have been in the river.
Us with our different versions of Stardust. The graphic novel and two novels with different covers.
The volunteers and the comic shop people handed this slip of paper to us once we showed our tickets. It was to facilitate speedy autograph signings on our stuff. Also, we were allowed to only have one book signed because there were 900 of us there and 1 of him and he needed to get to other places that evening too.
The staff also gave out little boxes of chocolate malt drinks to us which was pretty nice of them as we waited in line. Apparently I was stepping on a chalk drawing of a woman too. Right, well we were in the middle of the queue and thus waited for at least two hours or more. I just remember that it was around 4pm that we managed to get close to the Arts House itself.
Uugh, ugh. We were close but not close enough yet! He had a five minute break because signing non-stop for a few hours would be terribly tiring. That was alright though, we were WILLING to wait!
And then it was our turn and nervousness abounds! We actually gave him a copy of our book, “Happiness at the End of the World” and told him that we had the book launch while he had his panel on the same day upstairs. So le squee and he shook our hands and all! You should see Raven Silver’s take on it, really. It was totally like that since she was the last of our group to get her Absolute Sandman signed (I got my Stardust signed because I’m a romantic, like that).
And that was the end of our adventure! With our stuff signed, we went to McD’s to finally eat! Hurray, hurray… It was the closing event for us for the Singapore Writers Festival 2009.
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