Let’s just set the record straight: If you don’t know this about me yet, I adore Neil Gaiman.
His classic graphic novel series “The Sandman” is the sole reason I managed to claw my way through high school. Each new shiny edition I purchased (with money I scraped together, stole or borrowed long term) was like a gift from the Gods. It gave me this incredible sense of expansiveness and Magic at a time when it felt like there was very little of either to be had.
That, combined with the repetitive sound of Tori Amos‘ album “Little Earthquakes” pretty much defined me from the age of sixteen to twenty two.
A couple of months ago I found Gaiman’s novel “American Gods” at a friend’s house, and sank down into it like a stone into very familiar water. It was like rekindling an old love affair you always hoped would make a comeback. Gaiman has a way of making the mythological, the larger-than-life part of the every day world, and the result is always mesmerizing.
But wait! It gets better.
I then discovered Gaiman’s wife (since 2010) Amanda Palmer. (Also affectionately known as Amanda Fucking Palmer). She’s a singer/songwriter gifted with the ability to ‘simply play’. All of her work has a carefree openness to it that completely sets her apart. The woman spent eight years working as a living statue called “the eight foot bride” for gods sake. These days she plays the ukelele and performs with various people in countless bands, including the Dresden Dolls (described as Brechtian punk Cabaret).
Another side-project of hers is a band called Evelyn Evelyn, in which she forms one part of a pair of “parapagus tripus dibrachius twins, sharing three legs, two arms, three lungs, two hearts and a single liver.”
Evelyn Evelyn’s artwork for their website and album is created by Cyntha von Buhler, artist extraordinaire. I just love her work.
In other news:
I’ve just finished a remarkable book called “Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel” (It is thicker than the Bible, but completely engrossing) about two magicians who plan to bring Magic back to Britain in the 1800′s, and the events that transpire. (It only took Suzanne Clarke ten years to write it…)
Here’s what I’m thinking:
All this indulging in the spiritual stuff is great, but true artists understand something most other people don’t. They understand the value of play, of assembling and re-assembling, of watching and creating. I have the most profound admiration for that.
In a world and a place where we have no recollection of how or why we got here, and where on earth we might be going, the only thing to do is to play.
Here are two fun things you can read online. Both are illustrated. (Me like illustrations.) The first thing is kind of deep and meaningful. The second not so much.
FOR YOUR THURSDAY READING PLEASURE:
The missing piece meets the Big O by Shell Silverstein
(thanks Julie Bete)
The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy (and other tales) by Tim Burton
PS: I’m off to Cape Town tomorrow and will only be posting here again round the 11th of October. See you then.