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gothick_matt

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gothick_matt

What I've been reading

If I owe you email, I'm sorry, but I'm clearing the decks and trying to get through everything that's piled up from before and during my holiday before I start writing this next lot of articles.

In the meantime, while I was snowboarding, I read:

  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and

  • Sandman: Doll's House


Both of which I liked, but I liked Sandman best. It's the first Sandman I've read, and I'm thinking it won't be the last (even if it's very difficult to get Tori Amos out of your head after reading it1...)

I also tried to read Peter James's Looking Good Dead, but I realised quite quickly that the reason the book was so fat was because the man uses lots of long, pointless adjectives to slowly, painfully draw out his turgid, stilted paragraphs, and that I might just have to bloodily, agonisingly strangle myself with the cord of the plastic, orange life vest from under my cramped, tatty seat rather than reading his boring, clichéd prose to the bitter, obvious end.

So. Think I might give that one to a needy, grateful charity. Ho hum.

1Hums: Me and Neil'll be hanging out with the Dream King...
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Ahhh, Mr Gaiman can do no wrong in my eyes :) Chris was most impressed when he first saw I had a picture of Sandman on my bedroom wall when he met me. The Death series in it's own right is great as well. Must read more of it...

Neil Gaiman is one of a very small number of people (the great Marcel Marceau was another) who have changed my mind about an entire art form.

About halfway through my first year at York (this would have been early 1992), having previously regarded the whole genre of comics as consisting either of the likes of the Beano and the Dandy, or garish, plotless, Americanised drivel where barely two-dimensional superheroes do battle with equally nonsensical supervillains, I was chatting to tails_redux, who happened to be wearing a t-shirt bearing a picture of two goths and the caption "How would you feel about life if Death were your elder sister?"

"What's that about, Tails?" I enquired.
"Oh, it's from a comic series called Sandman," he replied. "You'd like it, actually, it's got lots of mythology in it. Here, you can borrow my copy."

Sixteen years later, I have somewhere in the region of two thousand comics, neatly stored in boxes up in the loft.

Heh. And you've skipped over the danger of having your mum throw them away while you're at uni, too :)

It was Watchmen that convinced me of the merits of comics, but I've not exactly rushed to catch up in the decade or so since I read it. So many books, so little time...

I didn't get around to reading Watchmen (or, indeed, V for Vendetta) until some time later. But they're both jolly good too.

About a year after I started reading comics, I wandered into the now long defunct Fantastic Store in Nottingham, and got chatting to two guys called Stephen and Mark, who ran the place on behalf of its owner. They introduced me to lots more excellent comics (particularly Terry Wiley and Dave McKinnon's Sleaze Castle, Nabiel Kanan's Exit, and Strangehaven by Gary Spencer Millidge), and a few months later they quit and set up their own shop, Page 45, which still thrives.

The Sandman is splendid. Though I didn't have Tori Amos songs stuck in my head after reading Doll's House, because I don't really know much of her stuff aside from the obvious. Some say Sandman's Death is based on her, which I can kind of see. I know Ms Amos and Mr Gaiman are buddies. Hope you had a good trip...

Mmm, she puts quite a lot of references to Neil in her lyrics, and I was snowboarding with a moderately rabid Tori Amos fan, so there were lots of reminders :)

Yup, I had a great trip, ta. I've started to snowboard moderately well now; the next thing to do is to relax a bit and do it with confidence, but that's easier said than done when it feels so fast and steep *scared look*...

Neil Gaiman wrote short stories in the sleevenotes to at least one of her albums. And I only know that because they appear in one of his short story collections...

Sounds like you had fun. I'm not too sure I'd get on with snowboarding what with my fear of heights and rubbish sense of balance. Plus, I went skiing once and that traumatised me slightly so perhaps I should avoid anything which involves sliding and snow...

Some say Sandman's Death is based on her
Close, but no ankh. It's actually Delirium, the youngest member of the family, who is based on Tori Amos.

I don't know much about Miss Amos but I suppose I could kind of imagine her eating tiny chocolate people. A friend of mine was convinced that Death was Tori + black har dye...

it's very difficult to get Tori Amos out of your head

Yes that's the thing about Tori. It's a bit of a mixed blessing. Just be grateful you don't have 'Playboy Mommy' stuck in your head like I did after my miscarriage last October...

Despite that however, I do still think life is better with Tori in it than it would be without her. Go see her live if you haven't already.

I nearly managed it once, when she played the Arts Centre at Warwick. If I saw her playing Bristol I think I'd feel obliged to go along...

Did you miss out preludes and nocturnes. If so go back and read it.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandman_vertigo#The_Sandman_Library)

Also when you've done that lot the "Lucifer" spin off is pretty good too.

Also'V' for Vendetta is a *MUST*.

I did miss out Preludes and Noctures, but only because my library didn't have it (but did have Doll's House.) Now I know I like it, I may start buying them, or at least the ones the library doesn't have ;)

And yes, I've read V for Vendetta, and liked it a lot (although I'm also one of the heretics who liked the film, but that may be because I saw it before i read it...)

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