Siona, her friend and I got a bus up to Parnell Square, as my ankle was still playing up. This got us a few odd looks when we started asking which bus to get, as it’s not far from Trinity, so people kept trying to give us directions instead, on the assumption that we were simply lost or confused.
We got to Chapters at about 3 p.m. and I found a lovely leather sofa in which to settle and read. There were already 3 or 4 other people hanging around in anticipation, and members of Chapters' staff were starting to prepare for the evening’s event.
They hung black drapes from some of the shelving, and these were then decorated with pairs of buttons (later, some of these started leaping from the drapes to attack Neil. It would perhaps be wrong to read too much into this…..)
There was a big 'Coraline' movie display (although later this was moved in order to make room for more people)
A little later they came and took away the lovely leather sofa I was sitting on, although I was able to forgive them, as they wanted it for Neil and Amanda to sit on. I found a convenient bit of floor to sit on.
And the shop filled up.
And got fuller and fuller. Pádraig Ó Méalóid , who was in charge (you can see an interview which Cheryl did with him before the reading here - see - I said there would be more later) and other members of staff kept moving furniture, and people, to try to get as many people as possible into places where they could see, or failing that, hear, what was going on, while maintaining (with difficulty) enough space to allow Neil & Amanda to actually get through the crowd. . .
It was a very happy and good tempered crowd, and as time passed, with a marked absence of Authors or Singers, it stayed good tempered and parts of it even started to talk to each other. I regretted not having any cupcakes to pass around on this occasion. I think cup cakes and signings go together well.
Then Neil & Amanda arrived, and explained the delay...
The Plan, in case you were wondering, was that one of them would read, and one of them would play the ukelele and sing, and then there would be a Question & Answer Session, and then a signing.
Further explanation of the Plan relvealed that it would be Neil who would be reading, and Amanda singing, and that when we got to the Q&A it would be we in the audience asking the quesions and Neil and Amanda doing the answers, although I like to think that that somewhere, perhaps in a parallel universe, in the Other Chapters, there was another event at which the Other Amanda read, and the Other Neil sang, before they both asked the audience questions...
After Neil's first reading, Amanda played and sang.
Then Neil read some more
Then we moved on to the Q&A part of the evening. Questions included (for Amanda) 'Can I have the Ukelele?' Answer - "No, because it's mine (but if I had another one exactly the same you could have that)".
Also for Neil, there was a question about whether he anticipated making use of Irish folklore in any work in the future, and he spoke about the 'Only sandman story that didn't happen', which would have been done with Dave McKean, and which had a working title of 'Blue and Orange and Green' , where the 'green' part would have been set in Ireland. Neil went on to say that although he hadn't written much set in Ireland, he had done a lot of writing while he himself was in Ireland, courtesy of friends such as Tori Amos who have "more houses than they have bodies" Parts of American Gods was written in Ireland, but the Graveyard Book was not, becasue Neil came to Ireland to write and had flu instead.
After the Q&A came the signing.I ended up near the front of the line (this was entitrely due to luck, not judgement, the line formed by some kind of Brownian motion, and there was a certisn amount of uncertainty to begin with as to which way it ws going, given that a certain amount of weaving between booksehleves was necessary.) Due to the numbers there was a 'one item' limit, which is fair enough (even so, I belive Neil & Amanda were there until about 10 p.m.)
From Chapters, we headed back to Trinity, where Peter Murphy was giving a talk about his book, John the Revelator - Siona and I only caught the end, mainly Q&A, which was a pity, as I would have liked to hear the whole thing: curse this inability to be in two places at once.... (But I am about to start reading the book, which is the next best thing)
The evening then ended with Thai food, followed by Guinness in Louisa's local. Mmmmmm.