So, here's one I've promised a few people. Neil Gaiman!
Late last year, Neil joined his wife Amanda Palmer, who had come to Melbourne to record her new album. A librarian friend of ours emailed Neil out of the blue, suggesting he come visit City Library. She outlined how cool it is, mentioning the eclectic collection, the gallery, and the regular musical performances. This must've piqued Amanda's interest, because the whole situation soon evolved into a "ninja gig", with Neil reading some unpublished stories, and Amanda playing her ukulele and the Library's piano.
Here's Aimee's version of how the event came to be.
The gig was brilliant. We arrived early, having been pre-warned of the timing on the librarian underground. We grabbed some floor space near the front as more and more people fliltered in. A few hundred people managed to cram into the tiny gallery space, with overflow almost closing off the rest of the library.
The performance ran just over an hour, with Neil reading two unpublished short stories and Amanda playing half a dozen songs. Neil's stories were called (I think) Skinbags and Rattlebones, and The Man who Forgot Ray Bradbury. The first was written as a christmas present for his daughter, and was a classic "scary story" about, of all things, a babysitter. The second was written for a Bradbury tribute book, and was indeed Bradbury-esque. Amanda played some songs that will I imagine be on the new album, along with her Ukulele Anthem. An amazing event, and an incredible privelege to have been there.
Neil with cupcake
Amanda at the piano
Neil watching Amanda play. Aww!
Amanda belting out a tune.
Neil also did a more conventional reading and signing while he was in Melbourne, in another amazing double bill - with Tom Stoppard! We got some things signed:
And we got Tom Stoppard to sign a copy of Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern are Dead for crazyjane13, who's a huge fan:
Another amazing evening.
Right - I'll try to post again soon!