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  • Neil Gaiman and me

    Thu, 09 Jul 2009 09:14

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    As Mark is galivanting in London, I thought I'd write a blog (it's Kieron Smith here, btw!) about one of my favourite writers Neil Gaiman...

    I think I came to Neil Gaiman through a very strange route, in that the very last thing I've read by him was The Sandman. My somewhat meandering journey started with his collaborative work with Terry Pratchett, Good Omens, and then to Coraline, Anansi Boys (the fantastic audio version read by Lenny Henry) and then the children's books The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish and The Wolves in the Walls which I read to my son. Along the way I saw the films Stardust and Coraline.

    As a result I had a sort of revelation that there was this guy producing all this great imaginative stuff that pretty much defied classification and crossed media and ages more than any other living writer I knew. Then I found out that a lot of Neil's work was in the graphic novel format, and because I don't read that format normally, I gave the Sandman series a go. The first book is odd, probably a little more "out there" than the other things I've read by him, but undeniably good, and I will read more in the series.

    To me there seems to be one thing that emerges from all his work -- other than the technical brilliance of the writing and his creativity -- and that is the overriding feeling that the fantastical is there, next to you, only a hair's breadth away, whether it be through a hole in a wall, an old sealed door, in the wall space, or as you slip into your dreams... Neil brings this extra layer to life alive and makes it his own wonderfully, it can be dark but also playful and funny.

    I have (I must stress I don't do this normally) a Coraline figurine in her yellow raincoat, on my desk at work, who looks at me quizzically throughout the day, I'm not sure what that says, but I'm glad she's there.

    Neil Gaiman is on Twitter: @neilhimself. And I'm on Twitter too: @KieronJS (yes, only about 718,000 followers fewer than the popular Mr Gaiman!)

  • More tweet to win winners

    Tue, 16 Jun 2009 03:39

    Right then, time again to go through the recent winners of our Tweet to win competition.

    O'Reilly have recently published The Twitter Book which is a really great crib for how businesses and individuals can get the most out of the now hugely popular micro-blogging service. So, each day of late, I've been asking our Twitter followers to do a Twitter-based task -- and the winners gets a fab, limited edition O'Reilly Moleskine notebook...

    Of course, if you want to join in, you'll need to follow us on Twitter here: twitter.com/bookdepository.

    Right, now for the recent winners:

    On Friday (12th June), I asked: who are Twitter's three founders? and @AJAshworth told me the answer was Biz Stone, Evan Williams and Jack Dorsey.

    On Thursday (11th June), I asked: who the most popular twitter user is and @WalterMitty007 tweeted back: "Well, @BarackObama has the most friends, but @aplusk has the most followers."

    On Wednesday, I said: www.moleskinerie.com is a nice site, but is there better? but no-one had any exciting journal fansites to tell me about!

    On Tuesday, I asked: Celebrity Deathmatch: who wins John Donne versus Samuel Johnson. Answer that makes me giggle most wins!! and @popelizbet answered: "john donne -- man can wield a spiky accent mark in deadly style."

    On Monday, I asked: 140 is an abundant number and a harmonic divisor number. It is also a square pyramidal number - what on earth is one of them then!? and @beedle82 told me "It is the sum of the squares of the first seven integers."

    On Friday 5th June, I asked About 140 years ago, what is often claimed to be the earliest picture of a UFO was taken -- where was that photo taken!? and @djcosta1977 told me: "Mount Washington, New Hampshire, first UFO picture."

    On Thursday 4th June, I asked 140 years ago, what did John Wesley Hyatt patent? and @danworth answered correctly that it was Celluloid.

    We'll get those moleskines sent out very soon: well done the winners!

     

  • Tweet to win winners

    Wed, 03 Jun 2009 03:48

    Right then, time to go through the recent winners of our Tweet to win competition.

    O'Reilly have just published The Twitter Book which is a really great crib for how businesses and individuals can get the most out of the now hugely popular micro-blogging service. So, each day of late, I've been asking our Twitter followers to do a Twitter-based task -- and the winners gets a fab, limited edition O'Reilly Moleskine notebook...

    Of course, if you want to join in, you'll need to follow us on Twitter here: twitter.com/bookdepository.

    Right, now for the last week's winners:

    Yesterday, I asked: 140 years ago the British Parliament passed the Capital Punishment within Prisons Bill ending what grisly spectacle? And @alantrotter and @beckslayer both simultaneously told me the answer was public executions.

    On Monday, I asked: Tell me who is your fave poet and WHY you like them and @yvonnebarlow told me: Walter de la Mare, he grabbed me by my school blouse and didn't let go until T rex came along.

    On the previous Friday, I asked: tell me about a really good marketing campaign that has worked on Twitter! And no-one answered! Which tells us something interesting in itself, I think...

    On the previous Thursday (28th May) I asked: Well all love Twitter's 140 char limitation... but what else is cool and 140? An anniversary, a height, an age... And @TheHistoryPress responded with: 140 years ago, on March 18th 1869, Neville Chamberlain was born. In 1937 he became Prime Minister.

    On the previous Wednesday I asked: Who has nicest Twitter background? And @jamesctaylor said: @KrisColvin has a very nice background and he is right -- she does!

    I'm mostly caught up now... just one or two others which I'll announce tomorrow...

  • Haiku!

    Wed, 20 May 2009 04:16

    Our Tweet to win Twitter competition (the Twitter handle being #tbd30) seems to be going very well. Thanks for all the responses!

    Yesterday, I asked for a Twitter-related haiku.

    A haiku, as wikipedia tells us is "a form of Japanese poetry, consisting of 17 morae (or on), in three metrical phrases of 5, 7 and 5 morae respectively."

    The winner was @flyingkettle who wrote this gem:

    In one hundred and

    forty characters, one can

    rarely say enough.

    Posted by Mark Mark

    Categories: twitter, Haiku!

    Write a comment | Comments: 1

  • Twitter competition (more info)

    Tue, 19 May 2009 01:46

    Yesterday, we started our first Tweet to win competition via Twitter (the Twitter handle being #tbd30).

    I asked: what was the first line of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray?

    Now, that was simultaneously a good question (talking about Wilde is always a good idea!) and a daft one. Why daft? Well, The Picture of Dorian Gray begins with a Preface which is quite key to the text. So my question was quite ambiguous -- did I mean the first line of the Preface, or the first line of Chapter One? It wasn't clear, and so the answers that came flooding in where split right down the middle!

    I've decided to pick a winner from each camp, so to speak, and the winners -- as I tweeted earlier this morning -- are @lainajanet and @lostwanderer5 - well done both!

    And the answer?

    Well, the Preface begins: "The artist is the creator of beautiful things." (A perfect tweet from Mr Wilde!)

    And the first chapter begins: "The studio was filled with the rich odour of roses..."

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