I've had a pretty busy life over the last week what with social outings, boozing and the Sydney Graphic Festival on the weekend. That was where I saw/heard Neil Gaiman read his story The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains with music/sounds provided by FourPlay String Quartet and paintings by Eddie Campbell. It was fantastic.
Neil Gaiman got a rock star greeting from the adoring fans - among whom I definitely place myself although I've always had difficulty with hero-worship, I'm just instinctively mistrustful of anyone who inspires adulation. He was good though, very good - as he should be since he wrote the story and does these things a lot. With the haunting sounds provided by FourPlay and the lovely illustrations by Eddie Campell shown on a big screen it was a darkly magical reading.
The Q and A between Gaiman & Campbell afterwards was a humorous affair - it seemed more like two old friends slinging witty insults at each other than anything, and appeared to be pretty much off the cuff. It was quite lovely to watch.
Sunday saw me back at the Opera House for a screening of Akira with a live score provided by Regurgitator. Which was particularly awesome. And loud, rib-rattlingly loud, especially in some of the full-on action scenes. I hadn't seen the movie for twelve or fifteen years and was taken by how modern it is - and how influential it's been in the twenty-odd years since it was made.
I think the friend I went with got more out of it than I did since he was able to focus on the movie, the subtitles and the band. I tried for a few minutes but gave up - partly because I can't multi-task but mostly because I was just totally absorbed into the movie. It's still pretty brutal by today's standards. Of course there are hundreds of imitators that are even more graphically bloody, but the almost off-handed way a lot of the violence is dealt with in the movie adds to the shock value. Plus the condensed nature of the adaptation from the comic books makes for a curiously more subtle story - less time for explanation equals more of the 'show, don't tell' principle.
If you haven't ever seen it I recommend you do. Preferably on a big screen with a good sound system.