Those clever, married artist people (UK author) Neil Gaiman and (US musician) Amanda Palmer had a wonderful idea to do a show together. They’d call it “An Evening With Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer”, run a Kickstarter campaign and take said show on the West Coast road.
T’would be a show filled with merriment and delight, hot ukulele action and poetry, laughter and music, Q&As and surprises, and be held in front of packed houses in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver, Portland and Seattle.
NeilandAmanda (no spaces, for I am convinced they are indeed one) are lower-case h heroes. To me, to countless. They’re heroes to readers and geeks, to libraries and comic collectors, to music fans and hipsters, to Occupy Wall Street supporters and social media addicts, and to most of the known alternative universe that possesses some form of discerning taste.
Neil and I had already bonded on Twitter over rockhands and an Indie Rock doc I was helping to promote, so I pitched him an idea: when they were in Vancouver, would they like to do a quick photoshoot for my little space on the interwebs? It’d be exclusive and we wouldn’t take up any of their time.
Neil agreed, bless him.
But time is what NeilandAmanda didn’t have.
Amanda had forgotten her passport in the US so was delayed a day. Upon arrival – - on November 6, NeilandAmanda most likely kissed quickly and then headed straight off to a “Ninja” gig at a local shoe store where Amanda performed. “Then they marched on to Occupy Vancouver, where she performed again in support of the local movement. THEN they came back for soundcheck, where we were waiting to pounce. (To be precise: I was out back having a cheeky cig with Aussie Tom Dickins of brilliant openers The Jane Austen Argument, while the crew of photographer Wayne Höecherl plus assistants Madhava Musterer and Syx Langemann, set up lights.) We needed to be speedy. Time is precious when you’re NeilandAmanda and have Kickstarter supporters to meet, piano to practice, voices to warm, poems to pace out and tweets to Twitter.
But what luck! A tremendous set brimming with props had been created by Heidi Wilkinson from our Bard on the Beach Shakespearean Festival and Jessie van Rijn of Carousel Theatre, causing Amanda to gasp as she walked in: “Why does the set look so amazing?” “That’s for the photoshoot,” Neil replied, incorrectly, though for a moment I wanted to believe it was all for us. Later at the show, the set shone just as much as the two people who were on it.
Before we had our minutes to snap, I chatted with with Neil – about his first book on Duran Duran, about the 6ths album Wasps Nest, about Craig Ferguson and the Isle of Skye. He drew a Sandman inside my 7lb Absolute Vol. 1 collection while Amanda prettified downstairs (a ruse, surely, as THEY ARE ONE and SHE is naturally beautiful), then came up in a dress that she needed Neil to zip up. She tumbled out – bra and boobs in front of us, thigh-high stockings on, underwear with an Australian flag on it – but told the photographers that she was “more comfortable naked”. I love Amanda Palmer. You should also love Amanda Palmer if you don’t already.
We snapped pictures. Amanda grinned and laughed, as if the next thing she had to do was just relax rather than meet a horde of fans downstairs, then play a three-hour show. But needs must. And so, after a few generous minutes, NeilandAmanda disappeared into the basement of the Vogue Theatre to meet fans, all over again. And we stood there giddy.
It turns out, this is the only styled photoshoot on a set, from the whole tour. To inappropriately hashtag: #BackstageRiderFullofWin
Here are just a few of the pictures from that Sunday afternoon. A full live gallery of the show will be coming soon, and you can click on all pics to embiggen them. We hope you enjoy. \m/
Photos are copyright Wayne Höecherl. Plese visit Ordeal.ca and WAHpix.com for more information. Many, many thanks to Wayne, Madhava and Syx for volunteering their time, and to Neil, Amanda, Jaron and SuperKate. Please do not reproduce photos without consent.