The kindly one.

I had never seen so many geekboys, gothchicks and
yappies (young alternative people) in my life. I thought it said a lot about my
age that one of the few people I ended up chatting with was a client. Neil
Gaiman’s main Manila event, “The Gathering,” was sponsored by Fully Booked and
took place at the Rockwell Tent. (With the number of people there in black, I
thought it should have been called “The

I didn’t arrive early enough to
get a number to have my Sandman issue (from the Kindly Ones story arc) signed.
Luckily for me and Lucien, Budj saved the day. He kindly offered to have my
comic signed for me. And he was number 89. When the host announced that in the
interest of time and continuing hand functionality Neil would only dedicate one
out of a maximum of four signed pieces, I looked pleadingly at Budj. He rolled
his eyes and I gave him a hug. Hurray! Luc would get a dedication from the man
who wrote the stories that gave life to his name.

Add “drily witty public speaker” to the
standard “master storyteller.” He described us as noisier than the Brazilians, and commented that
had we been in Singapore, we would have formed in lines. As it was he thought
what he’d seen of Manila was right out of William Gibson in a bit of a floaty
state, although I think I’d have preferred Terry Pratchett. Everyone in the tent
laughed when Neil said people thought he’d written Good Omens in this very
serious manner while Terry Pratchett walked right behind him flinging jokes
about. The reading from Anansi Boys got serious laughs, too. Like many other
wild and hopping British attempts at humor, it features scary things like
(according to Neil) death and

While I don’t have the
photo opp – and much to Budj’s dismay and amusement the assigned picture-taker
who held his phone took a hidden video instead – the signed comic I chose has
bright silver writing on it. “What a great name,” he told Budj, who told him it
was for Lucien Constantine. I’m having it framed so Luc doesn’t get drool on