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Friday, October 24, 2008

Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman & London's Queen Rats

Tonight I'm going to see one of my favourite authors Neil Gaiman who amongst other things wrote the fantastic Neverwhere. Regular readers to the
blog and even Goingunderground would have heard me rave about Neverwhere in the past. It's a book based on the BBC TV series Gaiman co-wrote with Lenny Henry in the mid nineties. Neil wasn't too pleased with the TV series, but wanted to work on the idea of a parallel London (London Below) which operated underground and was populated by feudal characters some with names based on London Underground stations.

Reading Neverwhere on the Tube

There was the Angel Islington, real Barons and Earls at Earl's Court & Barons Court & even a London Below Tube system made up from those "Special" trains with no lighting in them that speed past your stop.

Neil was one of the very first famous authors to have his own blog & I still can't get over him being kind enough to be interviewed for One Stop Short of Barking and even blogging about my request for an interview.

He said "Congratulations on the book contract! I'll be in touch about the comments or interview, but I put the e-mail up here on the journal as I've been meaning to link to Going Underground for ages, and you plug the site better than I could. Lovely site filled with odd, London underground things. The weblog is an excellent place to begin -- lots to read. Learn about commuter pigeons, for a start." You seriously don't know what a comment like that from an author like Gaiman means to me.

But enough of the Gaiman love, I'm sure lots more will be showered on him tonight. Last night I went on a London Ghost Walk hosted by Qype as an early Halloween treat. Chris who carried out the walk, was full of amazing stories about hidden London and as we stopped under bridge he started to talk about London's Queen Rats (speaking rats feature heavily in Neverwhere) and Death Line or Raw Meat a 1970's horror film about the London Underground, which also features in One Stop Short of Barking.

Hearing about London's Queen Rats

The premise of Death Line is fantastic and is about a lost troglodyte type underground thing, that lives on humans who missed their last stop on the Tube or somehow got stranded on the Underground. The only human words it has learnt to say are "Mind the Doors". I muttered that this was the worst film about the Tube that I have ever seen in my life. It doesn't even get into the "so bad it's good" realm in my opinion. But each to their own.

One of the many fascinating things about the London Ghost Walk was hearing about London's Queen Rats. This is an East End legend about a giant rodent that could change itself into a gorgeous woman & seduce dockside workers. Legend has it that if the men satisfied the Queen Rat they'd be blessed with wealth and many children. The first born would be a girl with one grey eye and one blue eye. Chris also publishes a magazine called One Eye Grey!

Qype London Ghost Walk Buskers in Southwark

There was a particularly weird moment while Chris was telling this story and we heard a trumpet pumping out the fab lounge musak of Burt Bacharach's Walk on By from some buskers beneath the bridge.

Thanks to Qype for hosting a great night which ended up back in the pub with booze and more of Qype's golden food.

; Posted by Annie Mole Friday, October 24, 2008 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon