Thursday, July 31, 2008

neil gaiman in the hizzle

mr. neil gaiman yesterday to came to stay for a short week's visit to work on the album/mystery/photo book with me (i felt like having him as a houseguest might result in some wonderful time-space continuum warp in the guest quarters....or i'll go down there and all of a sudden the room will be filled with multiple neil gaimans sitting at his writing desk, surrounded by strange flying animals, exotic fruits and old wooden keys that sing, in swahili).
kyle cassidy the wond'rous photographer has come up for some shooting, literal and figurative, as well. this is shaping up to be an excellent project.

i've been embroiled in a shitstorm of business-y manager-y and label-y activity, the phone is lighting up every 6 minutes and the emails are pouring in, decisions to be made, and things things things to be done done done.
i need to do a lot of things that i'm not doing.

but it's always this way.

i'm getting better at just doing what i want....

i'm taking walks in the public garden with neil, eating watermelon slush and talking about things that have nothing to do with real life.
this, i think, is better. it has to be. because it is. i get this now.

and i haven't been a COMPLETE hack: today i practiced some songs for the upcoming tour while neil sat in the room and quietly scribbled in a book while listening to me play.
i would finish a song or two and he would read me what he'd come up with. this is sort of heaven, to let someone hear me practice, which i find very hard to do, unless there's a reason, and there's almost never a reason, but today there was a reason. and that felt wonderful.

there's very few people with whom i have to spend almost no time to feel complete trust, and the dude won me over fairly instantly. he's one of the kindest people i've ever worked with.

i feel very, very, very lucky, a little too lucky....of all the things this fancy man could be doing with his time and energy, he's chosen to hang around my house and work on a totally obscure little art project.
we were chatting today about our years plans and neil's are: "well, after shooting this film of my novel for miramax i'll be on book tour of the UK and then in china researching a new novel, and then writing the new batman comic series, and then...." and i'm wondering: WHAT the FUCK are you doing here in this po-dunk new england city with this hack songwriter for chrissakes?
but i can answer my own question.
we're having a wonderful time.
there you go.

i'm also very happy he can see the house this way, in the bowels of the summer, all covered in thick green with all the windows knocked out and everybody puttering around being beer-y and laugh-y and art-y.
the winter here is desolate.

i think this book we are making together is going to be amazing.


in other news:

the new video is up and it's....awesome. "runs in the family". it was so late at night we filmed this shit that i was going for broke, because I knew we would only do a few takes and probably only use the footage for filler, or at least only one segment of a larger theme. but no: we ended up just using the amanda-freaks-out-in-the-attic-in-the-middle-of-the-night footage and goshdarnit i think it works pretty well. the songs sounds incredible. that's all ben folds you're hearing, this song was his baby. he played all the percussion and synth parts and arranged all the strings. genius.


from comments:

at first, i thought this blog was a bit odd. but in the end i'm glad you posted it. i found it very educational. most of the time when this stuff happens to people they keep it to themselves. so thank you amanda. off topic, i got tickets to see you in L.A on Aug 4th. yay! i'm looking forward to the show.

-Posted by Emily on Jul 23, 2008 8:26 PM


if I don't ramble about vaginas, who will?


decidedly bookish said...

Ah, so that's why God made those absorbant little sea critters... I'm surprised he didn't make little tampon fish as well.

On the vagina subject, what were you encouraged to refer to your vagina as when you were a small child? My nan used to call it a "dilly," and I made up my own name: "widgy." Unfortunately this was also my nickname in the family. We've yet to come up with a good, all-purpose word. "Vagina" can sound a bit clinical. "Cunt" is hardly something you can say to the nurse. I hate "pussy," plus there's the whole cat bad-joke potential there. "Front bottom" is just wrong on so many levels, as is "flaps." "Minge" is hilarious. There are vague references, like your "bits" or "down there," but they just basically serve to avoid what doesn't need avoiding. "Vagina" is the favourite, I think, but I maintain that we need a new word which isn't also the scientific name. Any ideas?

5:03 PM


my mum always referred to it as a "tushy"


sarah said...

Hey, Amanda. I don't know if you appreciate somewhat unrelated comments or critique. I trying hard not to be inappropriate contextually.

Since you posted a few new music videos for some of your newer material... I thought of this. It's been on my chest for a while...

I was at the Filmore in San Francisco. I heard Boston played with an accompanying violinist.

I was emotionally affected by your performance, first of all. The heart-rendering agony, hope and bitterness of a tenuous, long term relationship-- you breathed life into this.

Secondly, the violinist pushed this song over the edge for me and was absolutely essential. I have searched for a happenstance recording of this, Youtube, etc, but I may just have to let this go as part of the vital power and magic of the night.

Would you be interested in re-recording Boston with an accompaniment? I respect your creative decisions enormously and just wanted to propose this idea, (perhaps a bit contrived), but nevertheless, the question stands.
7:45 PM


that amazing violinist was named meredith yayanos.
she's increidble: we should indeed find a way to get that recording online. let me poke someone.



I have a question about the eyebrows, in case you don't mind my asking. Or rather, a few questions. If anybody could answer, please.

1. Do eyebrows grow back? (Might sound like a stupid question, but I've heard conflicting info about this from various people, none of which have probably ever gotten rid of their eyebrows. I know unibrow hairs grow back for sure, but I've never heard first hand info from someone who's shaved/plucked/whatever their actual eyebrows.)

i believe that the "eyebrows won't grow back" thing is a myth if you SHAVE. if you pluck, you're damaging the follicles and that would make sense.
but then again, bodies are weird. don't blame me if you do it and wind up with a bald face for life.

2. If they don't, what do you do when you don't feel like doing your Art-Drill that day? Do you just walk around eyebrow-less?

i often walk around eyebrowless if i'm not going out. i will often walk eyebrowless to the store to get coffee and toilet paper. i walk around eyebrowless when i'm in my tour bus at night.
the shit stays on GOOD, unless i sweat.

3. If they do, how long does it usually take to grow them back?

these questions are out of order. i shave them about every 3 or 4 days. the shaving takes under 5 seconds. the drawing takes under 10 seconds. it's very lom-maintenece.

4. Should they be shaven or plucked or something else I haven't thought of?

i wouldn't pluck unless you want that bald face.

5. What eyebrow-drawing-in art tool would you recommend? (Specific brands, if possible... please? I'm not really good at looking at a giant wall of products and guessing which one is best. Unfortunately.)

i SWEAR by the one i use, and i've tested them all, honey.
maybelline. black. waterproof. liquid eyeliner. accept no substitutes. perfect pen. won't smear. stays on all day. every drugstore in america got that shit.

6. Is there any other advice that should be given to a (hopefully)-soon-to-be budding member of the Eyebrow-Arting-Out community?
I think i've always had a very naive dream to stay absolutely silent for a day, to completely observe people around me and to just keep my mouth shut. I've tried it and managed to stay quiet for maybe... 20 minutes.

i don't see what eyebrows and silence have to do with each other, but i'm sure i could if i tried.
i would recommend trying something new. i've always thought that eyebrows are a bizarre thing. you don't pay much attention to them, usually, but they shape your expression, which shapes how people respond to you.
maybe try gluing objects. lots of 60s models did that, with feathers and whatnot. looks interesting. start a cult. why not?

I'm glad you are doing well. Good luck with your silence, have you invested in a dry erase board for communication?

ah, my silence being long over, i can only thank you for the support in retrospect. but it rocked. i recommend it.


Do you have a mailing list where you send out your blogs? When I'm sailing about the seven seas, I am incredibly bored. And you write alot. And I enjoy every word. And I can't access Myspace while I'm out there. Or hey, if you'd like to hear about the o-so-exciting life of a sailor, I answer pretty much any email I'm lucky enough to get.... Please, repond quickly for I ship out again soon.

As we say in the Navy, fair winds and following seas.

i'm working on getting a more newslettery or emailable thing going for my blog. stay tuned.


that's it lovelies

be art to each other




Bobby Jean said...

I'm so proud of you... and just a little bit jealous.
*heart* Bob

Idril said...

Creativity bubbling, enjoying life lavishly.. who wouldn't love that ?
I've recently seen some pretty amazing concerts, with a lot of interaction, soul and amazing artistic creativity. One of them was Camille.. Do you know her ? You should check her out otherwise, she's a bomb of new ideas brought to music.
Right after the show, I already felt the excitement for the next one in line : yours (in the end of October in Paris). I know it's an awfully long time from now but i can't help. Will you linger a bit after the show like you do sometimes, or is the schedule too tight ?
Lots of mwahs and keep up the delivery of great videos. It's just getting better.

Cat said...

There is something intrinsically beautiful about creating with another human being even if you aren't creating in the same way. I always love to read your blogs dealing with the creative process. They literally ooze with creative force, its wonderfully refreshing.

Jesse said...

That recording of Boston (as well as the whole show) has been available for awhile.

The whole show can be found here:

CamilleGoesToMedSchool said...


You probably won't read this... but I just wanted to say thank you for the amazing music that you make.

It really has helped me in ways beyond imaginable.

I just wanted to let you know that I have a great great deal of respect for you and I'd eat glass, jump off a fifty foot building, and be raped and murdered a thousand times to see you live. I mean that, too.

All I can do is hope that one day you'll come to Louisiana or any near states.

I love you and your music, more than you can ever understand.

I'm also really excited about WKAP?
The videos are amazing.

Thanks. :D

sarah said...

My mom calls womanly parts HooHoos.
hahaha :D
She's the best. i know, this should go on the vaginablog, buuut, whatever. :D
anyways, you&BF are awesome <3
&i cannot wait for the album, books, and everything else you've got in store for us. you're the ultimate babe, and long live punk cabaret.

Joshua said...

I love the fact that you and Mr Gaiman are friends, it's my favourite musician and my favourite author doing a project together, what could be better?

I have a question, I was wondering (seeing as you are an Americana) why you spell mum mum? I approve as a Brit but am nevertheless interested.

Looking forward to seeing you in Brighton in October. It's the only plan I have for this year.

xx Josh

Medb said...

Neil Gaiman as a guest and creative collaborator? If I weren't already terribly jealous of you for your talent, I would most certainly be jealous of you now. I am, in fact, distinctly jealous of both of you. Getting to watch each other stumble through your creative process would be ecstasy.

LesleyD said...

I am so proud and jealous too!! I freakin love Neil Gaiman! I've been readin Coraline to my daughter since she was 5. Congratulations!!! I can't wait to see the finished product!

Caffeinated Cassadie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Caffeinated Cassadie said...

I feel too proud of someone i've only met at signings. Which is a little creepy. Oh well, good job Miss Palmer, can't wait for everything to come out!

PtacekAttack said...

Why the solo album?

Are things not going well with Brian?

zarzu said...

jealousy is killing me at the moment.
The dresden dolls and neil gaiman in the same house...

I can cook for you
I am a good cook
I sware I am perfect
Think about it

plastic-stars said...

around here we call the vagina a box haha, although I'm sure its use other places as well.

arahsae said...

I am so glad to know that you and Neil Gaiman can be in the same space, breathing the same air, and being fabulously creative people AT THE SAME TIME and that the Earth manages not to implode in gleeful joy.

Because I totally would.

Hooray! Can't wait to see what comes of this beauteous collaboration.

Pelle said...

That video's great. The song is great, and I love you for sharing your music and part of your life.

I was just wondering about something; how do you write songs?

In what way I mean. I haven't written any complete song other than one, which just happened to pop up in my head (But I don't know how I did make that on).

How do you turn emotions into a song. You just sit and work through it, or do you write and look at it a month later?

And how many songs did you actually write (I've heard of so many artists who've written 300 songs and only published 30).

Sorry for the rambling on :).

Elise said...

Cooter is a favorite term of mine. Or...poon.
Poon the beaver is my personal mascot.

Talking Mime said...

I went on youtube to see the video on the site, wow, you have some obsessive fans. ... I hope i don't come off like that.

My godmother was talking to me the other day, she was hangin at one of her girlfriend's houses while their daughters were taking a bath together [ ...they were something like 5 and 7 ] when randomly the five year old yelled ''If you would just move your big fat vagina!''

haha... yeah, had to share =]

My sister [ also a dedicated dd fan ] doesn't even have eyebrows [ barely at least ] so if she wanted to shave hers, it wouldn't be hard at all, lol, we have this thing "Caroline [ my sister ] got the brains and Sarah [ me ] got the eyebrows..."


Damien said...

Neil and Amanda, together, for a week.

The hearts, minds, and pants, of a billion geeks, around the world, just exploded in complete joy.

astriusstar said...

Ms Amanda,
first, thank you for being the wonderful person you are. everyday I listen to your music and it gets me through the work day and the constant longing for my boyfriend who is currently serving in the gulf. I also love that your blog really does give an insight to who you are apart from the music (and with the music too of course), I would love to talk with and hang out and whatnot, but alas I know I am one of thousands nay millions who love you just as much as I do and want the same exact thing.But I know and there is not enough time in the world for you to meet us all.
I love the WKAMP videos that have been released so far and I can't wait to be able to buy your new album and add it to the list of songs that make up the soundtrack of my life.Your music really does inspire art and happiness in my soul and makes me want to create and dance and sing and love, you get the idea...

Also, I wanted to comment on the comment about the vagina blog, re: vagina 'nicknames' my mom used to call it a 'Puter maguter'. now that I am older I find that hilarious!

I hope this comment finds you in good spirits, and I hope the day is bringing you joy wherever you may be.
Can't wait to see you in Seattle sometime, you can bet I will be emailing Beth once I know you are coming so I can help out in anyway that I can.

Much Love and Art.

Neffer said...

Aaah love the new video! Digging the string parts. And the bit when you hide under the piano. I have always loved hiding under pianos when people are playing them. Not sure why. It's just one of those things that are great.

I've been trying to explain to other people just how wonderful the Amanda+Neilness is, but I can only second Damien's "The hearts, minds, and pants, of a billion geeks, around the world, just exploded in complete joy."

EXACTLY. This is what I am going to say to people in the future. (No one specific. Just everyone, everyone should know.)

Can't wait to see you in Manchester in October. TRES EXCITED.


June Miller said...

So...I'll not lie, I don't know nearly enough about Neil Gaiman, and his work, other than he's a reknowned bad-ass. He seems to live up to his reputation, though. I'm just lazy, sometimes. You guys are probably cooking up something sweet.

'writing the new batman comic series'

omg batman...

I'm a pretty big Batman dork, though. Truly. Joker quote tattoos dork. So, yes Neil Gaiman, you are a bad-ass. I would like to check that out.

You're no damn hack.

(I saw The Dark Knight twice in, like, three days.)


I'm glad you're the one who's rambling on about tushies. Better than someone like...oh god. What if Paris blogged about her vag? Wow. Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase 'neverending story.'


You know, you guys slayed The Fillmore...but I can't wait for the solo at Great American Music Hall. The Fillmore's historic, undoubtedly, but the GAMH is so much more...fitting. It's like you're inside a giant music box. It's probably my favorite venue. I do believe it's also where I attended my first DD shows.

It will be so good.


So, basically Ben Folds is a hardcore motherfucker.

And you kill me at the end of the new video.

Very good, ma'am.

Dave said...

I like axemark. It's classy.

uncounted said...

Loved the new video, even though Runs isn't on my favorites list for the album. It fits well with the story so far. I wondered if you'd have a track titled that actually "The Story so Far...". Sounds too comic-bookish looking back on it though.

And wooden keys sing really well. I don't think they do Swahili though. I do believe they sing in Nynorsk and Finnish when the mood takes them though.

Marnicx said...

I must say, I'm very taken with this song. I wasn't quite sure how I felt about it when I first heard it, but listening for a short while kind of made it settle in my brain. Very nicely done. :D

April said...

My grandmother called it a "teeny hiney".

The Nerdy Bird said...

Sounds like you're having a great time. I'm excited for Neil to write Batman.

Austin Dale said...

if your new record is half as affecting and miraculous as the pops shows... oh, i love love love it.
by the way.
i lost my virginity today.
what was that like for you?

kami said...

so, I'm from Brazil, and after reading all those weird names for vagina, it made me wonder... are all the names for vagina weird like everywhere? Coz here there are some pretty odd names for it, such as "xana", "buceta" and - my favorite - "perseguida". The last one means pursued. LOL
Judging by the previous commets, it seems like the vagina topic will go on for a while. Well, vaginas always make ME think, and I can't see why it wouldn't make everyone else do it too. Think, I mean.
Loved the video, btw. Do you breathe? Sometimes I forget to do it, you know? Like, I only realize I'm not breathing when it becomes an issue, so I always think "fuck! what if I broke some record and didn't even realize it?"
buuuuut whatever.
Continue the great job. Can't wait to see the results of your union with mr Gaiman.

mustangwriter said...

Who knows if you'll read this, but I just realized this blog existed (no one tells me anything) and I wanted to convey my glee about it. Especially since the entry I found was about you and Mr. Gaiman, whose work I adore - and, okay, yes, was how I realized this blog existed was through HIS journal and then having a little spaz at someone, who pointed me here.


Mostly I was just really happy to find this because I've moved to Australia for half a year, and I'm feeling deeply lonely for Boston, and people I associate with Boston. And I got here, and I found songs I hadn't heard, and words about a country and a city I really miss, and stories from a singer and artist that so few people here know.

I wish you were coming to Melbourne! I saw you at the Onion Cellar two years ago, and it was one of the best live shows I'd ever seen. I still tell people about it (one might say ad nauseum), and make my mother jealous by reminding her everyone once in a while that I got to meet you.

So yeah. Thanks for being wicked, wicked awesome, and for helping ease my homesickness.

Michael said...

In case you don't know (but why wouldn't you not not know): Neil also posted a little bit about his stay at your house.
And a great question from a reader about you wearing or not wearing panties in the picture of the two of you sitting on the roof (

Just love that picture - especially with the orang-y-brown skyline.

springkuikentje said...

"runs in the family" Is FUCKING AMAZING!!!! And GREAT video!!!

Gimme moooore :-)

x Marge

Kat said...

Hey You!

Thanks you for sharing these wonderful moments in your house with Neil Gaiman.I can't wait to see what you guys will come up with. it will be amazing i'm sure!

BTW, after watching your video 'run in the family' i STRONGLY suggests you see a film called BORDELINE (from Mtl like me), it is simply feminine amazing! i know you'll love it! directed by Lyne Charlebois.

keep me updated if you see it! would love to have your impressions as it draws me into such creative state!

Cheers and keep on rockin'girl!!!

Kat said...


Aster said...

I'm so glad someone asked you those eyebrow questions because I've wanted to know FOREVER. I don't like having eyebrows.

IvanaBAlone said...

I'm not sure if you're going to answer/ see this, but anyway: my friend and I are doing an improve art thing on BART and I was wondering if you had any qualms about us using your music when we do some of it. also I love that you are writing with Neil Gaiman, I just read "Good Omens" for around the 25 time and it keeps on getting better. good luck with everything and all that jazz

Katy said...

I work retail, and one time I overheard a customer telling her daughter "If it doesn't cover your ta-ta's and your na-na, we're not getting it."

The array of substitutes for the word 'vagina' are vast.

The Girls said...

in Guam they call a vagina a "bebe". like, "behbeh". I think it's gross.

ChuckEye said...

Useless bit of trivia... When Bob Geldof had to shave his eyebrows off in the movie of Pink Floyd's "The Wall", Lloyds of London insured that they'd grow back. Don't recall how much they went for, though.

polar milk said...

Hello. i love your music so completely i feel like it would love me back out of obligation. But, uh, i didnt create a blogger account just to tell you that.

I am a diagnosed schizophrenic, 19 year old girl and this song, and other songs of yours make me feel okay about that. Completely honest. i dont know if you realize that is who you are connecting with, and i am sorry if that freaks you out. But, it is nice to hear music were i feel like a less negative subject.

polar milk said...

Hello. i love your music so completely i feel like it would love me back out of obligation. But, uh, i didnt create a blogger account just to tell you that.

I am a diagnosed schizophrenic, 19 year old girl and this song, and other songs of yours make me feel okay about that. Completely honest. i dont know if you realize that is who you are connecting with, and i am sorry if that freaks you out. But, it is nice to hear music were i feel like a less negative subject.

dispenser global hq said...

Hey amanda, I just wanted to let you know...

I've become a Dresden Dolls fanatic in the last ear or so, and I've been a Neil Gaiman freak for as long as i can remember. I just had to tell you this is the coolest collaboration thingy ever =)

I found out that you toured with regina spektor a couple years ago, and I'm just curious, how well do you two know each other at this point?

sexy said...