04 September 2009


It is the job of our clothes to convey who we are, where we've been, who we like. I find it mildly amusing that what I wear could be a conversation-starter with the people around me.

I was wearing my "Scary Trousers" T-shirt yesterday and found myself fielding questions about it. The less assertive among my friends merely stared in bewilderment.

This is among my favourite T-shirts because it springs out of an anecdote involving two of my favourite writers - Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore. Those of you who have been following this blog or even know me on some cursory level would know that I'm a huge Neil Gaiman fan. "Scary Trousers" was the nickname given to Gaiman by Alan Moore during a lunch meeting back in the early '90s when Gaiman was still penning the "Sandman" comics and Alan Moore was working on "From Hell". I'll leave it to Gaiman to tell you all about it. A quick Google search would dig up two videos on the subject. He also reveals how it led on to his encounter with a gypsy woman, which inspired both a scene in the Sandman comic as well as "Neverwhere", the novel.

In response to a question by Trevor, aka Reverend Nightwalker, Neil Gaiman recounts the story of how Alan Moore nicknamed him Neil "Scary Trousers" Gaiman. From Book Soup in West Hollywood, CA on 29 June 2001.

The story of how Alan Moore gave him the nickname Neil "Scary Trousers" Gaiman. Taken during "Spotlight on Neil Gaiman" at San Diego Comic-Con 2007.

The T-shirt is one of 3 that I purchased from the NeverWear (an obvious pun on "Neverwhere") website by Cat Mihos featuring apparel, prints and other miscellany inspired by the works of Neil Gaiman.

Neil "Scary Trousers" Gaiman (front)

"Scary Trousers" T-shirt (sleeve)

Anansi Boys T-shirt (front) - art by Polish artist Dagmara Matuszak

Anansi Boys T-shirt (Back of neck)

"I Believe" speech from "American Gods" (front)

I reproduce the "I Believe" speech from Neil Gaiman's "American Gods":

I can believe things that are true and I can believe things that aren't true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they're true or not. I can believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and Marilyn Monroe and the Beatles and Elvis and Mister Ed. Listen–I believe that people are perfectible, that knowledge is infinite, that the world is run by secret banking cartels and is visited by aliens on a regular basis, nice ones who look like wrinkledy lemurs and bad ones who mutilate cattle and want our water and our women. I believe that the future sucks and I believe that the future rocks and I believe that one day White Buffalo Woman is going to come back and kick everyone's ass. I believe that all men are just overgrown boys with deep problems communicating and that the decline of good sex in America is coincident with the decline in drive-in movie theaters from state to state. I believe that all politicians are unprincipled crooks and I still believe that they are better than the alternative. I believe that California is going to sink into the sea when the big one comes, while Florida is going to dissolve into madness and alligators and toxic waste. I believe that antibacterial soap is destroying our resistance to dirt and disease so that one day we'll all be wiped out by the common cold like the Martians in War of The Worlds. I believe that the greatest poets of the last century were Edith Sitwell and Don Marquis, that jade is dried dragon sperm, and that thousands of years ago in a former life I was a one-armed Siberian shaman. I believe that mankind's destiny lies in the stars. I believe that candy really did taste better when I was a kid, that it's aerodynamically impossible for a bumblebee to fly, that light is a wave and a particle, that there's a cat in a box somewhere who's alive and dead at the same time (although if they don't ever open the box to feed it it'll eventually just be two different kinds of dead), and that there are stars in the universe billions of years older than the universe itself. I believe in a personal god who cares about me and worries and oversees everything I do. I believe in an impersonal god who set the universe in motion and went off to hang with her girlfriends and doesn't even know that I'm alive. I believe in an empty and godless universe of causal chaos, background noise, and sheer blind luck. I believe that anyone who says that sex is overrated just hasn't done it properly. I believe that anyone who claims to know what's going on will lie about the little things too. I believe in absolute honesty and sensible social lies too. I believe in a woman's right to choose, a baby's right to live, that while all human life is sacred there's nothing wrong with the death penalty if you can trust the legal system implicitly, and that no one but a moron would ever trust the legal system. I believe that life is a game, that life is a cruel joke, and that life is what happens when you're alive and that you might as well lie back and enjoy it.

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