May 15th, 2004


"Spider and I"

I just spent half an hour trying to use Jennifer's Gateway laptop to look at some old jpgs. stored on floppies (the constant reader will recall the facts surrounding the violent demise of my floppy drive and my stubborn resolve not to buy another). I finally gave up in frustration. It's unthinkable that most people actually "use" Windows on a day to day basis. I can only pity all the lost millions who've yet to find their way to Apple (or at least Linux).

Yeah, I know that was just the sort of snotty, elitist rhetoric that the Microserfs have come to expect from arrogant Mac addicts like myself, but I have a frelling hangover, and I'm not currently disposed to look kindly on clunky technology.

Anyway, the proofreading/editing work on Murder of Angels is almost done now. All that remains is a little rewriting that has to be done in Chapter One. In the original draft, I included the lyrics to Brian Eno's song, "Spider and I." For those of you who don't have to know these things (count yourselves among the fortunate), copyright law permits "fair use" of two lines from a song. As long as I only use two lines, I don't have to ask permission or pay a liscensing fee. Anything more than that, and the red tape begins to roll. So, in Chapter One, if I'm to have Niki hear all of "Spider and I," and if I'm to include the lyrics, then I have to obtain permission. Which I've been trying to do for months. Usually, I don't fool with this sort of thing, because I've known it's too much trouble since at least 1997, when I tried to get permission to quote part of an R.E.M. song in an issue of The Dreaming. In that instance, Michael Stipe had actually given me permission, but the record company suits were being such dicks that I finally grew weary of jumping through hoops and gave up.

Anyway, this time, because I had no direct contact info. for Brian Eno, and because there was a lot of confusion over exactly who administers the rights for "Spider and I," I began by contacting Customer Services at EnoShop (following Neil's advice). EnoShop instructed me to contact Jane Geerts, director for Opal-Chant Ltd., who then told me that the person I needed to speak with was Briony Jefferies at BMG. Fine. So, I contact Briony Jefferies, who tells me no, I actually need to speak with Steve Phillips in Licensing at BMG's Global Marketing Division. Finally, it seemed I'd found the right person. Mr. Phillips requested a bunch of information on Murder of Angels (description of the story; context of the use of the lyrics [page including the lyrics, and the previous and subsequent page]; territory of release; and so forth). With some help from a number of people at Penguin-Putnam, I supplied the requested information and waited to be told what it would cost me to quote the lyrics. That was way the hell back in March, almost two months ago. I've heard not one word back from BMG, and I've run out of time for hoop jumping. So, today I'll be rewriting the scene at Cafe Alhazred, so that either a) only two lines of "Spider and I" are used, or b) one of Daria Parker's songs is used instead. And, because the ms. has already been typeset, I'll probably have to pay for the cost of making these changes.

Doesn't this sound like all sorts of fun?

Last night, we decided to go Old School again for Kid Night, and watched Forbidden Planet, followed by Earth vs. the Flying Saucers.

I have four ARCs (advance reading copies) of Murder of Angels that I'll be auctioning via eBay, beginning tonight or tomorrow. I'll make an announcement here as soon as the auction begins. Just four copies. Win one of these, or wait until September. Now, if you'll please excuse me, I'm going to go eat a whole bottle of Tylenol...
  • Current Music
    Midnight Oil, "Blue Sky Mining"

are you on fire?

Addendum: Happy birthday to Darren (tjcrowley). May you live to be as old as me.

I neglected to mention, in the rant about "Spider and I," that I've had one successful attempt to obtain permission to quote song lyrics. The manuscript of The Five of Cups ends with a passage from the Indigo Girls' "Kid Fears." I contacted Amy Ray, who has wisely retained control of her work, and she graciously gave me permisison to include the lyrics in the Subterranean Press edition. But then, because the universe thrives on irony, a communications snafu somewhere in the production process led to the lyrics being included in the ARCs (hence, they're mentioned in one of the Locus reviews), but not in the final, printed book itself.
  • Current Music
    my hardening arteries