Discworld Monthly - Issue 57: January 2002
Table of Contents:1. Editorial
3. Readers' Letters
4. Birthday Trivia Part 2
5. Review: Blak Yak Theatre - Hogfather
6. Review: The Burnside Players - Carpe Jugulum
7. Review: Caversham Park Village - Maskerade
8. The End
1. EditorialWelcome to issue 57 and 2002. Hopefully you all managed to have a successful and uneventful Hogswatch and are all ready to run head long into the new year. No, I don't want to go back to work either!
This year will give Discworld fans a chance to get together again and meet up at the 2002 Convention. From experience the conventions are a lot of fun and give you chance to meet the various Discworld celebrities, purchase many wonderful Discworld goodies and consume vast quantities of ale. Not a bad way to spend a weekend.
We recently got a free copy of the latest live Motorhead DVD and would like to say thanks to Nik at WorkHard PR for sorting it. Cheers mate. It is a great live DVD for any Motorhead fan and some of the DWM editorial team can be seen in some of the crowd shots!
Jason Anthony (Editor)
William Barnett (Deputy Editor)
Richard Massey (Ski School Dropout)
Esso Music Drama will be performing a production of Carpe Jugulum at
The Waterside Theatre, Holbury, Nr Southampton on May 2nd, 3rd and
4th 2002. They did Wyrd Sisters this year and if you want an idea
of what they can do, then pictures and reviews are available on
their website at
MASKERADE: THE MOVIE
Have you ever wanted to know what a Discworld movie would be like? Well, now's your chance! We've got a script, a cast, a dedicated and always-willing-to-accept-new-subscribers crew. We just need one more thing to make it all work, that dreaded M word, money.
We don't want you to send any now, we're just trying to figure out whether it's worthwhile going ahead. So, how would you like to join the One Thousand Elephants Club, and help us fund the making of the movie. *ALL* profit will be going to charity, courtesy of the man himself, Mr Pratchett. With that in mind, we'd very much like you to part with the not-so-princely sum of 25 GBP, in return for membership of the club, and a few goodies that we have in mind - newsletters, certificates, significant discounts on specially made badges and t-shirts! As well as all that, you get a copy of the video when the movie is finished! Bargain! We might even be doing a DVD version, with extras such as Maskerade: The Movie: The Making of! Full of exciting cast interviews and cut scenes!
If you're interested or have any questions, don't hesitate to drop
me (Corinne) a line at
visit our website:
www.maskerade.org.uk/ and see what this
project is all about.
This is for real, and we'd really appreciate any help you can give us. We're also looking to fill some essential posts, such as a ***Locations Manager***, and ***Continuity Advisor (UK based)***. Get in touch, join the mailing list, we look forward to hearing from you!
News from the 2002 Convention:
Bernard Pearson recently hosted the first public display of the fantastic new Discworld board game "THUD". Devised in conjunction with Professor Trevor Truran, the game centres around an ancient battle between Dwarves and Trolls. Bernard has crafted over 40 elegant pieces and has manufactured a wooden board on which to play the game.
The game is addictive, easy to learn and suitable for young children to beat adults at.
In short, it is fantastic.
We at the Discworld Convention were so impressed that when Bernard suggested we might like to host the first international Thud knockout tournament, we jumped at the chance.
And, since we were in the bar at the time, we wondered if there should also be the first Live Action Thud game at the 2002 Discworld Convention.
So, watch this space and our Web page (www.dwcon.org/) for upcoming details of how to play Thud, including hints and tips from the game's inventor, Trevor Truran.
For more information about purchasing your very own Thud set, please contact Bernard at The Cunning Artificer, 41 High Street, Wincanton, Somerset BA9 9JU. Tel 01963 824686.
MORE DETAILS OF THE 1st OFFICIAL THUD TOURNAMENT and LIVE ACTION THUD will be posted as soon as we get them.
Please note, DWM has no way of checking the veracity or validity of
any of the items in our small ads section. As always, exercise
caution when giving out your details over the Internet. We
*strongly* recommend parental supervision for younger readers who
follow up any of these contacts.
Tracy Sanders ( ) writes: I work for Half Price Books, a used bookstore here in the US. We have obtained a quantity of new, unused Terry Pratchett UK edition hardcovers with the original Josh Kirby covers. Now, this may not seem like a big deal to you in the UK, but for any US reader this is huge! We don't get to see the Josh Kirby covers over here! At least we haven't for 7 or 8 years now.
We received the books: "Jingo", "Masquerade", "Interesting Times", "Feet of Clay", and "Soul Music". They are 7.98USD each and are in fine / as new condition. Go to the Half Price website at www.halfpricebooks.com for information on local stores and ordering over the internet. We also got in the "Mort Big Comic" for 5.98USD. These will probably go pretty fast, so I suggest anyone who is interested should check into it right away.
Maryanne Mozer ( ) writes: I am plannning to be heading into the UK in April/May 2002 from XXXX (OK Australia). Does anyone know of any Discworld plays/conventions/group meetings over alcohol are going to be happening in that time. I know it's a long time till then - but surely people may be thinking about rehearsing plays for then??
David Crane ( ) writes: Well what can I say after 2 years after discovering my first prachett master piece MORT they will be named as the cause for my divorce if it ever occurs. All I can say to Terry is thanks. Anyone want to chat about the books then e-mail me. I love a chat and a beer.
is a 36 year old mum of two looking to mail to as many like minded nutters as will reply to her. It goes without saying she loves Pratchett.
Andrey Zinchenko ( ) writes: I have already wrote to your newsletter. I am Terry's fan from Ukraine. And I interested if anyone can send me some books of Terry in original, I mean in English, because in Ukraine I can't buy his books in English.
Susanna ( ) writes: I'm the BIGGEST GRANNY WEATHERWAX FAN in the whole multiverse or anywhere else! I'm not planning to start a fun club or anything because it'd involve too much effort and time. However, I really want to get in touch with those of you who enjoy the witches' series as much as I do. I simply love Granny's warm and amiable personality and how she gets along with people! Presently I'm concentrating on how headology can be used in my every day life. No complains up 'till now.
Stephanie ( ) writes: This is a Small Ad, or, more approprately a Blatant Plug. For those who don't know, www.neopets.com is a very addictive website where you can adopt virtual pets, play with them, make shops, make little furry things attack other little furry things, etc. etc. etc. You can also join guilds. The Siblinghood of the Discworld Guild (www.neopets.com/guilds/guild.phtml?oid=rschrader) is the best, first, last and only place in Neopia for Discworld fans. The members are funny, chatty and great friends. We do indeed have a mime-torturing Patrician, an ArchChancellor who's fond of big dinners, a Librarian who you DO NOT use the M-word around, a bursar who doesn't take DFPs as often as they should, and me, the five foot eight Low King. Anyone's welcome- pur members are all ages and come from around the world. If interested, sign up using the following URL 'cuase it get's me stuff: www.neopets.com/refer.phtml?username=starsintheskies
George W Bush ( ) writes: Is there anyone out there who wants to trade a Rincewind (or Rincewind Running) model? I have Nanny Ogg and the Luggage to swap or as part of a trade.
Anthony Smith ( ) would like to know if anyone has a copy of the Special Edition Last Hero for sale.
3. Readers' LettersIf you have any letters/comments, please email
We assume any correspondence is eligible for use in the newsletter unless otherwise stated, including the sender's email address. We may also edit your letters in a lax way to cheapen the quality of our newsletter.
It is vitally important that you don't pass off other people's work as your own. If you use information from other resources please let us know so we can give proper credit.
Each month the writer of the month's best letter will receive two Discworld badges with Terry quotes on them from Snapdragon Gifts. You can contact Snapdragon Gifts at or www.snapdragongifts.com. Please mention DWM in any correspondence.
* From: "dai Rees" ( )
Do not underestimate the intellectual level of your audience and furthermore not insult them! Chekov is a key person in literature and popular SF mythology 2 diferent people please do not cheapen the website and it's productions by lax editing. Think of Susan and her interpretation of various manifestations?
DWM replies: While what you say is true, we thought he was particularly good in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
* From: Ellen Clegg ( )
I think I can help with Helen's trouser problem (Issue 56) For anyone who doesn't know: Chekov was a Russian playwright, Stanislavsky was a director who put on the first performances of Chekov's plays. Now you're up to speed here comes the trousers bit. When Chekov saw Stanislavsky's production of Uncle Vanya he said that Stan got Uncle V's trousers wrong, hence the gloomy trousers of..... How you can get a pair of trousers wrong, I don't know. But that, I think, is your answer.
* From: "Jay Hurst" ( )
I read the guardian Obit of Josh yesterday, makes the rest of us illustrators seem pale in comparison, he led a full life. (Although Jim Burns, who is doing one of the pictures in the 2003 calendar used to be a fighter pilot before becoming an ace illustrator). They just don't make those life stories like they used to!
* From: BOB PETERS ( )
In reference to bi-colours such as pinkish green, I work in a Central Scottish university, we have a chemical that is used as a drain tracking dye, it is an orange powder that when diluted turns orange green, that's orange and green at the same time.
* From: "Damien Smith" ( )
Does anyone out there know where I can get hold of copies of The Colour Of Magic and Light Fantastic graphic novels in Melbourne? Every shop I've asked seems to think they are both out of print, but I've found in the past this is usually their way of saying "we don't have it so please leave without a fuss".
BTW can any other Melbournians confirm this? A while ago whilst walking through the city I spotted a place called "Ogg's Pharmacy". If I find it again I'll try get a snapshot
* From: Tom Sutcliffe ( )
In response to Sharla Hardy's letter about PTerry's short stories - I found this at The Guild of Fans and Disciple's website
It includes all his short stories that I've read, and a *lot* I've never even heard of!
DWM replies: This is the address of a web site created by Phil Penney who incidentally wrote about each of the short stories listed on his site in some of our back issues.
* From: "Elisabeth Martin" ( )
I'm not absolutely certain, but I think the University of Essex Terry Pratchett Society did Lords and Ladies in about 1996.
I don't know if they were any good, but the guy who played Ponder Stibbons was born for the part :-)
Please don't sue me if I'm wrong!
DWM replies: You can expect to hear from our lawyers shortly.
I certainly saw a production of Lords and Ladies by the Bubble Theatre Company two or three years ago. It was staged in Oxleas Wood, Kent and audience and actors moved round the forest, between several set pieces, i.e. Granny's cottage, Lancre Castle, the Stones etc. As the darkness came down, it was unbelievably eerie and magical. Trailing after Ridcully's coach with its hysterical occupants was an unforgettable experience and the Queen of the Elves was an absolute knockout. Pity she was so nasty. The final Stick and Bucket dance will live in my nightmares
* From: "The Lady" ( )
I would like to publicly thank all the members of my community (Addicted to Discworld) for helping us to earn our 4th award in just one month. From humble beginnings almost a year ago we are now a very vibrant and active fan base. Our chat with Terry himself was wonderfully exciting, and we do hope he will come back and visit us again soon! For anyone interested please feel free to come and visit us at communities.msn.com/AddictedtoDiscworld, and remember to leave us a little feedback please - I love to know what other fans think of the site, and am always on the lookout for other suggestions.
* From: Yael Lotan ( )
Having just returned from the United States - I grasped in what way Terry Pratchett's Discworld books are so much better than the Harry Potter series.
If Hollywood had seized on the Discworld, if it had become America's latest fad, if Discworld merchandising was filling the stores - you'd know that it was, basically, a pretty limited idea.
The Discworld books are delicious mental food for intelligent, open-minded grownups with a healthy sense of humour - not for children or childish adults. I've nothing against Ms Rowling's books - they are pleasant, harmless entertainment. And I won't hear of any comparison to Tolkien - just compare his pompous, romantic, slightly fascist-utopian depiction of Elves, with their infinitely cleverer portrayal in "Lords and Ladies"...
* From: "tom willis" ( )
Is any one interested in buying a set of cards for Cripple Mr Onion? I'm interested how many people out there would be prepared to fork out for such a thing. What I was thinking of would be a set for the rules set out in (www.jump.to/cmp), with 8 suits (swords, coins, staves, cups, clubs, hearts diamonds and spades) plus the 'specials' (The Lady, Death, etc.). The back would be a design based on the coat of arms of the Guild of Gamblers. (See Discworld companion for deatils). If you are interested , please EMail with "cmo cards" in the subject line.
* From: Alexandra Tiganas ( )
I'm writing again from Romania to ask for help from those reading this newsletter. I am in charge of the promotion of the first Discworld book (The Color of Magic) translated in Romania, which will be published in May 2002. I have many ideas but I don't have access to a market research and the printing business is not very professional here. So I'm asking you for some information. Can you e-mail me and tell me how was the series promoted in your country or how was that you came to read Pratchett for the first time. Thank you very much and hope to hear from you soon, Ada
* From: "DickieP" ( )
For all those PTerry fans interested in finding out a little more about the inspiration behind Ankh-Morpork, you could do worse than reading Peter Ackroyd's great book "London The Biography". In it you will find watchmen, a filthy river or two, alchemists, a printer named de Worde, beggars, guilds, city-engulfing fires, a city buit on the remains of itself, ladies of negotiable affection, some familiar turns-of-phrase and much more besides. It is a big book, but enjoyable and relatively light. I kept having to stop reading, saying, "so that's where it came from..."
* From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes" ( )
Judy Conroy wonders whether B.S. Johnson's Hoho in the Patrician's garden is "another Seattle inspiration." I rather doubt it: it is much more likely to have been inspired by the (far more deadly) "murderous haha" which plays a key role in Tom Sharpe's book RIOTOUS ASSEMBLY.
For those who don't know him, by the way, Sharpe is another British humorist, and an excellent candidate for the "What to read while waiting for the new Terry Pratchett?" category. I recommend his deadly funny BLOTT ON THE LANDSCAPE as a good starting point.
* From: "Richard Cook" ( )
Sharla Hardy (Discworld Monthly - issue 56) asks if there is a definitive list of all PTerry's short stories. I don't know if it is 'definitive' but I've just bought a book published by Pocket Essentials on Terry Pratchett and it contains a lot of information on the great man's work, including short works and (of course) Discworld. It cost me 2 GBP from a bookshop but you can get one from the website at www.pocketessentials.com for 3.99GBP. I think. Only 94 pages long but good value. Hope this helps.
DWM replies: also look for details of the Net's premier email newsletter in the back of Pocket Essentials.
4. Birthday Trivia Part 2This is the second instalment of five questions from my birthday trivia quiz. All questions were written by William Barnett so if the answers are wrong, once again blame him.
6) Where in Ankh-Morpork will you find bledlows?
7) Who is Dr Horace Worblehat, B. Thau, D.M. better known as?
8) Which book introduced the Death of Rats?
9) Who play games where you 'Do Not Pass Transcendence but Go Straight to Oblivion'?
10) Name the dwarf who runs a cafe and delicatessen in Cable Street. He has a famously penetrating gaze.
The answers can of course be found in the final section of the newsletter.
5. Review: Blak Yak Theatre - Hogfatherby Chris Solosy ( )
Blak Yak Theatre has done it again, taking Terry Pratchett's words and putting them into the mouths of actors for the public's viewing pleasure. Hogfather, adapted and directed by Nick Donald, was the West Australian-based company's November, 2001 effort in its long-running association with the Discworld. Again, it followed the original novel as faithfully as expected within limitations of the stage. Pratchett's flowing, naturalistic dialogue and well-defined characters were taken verbatim from the book, giving the production a running start.
However, I didn't find this production as entertaining as the previous Blak Yak productions I'd seen (Mort and Guards! Guards!), and I put this down to the choice of material. It was a bold decision in attempting to bring the Discworld version of Christmas to life. It is one of Pratchett's more abstract novels with the underlying themes being the need for human belief and the origins of fantasy, both fairly difficult to translate to the stage.
Then there's Death. Although I like his misguided, though well meaning, attempts to understand humans, the character works better on paper. On stage it's a person with a mask, which isn't all that engaging. In this production, two people played the part (Rachel Connor provided the body with pre-recorded dialogue by Neil MacDonald). The awkward technical aspect brought the risk of confusion if someone messed up a line. It also robbed all Death's scenes of spontaneity. It wouldn't have been so bad if he didn't have such a prominent role. As it was, the Grim Reaper's long musings with his manservant Albert on the festive season became rather static. Admittedly, Death was dressed as the Hogfather (one of Pratchett's more delightfully twisted ideas), but even this and his attempts to recreate the distinctive laugh (HO. HO. HO.) soon wore thin.
That said, some Death scenes did work, particularly gatecrashing the Hogswatch grotto in an Ankh-Morpork department store, which allowed for some barbed comments on festive consumerism.
The Unseen University staff members are good for a laugh on page or on stage and the actors stayed true to the original characters. The funniest scene involved the manifestation of the Cheerful Fairy, who attempts to put a smile on a group of stone faced wizards, only to fail miserably.
Performances were good all round. Tim Edwards was amusing as Bilious and Shenandoah Bruce was also good as the Assassin Teatime.
The play made use of puppets, solving the problem of child characters and providing some cute scenes with the Raven and the Death of Rats.
Apart from the afore-mentioned Death scenes, Hogfather moved at a steady pace, although I probably wouldn't have been able to comprehend the abrupt scene changes and multiple plot strands without knowledge of the book, if not the whole series.
But I'm prepared to overlook the shortcomings. Unless Pratchett's work reaches the international sales figures of certain other fantasy series (you know which ones...) the theatre is the closest fans are likely to get to live action interpretations. In my book, any attempt to bring the Discworld to life is a good attempt.
6. Review: The Burnside Players - Carpe JugulumSent in by Theresa Dolman ( )
Below is an extract from a review in the local paper for Burnside Players production of Carpe Jugulum in Adelaide South Australia.
Director Gerard Ryan presents his third Pratchett play for the Burnside Players. The large ensemble shares 37 characters. For those not familiar with this series. The Expert, played by Rhodri Henry-Edwards, provides some narrative early in the play.
Michael Pole and Megan Dansie head the vampire family with tongue-in-cheek enthusiasm. Jonathon Webb is deliciously seductive as the vampire son and Emma Bradshaw fantastic as the strong-willed, modern daughter.
Reprising her bewitching role from Ryan's previous two Pratchett plays, Theresa Dolman remains the quintessential Granny Weatherwax with Fran Edwards also reprising her role of Nanny Ogg.
Joining the two hags in their quest, Lisa Catinari is charming as the junior witch Agnes Nitt, and Corrie Cupit enchanting as Agnes' alter ego Perdita.
Melanie Roberts, as Queen Magrat, has an expressive face that is priceless, while Brad Martin is painfully prissy as The Quite Reverend Mightily Oats.
As Igor, a deformed servant longing for the old days of lashings and licking boots, Rob Bidstrup is outrageously funny.
Ryan's obvious appreciation for the quirky script keeps the action flowing smoothly over 29 scenes, but he needs to elicit more energy and volume from his cast.
Many of them, including Edwards and Catinari, shuffle from foot to foot when they should be standing still, an irritating and distracting breach of basic stagecraft.
But the plethora of costumes by Megan Dansie, Raechel Carroll and Karen Carlisle, are impressive.
Choreographer AJ Bartley's frightening opening sequence is dark and foreboding, commanding attention immediately as the vampires circle their supper.
And the make-up effects by Janet Hicks are superb, ranging from bloodless faces to a large boil.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
7. Review: Caversham Park Village - Maskeradeby William Barnett
All the Discworld books have some great lines, but often you appreciate them more when you hear them spoken. In the case of Maskerade it was Nanny Ogg reading from the programme at the Opera, 'it says here she's a diver,' that cracked me up this time (diver/diva - geddit?). See what I mean? It's not nearly so funny written down here, but on stage it was hilarious.
The witches have a prominent role in the book and they also proved to be the most memorable characters in the stage adaptation we saw. Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg fitted their roles well, although I felt Granny was too young but I've had the same problem with every theatrical Granny Weatherwax I've seen so far.
Agnes/Perdita Nitt is the heroine, of course, and again, she matched my expectations admirably. Sadly, certain members of the DWM team persisted in nudging each other excitedly whenever she leant forwards in her low-cut opera dress, which distracted from one's aesthetic appreciation of the piece.
This was an amateur production on very limited resources, put on in what looked suspiciously like an infants school, but it was delivered with enthusiasm. The cast were able to present excellent scenes such as inside the coach en route to Lancre and in the box at the Opera. Computer graphics were used imaginatively for scenery by projecting the images onto the stage
Nanny raised a laugh simply by twitching a ridiculous toy Greebo. Our editor thought Greebo was quite sexy - the human-shaped one, not the soft toy. I should also mention he was played by a woman in this production. (From this we may conclude that our Ed is attracted by transvestites wearing eye-patches but you probably already figured as much.)
A couple of nice touches included Nanny's announcement of the interval, made in character: 'we'd like a drink and a bite now, and I expect you would too.' Walter Plinge deserves a mention for his excellent portrayal of Walter's gawky awkwardness. I was also touched to learn that the daughter of the actress playing Granny was sitting directly behind me (this became apparent from her excited remarks to, we presume, her Grandparents when her Mum was due on stage).
All in all a cheap, entertaining evening. Main gripe: no chilled beer.
8. The End* Contact Information *
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* Birthday Triva Results *
Q6) Where in Ankh-Morpork will you find bledlows?
A6) Unseen University (they're the porters)
Q7) Who is Dr Horace Worblehat, B. Thau, D.M. better known as?
A7) The Librarian
Q8) Which book introduced the Death of Rats?
A8) Reaper Man
Q9) Who play games where you 'Do Not Pass Transcendence but Go Straight to Oblivion'?
A9) The gods
Q10) Name the dwarf who runs a cafe and delicatessen in Cable Street. He has a famously penetrating gaze.
A10) Gimlet ('eyes like Gimlet's' - geddit?)
* Obtaining Terry's Books *
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