Discworld Monthly - Issue 101: September 2005
Table of Contents:
3. Readers' Letters
5. Clarecraft Discworld Event 2005
6. Bonsai Trading Competition
7. Thud US & UK Tour Dates
8. Review: Wyrd Sisters - The Minack Theatre - Cornwall
9. Article: The Military Tuba.
10. The End
Due to the huge success of our recent offer with Aurient Traders on their remaining Thud sets we are now able to offer the three portrait heads, Death, The Librarian and Rincewind (based on Paul Kidby's paintings) for only 9.95GBP each plus 4.00GBP postage, or you can purchase all three for only 29.85GBP (including postage). As with our previous Thud offer this will only be available for a short time due to limited stock levels.
To take advantage of this offer search for "Discworld Monthly Offer" at www.ebay.co.uk
This month I have got my grubby hands on a proof of Thud! Expect a review of Terry's next Discworld book next month. There will be a US proof copy of Thud up for auction at the Wadfest camping event at the beginning of the month if you want to get your hands on a limited proof copy.
I also visited an excellent local production of The Truth performed by KATS (www.kats.org.uk). Again a review will appear in next month's issue.
If you read the title of a recent article on the BBC's website "Pratchett takes swipe at Rowling" you would think that Terry had done a "Prescott" on the Harry Potter author. However, with a little research it would appear that nothing could be further from the truth.
Whilst the BBC decided that Terry's recent letter to the Sunday Times was an attack on J K Rowling it would appear that it was in fact an attack on sloppy journalism. But as Terry later put in a post on a Harry Potter forum - "out there now, I believe, are various morphs of the BBC piece, with extra venom. You don't have to think about it, just react. 'Pratchett Attacks Journalist' just would not be as much fun. Every story needs a villain, right?"
What made Terry write to The Times was the current view of ill-informed journalists who are of the opinion that fantasy was on its last legs and that J K Rowling has single-handedly rejuvenated the fantasy genre. In his letter Terry stated: "WHY IS it felt that the continued elevation of J K Rowling can only be achieved at the expense of other writers (Mistress of Magic, News Review, last week)? Now we learn that prior to Harry Potter the world of fantasy was plagued with 'knights and ladies morris-dancing to Greensleeves.'"
The closest Terry came to attacking J K Rowling in any way was his response to her claim that she didn't realise she was writing a fantasy novel [The Philosophers Stone] until it was finished. Terry's response, in typical tongue in cheek form, read: "I would have thought that the wizards, witches, trolls, unicorns, hidden worlds, jumping chocolate frogs, owl mail, magic food, ghosts, broomsticks and spells would have given her a clue?"
Hopefully now that Terry has explained his views publicly and some of the more excitable Harry Potter fans have calmed down a bit we can all move on. And maybe some of the ill-informed journalists will take a little time to do some research. They may even enjoy some of it.
Jason Anthony (Editor)
William Barnett (Deputy Editor)
Richard Massey (Fire Stopper)
If you live in the US you can vote for Terry until September 15 at
Snowgum Films, the makers of the Troll Bridge movie, have added some new images of Mica to their members section. Members can now download a special quicktime 360 degrees rotational image of the troll. More details and information about how to become a member visit www.snowgumfilms.com
This section will contain events that you need to keep in your diary. Entries will remain until they go out of date. New entries will include the word [New] next to them. If this section gets too large we will start pruning entries.
[UK] Wadfest 2005 will take place over the weekend of the 2nd to 5th September 2005 at a new campsite. More details can be found at the Wadfest website www.wadfest.co.uk
[UK] Lords and Ladies will be performed by the Exit Theatre Company from the 15th-17th September at 8pm with a Matinee Sat. 17th Sept. at 2pm at the Croydon Clocktower, Braithwaite Hall, Katharine Street, Central Croydon CR9 1ET
Tickets: 8 GBP / 5.50 GBP concs. available from the Clocktower box office on: 020 8253 1030
More information is available at www.exit-theatre.co.uk
[UK] Taunton Thespians will be performing Wyrd Sisters at the Taachi-Morris Arts Centre, School Road Taunton Somerset TA2 8PD from September 20th - 24th with a Matinee on the 24th.
Shows start at 7.30 pm and 2.30 pm for the matinee. Ticket prices are 5.00 GBP with concessions 4.00 GBP. During the school holidays tickets are available from Taunton Tourist Information Centre as the school Box Office is not always manned. Some further details are available at the groups website, www.tauntonthespians.com
Box Office 01823 414144.
[UK, NEW] Maskerade will be performed by the Peacock Players at The Beaufoy Theatre, City of London School, London from Thurs 22 - Sat 24 September 2005. Tickets are available on 01737 845421. More information can be found at
[UK, NEW] Terry will be speaking at this year's Cheltenham Literature Festival, on Saturday 15th October at the Everyman Theatre (4-5pm). Details can be found at www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/
[UK] Maskerade will be performed by St.Julians School, Newport, Gwent on 8th, 9th and 10th November 2005. Tickets 5 GBP or 3 GBP concession. Tickets from 01633 224490
[UK, NEW] RoCo Dramatic Society will be performing Wyrd Sisters on the 24th, 25th and 26th November at The Church Hall, St Andrews Church, Shaftesbury Ave, Roundhay, Leeds times to be announced.
More information on the RoCo Dramatic Society can be found at
[UK, NEW] Behind The Mask - Discworld Convention 2006. A glorious four-day weekend where fans of Terry Pratchett can get together, relax, enjoy each other's company, meet Terry and the other guests, attend some (or many) of the scores of programme events, and generally Have A Good Time...
Location: Hinckley Island Hotel, Hinckley, Leicestershire,UK
Guest of Honour: Terry Pratchett
Other Guests: Stephen Briggs, Bernard Pearson, Trevor Truran, Colin Smythe, Ian Stewart, Jack Cohen, Diane Duane, Peter Morwood, David Langford, Lionel Fanthorpe
Membership: Full attending 45GBP (50GBP after 31st August '05), Concessions: 30GBP (35GBP), Supporting: 15GBP (20GBP), Child Free
Contact: Discworld Convention 2006, P.O. Box 102, Royston, Herts, SG8 7ZJ, UK
Accommodation: Hinckley Island Hotel, Hinckley, Leicestershire, UK
[AU, Updated] Nullus Anxietas: The Australian Discworld Convention, Melbourne 2007 - Anyone who signs up for a membership by the end of September goes into the draw for the very first print of a wonderful Discworld - inspired painting by local artist Sarah Kinder, along with a t-shirt. The t-shirts can also be purchased from both our website (
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.
Karen Screen writes: My apologies to anyone who contacted me for the 3-D cards, unfortunately due to circumstances out of my control I've been unable to make any for a while, (I broke my arm). The good news is I'm getting better and will be starting them up again soon. If people out there have pictures that they would like made into 3-D then send them in an email to me. Apologies again.
Susan Hamilton writes: I'm a big fan of Terry Pratchett and because of this my son picked up a copy of a PC game called 'Discworld Noir' even though I'm not into computer games. He is and has tried to play this game but he can't work out the clues, he's not a reader!!!
I just thought that someone who is into TP and computer games might be interested in this particular game. If you can point me in the right direction to finding a home for it I'd appreciate it as I've no idea where to start.
Richard writes: Please can someone help me locate used copies of - Art of Discworld and/or Discworld Companion in or around Ashford, Kent or London.
Be Cky writes: I was wondering if there are any Discworld/Pratchett fan clubs in Canada. I am an obsessed fan, and, much to my dismay, have only come across a handful of people who have actually heard of him. If you know of a fan club local to me or live in Toronto and are interested in starting one, maybe you can contact me.
Rob Weir writes: It's now possible to get the vast majority of the Discworld series and much else besides through www.audible.co.uk
Audible's been going in the US for a while, and now the UK site has launched as well - and the Discworld books as far as Night Watch are all available. You can purchase them as one offs, or if you can be a bit more patient go for one of their monthly subscription offers - I've gone for two audiobooks a month for 15 GBP. The format is Audible's own, and won't work on many MP3 Players - but all iPod users are fine, and at the time of writing Audible were even offering an iPod Shuffle 512MB for just delivery cost in return for a year's subscription! It's even possible to burn them to Audio CD, although I did find their software more than a little fiddly.
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 to confuse, obscure and negate their meanings.
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.
The best letter of the month will receive a Kiss the Cook print supplied by Bonsai Trading. Bonsai Trading is the Discworld store that brings you Clarecraft figurines, diaries & calendars, Thud and much more.
* From: "Gaenor Mallender"
In reply to Billy from Bulgaria, who wanted to hear some readers' thoughts on the character of Lord Vetinari (and believe me, I have plenty of those...)
Lord Vetinari is often likened to Niccolo Machiavelli, author of The Prince and reputed champion of the maxim "the end justifies the means", but this comparison has long since ceased to be adequate: Lord Vetinari has outgrown the standardized Machiavellian villain. Although he is undoubtedly a despot, Lord Vetinari is a benevolent dictator, a political philosophy which has its roots in his passionate devotion to the city; in Going Postal in particular, Lord Vetinari was an active champion of the underdog in his efforts to curb a dangerous and counterproductive monopoly of an important city service.
In these latest Discworld novels, Lord Vetinari has come to resemble
Plato's philosopher-kings, those members of the cognoscenti or
learned elite who ruled because they were the most qualified to do
so. It was Plato who penned the ship analogy so often quoted - see
William de Worde's discussion with Lord Vetinari on this subject in
The Truth. Like Lord Vetinari, Plato's rulers devoted their lives to extensive study of various disciplines such as literature, music, and of course philosophy; Lord Vetinari's training as an assassin equates with the fifteen years of military service expected of Plato's philosopher-kings.
Reacher Gilt clearly represents the tyranny of the free market when it is neither regulated nor subject to government intervention, but it is Lord Vetinari who is painted as the tyrant. Frankly, Havelock Vetinari can be my angel any time he likes!
DWM replies: Gaenor gets this month's Letter of the Month.
* From: "Miss. Susan Sto-Helit"
In answer to van Straeten's letter last issue, I just wanted to say that the horse featured in A Hat Full of Sky is Uffington White Horse. I understand that Uffington is a (quite chalky) town in England.
You can find some beautiful pictures searching for "uffington horse" in Google Images.
*From: "Mary Jackson"
My grateful thanks to ISIS Audio Books and Terry for allowing his books back onto Audible.com.
I was sick the past year (viral pneumonia), severe sinusitis (eventually surgery), and I was for the most part miserable for about 18 months. Terry, Discworld, Nigel Planer and Stephen Briggs kept me (somewhat) sane through all of this. Nigel and Stephen's voices kept me company through many long nights, now when I hear either of them it's like hearing an old friend.
If ISIS ever has problems with illegal copying, they can contact me and I'll personally throttle the person involved, or throw them off the edge of the world, or give him/her to the Luggage, or hand him over to the Librarian, with a damaged book in hand...
Thanks to Terry who lightened my life.
Always looking forward to the next Discworld!
* From: "Simon Woolhead"
I recently went on holiday to France, the Touraine region. The town of Amboise there has a small chateau called Chateau du Clos-Luce. This is where Leonardo da Vinci spent the last three years of his life - paid for by the King of France at that time, Francois the 1st, because the king liked to 'hear Leonardo speak'. Clos-Luce has many light and airy rooms, but Leonardo was free to leave and received many visitors (philosophers, artists, etc.) at the house. There is, though, one much more telling fact: just like Vetinari, Francois had built a secret passage connecting his residence in Amboise with Clos-Luce, so he could visit Leonard secretly to get away from the demands of the court.
The Chateau is brilliantly preserved, and the cellar houses several replicas of Leonard's machines, even the bicycle. The site is at www.clos-luce.com.
* From: "Kate Fletcher"
A Web site with a tarot deck (all cards viewable, not selling anything) full of Discworld characters. As I say on the site, I have no drawing ability and so the cards are made up with very shaky Photoshopping of the actors I reckon would be good at playing those characters. Without wanting to bring up the whole 'Who should play the Discworld?' question again, someone (other than me) may be interested. The cards all have fairly authentic interpretations for those who are interested in trying them as actual tarot cards.
The link is:
* From: "Paul Milward"
This is just a letter requesting the opinions of some of the other Discworld fans who read Discworld Monthly on something I have just noticed re-reading Night Watch. I've read the book a few times and never noticed it before, and maybe it was obvious to others, but is the event that caused Vimes to go back in time the same event that caused the stoppage of time in Thief of Time?
When the lightning bolt occurs in Night Watch it is said that "...the bolt of lightning hit a clockmaker's shop in the Street of Cunning Artificers, stopping all the clocks at that instant." I thought that this reflected the events in Thief of Time. Also Lu-Tze says to Qu that "It wasn't his (Vimes's) fault we had the major temporal shattering just as he fell through the dome."
Other readers probably made this connection straight away but it has only just occurred to me and I was just wondering if this was just a coincidence in the different stories.
* From: "Dave"
My 77 year old mother's review of the recent production of Maskerade in Newcastle:
On July 14th the People's Theatre at Jesmond was packed with Pterry devotees, ranging in age from sub-teens to near dotage, all willing to suspend disbelief. Witches and an operatic tenor swaying in an imaginary coach? We believed it. Walter Plinge transformed from habitual cringe to duelling hero? We cheered him on. A salzella full of Swash and Buckle and an Enrico Basilico full of food, a stoic Agnes (Perdita X) Nitt, with magnificent projection and a lovely personality - indubitably. A twirling and frequently swooning Christine (I do trust you didn't hurt yourself dear?) all aflutter with stupidity - excellent! And throughout, our beloved Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg - who did not attempt the hedgehog song! - whose cat Greebo morphed into a splendid eye-patched Bandit uttering a fearsome Wrowll. Two appropiately inept Watchmen and even a bunch of dead roses. For three hours we had inhabited the Discworld and not a turtle or an elephant in sight. Delighted audience, great ovation.
* From: "Ant"
Uberwald is the German translation of Over the Forest or Trans-Sylvania. This was a province in central Roumania, called in German "Siebenburgen". This place is traditionally associated with vampires, werewolves, and other creatures of that ilk. Of course, places like Bonk do sound a bit as if they were situated in the Black Forest - all that wooden fretwork and stuff!
* From: "Andy Bird"
Was very, very sad to here of the demise of Clarecraft.
I cannot help but wonder that their downturn in demand is linked to the recent Lord of the Rings films.
I know that there are many fans of both Discworld and Tolkien and there has been a lot of collectables and memorabilia from the films which, particularly if my situation is anything to go by, has led to a lot of outgoing expense meaning no money left for Discworld.
The Lord of the Rings film interests are rapidly coming to an end so that people would have more money available for other purchases.
I am thinking that Clarecraft may be a bit premature in pulling the plug as an upturn may have been just around the corner.
Only an opinion on a sad situation.
* From: "Paul Barlow"
My name is Paul Barlow, I'm an avid reader of the books and a student film maker at the University of Waikato. I'm currently working on a project where we get an online audience to vote on the elements of the film, then we go and make the movie and give it back to them to see if that's what they wanted.
Sorry to say polling has finished, but what came through was a strong Discworld theme, which pops up a lot during the opening. So in an effort to make the movie better received by Pratchett fans I've included one character from one of the books (with the permission of Mr Pratchett of course). So now I'm looking for volunteers to be used as test subjects - given a free test screening of the rough cut and using that feedback to create the finished version of the movie. If you want to know more, or try to guess the character or get involved, then visit www.freewebs.com/letsmakeamovie - it's free, which is always nice.
* From: "Alexander Shapiro"
This description from Light Fantastic:
"The only furnishing in the room was a lectern of dark wood, carved into the shape of a bird - well, to be frank, into the shape of a winged thing it is probably best not to examine too closely - and on the lectern, fastened to it by a heavy chain covered in padlocks, was a book."
This reminds about the question that the Hatter asks in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland:
"Why is a raven like a writing-desk?"
- What prominent Uberwaldian went to school with Lady Sybil?
- What organ jar did King Teppicymon XXVII first encounter after "waking up"?
- What is Count Notfaroutoe's proper name and what trade does he ply?
- Who is the recipient of a coffee airdrop by Buggy?
- What was Biers known as in the "old days"?
The results, as always, appear at the end of this issue.
The first ever Clarecraft Discworld event took place in 1995 and this year's Clarecraft event took place almost exactly to the day 10 years later. Sadly we later found out it was to be the last Clarecraft event.
Rumours of Clarecraft's demise abounded at the event but nothing was announced until a few days after the end of the event. Trish, Sally and Andy once again pulled out all the stops to make this an event to remember even though they must have been under immense pressure to say something.
For me the Clarecraft events get better and better each time. As I have found more and more Discworld friends I have become less involved with the organised events and more involved with spending time in great company.
I arrived early evening on the Friday of the event - just in time to miss the trader's barn. So we immediately set to erecting the tent and then drove into the local village for supplies. Once we completed the shopping run we headed for the bar and soon drank it dry of cider. After deciding there was nothing left for me to do at the bar I headed back to the campsite and my ready supply of cider - where I spent the rest of the evening talking and drinking with friends.
Saturday started much earlier then we would have liked when Dave Hodges turned up in his not very quiet van at 6:45 in the morning. After a couple of cups of tea and a bacon sandwich I was ready to start the day proper.
I then headed down to the trader's barn where many of the usual suspects (ie Bernard, Clarecraft, BVE, Wadfest, Mark Ayling and Dave Hodges) had tables setup. Notable by their absence were Rob Wilkins and Sandra Kidby (whom I am assured were away on holiday) and Bonsai Trading - I later found John Pagan enjoying the event as a fan rather than as a trader.
As Saturday is the main day of the event most activities were planned - these included the ever popular paint your own (where some people appeared never to leave), Live Watch Out (arranged by the ever resourceful Dave Hodges), a signing session by Terry and Stephen Briggs and a Q&A session with Terry (which was slightly marred by a poorly setup PA).
After the Q&A session was the Maskerade, where against previous assurances by myself I joined in, but only, I might add, to wind up Bernard. His shout of "You Ba***ards" confirmed it worked. Some of the costumes (unlike mine) were really amazing.
Whilst the judges went off to deliberate the winners, we were treated to an excellent Magic show by Lupine the magician.
The judges returned and the winners were announced (Sadly somehow I was missed out) and all the entrants were asked back on stage for a photo shoot. Everyone that took part was given a shilling in line with the Monstrous Regiment event theme.
When it got dark a band called "The Red Hot Radiators" took to the stage and played a couple of hours of cover tunes.
Rumours of bad weather heading towards the event were finally confirmed when it started to rain really heavily at 12:45am. At this point, suitably drunk, we called it a night.
Sunday morning couldn't have been any more different from Saturday. It was so cold we all ended up in jumpers and coats and huddled around a bar-b-que we converted to a fire. Later in the morning the weather warmed up and we were able to dismantle the tent.
At 2pm the charity auction took place. There were quite a few lots but some of the highlights were Terry's personal and only copy of Where's My Cow released before October, a roll in a future book which the winner John Hicks explained he could afford because he had just sold his house (there's dedication for you) - I'll see him at KATS next week and will ask him if he still thought it was a good idea. A very limited edition Cheery Littlebottom Clarecraft piece also sold for around 600GBP. At the end the auction raised around 4000 GBP for the Orangutan Foundation.
Once the auction was over we all went though the painful process of making our goodbyes - this was made less awkward because we will all be meeting up again in a few weeks at Wadfest.
Since the event Clarecraft have officially announced they are closing down. This is really sad because even if you were not a big fan of their products the events were excellent fun. A large space will be clear in many Discworld fans' events diaries every other year. I would like to thank all at Clarecraft for making us fans feel so welcome at the events. Clarecraft will be sorely missed.
Bonsai Trading (
bonsai.discworldmonthly.org/) are pleased to
announce the addition of a great new range of Discworld Jewellery to
The 'Stanley Howler Jewellery Range' has been produced by Barrie
www.jewellerybybarrie.co.uk) under the ever guiding
hand of Bernard Pearson (www.artificer.co.uk), and contains a
great selection of Silver Jewellery based around the Stanley Howler
The range includes: Badge (large and small), Brooch, Cufflinks (large and small), Pendant, Tie/Money Slide, and Tube Pendants (containing a Discworld stamp!) - with prices starting from just 12 GBP!
More information, and pictures of the 'Stanley Howler Jewellery
Range' can be found in the Jewellery section (oddly enough) of
Bonsai Trading now - just click this link
bonsai.discworldmonthly.org/ to visit the site and start
Finished drooling? Ok - now to get your hands on a Stanley Howler Tube Pendant absolutely FREE (and as we know you MUST be a stamp fan, we'll throw in a 'Little Brown Envelope' as well), you need to enter this month's competition and keep those drool-soaked fingers crossed.
To enter answer this mind-numbingly simple question:
Question: What is the name of the Terry Pratchett book that started the 'Discworld Stamps' phenomenon?
Send your answer to by 23rd September. All the correct entries will be placed in a hat, and one lucky winner will receive this rather exclusive prize. The winner will be announced next issue.
Tuesday Sept 13, 7 PM EDT
Olsson's, 2111 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22201
Wednesday Sept 14, 7:00 PM EDT
Borders's, 1 S. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19107
Thursday Sept 15, 7:00 PM EDT
Barnes & Noble, 1972 Broadway at 66th St., New York, NY 10023
Friday Sept 16, 12:30 PM EDT
Yale Bookshop, 77 Broadway, New Haven, CT 06511
Fri Sept 16, 7 PM EDT
Harvard Bookshop, Askwith Hall, Longfellow Hall, 13 Appian Way Harvard Square, Cambridge MA 02138
Saturday Sept 17, 7:30 PM MDT
Tattered Cover, 1628 16th St., Denver, CO 80202
Sunday Sept 18, 2:30 PM PDT
Capitola Book Cafe, 1475 41st Avenue, Santa Cruz CA 95010
Mon Sept 19 - OFF
Tuesday Sept 20 7:30 PM PDT
Kepler's, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA 94025
Wednesday Sept 21, 7:00 PM PDT
Cody's, 2454 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley CA 94704
Thursday Sept 22, 7:00 PM PDT
The Booksmith, 1644 Haight Street, San Francisco CA 94117
Friday Sept 23, 7:00 PM PDT
Vroman's, 695 E. Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena CA 91101
Saturday, Sept 24 2:30 PM PDT
Mysterious Galaxy, 7051 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, San Diego CA 92111
Sunday Sept 25, 3:00 PM PDT
Barnes & Noble, 7700 NE 4th Plain Boulevard, Vancouver, WA 98662
Monday Sept 26, 7:00 PM PDT
University Bookstore, 4326 University Way NE, Seattle WA 98105
Tuesday Sept 27, 6:00 PM PDT
Third Place Books, 17171 Bothell Way NE, Lake Forest Park, WA 98155
Terry will then tour the UK during October at the following locations:
Waterstones (Birmingham), 24-26 High Street Birmingham 020 8996 3429
Peak Bookshop, Chesterfield 01246 297383
WHSmith (Liverpool), 10-16 Church Street Liverpool 01793 562405
Waterstones (Deansgate, Manchester), 91 Deansgate Manchester 07771 810253
Part of Cheltenham Literary Festival Cheltenham Festival, 16:00 01242 251536
Bookstack (Eastbourne), Unit 67/68 Arndale Centre Eastbourne 01323 430554
Easons (Dublin), O'Connell Street Dublin 00 353 1 858 3800
Easons (Belfast), Donnegall Place Belfast 02890 338070
Ottakars (Salisbury), 9 New Canal Salisbury 16:00 01722 414060
Forbidden Planet (Shaftesbury Ave), 179 Shaftesbury Avenue London 020 7803 1823
At The Minack Theatre on the cliffs of Porthcurno, Cornwall.
From Monday 25th. to Friday 29th. July 2005 at 8.00pm - Matinees Wednesday & Friday at 2.00pm.
With all of the five nights and two matinees long booked out and in spite of almost continuous light rain, the Minack's 750 seats were full for the Wednesday afternoon performance of this popular Stephen Briggs adaptation of Terry Pratchett's tale of magic and intrigue. Directed with a light touch by Mike Sellers, there has probably never been a more suitable venue for the play - or vice versa - set as it is in the rain lashed mountains of the Ramtops. But nothing deterred the cast or their audience as the story unfolded. From the 'death' of King Verence to the crowning of his son Verence the Fool we sat encased in waterproofs, enthralled.
The popular King Verence is killed by the wicked Duke Felmet and his evil wife, leaving his ghost to walk the castle. A loyal servant smuggles the baby heir away and into the 'safe' hands of three witches, Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick. In turn, they find a safe home for him with a band of strolling actors.
The cruelty of the Duke and Duchess causes distress throughout the land, but worse, the land itself becomes discontent. In spite of there being magic everywhere in Lancre, returning the child heir to his rightful position proves tricky - even for witches. Then Nanny Ogg does some 'serious' dungeon time. Magrat falls in love with the Duke's Fool. Time is given a big push forwards by Granny Weatherwax on her stuttering broomstick Finally, the strolling actors' 'play within a play', brings all the principles together for a 'showdown' with the Duke and Duchess, so that everything can be happily resolved.
The Players showed their history and dedication, with this bright production. The leading actors were superbly supported by an essentially young band of extras. To select individuals for special mention would detract from the ensemble nature of the performance. However special mention must be made of Jan Hilditch, perfect as the 'flighty' Magrat, Denise McGregor the haughty Esme Weatherwax and the wonderful Sam Hill as 'naughty' Nanny Ogg. They were ably supported by the excellent Nick Green as a preposterous Fool, Nick Pennington the whingeing Duke and Joanne Button his 'disgusting' wife. There were also lovely cameos from Tony Wade as Hwel the playwright with a Brummie accent and Andrew Leggott as the Leader of the strolling players. A special mention is deserved for Patrick Hebbert as 'Death', who added a new skill to his repertoire as he scaled the Minack Theatre's 'up's and down's' on stilts.
No praise can be enough for this excellent Company, who had travelled so far to entertain. The best way might be to observe that as the second half came to an end with a Coronation of the young King Verence, the rain finely stopped.
Last month Pete Hartman wrote: "I'd just as soon play games on my phone as I would shoot rabbits with a tuba".
This got David Newling thinking and the result is this amazing history of The Military Tuba.
The tuba was once the foremost weapon in any arsenal. Innocent but deadly the six valve tuba could deliver a range of ordnance making it a fearsome weapon in the wrong hands.
The six valve (an upgrade from the earlier three valve) can be used as a man portable (known as the sousaphone) or towed in the artillery role. It replaced the older three valve which could only be used in the static role.
The tuba was banned under the general Orchestra non-proliferation treaty of 1904. Whilst illegal to own an unmodified unit many are known to be in private hands that have been modified to fire only small calibre rounds (sub .22) suitable for hunting rats and rabbits. There has been anxiety expressed that these sub calibre tubas could be reinstated to take the original ordnance but the absence of anyone with the capacity to recreate it makes this wholly unlikely.
Of the available ordnance before the treaty was signed perhaps the most destructive was the centre fire squash head 3 pound artillery round. Known as the "Be Flat" this destructive hollow round was designed for use against fortified positions and was later upgraded by using depleted harmonium as an infill for greater penetration. In the mortar configuration it was able to fire the short range "De-miner" as an anti tunnelling round but the brass bands holding the casing in place would often part making it as dangerous to fire as to receive. In its shoulder high configuration the 2.2 rocket propelled grenade was not a winner as operators invariably developed the "Tuba cringe" when the guide stick jammed in the rail between the 5th and 6th vent valves.
All in all although a most fearsome weapon. Armies that deployed it were glad to have it withdrawn and it has now been reduced to a footnote in weaponry history.
Please assure the minister that none are now held by the arsenal and that all ordnance was destroyed in 1906.
We prefer information to be sent via email, but can accept information via fax or post at the following addresses:
Post: J Anthony (DWM), 86 Bruce Road, Woodley, Berkshire, RG5 3DZ
* Latest Book Information *
Discworld paperback: Monstrous Regiment 0552149411/87
Discworld hardback: Going Postal 0385603428/87
Next Discworld hardback (October 2005): Thud! 0385608675/87
Discworld Young Adult paperback: The Wee Free Men 0552549053/87
Discworld Young Adult hardback: A Hat Full of Sky 0385607369/87
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* Disc Trivia Results *
- What prominent Uberwaldian went to school with Lady Sybil?
- Baroness Serafine Von Uberwald
- What organ jar did King Teppicymon XXVII first encounter after "waking up"?
- Brains (probably... he had no eyes at the time and "semolina doesn't squidge like that...")
- What is Count Notfaroutoe's proper name and what trade does he ply?
- Arthur Winkings / Wholesale fruit and vegtable
- Who is the recipient of a coffee airdrop by Buggy?
- What was Biers known as in the "old days"?
- The Crown and Axe.
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