Discworld Monthly - Issue 163: November 2010
Table of Contents:
3. Readers' Letters
5. Article: The Clown Story
6. Competition Reminder: DVD Box Set
7. The End
Welcome to issue 163. I should start by apologising for the lateness of this month's issue. I was out of the country on holiday with my family, with little access to any technology more advanced than our six-year-old digital camera.
It was nice to have a complete break from technology but it's also great to be back.
Trinity College Dublin has recently announced the appointment of Sir Terry Pratchett as an Adjunct Professor in their School of English and Oscar Wilde Centre and are offering tickets to see Terry's inaugural speech on 4th November 2010.
http://pjsmprints.com/news/ for all the details.
It looks like Australian fans who get UKTV Australia will be able to see Going Postal this Christmas. Part 1 is due to be broadcast on Christmas Eve at 8:30pm and the concluding part is due to be shown on Christmas Day at the same time.
There doesn't appear to be much information about this on the
channel's website yet:
The Houthe of Igor has now officially closed its order book. The remaining beathtieth will be coming to Hogswatch in Wincanton at the end of the month including the last ever Beathty Folk and the last ever limited edition Beathty. Don't forget, Hogswatch will be your last chance to buy a Beathty.
Don't forget, if you visit a play or a talk and would like to let the world know about it, please feel free to email your review to and we will consider it for publication.
Jason Anthony (Editor)
William Barnett (Deputy Editor)
Richard Massey (Grumpy Old Gamer)
Routledge journals recently recorded a podcast at the Discworld Convention in Birmingham of Sir Terry in discussion with Jacqueline Simpson (who co-authored his book "The Folklore of Discworld"). In the podcast (which is of some length!) Sir Terry and Jacqueline discuss Folklore, history and the impact this has had on his life and writing.
To listen to the first part of the podcast visit: http://discworldmonthly.co.uk?redir=PODCAST163
Terry's coat of arms and description can be found in The College of Arms newsletter number 26 at: http://discworldmonthly.co.uk?redir=ARMS163
The description reads:
The Arms are blazoned: Sable an ankh between four Roundels in saltire each issuing Argent.
The Crest is Upon a Helm with a Wreath Argent and Sable On Water Barry wavy Sable Argent and Sable an Owl affronty wings displayed and inverted Or supporting thereby two closed Books erect Gules.
Terry has been awarded one of the three World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Awards for 2010 (the other recipients being Brian Lumley and Peter Straub). The award was presented on 31 October at the World Fantasy Con in Columbus, Ohio.
Further details about the Awards can be found at http://www.worldfantasy.org/awards/
Stephen King's agent, Ralph Vicinanza, recently died at the age of 60. Ralph was also involved in getting Terry published in the US. http://discworldmonthly.co.uk?redir=RALPH163
The US military are trying to make million to one shots happen nine times out of ten with their investment into One Shot Technology.
In an article titled 'Terry Pratchett computer sniper-scope deal inked', The Register describes the new sniper technology.
There is an interesting review of I Shall Wear Midnight at: http://discworldmonthly.co.uk?redir=MIDNIGHT163
Hot off the rumour mill is the news that Disney may be looking to adapt MORT in a couple of years time. According to Latino Review the adaptation could be coming from directors Ron Clements and John Musker who last released The Princess and the Frog and are about to release Pooh in 2011.
More details at: http://discworldmonthly.co.uk?redir=MORT163
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.
[AU] The Brisbane Arts Theatre will be performing Going Postal from October 30 - November 20, 2010, including a special Halloween performance!
Tickets cost Adults - 27 AUD, Concession - 22 AUD, Members - 17 AUD, Opening night - 37 AUD (includes supper and drink), Halloween Performance 40 AUD (includes supper and drinks + Halloween party)
BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL: 3369 2344 or http://www.artstheatre.com.au
[UK] The Thalian Theatre Company will be performing Carpe Jugulum from 10th to 13th November 2010 at the Mirren Studio, Towngate Theatre, Basildon, Essex. Tickets are 10 GBP (8 GBP concessions). For any further information, or to book tickets please call 01268 288114, or email
[UK] The Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham will be performing Carpe Jugulum from 11th - 13th November 2010 with a matinee production on the 13th.
Performances start at 19:45 Thursday and Friday, and then 14:30 and 20:00 on Saturday.
Tickets cost 7.50 GBP (6.00 GBP Concessions)
More information at:
[US, New] Nov 11, 12, 13, 18, 19 at 7:30 and Nov 14 and 20 at 2pm: Maskerade by Terry Pratchett, adaptation by Stephen Briggs, directed by Jerry Jaffe
Tickets are free to all Lake Erie College students, staff and faculty; general admission is 5 dollars.
[UK, New] Braintree Dramatic Society are performing Wyrd Sisters on
the 18th, 19th and a matinee and evening on the 20th of November in
Braintree Essex. Tickets cost 6.50 GBP and 5.50 GBP for concessions.
We are a small but enthusiastic group and I hope I have done justice
to one of my favourite of pterry's books! To order tickets please
visit our website
phone 07918181976. Groups of ten or more ordering over the phone get
one ticket free. Also available over the phone is our family ticket
(2 adults + 2 children) for 22 GBP.
[AU, Updated] The Drummers Downunder, the Sydney sister of the Broken Drummers, will have their next meeting on Monday 6th December from 7pm at Maloneys on the corner of Pitt and Goulburn Streets (across the road from World Square), Sydney, Australia. Visitors to Sydney are also very welcome. For more information please contact Sim Lauren
[UK, Updated] The Broken Drummers is a London Discworld Group that meets once a month on a Monday evening. Membership is free - just come along. New members and visitors to London are both welcome and encouraged.
The next meeting will be on Monday 6th December at The Monkey Puzzle, Paddington, London, W2 1JQ.
[UK, New] Wick Theatre Company will be performing Maskerade from 8th to 11th December 2010 at 7:45pm with a matinee on the 11th December at 2:30pm.
Tickets cost 9.50 GBP and 10.50GBP (Matinee costs 7.50GBP).
Tickets can be purchased at http://www.wicktheatre.co.uk or on 01273 597094.
The show will take place at: The Barn Theatre, Southwick Street, Southwick, BN42 4JE.
[AU] This Christmas UKTV in Australia is featuring the brand new adaptation of Going Postal.
The two feature-length episodes will be on UKTV in prime time at 8.30pm Christmas Eve, concluding 8.30 Christmas Day. If you don't have pay TV find a friend who has because this is not to be missed!
[AU, Updated] The third Australian Discworld Convention will be held on 8th, 9th and 10th April 2011 at the Penrith Panthers conference centre in Penrith, NSW. Places ARE limited so register now!
Terry has confirmed he is coming and more special guests are to be announced soon.
Keep checking in at http://ausdwcon.org/ The website has been updated with hotel information, Guilds and lots more.
Volunteers needed. Contact (no mimes - by order of the Patrician). If you would like to help us publicise the convention contact
[NL] The first Dutch Discworld Convention takes place at Hotel NH Atlanta in Rotterdam on 28th - 29th May 2011.
Contact details: www.dutchdwcon.nl
For further information contact:
[US] NADWCon2011 planning is underway. The dates of the new con will be July 7-12, 2011, and the location will be the Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor's Club, in Madison, Wisconsin.
[DE] The German Discworld Convention 2011 will take place from 30th September to 3rd October 2011. Assassins will roam the halls of Castle Bilstein but they promise not to harm visitors of the 3rd German Discworld Convention during that time (except when contracted).
Registration has now started and there is an early booker gift if you register before the end of this year.
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.
Larissa writes: I have a copy of Discworld Noir I would like to sell. It is in good condition but will not run on my Mac. It is the PC version. Runs reasonably well on Windows XP or earlier, but will not run on Windows 7. Comes with guide book. Price is just shipping. Contact me if interested.
3. Readers' Letters
If you have any letters or comments, please email them to
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 using the ROT13 cypher.
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.
* From: "Jacqueline Simpson"
Terry explains his sources for Monstrous Regiment in the book he and I wrote together, The Folklore of Discworld. There are several folksongs on the topic, perhaps the most famous being 'Sweet Polly Oliver'. Historically, there is plenty of documentation that cross-dressing women really did go to war, especially in the 18th and 19th centuries; some books claim as many as 1400 in the American Civil War, though he thinks about 500 more likely. He lists in the bibliography Anne de Blanton and Lauren M. Cook, They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the American Civil War (2002), and Rudolf M. Dekker and Lotte C. Van De Pol, The Tradition of Transvestism in Early Modern Europe (1997).
* From: "C.A. Wulff"
This really has nothing to do with anything, it's just an observation from a U.S. reader ... but whenever I watch a video of Terry speaking, I am always reminded of Kevin in Time Bandits. They speak exactly the same way, and they both have such an innocently direct way of looking at things.
* From: "Juliette Harrisson"
Just wanted to respond to some of the comments on my articles, 'The Discworld Mohs Scale of Fantasy Hardness'. I didn't include the Science books (except in a brief note at the end) because I'm not sure they count as full Discworld novels, since the science part is so much of their raison d'etre, but I take the point. I didn't know about the Napoleonic clacks towers - that's fascinating! And I counted the troll helmet as fantasy, not because of the helmet itself, which I realise is clockwork, but because such a helmet is only required because troll brains do not function well in warm climates, which is fantasy.
Thanks for your kind words everyone!
* From: "Trevor Rees"
In Vernor Vinge's 'Rainbows End' members of two belief circles (scooch-a-mouts and haceks) are exchanging insults. The scooch-a-mout comes up with 'Hacek is just counterfeit Pratchett!' which he believes is true and devastating.
* From: Mike Harrington
Jb-Kath Burgess-Gould asks what the inspiration was for the Monstrous Regiment. Sir Terry knows his folklore. There are several versions of a well-known folk song about the Female Drummer Boy, who dresses as a man and joins the army or the navy. In most versions she gets away with the deception for a while until some civilian lass falls in love with her and isn't pleased when she finds out the truth. She betrays the 'drummer boy' to his (sorry, her) commanding officer.
He opened up my tunic and he found that it was true. 'It's a shame,' he said, 'to lose a pretty drummer boy like you.'
So her CO regretfully discharges her and back she goes into civilian life, vowing that she'll do it again if she gets the chance. But some real female soldiers apparently got away with it. One even became a Chelsea Pensioner. Have a look at the track notes for The Pretty Drummer Boy on the Waterson/Carthy CD A Yorkshire Garland at http://discworldmonthly.co.uk?redir=DRUMMER163
Oh yes; there's an old song called Polly Oliver too, but not on that CD.
Railways on Discworld? Yes, I hope they will come. That is a very thoughtful article by Peter Wagstaff. In Thud! aren't the dwarfs already preparing the way for an Ankh-Morpork Underground in their mines under the city? They have the technology: watertight tunnels, wagons on rails and the Axle, a mysterious perpetual motion drive invented by dwarf miners in Uberwald that amazed Mr Pony of the Artificers' Guild. They even use the London Transport circle and bar logo. On Roundworld we learned about railways from 16th-century German miners, who used rails to move ore and spoil. Queen Elizabeth I encouraged German miners to bring their expertise over here and many of them ran successful mines in the Lake District. Sebastian Munster showed a cut-away view of a silver mine of the period in his Cosmographia Universalis, publshed in Basle in 1550. It is reproduced on page 10 of C. Hamilton Ellis's Pictorial Encyclopedia of Railways (Hamlyn, 1968), which may be more accessible. The miners in their hoods look distinctly dwarfish. Our first English railways were mining tramways in the North-East and our public railways were built to the same tramway gauge of 4 feet 8.5 inches, much to Brunel's disgust.
What if the dwarfs won't let others use their Axle or they price the rights out of the reach of Discworld railway promoters? Steam? It pains me to say this as a lifelong steam buff but it could be bypassed on Discworld. What a pity. The steam locomotive at work is a living fusion of the four elements and the most lifelike of machines. It wouldn't be beyond dwarf technology. But we don't have the Axle and we don't have golems, which could pull trains or power pumps for an atmospheric railway as long as Miss Dearheart approves their terms of employment. The Friends Of The Disc might favour them as a source of green energy over nasty, smoky steam engines if there's a Discal Warming problem.
Mr Wagstaff expresses the economic and social consequences of building railways admirably. Yes, there would be wasteful competition and conflicts with landowners, rival railway builders and coach and canal proprietors. They all happened on Roundworld. Dibbler would certainly want a piece of the action. I live in hope of reading of expresses running from Ankh-Morpork to Quirm and Pseudopolis, races by companies operating different routes between prize destinations, train spotters from the Shades and Snowdon-like mountain railways in Lancre or deepest Uberwald. Perhaps even a Discworld Brunel vaunting the superiority of his broad gauge over the dwarf engineers' 'coal cart gauge'.
* From: "L b"
Last Saturday I enjoyed an amateur production of 'Wyrd Sisters' at the Embassy, Skegness. I am glad I reread the book before attending, to refresh the smaller details of the story and help fill in the gaps of the scenes. It was well presented and good to have something Pratchett- related north of Luton!!! Well done to the Skegness Players. Nanny Ogg was hilarious and Granny Weatherwax flew about the stage on her broomstick with great enthusiasm!! super.
* From: "Aaron Siva"
I'm one of those silent people who don't really contribute much to the newsletter, other than subscribing and reading through it every month, probably because I don't live in the UK or the States where there are active Terry Pratchett fans who have plays and whatnot. I was, however, wondering about the possible new Watch book by Terry Pratchett, and if you could post any information about it in the next newsletter. In case you're wondering, there is an article about it on Wikipedia... http://discworldmonthly.co.uk?redir=SNUFF163
DWM replies: I don't think there is very much information around about Snuff at the moment as I doubt it will be due out much before Autumn 2011.
* From: "Yoav Lubelsky"
It looks like Lawrence O'Donnell, The host of The Last Word on MSNBC is taking a page out of Bledlaw Nobbs's book. Every time he mentions Senate candidate Christine (I'm not a witch) O'Connell he refers to her as Christine (no relation) O'Connell.
* From: "Patrick Toms"
Just reading issue 162 of your fine publication, on clicking the link http://discworldmonthly.co.uk?redir=CAKE162 I was pleasantly surprised to see the cake my girlfriend made for my mother.
Her name is Zara, she's a very talented cake maker. A few more examples of her other cakes can be found on my old blog.
Another discworld cake she made for my 40th can be seen here
As you can tell I'm rather proud and constantly amazed at her creations :)
This month's questions come from Charles Murphy
The answers as usual can be found at the end of this issue.
5. Article: The Clown Story
Written by Jessica Yates
The news in DWM 160 that the Clown Museum has moved to Wookey Hole, complete with website reference, might have been news to some who thought Terry invented the whole concept of clowns trademarking their make-up on eggs for Men at Arms. I have known about the Clown Museum for over 40 years, most of the time without realising it was a real institution; and Terry may have first learned about it from the same (cult) source that I did, an episode of the Avengers first shown on 11th December 1968 in the Tara King season, and entitled "Look - (Stop me if you've heard this one) but there were these two fellers". I saw the whole episode then, and more recently caught the final moments on a rerun, so this is from memory, aided by an excellent website which explains why the clowns were carrying out a series of murders.
Apparently they wanted to stop the government closing down some old vaudeville theatres to build secret underground facilities. Steed gets on the case, and being omniscient, announces to Tara that they are going to visit the Clowns' Gallery in order to get clues about the murderous clown's identity. The scene then shifts to the Gallery, where the Curator is John Cleese! (who had been appearing in Monty Python at the same time). There are the rows of eggs with clowns' faces on shelves. The villains arrive first. planning to destroy the evidence, and Cleese defends the collection. There is a massive fight, Cleese is killed, and nearly all the eggs are smashed. The villains leave, Steed and Tara arrive and find an enormous mess, but the dying curator has the all-important egg clutched in his fist.
I don't remember what happened next, only recalling that at the climax a Punch and Judy man is putting on a show in a smart country house when Steed and Tara arrive and overpower the villains. I think Terry may have seen this episode and it stuck in his mind - it certainly did in mine.
You can find the full story of clowns painting their faces on eggs at http://discworldmonthly.co.uk?redir=CLOWN163
Naturally I am looking forward to the reissue of the Tara King series on DVD.
6. Competition Reminder: DVD Box Set
In last month's extra we mentioned our competition to win the new DVD boxset of Hogfather, The Colour of Magic and Going Postal. There are still a couple of weeks to get your entry in so here is a reminder of the details. So far at the beginning of November, over 400 entries have been received so get your answers in for a chance to win.
To get your mitts on a free copy in time for Hogswatch, answer the following question:
Send your answers along with your postal address to by 19th November 2010. Your address will only be used if you are a winner and only for sending out your prize - once prizes are sent out all address information will be destroyed. Entries received after 19th November 2010 or sent to any other address will be ignored. No more than one entry per person will be accepted. Answers to the questions must not be posted to any websites before the competition ends. The Judges' decision is final.
Good luck! The DVD box set is now available from all major retailers on-line and on the high-street.
For more information about The Discworld Emporium either visit:
or if you are on Facebook visit:
You can see the cover of the DVD at:
7. The End
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