Better Than

Discworld Monthly - Issue 55: November 2001

Table of Contents:

1. Editorial
2. News
3. Readers' Letters
4. Competition Result: Win Collectors Guild Goodies
5. Review: Men At Arms Live
6. Review: The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents
7. Review: The Last Hero
8. Article: Salad Cream - is it just Miracle Whip?
9. The End

1. Editorial

Welcome to issue 55. We've just received the very sad news that Josh Kirby passed away earlier this week. Over the years Josh's artwork has become synonymous with the Discworld and he will be sorely missed. I had the opportunity to meet Josh at a number of Discworld events and particularly enjoyed his slide presentation at the 1998 Convention where he proved to be a highly entertaining character. Josh's last commissioned Discworld picture was for the cover of the second Discworld Quizbook, The Wyrdest Link, which is expected next summer. The picture features the Librarian bearing an uncanny resemblance to the Weakest Link presenter Anne Robinson. Colin Smythe believes there will be an obituary in the Guardian in due course. Josh left us with some wonderful pictures and will continue to be remembered for them.

I had a really wonderful 30th birthday party at the beginning of October that had Discworld as a fancy dress theme and also a disco / karaoke. Many friends and family made the effort of dressing up and my wife arranged an impromptu Unseen University Challenge. Bill and Richard arrived in suitable attire, although it took a while to realize that Bill's Foul Ole Ron was a costume and not just his normal clothes! Richard and Jenny (his better half) produced a great model of the luggage (complete with many of Richard's old Green Flash trainers. I guess they had to come in useful eventually) that kept all the children entertained.

My wife had secretly got a picture of Clarecraft's Librarian bookend and had a cake made with the picture reproduced on it which looked great.

One of the best things from the party was a model of Great A'Tuin made by my wife's stepmum (who has never read a Discworld book in her life but has now seen the Wyrd Sisters video more times than I have). I plan to add a piece of Perspex to the top of Disc and use it as a coffee table in my new office (when I finally get round to completing it).

The other thing that was cool was when the three members of the DWM team got up to sing Motorhead's Ace of Spades. I hate to think what that sounded like to everyone else!

Jason Anthony (Editor)
William Barnett (Deputy Editor)
Richard Massey (Lead Singer)

2. News

Some of Jay Hurst's excellent Discworld prints can now be purchased online. Komixworld ( has several prints and a couple of originals now on sale.

Stockport Garrick Theatre is putting on a production of Carpe Jugulum from 8th-15th December 2001, and would love as many fans and disciples to be there as possible. This is the third Discworld production that they have put on, to rave reviews (apparently)!! For more information visit:

WH Smiths have been in contact to suggest another few locations Terry will be visiting on his tour:

7th November
12.30pm Cribbs Causeway store (WHSmith)

14th November
12.30pm Derby store (WHSmith)
4.30pm Sheffield Fargate store (WHSmith)

The Unseen Theatre Company in Australia will be holding auditions for "Pratchett Pieces" for the Fringe Festival and "Lords and Ladies" for production in 2002. The auditions will take place on Sunday November 11th at 7pm. A large number of males and females over 18 years are required as are technical / backstage crew. For more information call Pamela Munt on 0401 676 071 or Sean Venning on 0407 672 787. Both of the performances will be held at the Bakehouse Theatre, 255 Angas Street, Adelaide. For more information visit their web site at:

"Bonsai Discworld is pleased to announce the launch of its charity raffle, with all profits being donated to Children in Need.

We have gathered a great selection of prizes to tempt you, with donations from Transworld, Bernard Pearson (the Cunning Artificer himself), Mark Ayling, ISIS and many others.

To guarantee a fair selection process, Terry Pratchett has agreed to pick the winners on 21st November 2001 at the Signing Tour Session at Borders, Kinaird Park, Edinburgh so come along if you want to see Terry maybe pick YOUR ticket out of the box.

We know that at an amazingly low price of 1 GBP each EVERYONE out there can afford to buy at least one ticket (or maybe even more?), and what better excuse for a chance at getting great Discworld merchandise could you want... go on, it's for charity...

For more details about the raffle, the prizes, and how to buy tickets, visit and click on the Charity Raffle button. Remember that the raffle closes on Friday 16th November 2001 so don't be late."

The new Artists UK "Amazing Fantastic Art Catalogue" is out. Everyone currently on our mailing list will receive a copy automatically. Anyone who would like a copy who is not on our list can buy their first copy through our website and will receive subsequent copies FREE (except overseas where we only mail people who have purchased from the catalogue they have been sent before). The catalogue is 1.50GBP plus the relevant actual P&P (see site for details). To order the catalogue use this link by either clicking on it if your system supports a hyperlink in your E-Mail or pasting it into the address bar :-

You can order it through the website and then send a cheque or postal order in the UK if you don't have a strange bit of plastic with numbers on it that will do more nicely than one of Rincewind's spells. The new catalogue includes a lot of new stock and some new famous names that we are rather pleased to have on board.

Out of the Hat Ltd, the store with the Discworld jigsaws is including a free 5GBP ring-and-string puzzle with all orders over 20GBP (ie 2 or more Discworld jigsaws). Is this a good time to sort out those stocking fillers?

Small Ads....

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.

Shane Smith ( ) writes: Why is it that no matter what bookstore I go to, no matter if it's online or a physical bookstore, why can't I find the books Eric, Reaper Man, and Moving Pictures? I am from the U.S. and I don't know if it has anything to do with it, but the main bookstore I go to has every other Discworld novel, execpt those three. I have been reading the Discworld novels since I was 11, (now 16) and I have just recently started buying the books. I am buying them in order, but since the three I am looking for are the next three in the series, I am stuck. If there are any Pacific NW U.S. readers out there and you know where I can find them, please email me.

James Ashworth ( ) writes: I will be willing to help (for a small fee) any one who is trying to get hold of the UK versions of Terry's books. Please mail me for more info.

Stewart Clamp ( ) writes: I live in the Chester (UK) area and I am looking for anyone that puts on Terry's plays. When I moved into the area I saw an advert for a play in N Wales but it had already been staged. Since then I have seen nothing. Can anyone help me?

Jamie () writes: I am a seventeen yeur old male from England. I have recently joined college and I am constantly referring to Discworld in my essays in AS English literature. I am looking for anyone who wishes to chat with me via email about Discworld or any books in fact. I have recently read 'The Catcher In The Rye' and 'The Handmaids Tale' in addition to my busy Discworld reading.

Bero-vip ( ) writes: I've translated Terry's short story Theatre of Cruelty to Croatian. If you're a Pratchett fan form Croatia or speak Croatian and would spend a few minutes reading it and sending me your comments I would greatly appreciate it as it's my first Pratchett translation. The story (original and translation) can be found on LSpace -

Baplu Bart ( ) writes: I am from Antwerp in Belgium and like many others I have started an ezboard to play Discworld online. The only catch is that it is in Dutch. It is only for people who speak Dutch, so I will now continue my add in Dutch for all those Dutch and Flemish readers: 'Hallo! Ik ben Bart en ik ben een ezboard (een forum zeg maar) voor Discworld. Het is online rollenspel en er zijn echt zo goed als geen regels. De enige regels zijn dat je niet belachelijk moet doen en dat je niet aan powerplay moet beginnen doen. Voor de rest lees je de inleiding maar eens door en plaats je maar een bericht als je wil meedoen. Ik vertel je dan wel wat je verder moet doen (Je e-mailadres erbij zetten is altijd handig!). Groeten van Bart!' There, this is my ad, in which I call people from the Netherlands and Belgium to join me in a Dutch version of Discworld online-RPG.

3. Readers' Letters

If 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 lettuce to satisfy Bill's salad obsession.

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 Please mention DWM in any correspondence.

* From: "Steve Elliott" ( )
Re: About "Sweet Fanny Adams"

Fanny Adams was murdered in 1867 and her body dismembered. Sailors in the British Navy came to use the expression to refer to unpleasant meals. It later came to be used to mean nothing of value.

For further information about the origin of the phrase "Sweet Fanny Adams" (aka Sweet F.A., meaning sweet [expletive deleted] all), try these web sites: (includes a photo of Fanny Adam's headstone)

* From: "Tom Hudson" ( )
In the U.S. it is sometimes almost impossible to locate TP books, especially the older ones, and even more especially for people who don't live in cities that have major chain store booksellers. For anyone attempting to locate his older books, or just a bargain in a clean used edition, may I suggest Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon ( The last time I looked they had over 100 listings. Plus, they can search for you if they don't have it right at that moment. They have a great reputation and I have steered several dozen new TP fans to them as a source of books.

* From: "Natascha Weerwolf" ( )
Lately I've noticed an increase in two things in Discworld Monthly: requests from people for pictures of Discworld characters and picture books for tattoos; and 'What's your favourite character'.

I'd like to combine the two. I have some Discworld related tattoos myself (besides many others) and I'd like to make an inventory of which pictures of Discworld origin got put on human canvas.

Anyone willing to disclose which art piece based on Pratchett's wacky world they've got needled under their skin can mail me at , and if enough people respond to make it interesting, I can report the result anonymously back to Discworld Monthly.

Please mail me which character/item/landscape/etc. you've got tattooed and the original artist of the piece, and whether it is in colour or black 'n' skin. Other comments (why, where, by which tattoo artist etc) are also welcome.

Oh, and now you're curious about which ones I've got, right? Well, there's Errol, from the cover of the Pratchett Portfolio, and there's a tableau with Greebo the cat, Death of Rats, the crow on the skull also from the Pratchett Portfolio, and Death on the skeleton horse with the head fallen off from the Discworld II PC game booklet. Death on the horse is standing inside a crystal ball with Death of Rats looking at. They're all black 'n' skin.

* From: "Gene Bennett" ( )
I recently took a 3200 mile (~5160 km) auto trip for the purpose of driving 90 miles while trying to average exactly 125 mph (I did fairly well, averaging 124.9454 mph and getting a Second Place in Class trophy for my troubles). To pass the time while going to and fro I took several of Terry's books on CD. I really have to recommend the audio books to everyone, it's a completely new experience. My wife had never read the books and observed, "Now I know why you sit there and giggle while reading them." I also got some jokes that I had missed while reading the books.

Now, if Isis will just release the rest of the books on CD, I'll be a happier, albeit poorer, man.

* From: "Matt Carter" ( )
Warning! If you haven't yet read Maskerade, stop reading now! I am just writing to point out something that everyone else probably spotted a long time ago... in Maskerade, Walter is an awkward, gangly young man in a beret. He later turns out to be the Ghost, who is based on the Phantom of the Opera. The character is clearly quite a subtle reflection of Michael Crawford, who played Frank Spencer in "Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em" and later went on to famously play the Phantom in the West End. It troubles me that the Ghost could have so easily been identified early on in the book by anyone to whom this subtle but undeniable connection occurred. I only noticed it when I recently read the book for a second time, and I find myself wondering if I am a slow-witted minority or whether most people have spotted this fantastically smooth gag. Also, did readers outside of the UK notice this? Was 'beret' accurately translated in every language, and is "Some Mothers..." broadcast in many other countries? I would also recommend to readers that you read (or imagine reading) the book out loud with the relevant voices, as the Frank Spencer element takes the humour to a whole new level. And Christopher Lee (who, oddly enough, almost became an opera star himself, and was a Hammer Horror star like the Phantom... and was the voice of Death in the Soul Music cartoon... hang on...!?) would make a wonderful Dr Salzella.

Anyway, enough babbling. Keep reading, and How's Your Granny Off For Soap?!

* From: "Raj Bhaskar" ( )
I've read Men At Arms several times now, and there's still one bit that puzzles me every time that I read it. Near the end, just after Carrot's interview with Vetinari, the latter asks Carrot to ponder where the word 'politician' comes from. Well? Does anybody know the answer?

* From: "Niki Reid" ( U9346503@Queens-Belfast.AC.UK )
I have two queries:

  1. I am still missing the Colour of Magic in the Compact Discworld series. Has anyone any idea how I can get hold of one (or have one for sale)?
  2. As a poor student in Belfast, is there any way to get hold of signed copies, other than by spending a fortune flying etc.?

Many thanks for any and all help.

I intended to have a quotation at the start of each of my thesis chapters ... guess where they'll all be from (Computer Science is WAY too serious)... *shhh* - my supervisor doesn't know yet *grin*.

* From: "Alexandra Tiganas" ( )
I have found a reference to Terry Pratchett's work in a very serious on-line publication, "Vocabula". Here it is:

"When Terry Pratchett describes a dog that is a blot on the landscape as "halitosis with a wet nose," you don't just see that dog; you smell it too. You have, in fact, a complete "revolting little dog" experience." This is a part of an article called "Words to Be Wise" by Marylaine Block, described as follows: "Marylaine Block has been an English teacher, a librarian, and a freelance writer. She also wrote a weekly column for Fox News Online titled "Observing US." This article is reprinted from her online column, My Word's Worth." This is a story about the necessity of knowing a lot of words in order to be able to express our thoughts properly (and think them properly, in fact). And PTerry is in a very good company, as a positive example. Best wishes and see you in the L-Space Ada (writing from Romania, a place none of you ever heard about but, I understand, PTerry visited a couple of years ago - I would be happy is anyone could confirm that for me, please!)

* From: "Barbara and Ian Dunsmuir" ( )
Can anyone out there help me? I was in my local branch of Ottakar's to preorder PTerry's new books when the assistant scrolled through all publications by PTerry. There was a book called "Big Kevin and Little Kevin" published 1999 shown. It was unavailable at Ottakar's and no other book shop had note of it.

Does this book exist? Did Ottakar's make a huge blunder and stick a non-existent book down to PTerry? Any information would most gratefully received.

* From: "The GazMeister" ( )
The Ook Programming language might be a bit 'way-out' but I think this man's a Pratchett fan:

* From: "Rosemary Green" ( )

Some of you may remember that a lecture on the links between Roundworld HE and Discworld education was advertised a couple of editions ago. Unfortunately, Janet Goodall was unable to give the lecture, due to a lack of demand. I know there are people who, like me, would love to see this lecture, but how many of you? I am looking into the possibilities of putting it on in Liverpool (where I live), but I need to get an idea of numbers, first.

Also, there has been a suggestion that we turn the event into a mini Pratchett-fest. What do you think? This of course would require more organisation - any volunteers?!!!!!!!!

It would be really great if we could make this happen. So please, get in touch. In anticipation that there will be hundreds of offers of help, murmurs of interest, etc, which might clog up my e-mail, I would prefer people to ring. My work number is 0151-231 3761.

I look forward to hearing from you all.

* From: "davidaharvey" ( )
About a month ago we got back from a holiday in Seattle and whilst there took the "Seattle Underground Tour". The tour covers the early history of the city, and we couldn't fail to notice that early Seattle and a certain city in the Discworld have a number of elements in common. Enough in common that we wonder if P'Terry has done the same tour.

The Guild of Seamstresses

At one point in it's early history, about the time of the Klondike gold rush, local government decided to conduct a census of its citizens occupations for tax purposes and discovered that its population seemed to be made up almost entirely of lumberjacks and "seamstresses". Being a frontier town with a thriving entertainment industry (saloons and brothels) the city fathers chose not to be shocked and instead instituted income tax at the rate of $10 per sewing machine per month and promised not to ask to see the sewing machines. This lead to the establishment of a local Guild of Seamstresses (as mentioned in Men at Arms amongst others) to protect the ladies' interests.

Rat Farms

In the late 1800's the city suffered from a minor bubonic plague problem and the city fathers decided that since the city was booked to host the 1907(?) world fair they should do something about the rats and offered a bounty on rat tails. Having paid out for approx. 500,000 of them they had to pass some hasty legislation to "close down the rat farms". A piece of advice given by the Patrician in, I believe, Jingo.

Involuntary Suicide

Since the city, which was initially built on a mud flat, suffered from recurrent flooding every time there was a reasonably high tide it was decided to raise the street level. Unfortunately although the city officials could and did raise the level of the streets the shopfronts remained at ground level some 12-36 feet below street level with ladders at street corners to allow people to cross the road. As you can imagine this lead to a number of fatal incidents when drunken visitors misjudged their step and fell breaking their necks: The official term for such deaths was "involuntary suicide" a bit like when people stray into the Shades late at night or shout anti-dwarf slogans in a dwarf bar: cause of death "Suicide".

The big shelf of signed Discworld books in a nearby bookshop suggests that P'Terry has been in the area but as for when, we're not sure...

DWM replies: David gets Letter Of The Month.

* From: "Feltham, Heleanor" ( Heleanor@PHM.GOV.AU )
My very frail 85 year old mother was recently raced off to hospital for a fortnight. My sister and I visited her every day. So what do you choose for entertainment in the geriatric ward? Terry Pratchett, of course.

My sister is an accident and emergency specialist (and also a psychiatrist) - true hospital heavy. So she took special leave, made sure the nurses were properly terrified, and read Reaper Man aloud to our mother - who is actually on pretty good terms with Death, these days. Mum loved every minute of it, and almost laughed her intravenous drip loose. As therapy, it couldn't have been better; my sister says. Terry may be literally a life-saver, he certainly improved the quality of life for an old lady in great distress.

Always a fan, now more so than ever.

* From: "Angelique" ( )
I've been a Pratchett fan since I first got one of his books many years ago. Now they are the only books I can get my husband to read. We especially love Death, though Granny Weatherwax comes a close second. I'd love to submit some articles but feel I'm a bit far away. We live in South Africa & I've never seen any clubs around here.

4. Competition Result: Win Collectors Guild Goodies

Last month we arranged a special competition with Elton at the Collectors Guild to win a pair of Clarecraft Event Ruby & Detritus bookends (of which only 100 were made and which retail at 109 GBP). Images of the prizes are available on the Collectors Guild web site.

We asked you to answer the following question (the answer of which was on the Collectors Guild web site).

1. How many Magrat in Armour figurines were made for last year's event?

The answer was of course 500 and not a single entrant got the answer wrong. The randomly selected winner was Wendy Nelson who should soon be able to prop up her Discworld collection with the prize.

We would like to thank Elton for supplying this prize for the competition. If you were not the lucky winner you can still purchase many Discworld goodies from the Collectors Guild web site via

5. Review: Men At Arms Live

by John Hicks ( )

On 10th October as a birthday present I had the pleasure of seeing Terry Pratchett's Men at Arms as adapted by Stephen Briggs performed at the Old Fire Station Theatre in Oxford. Credited in the programme as "a Shoshanah production", the play was produced by Lily Steadman and directed by Tom Eastcott and featured a young but very able cast.

I try to see Discworld plays whenever I get the opportunity. Being a director and having staged a Discworld play myself, I particularly look for the ways in which the cast bring a group of much-loved characters to life and how direction and settings draw the mind's eye to the strange yet oddly familiar world of Discworld.

This production made good use of a very simple black set and the structural features of the theatre itself to set the various scenes including a chase scene through the audience to cries of "excuse me" from Captain Vimes. Once you had become accustomed to the sparse setting, a few props and the visual cues of the actor's costumes when combined with the lighting and sound effects were all that were needed to make you believe the events were unfolding in Ankh-Morpork.

The play gained a good pace after the first couple of scenes and I soon found myself laughing along with the rest of the audience. It is a strange sensation, watching a scene and knowing the punch-line is coming and still finding yourself laughing.

John Rendell as Corporal Carrot played the oversized "dwarf" with a sensitive and thoughtful air that made you think "this man could be a king, you know" and the scenes with Carrot and Lance-Constable Angua played by Dunlaith Bird had a chemistry between the two that added a special sparkle to the show.

One of the pleasures of Terry's books are his characters, reflecting as they do a broad range of people. However, this can cause some problems when trying to cast a play where you don't happen to have a 10-foot tall silicon based life-form available to play a troll. So well done to the actors who had to take on the roles of some of Discworld's more unusual denizens, most notably Detritus played by Chris Wray and Cuddy played by Catherine Heffernan.

At first sight Ben Levine's Captain Vimes seemed too young but he quickly made the part his own with a mixture of grizzled snarl and dogged determination that are the Vimes trademarks. Likewise for the Patrician played by Matthew Somerville, who captured the smooth manner of the most practiced manipulator in Ankh-Morpork very well. The two worked well together in the almost one-sided conversations between the Patrician and Vimes.

There were a number of nice touches to the production that made it a pleasure to watch but the image that most comes to mind was the conversation happening to either side of Boffo the clown. Sara Asadullah's eyes stole the scene as she reacted to the verbal tennis match from behind her clown makeup.

Discworld plays are not easy to stage well and I raise my hat to the whole cast and crew of Men At Arms for making the evening a very enjoyable birthday indeed.

6. Review: The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents

by William Barnett

Interesting one, this. As you may already have heard, TAMAHER is ostensibly a children's book, set on the Discworld. To cut a long story short: if 'children's book' puts you off, don't worry about it - it's great! It seems shorter than other Discworld novels and it's got a few illustrations - and no swearing, of course - but otherwise it's as fitting an addition to the Discworld canon as any of the other books.

Maurice and his rodents were first mentioned in Reaper Man as a (very funny) throwaway gag. The implication was that a con artist was going around making money from the Piped Piper legend. With characteristic economy Terry hasn't wasted such a promising idea and fleshes out that one-liner to a full story. What immediately strikes you about TAMAHER, though, is the things that aren't what you'd expected.

Maurice, for one, is not who I thought he would be. The Educated Rodents aren't as straightforward as they sound and, in fact, the whole plot has had more thought put into it than I'd assumed from the title. I don't want to spoil anything, though, so just make sure you don't read any back cover blurb or sleeve notes (or other reviews, even) before enjoying the story yourself.

I think it is safe to mention that the book is set in Uberwald. Terry returns to one or two of his pet themes, such as questioning, and satirising, classic story structures. TAMAHER never gives the impression of talking down to its audience; in fact I imagine it would only suit children of maybe 10 upwards, although I know next to nothing about what kids like. Pokemon, right?

The shorter story ensures that the plot moves along at an exciting pace. I, for one, could cope with shorter 'mainstream' Discworld books if they had similar page-turner qualities. The ending is FANTASTIC - but of course I'm not going to tell you why. Final point: perhaps for the next Maurice book Terry should go to more trouble to ensure the title makes an amusing acronym. My suggestion would be The Amazing Maurice Pulls Off New Surprises, for example.

- The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents 0385601239/87

7. Review: The Last Hero

by Jason Anthony

The Last Hero is the 27th official Discworld novel but is quite unlike most as it was produced as a joint effort between Terry and Paul Kidby. The result is quite like Eric but with a story that fits in better with the series.

The Last Hero will be released in November in two formats: the first is a large hardback with dust jacket (which I am reviewing) and the other is apparently a limited edition with a cloth cover.

The book tells the tale of the Silver Hoard (led by Cohen the Barbarian) attempting their greatest adventure yet; to return fire back to the Gods. The only problem is that if they succeed the (Disc)world will end. So a bunch of heroes (including Leonard De Quirm, Carrot Ironfoundersson and the always luckless Rincewind) set off in a bid to prevent them.

Paul Kidby's illustrations are as always quite stunning. It is also wonderful to see some of Paul's non character work. Some of the views of the Elephants and Great ATuin looking amazingly realistic. Leonard De Quirm's sketches that adorn many of the pages include detailed part lists and are highly entertaining.

The story itself is about half the size of a normal Discworld book and is quite entertaining with many funny moments. The length of the story doesn't allow it to get too complicated so the story remains pretty linear. It contains a lot of familiar characters like the Patrician, The Librarian and of course Death but also new characters such as Mad Harry and we get some more insight about some of the lesser gods.

Overall I found the book to be highly enjoyable and have no difficulty including it in with the *full* Discworld books - plus if you are a fan of Paul Kidby you will love it.

You can order The Last Hero online at the following web sites.

- The Last Hero (Standard card cover) 057506885X/87

- The Last Hero (Deluxe cloth cover) 0575073705/87

8. Article: Salad Cream - is it just Miracle Whip?

by Gerry Gault ( )

Last month LizK42 wrote: Salad cream (Thief of Time) - Terry's footnote piqued my curiosity, so I checked this out. It's Miracle Whip.


There you have accidentally stepped into a major national controversy. For the benefit of non-British readers.....

Salad Cream is a peculiarly British Heinz product that has been available here for many, many, many years. Way back in the 50s it was pretty much the only kind of stuff you could buy to pour onto your salad.

That was way back when salad, as far as we were concerned, consisted ONLY of lettuce, tomato, egg on a plate with a slice of processed ham - or some other loosely-related-to-pig product. There might also have been a few bits of raw onion or spring onion, but that would have been for special occasions.

Heinz Salad Cream was the only method of adding sensible flavour. It is a rather colourfully yellow product with a charming and gently "thick cream" pouring consistency.

Dominant flavour is vinegar with resonances of slightly sweet, just-out-of-tasting-range mustard.

So good, it was eaten by many as a sandwich filling on its own (well Salad Cream Sandwiches were eaten by people like me who were kids in the 50s). Just about a year ago, Heinz came up with this superb publicity gimmick for the product.

They announced that as a result of changing, and increasingly sophisticated, tastes over the decades, and the introduction of lots and lots of "real" mayonnaise products, they were proposing to stop making Salad Cream!

They had no idea (or maybe they had) just what effect this would have. The immediate result was mass panic-buying by all of us who were suddenly smitten with a severe nostalgia attack.

Result - a reversal of the original decision (if there really was one) and significant boost to Heinz' Salad Cream sales, and no doubt Heinz' profits.

Miracle Whip, on the other hand, is a pale imitation in flavour terms and also in colour and certainly gives the impression of never having been near anything but a petrochemical factory.

There is an alternative version of the publicity story - see this analysis!

[And we thought it was just mayonnaise - DWM]

9. The End

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