Better Than

Discworld Monthly - Issue 74: June 2003

Table of Contents:

1. Editorial
2. News
3. Readers' Letters
4. DiscTrivia
5. Competition: Bonsai Discworld
6. "Eric" - Performing Pratchett Professionally Part 2
7. Librarian's Corner (with Bookworm Baz)
8. Review: Maskerade Live
9. The End

1. Editorial

Welcome to issue 74. Last month Colin Smythe announced that Susan Sto Helit, Rincewind and Sam Vimes made it into the SFX magazine top 100 fantasy characters but Death didn't make an appearance. It appears Death may have passed Colin by as we had a number of emails letting us know that he appeared at number 25.

Having only recently returned from Wincanton, I will leave my review of the opening of the Ankh-Morpork consulate that took place over the weekend of 24th / 25th May until next issue. The event was a huge success with over 1000GBP being raised for charity. We were given the opportunity to witness and play prototypes of a potential new Discworld board game provisionally called The Shades Chase. The game looks like it could be a lot of fun and promises that every game will be unique due to its random playing board. For those of you that can't wait Keith Gould has put up some photos of the event on his web site

The top 100 favourite books of all time as voted by viewers of the BBC's Big Read included five by Terry Pratchett. The only other author to get five novels included was Dickens. Terry's books included in the list are: The Colour Of Magic, Mort, Good Omens, Guards! Guards! and Night Watch. The top twenty will be announced in August. It was interesting (and possible quite damning) to note that 71 books in the list had been made into either a TV series or movie. Well done to Terry for getting so many books in the top 100 considering none of the five have been made into movies or TV series.

Jason Anthony (Editor)
William Barnett (Deputy Editor)
Richard Massey (IQ Test Reject)

2. News

Wadfest (the camping weekend, run by fans for fans) have a limited number of high quality embroidered sweatshirts and baseball caps available at very competitive prices.

Wadfest 2003 takes place over the weekend of the 19th, 20th and 21st September at Callow Top Holiday Park, Ashbourne, Derbyshire. Tickets for the event are 10GBP per adult. School children accompanied by an adult get in free unless they are in their own tent which then costs 5GBP.

Many events have been organised for the weekend, including live Thud, events for children, Luggage Wars, a Maskerade and Lupine the Magician.

Vic "Waddy" Wadmore (the event organiser) tells us that there are still tickets available for the event, but it is best to book early to avoid disappointment. Anyone who purchases camping tickets before then end of June will be placed in a prize draw to win a free personalised Wadfest baseball cap.

Also, *all* camping tickets will be placed in a draw to win the colour sample of the Wadfest 2003 event piece as produced by Bernard Pearson.

For more details, merchandise and booking forms visit

Bonsai Discworld ( are running a competition to win some fabulous ISIS prizes including signed CD's of Night Watch. The competition is open until the middle of June.

BursarVixen Enterprises is proud to announce three brand new, exciting and exclusive Discworld products for your delight and delectation... Discworld Beer, 'Death of Rats' Lifetimer & Discworld Mugs. For more information visit their web site at

German fans can chat live with others on Wednesday evenings from 8pm (German time) on

According to the Guardian newspaper Terry has just lent his support to the government's new Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth by giving his name to a scholarship in creative writing.

The academy, which Labour promised as part of its programme to support very able children at every stage of their learning, was set up last year at the University of Warwick.

It offers summer school programmes for young teenagers, conferences, scholarships and web-based teaching, and is modelled on a long-established programme at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

The full story can be found on the Guardian's web site located at

The winners of the "Eric Art" competition we mentioned recently have been announced.

The winner was Paul Dunne, and the runner-up was Rosalind Souter.

Both entries are posted on the dreaming website on the "Eric" page...

Manukau Performing Arts inc, Papatoetoe, Auckland NZ will be performing Guards! Guards! from 2 - 16 August 2003. For more information email: or ring Colleen on 09 636 7990

Carpe Jugulum will be performed at The South London Theatre, West Norwood, London. The dates are Tuesday 3rd June - Saturday 7th June. Ticket prices are between 5GBP and 7GBP. More info from

Wonderland Productions are taking Guards! Guards! to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this August! This is their third year at C venues on Chamber Street, having already thrilled audiences with 'Wyrd Sisters' and 'Mort'. "This is the third dramatisation of a Discworld novel I have seen and very probably the best. All of the cast are outstanding and I loved every second of the performance ... I would go again!" ( For tickets please call 0870 701 5105 or call Ruth Rogers on 07740 195893 for more information

If you are looking for new or used books in the US you may wish to consider a new service located at It allows you to search (and compare prices) for new and second hand books against a number of suppliers in the US and Canada.

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.

Catskind is looking for an unpainted Death and Binky from Clarecraft.

Malc writes: While in a shop in Norfolk I picked up a copy of Good Omens. It has a personal inscription in the front. If Jane wants the book back she can email me and I will send it to her. writes: I would like to put out a request for people to help me get photographs of different things that I need in order to do the Susan at the Bar at Biers painting. Has that spoof already been done? Seems I think I might have noted that somewhere...Kidby? I don't know. I came across the original painting of Suzon barmaid by Manet in an art book and immediately thought I should do a spoof of it since Kidby has done 'spoofs' or 'parodies' or whatever you want to call it of classic paintings.

I need a raven, barrels, bottles...all sorts of stuff. Let me know and I will put the sketch on the web and better point out what I need.

Bjorkesjo Marcus writes: Do you know if there is any Swedish Discworld club? Please send a mail if you know anything.

Eaglestar writes: I'm Buddhika from Sri Lanka & I was wondering whether there are "any other" Terry Pratchett fans down here. I'm a big Pratchett fan & I've tried looking for them here - but I haven't found any. So, if there is anyone reading this, who happens to be Sri Lankan or living here or something.... Please contact me. I'd love to meet any Pratchett fans down here. We could talk & have some fun.

hotclaws writes: Help! I've answered to the meet-ups on the meet-up site and not enough people ever answer to get one going, so I will organise a meet-up in Manchester and I will turn up. Please don't let me down.

Paul Cunningham writes: I have copy of Discworld Noir for the PC for sale and a walkthrough guide printout (if you wish to cheat). This is in mint condition. I am open to offers.

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 and test your IQ.

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 Clarecraft Discworld keyring. For more information about Clarecraft and their excellent models visit

* From: "lalita mukherjea"
I am wondering if the references to the fifth horseman in Thief of Time have anything to do with the Beatles.

Was there another member of the group who left before they became famous? Because of creative differences?

I don't know anything at all about European Music, classical or popular.

I am more certain about my own land's music. So, am I missing something about the one that left before they became famous?

* From: "marcuirl"
Following on from LauraJ's letter in the last issue, I too have done the HP in French, as a refresher from secondary school French, (that's ten years ago now, WOW!). I had a bit of difficulty at first but it got easier. I have just started on some of TP's books now. I thought what would be nice was if I could listen to them in French, also improve my listening and pronunciation skills. Does anyone know of an outlet for these types of book in French audio format, preferable CD?

All info would be great, thanks in advance.

* From: "Karen Ho"
In reply to Susan Rollinson's question about why carrying a tune would keep away Old Man Trouble:

The reference is to a song by George and Ira Gershwin, "I Got Rhythm":

I got Rhythm
I got Music
I got my girl
Who could ask for anything more? goes on, and then:

Old Man Trouble
I don't mind him
You won't find him
Round my door...

This is referred to again in The Thief of Time, with Susan Sto Helit asking Lobsang, 'No. Now it's my turn. Have you got rhythm?' 'What?' Susan rolled her eyes. 'All right. Do you have music?' 'Not on me, no!' 'And you certainly haven't got a girl,' said Susan. 'I saw Old Man Trouble go past a few minutes ago. It'd be a good idea if you don't bump into him, then.'

Thanks to Barry Etheridge in DWM 73 for providing a link I suspect was to this song, on a singalong site, but it had been removed before this reader got to it, apparently for copyright reasons.

* From: "David Lev"
I have encountered this so many times it is very hard to ignore. Not only did I get as an Easter present a book called "The Thief of Time" by Tony Hillerman, but noticed it was on a great literature list for Sophomores (I'm a 15 year old high school freshman). Is Mr. Pratchett's title of his book a reference to this book, or is it just a weird coincidence?

* From: "Ingemar Olsson"
Sideways commentary to Kim Hetrick: I'm not sure if PTerry's going to write any more books about Cohen, Mad Hamish and the rest, but there's at least one already written: Interesting Times. It's mainly about Hamish and the boys (plus Rincewind) - one of the best books so far, according to my pal Sirus. I think Cohen occurs in Light Fantastic, Sourcery and something else as well, but I don't know about Hamish. As for other wheelchairjockeys in PTerry's books, I can't see how you've missed old Windle Poons! He's definitely one of my favourite wizards! You'll find him in Moving Pictures and Reaper Man. And, of course, if you don't mind the smell, there's always Arnold Sideways - one of Foul Ole Ron's mates. They tend to pop up in most books staged in Ankh-Morpork. Good hunting!

And now, a message to you Swedish PTerry readers out there: Las Pratchett pa SVENSKA! (inte saker pa att de tar svenska tecken) You miss A LOT in the translated versions. Plus, it's just all wrong. I mean - Rensvind!? What kind of name is that!? Yes, I know it's the correct translation, but ... but ... Ah, well. It's a losing battle.

PS: To PTerry - Grattis pa fodelsedagen! (i efterskott, men iallafall)
PPS: It means "Happy Birthday"

DWM replies: Letter of the Month goes to Ingemar.

* From: Evelina Schmuckli
About grammatical problems: As in the Hungarian language, Finnish also has only one pronoun for the third person, making it difficult to establish the dwarven gender-situation. It's not been a problem so far, I don't event think Feet of Clay has been translated yet. I have read a couple of translated Discworld books, but they are so much better in their original language and also easier (not to mention faster) to come by. The writing loses so much in the translation, a lot of the jokes and puns are simply untranslatable and even though the names of the characters have been translated quite well, they sound horrible...

A shout out to Mikko Kuusirati, it's nice to hear from another Pratchett-fan in Finland, there are so few of us!

* From: "sander straeten, van"
What I really wanted to say is that I never fully comprehended the complete range of ideas and reflective worldviews Mister Pratchett has put in his books. In a way being a teacher has helped me see this: at the beginning of each year during my history classes for firstgraders I used to put a transparent overhead sheet containing a picture of the Discworld with A'tuin and the whole bunch on the overhead projector to tell the kids the use of History: learning to understand all different views on life and appreciating the differences between the various cultures / religions included in the group.

This caused me to start reading Terry's books in a whole other light and I may have started seeing things in the books that weren't there.

Then I realised just how objective Terry Pratchett actually is towards all kinds of religions, popular beliefs and the lot: he doesn't criticise any one of them he takes 'em all! As a historian I know as a fact how difficult it is to see something for what it really is without prejudice, it is almost impossible since you allways see things from your own perspective but explaining this to children aged about 12 is even more impossible!

This maybe is the greatest gift (besides amazingly good and humorous stories of course) Terry Pratchett has given us: a way to see ourselves and our neighbours who have different opinions just as they are: people with different opinions not better not less just that. In times like these you've got to appreciate that!

* From: "Karina"
Send my thanks to Terry for the letter we received in Mr. Kennedy's class. It will be displayed in our library along with the photos. I would like to know the cost of The Wee Free Men as it sounds interesting.

4. DiscTrivia

For the next few months we thought we would concentrate each trivia section on a certain subject. To kick off we have decided to ask questions about Witches. If the answers are wrong this month you will have to blame Jason .

What did the Lancre witch do when a thief broke into her cottage? (WS)

a) Kill him
b) Turn him into a mouse
c) Nothing
d) Put the evil eye on him?

What objects did Nanny Ogg use to invoke and bind a demon? (WS)

Who was credited as author of The Joye of Snacks? (M)

What did Agnes crave after being bitten by Vlad (CJ)?

What does Granny Weatherwax's new sign have written on it? (CJ)

The results as always appear at the end of this issue.

5. Competition: Bonsai Discworld

Bonsai Trading (, the Discworld store that brings you Clarecraft figurines, diaries & calendars, Thud and much more have agreed to provide the following prizes in a new competition.

First Prize: A Kiss The Cook poster created by Catskind Second & Third Prize: Discworld keyring, (provided by Clarecraft)

In order to win one of these great prizes you need to send the answer to the following two questions to along with your postal town before the 24th June 2003. We will destroy any postal address information once the winner is chosen and promise not to use this information for any other purpose or sell it on to any third parties.

1. How much (in GBP) does Catskind's "Kiss The Cook" print cost on the bonsaitrading site?

The second question can be found on the bonsaitrading website.

The randomly selected winner will be announced in issue 75. For more information about Bonsai Trading visit their on-line store at

6. "Eric" - Performing Pratchett Professionally

By Scott Harrison & Lee Harris

Part 2 - Assembling the actors.

Now that we had a complete and satisfactory stage script (any further changes or re-writes, we decided, would be made at the rehearsal stage) it was time to begin assembling our actors. We could not have anticipated the response we received from the advert we had placed in The Stage newspaper. At first the response was cheering, then it was impressive, and then it was just downright staggering. In the space of one week we received literally hundreds of CVs by email and post. A few were dedicated Pratchett fans, while others were eager to have the work of a celebrated best-selling author added to their CVs.

Eventually, after several days of careful thought and sudden, infuriating mind-changing, we managed to whittle down a short list of almost 100 actors, and the auditions were held over two days, with a block of 40 - 50 actors scheduled in each. Although in our initial briefing notes to the actors we stated that a knowledge of Pratchett's books was not essential, we did, however, encourage them to read 'Eric' beforehand. What we were looking for from our potential cast was not so much great acting (although this was very high on our list) but a real sense of character. It is always important that an actor can deliver his lines with appropriate conviction, but, for us, both physical appearance and a strong personality was just as important. After all, to us, that was what the Discworld books were all about - the plot often played second fiddle to the wonderfully rich characters that populated its land.

The really difficult part came after the two full days of auditions were over. We saw scores of talented actors, and literally dozens we would liked to have cast, but budgetary constraints meant that we had to whittle down the final list to just nine. Our first whittling session left us with a not-so-shortlist of about 25 actors, and it was almost impossible to choose between most of them. Surprisingly, Rincewind was the easiest to cast. The actor who is to play Rincewind was so right for the part that we offered him the role before we had seen half the auditionees. Similarly, one of our cast (who had travelled five and a half hours to get to us, at a cost of nearly 100GBP on the train, and who had another five and a half hour journey to get home) made us laugh so much during his interpretation of Urglefloggah, (after we had already seen it performed around fifty times) we knew he had to be in the cast, and offered him a place there and then. The final seven places were allocated to the actors mainly on personality. We were confident that each of our not-so-shortlist would be able to do justice to the play, so we brought in another factor. We knew we would be working extremely closely with the actors for six full weeks, so it was important to surround ourselves with a group of people that we believed we would enjoy spending all that time with, and that would gel together as a solid team. Contracts were sent out, and duly returned, and our application for an Arts Council grant was successful (which meant we could actually afford to pay the actors).

We start rehearsing on June 15th. By the time we write our next update we will be over a week into rehearsals. Wish us luck...

The production is to be held from 3rd to 26th July at Clifford's Tower, a thirteenth century castle keep, in the heart of York. Full details about the play and ticket purchasing can be found at our web site:

7. Librarian's Corner (with Bookworm Baz)

by "Andrew Tucker"

I read a lot. Indeed my library is starting to force me out of my small flat (and is claiming custody of my cuddly toy collection to boot). There are, however, a number of works in it which do help me appreciate Terry's novels all the more. In this small semi-regular column I'll be looking at a few at a time, so you can go and make your own minds up. For the first one I'll be going right back to basics, with the English language.

1. The Dictionary of Slang, JS Farmer and WE Henley, Wordsworth Press, 1987. Originally published in seven volumes as "Slang and Its Analogues" between 1890 and 1904, the last reprint was the two-volume Wordsworth Press one, which can be picked up for about 20 GBP second hand.

This is a stunning work, capturing all forms of slang from country dialect to city speak, from Gipsy Romany to Thieves' Cant. It's not something you read as such, but opening any page at random will give you something to wonder at. If you want to know the origin of the phrase "Tuppence more and up goes the donkey!" then look no further. The single biggest section is devoted to alternative names for the female naughty bits. Not that I was looking for it of course.

2. Mother Tongue, Bill Bryson, Penguin, 1999, ISBN 014014305X.

Yes, that Bill Bryson, here in academic mode as he takes us through the origins and evolution of the language we call our own. Not a few people see the title and pick it up expecting something rather saucy, but go away disappointed. They shouldn't, this is an excellent introduction to the subject written in a thoroughly accessible style. You'll be amazed both at how much spoken English has changed over the years and how much we owe Will Shakespeare.

3. The Word Museum/Forgotten English, Jeffery Kacirk, Simon & Schuster/Harper Collins, 2000/1999, ISBN 0688166369 / ISBN 668457618.

Two books (with only some overlap) to amuse with all the weird and wonderful words we don't use any more, although I spotted a few that I still do. Don't know what that says about me... Endless fun in finding just the right word to describe someone you know (with the fair certainty that they won't understand what it means). A strange look back in time at people, things and customs long since vanished, leaving behind only the words used to describe them.

Now, would Corporal Nobby Nobbs be a skenchback or a slawterpooch...

8. Review: Maskerade Live

by Robert Crisp

Robert Crisp recently visited the Purple Monkey Theatre to see their production of Maskerade. The production took place from 15th-17th May 2003 at the Queen St. Central Hall, Scarborough.

One of the things you should always do when going to the theatre is read the ticket. This may seem to the reader an obvious piece of advice, but believe me it's very easy to assume blindingly obvious details.

The last Purple Monkey (great name by the way!) production that I saw was Guards! Guards! a couple of years ago at the YMCA in Scarborough. So naturally when I went to see Maskerade it was the YMCA theatre I strolled into. Doh! The building was in darkness & so I checked my ticket and found I had the wrong Theatre! "Oh well there's still time" I thought to myself as I dashed through the seagull splattered streets of the old town, "After all, It doesn't start till 7:30." Doh!

Queen Street Central Hall was in darkness, there wasn't a crowd, or posters, just a slightly ajar door. I checked my ticket once more to see if I had the right week. The date was right, the venue was right, but it started at 7:00! Oh dear. Checking my watch, I saw it was bang on 7:00, there was still time! I went through the door and was fanfared in by the overture from "Phantom of the Opera", which I thought was nice of them.

Making my apologies I made my way to the nearest empty seat and tried to get into the story. Maskerade, as you know, is- loosely speaking- Terry's take on Phantom of the Opera. Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg need another witch for their coven so they come to Ankh-Morpork to find Agnes Nitt, who has joined the opera. But as with all Pratchettian stories, things are not that simple. The Opera house has a ghost that kills people, the principal actress can't sing and the Discworld's most famous Tenor is coming to perform.

Anything can happen and with Jamie Simcox's excellent direction anything does! Not only did Jamie (the man behind the monkey) Simcox produce this highly enjoyable show, but he starred in it too, bringing to the role of Salzella a witty, yet unstable edge that made the audience reluctant to take their eyes off him in anticipation of what he was going to do next!

Amongst the other actors that grabbed my attention were the brilliant Simon Sutcliffe (whose Walter Plinge could've walked straight out of the book - his other roles were also played with professionalism and skill) and El Harrison, (who was so delightfully nauseating as Christine that she had me in tears of laughter every time she came onstage).

Other parts were played by Karen Tite, Samantha Snape, Rachelle Farrant, Stuart Metcalfe, Chris Gibson, Daniel Sheperdson, Marie Tite and Rosie Tite. All had a chance to shine and it was clear that they enjoyed performing the show immensely. No matter where the action was all the actors stayed in character and were doing something to keep the audience interested. I was quite out of breath at the end from trying to keep up with the visual gags!

The only gripes that I had were that some of the background sound effects drowned out what the cast was saying and at times killed the punch lines to jokes. Some of the scenes were done at audience level and at times behind a pillar so the scene was only visible to a fraction of the audience.

There seemed to be a good turn out for their opening night, so I would imagine that their Friday and Saturday performances were sold out.

All in all it was a fun evening, The interval drinks were served by the cast - in character (I was ushered out of the coffee lobby by a reproachful Walter Plinge who was so real it was scary!) The show ended about 10:30 (Which probably explains the early start - there was a footnote in the programme telling us which pub to meet the cast in & what they would be drinking!).

I will look forward to the Purple Monkeys next production, (Apparently it's "The Truth") but next time I'll read that wretched ticket!!!!!

9. The End

* Contact Information *

We prefer information to be sent via email, but can accept information via fax or post at the following addresses:

Post: J Anthony-Rowlands (DWM), 20 Cambrian Place, Pontarddulais, Swansea, SA4 8RG

* Latest Book Information *

Discworld paperback: The Thief of Time 0552148407/87

Discworld hardback: The Wee Free Men 0385605331/87

Collaboration: The New Discworld Companion 0575074671/87

* DiscTrivia Answers *

What did the Lancre witch do when a thief broke into her cottage? (WS)
Nothing, although sometimes when she saw him in the village she'd smile in a faint, puzzled way.

What objects did Nanny Ogg use to invoke and bind a demon? (WS)
The balding scrubbing brush of Art and the washboard of Protection

Who was credited as author of The Joye of Snacks? (M)
A Lancre Witch (Nanny Ogg was uncredited)

What did Agnes crave after being bitten by Vlad (CJ)?
A cup of tea.

What does Granny Weatherwax's new sign have written on it? (CJ)
I still ate'nt dead.

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