Better Than

Discworld Monthly - Issue 148: August 2009

Table of Contents:

1. Editorial
2. News
3. Readers' Letters
4. DiscTrivia
5. Review: Monstrous Regiment - Live in Ickenham.
6. Competition
7. Review: Fifth Elephant Live in Portsmouth
8. The End

1. Editorial

Welcome to issue 148. Due to unfortunate timing (the information was announced while I was on holiday) I didn't have time to let you know about the offer to be an extra in the new adaptation of Going Postal currently being filmed in Hungary. Sadly the opportunity to apply for a place has now passed. We hope the successful applicants have a great time - we're all jealous.

More information about the offer can be found at

Also due to issues beyond my control I didn't have time to write a review of the recent Wincanton 5th Anniversary weekend! I will endeavour to write something for next month.

Needless to say it was an excellent weekend and much fun was had with Play Doh!

Annie Hosking sent me some photos of the wonderful wedding cake she made for her daughter.


I spotted a copy of Nation on the BBC breakfast news on Tuesday 28th July in a segment about a summer camp that challenged their young visitors to question religious attitudes and to make up their own minds.

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 (Quaking Alone)


Terry wrote the following on the excellent website on 21st July:


Today we have been finishing the editing of Unseen Academicals.

It has been an immensely complex month with the Darwin Festival in Cambridge, the Oldie literary lunch, an honorary doctorate from Bradford; all of which has been exacerbated by a breakdown in one of our main machines.

Next week we go to see the National to discuss their upcoming adaptation of Nation. It will be my first actual physical contact with them.

Now, what you have all been waiting for; we have just received the following from Mob films. It pretty much speaks for itself and one can tell by some of the little details that they have become used to dealing with fans :) This is their show and now that we have got to know them, we are leaving it to them to select whom so ever they consider most suitable. We are not seeking nor do we expect any special choice in the matter and so please do not contact us in the hope that we can push you forward, because we can't.

Quite a lot of our time has been spent experimenting with Dragon Dictate v10. The trouble with speech-to-text software is that it's at its best when it has a limited vocabulary. The program is pretty ace at business and legal letters, but an author potentially uses just about everybody's vocabularies and it doesn't understand, for example, the difference between in and inn. It would be handy if it could have a drop-down menu in cases like that. It could also do with a more sensible interface. Nevertheless, we are educating it as we go and it's certainly an improvement on my typing now. We did like the rendition of pioneer as 'pie on ear' and for some reason it will occasionally throw up a speech-to-text translation which no amount of forensic study will recognise as the original words said. However, it's helped me write a large chunk of I Shall Wear Midnight and quite a few episodes from a possible autobiography.

I shall see a few of the lucky ones on set very soon.

All the best.

Going Postal Cast

Sky1 will be showing Going Postal in Easter 2010. The latest cast list is as follows:

Again more details at

News from Rob Lupine the Magician about Wadfest 2009:

1) Wadfest Slogo, the Winner!

We are now happy to announce the winner of the Wadfest slogo competition, The winning slogo will be used in our advertising and on various items of merchandise in future events. Unfortunately many entries couldn't be considered as they were concentrating mainly on the music with rocks in theme, a theme that will be redundant after August this year! However there were a few entries that made the final stage and qualified because they could all advertise Wadfest as a product as a whole, and define what Wadfest is as a whole.

The winning entry, as voted for by the Wadfest committee was submitted by Jane Tucker and can be viewed at the Wadfest forum;

Jane will win tickets to next year's Wadfest and various other goodies!

Many thanks to all who entered :-)

2) Turtles in Their Eyes

As part of the Saturday night entertainment, and to make it a proper music with rocks in event, we will be holding a Turtles in Their Eyes competition. This will be a chance for Wadfestians to showcase their musical talents to a live audience and a panel of judges who will decide the overall winner of the night. Entries can be parodying round world musical acts, Discworld music with rocks in bands or have their own original music act. There is a fantastic prize for the act considered to be the most entertaining, a platinum compact disc inscribed with this year's artwork, framed and mounted with a certificate signed by myself and Waddy.

This is a one off, there will be no others like it released as prizes or in any other capacity ever! it can be seen by going to our fourm:

If you feel this would look good on your wall or in your trophy cabinet get your thinking caps on and enter the competition!

Spirit-Mage would like to extend an invitation to all Discworld Monthly readers to take part in the Discworld University Challenge, originally created for the Just Discworld MSN group. (which is sadly no more since MSN closed their groups).

It is an ongoing monthly tournament. Sorry no prizes for coming first, just the kudos of being #1.

The DUC can be found at:

I hope to see you all there and that you all enjoy testing your Discworld knowledge.

Terry has recently been in the news talking about assisted suicide after the news that Sir Edward Downes and his wife travelled abroad to commit suicide.

The BBC website has a video interview with Terry about assisted suicide at:

Terry had a letter published on the subject in The Times:

Terry also talked to the BHA (The British Humanist Association) about 'when medicine cannot do any more' at

Terry received another honorary degree this month, this time from Bradford University:

At the opening of a new European headquarters for Japanese drug firm Eisai, Terry said: "Since I was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease my goal has been to stay alive and work as long as possible. I am far more fortunate than many sufferers, not least in the unusual variant of the disease that I have."

Discworld Dates...

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, New] Wyrd Sisters will be performed by the Performing Arts Theatre of Swan View SHS, Perth.

Tickets 12 AUD Adults, 8 AUD concession, 45 AUD family (2 adult, 3 concessions)

Contact Kate Rogers on 9294 0184

Sunday 2nd August 2009, 4pm doors open at 3.30pm

3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th & 8th August 2009, 7.30pm doors open at 7.00pm

At the Performing Arts Theatre of Swan View SHS

Parking off Weld Rd SWAN VIEW

Entry via gym doors.

This is an amateur production.

[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.

August's meeting will be on Monday 3rd August at The Monkey Puzzle, Paddington, London, W2 1JQ.


[AU, New] We would like to announce the creation of Drummers Downunder, the Sydney sister of the Broken Drummers. The first meeting will be held Monday 3rd August from 7pm at Maloneys on the Corner of Pitt & Goulburn Streets (across the road from World Square), Sydney, Australia. Visitors to Sydney are also very welcome. For more information please contact Sim Lauren

[DE] The German Discworld Convention 2009 will take place at Castle Bilstein from August the 14th to the 16th. The festival will be Unseen University themed. Registration and more information can be found in form of a bilingual wiki at:

[UK] Wadfest - "Wadstock" - Music With Rocks In takes place on 21st, 22nd and 23rd August 2009 at Trentfield Farm, Church Laneham, Retford, Nottinghamshire, DN22 0NJ.

Tickets cost 20.00 GBP per adult for the weekend including events.

More information at:

[US] The First North American Discworld Convention will take place from September 4-7, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.

For more information visit

[UK] Twyford and Ruscombe Theatre Group will be performing Wyrd Sisters on October 8th, 9th & 10th from 8pm.

More details at:

[UK] Chesham Bois Catholic Players (Amateur - Registered Charity 287109) will present Wyrd Sisters on 10th, 16th and 17th October 2009 at Little Theatre by the Park, Church Street, Chesham, Buckinghamshire at 8pm. Further details and booking enquiries available from

[IRL] The Irish Discworld Convention will be held on the 6th to the 9th November in the Falls Hotel Ennistymon, Co. Clare, Ireland. Visit for more information.

[UK, New] Straight From the Heart Productions will be presenting "Carpe Jugulum" at the Glastonbury Assembly Rooms, High Street, Glastonbury BA6 9DU. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday 9th-12th December, 2009. Doors open at 7:30 for an 8 pm start. Tickets will be available from Gothic Image, Glastonbury, or email ANICECUPOFTEAANDBISCUITS@GMAIL.COM.

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 to make you look silly.

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 as by Bonsai Trading. Sadly Bonsai Trading is no longer trading but John Pagan has kindly supplied me with a number of prints to give away.

* From: "Roy Spearman"
It's no good - I've resisted for a month and now can no longer contain myself. I just had to type a note in response to Sapphire Cat's email in the letters section of Issue 146.

I think Sapphire Cat's getting a little confused and mistaking the big Sky productions with the more modest Cosgrove Hall animated efforts.

Yes, we all know that Sky has to date produced the Hogfather and The Colour of Magic with varying degrees of success and acclaim and I'm not going to get drawn into THAT argument!

However, pre-dating these attempts by several years was a cell-animation series produced by Cosgrove Hall of Soul Music. This was followed a year or so later by Wyrd Sisters in the same vein. Now, from memory I remember Wyrd Sisters being bought and shown by the BBC (BBC 2 on a Sunday afternoon rings faint bells...) but I don't remember seeing Soul Music broadcast. I do, however, have both productions on VHS which have pride of place in a wicker basket under our spare bed (the wife's not a big Pratchett fan - she wouldn't even let me have my framed Mapp of Ankh-Morpork on the study wall but I'm supposed to put up with an A4 John Barrowman calendar!).

So, yes, the BBC have shown an animated series of a Pratchett book - but no, it wasn't the Hogfather....although that could be quite entertaining.

DWM replies: Sorry Roy, It was actually Channel 4 that showed Soul Music and Wyrd Sisters.

* From: "Val Googe"
I am a 72 year old young, Grandmother of 9. The first of Terry's books that I read, were, Truckers, Diggers and Wings. Which I bought whilst awaiting my hospital appointment, last year. I thought how fascinating and great they were. Since then I have bought quite a few and my daughter has bought some for me, from e-bay. Thank you for giving me so much fun and keeping me in touch with my younger days. I have enjoyed all the ones which I have read and am looking forward to many more hours with Discworld,

I know I am a little late but "Congratulations" on your Knighthood Terry.

DWM replies: This month's Letter of The Month goes to Val.

* From: "Ian Jopson"
The Discworld has invaded the model railway world! In the current issue of Railway Modeller is the description of someone's garden railway. The locomotives are named after characters in the Discworld novels, among them are 'Sir Samuel', 'Havelock Vetinari', 'Magrat', 'Gytha', and 'Esme'. The loco names origins are not mentioned. So you see, we don't just count rivets and make models of long dead locomotives, inspiration can come from anywhere.

* From: "Mark Everett"
If you have been watching the latest series of Dexter on the FX channel, you would have seen an episode two or three weeks ago where a Policeman uses a ginger beer trick on a suspect during an interrogation. I don't know if it is the same one Terry had in mind but it didn't look very pleasant.

* From: "Jamesf"
Last month Makana Bender asked about a comprehensive view of Pterry's writing. You may also be interested in this 'map' of the series via Lspace

* From: "bri derbyshire"
If Mr. Bender (Iss. 147) cares to investigate L-space, still running at, he will surely find enough TP goodies to Fry his brain ... including the controversial but largely sound Breebaart Timeline. Take warning, though - once in L-space or its main attraction, AFP, visitors tend to need dragging out by the hair before they die of starvation and laughter exhaustion. Still, I survived and so can YOU. Regards, Bri.

* From: "Andrew Frame"
I was browsing through the Dominion Post from Wellington, NZ the other day and came upon an almost-discworldy-logic funny cartoon by Mike Moreu (15th July) relating to Cadbury's new chocolate recipe and its impact on my second favorite type of primate-based life form (the first being my wife <WHACK!!> OWWW!, sorry!), the orangutan.

I somehow doubt the Librarian would approve...

DWM replies: The comic reads - "Bad news. Consumers hate our use of palm oil, which lowers costs and improves taste, but helps kill orangutans by destroying their jungle habitat.

The good news is that orangutan fat also improves taste, and by battery farming the apse we can claim to save tropical forests and raise their numbers...

While still providing a delicious, competitively priced product.

Your call.

Wow - my favourite chocolate is now boosting endangered ape populations and preserving rainforests at the same time! See? Who said all corporations are evil?"

You can see the cartoon (Image 15) at:

* From: "Fritz Coyote"
Last month Alan Wood asked if Death was in Making Money.

The first Discworld book in which Death does not appear is "Where's My Cow". When I asked PTerry to confirm this at a signing, he explained that he did not think Death would be appropriate in "Where's My Cow". And that he had also left out the Seamstresses for pretty much the same reason.

* From: "Viv Quail"
I am a huge fan of Sir Terry, umm not to say that I am huge but that I love his books, just thought I'd clear that point up!

I have all the Discworld novels and re-read them regularly, I have just finished Guards Guards in fact. Anyway, I thought it may be of interest to you to know that the US series Criminal Minds which goes out on a Friday on Living used a quote from Reaper Man on Last Friday's show; the quote in question being, "Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it. "

If you are not familiar with the show, it is a series based around the cases of the FBIs BAU, Behavioral Analyst Unit who attempt to catch serial killers; rapists and recover kidnap victims etc. They always use quotes from various philosophers; academics and note- worthy people.

4. DiscTrivia

This month I'm asking some questions about Moving Pictures.

What material are the rolls of film made from?
What food stuff was invented as a result of the clicks?
a) Saussage inna bun
b) Banged Grains
c) Pizza
d) Fondue
What did Victor Tugelbend do before the clicks?
Who is otherwise known as Theda Withel?
How many elephants make it to Ankh-Morpork?

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

5. Review: Monstrous Regiment - Live in Ickenham.

Adaptation by Stephen Briggs
Performance by Purple Theatre Company
Location - Compass Theatre, Ickenham 17th - 20th June 2009
Review by Helen Nicholls

Spoiler warning: Monstrous Regiment is a book with plot twists, some of which are revealed in this review. I suggest that anyone who has not read the book skip this article entirely.

The premise, as I explained to a friend who came along with us, is fairly simple. A girl disguises herself as a boy in order to join the army in a country which has been torn apart by war for years and women are seriously oppressed (at this point the people sitting in front turned and thanked me for the explanation). Except that this is an adaptation of a Pratchett novel and things are far from simple. What on the surface appears to be a good old-fashioned bit of British comedy, with cross-dressing and slapstick, is at the same time a serious comment on war and women's' place in society.

I was initially surprised to hear that Monstrous Regiment had been adapted as a play. On the face of it, a story in which characters spend most of their time travelling across the land, engaging in the odd skirmish, sounds impossible to stage. Then there was the issue of the gender-bending: I wondered how well that would work when the audience could easily see whether the actor was male or female. However, the performance was one of the best Discworld plays I have ever seen.

The constant changes of scene presented few problems as the production relied on easily moveable props and avoided backdrops. As for the sexes of the cast, the majority of the recruits were played by women, although characters whose gender is only revealed later on such as Maladict(a), Jackrum and General Froc, were played by men. Since cross-dressing is a common feature of theatre and the story challenges traditional gender stereotypes, the effect was not at all jarring.

Cat Lamin as Polly succeeded in holding together the performance, while Toby Vennard made an excellent Jackrum. Special mention should also go to Judith Thei, whose transformation from the simple 'Wazzer' to the imperious Duchess was remarkable. A noticeable shudder ran through the audience at her reply to Polly's question of what she used to do: "I used to be beaten".

A stand-alone novel like Monstrous Regiment is actually better suited to the stage than many of the Ankh-Morpork centred books, as it requires little explanation beyond what fits naturally into the script. The result is that plot devices such as the footnote or characters speaking directly to the audience are unnecessary; making a very smooth adaptation. Backed-up by some excellent performances by the cast it made a very enjoyable evening's entertainment.

6. Competition

Last month's competition appears to have got you all confused. We only ended up having one correct entry. So am pleased to say that the winner was John Fraser. I'll be in contact with John soon so that he can claim his prize of a complete set of Fridge Magnets.

The answers as confirmed by Bernard (you know who to blame!) are:

I would like to thank Bernard for coming up with such a wonderfully tough competition. You can find out more about Bernard's cunning products at

Sadly there is no new competition this month. Hopefully we should have a shiny new, and easier, competition next month for you to play.

7. Review: Fifth Elephant Live in Portsmouth

Reviewed by Roy Spearman

On Saturday 18th July, I braved a ferry crossing and then a British Rail hop to Portsmouth town centre to see the Collingwood RSC's production of The Fifth Elephant at the New Theatre Royal.

This is only the second time I have seen a Pratchett novel brought to life on the stage and the first time I have set foot inside the New Theatre Royal. It turned out that both experiences were extremely enjoyable.

The theatre is a Victorian venue with the old wooden flip-up seats - if I were writing this for the London Evening Standard I would describe it as intimate [no need to dumb it down for DWM, though! - Ed]. Although there was music played in appropriate places, the cast did not enjoy the luxury of microphones meaning that the performance had to be given in the true tradition of theatre - namely shouting, er, sorry I mean projecting loud enough to be heard at the back. Sat in the stalls this did not present a problem for me but I don't know about for those sitting in the Dress and Upper Circles. Even so, we were treated to musical interludes during scene changes, lighting effects and even the occasional special effect together with incredible stunts.

Collingwood RSC have produced several Pratchett plays (according to the programme) over the years and their familiarity with the Discworld premise and construction of a Watch story line shone throughout. Liz Philo's performance as Footnote, Peter Trott's various incarnations of Igor, Igor and not forgetting Igor as well as Anneli Bird's portrayal of the traitorous Dee were highlights in amongst a sea of wonderful personifications of the characters. I was particularly struck by Abi Philo's performance as Gaspode, managing to capture the true essence of a small scruffy, smelly mongrel. And yes - that was a compliment!

I have to be honest and say that my heart went out to Tim Stoneman playing Detritus (how appropriate) and Paul Lewis in the Gavin role. Both actors had incredible costumes for these roles and I dread to think what they must have been like at the end of the show - they must each have lost a stone in perspiration. On the topic of costumes, Sarah Miatt's outfit as the Baroness Von Uberwald was a marvel in itself (down boy).

Finally, a mention of the main baddy is an absolute must. Wolfgang played by Robin Sheppard was a joy to boo and wonderful given that it was his first time in a Pratchett role.

This production was a joy to watch and I will certainly be trolling along to their next production and would encourage anyone else to as well.

Another review of the production by Chris Hargrave

On Friday 17th July I went to the New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth with two of my friends who have been Pratchett fans for years. This was to be the first live performance for any of us and we were not too sure what to expect.

We were amazed at how faithful the Collingwood RSC were to the book, - even when Commander Vimes fluffed a couple of lines it was great to see how Carrot came to his rescue,

During the interval there was a costume parade and competition where we were amazed at the variety and creativity of the entrants. I had to go to the little boys' room and was a bit shocked to be standing next to Reg Shoe - it's not every day you see a zombie in the loo, is it!

Over all it was a fantastic evening, one we hope to repeat at the earliest opportunity.

8. The End

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* Disc Trivia Results *

What material are the rolls of film made from?
What food stuff was invented as a result of the clicks?
b) Banged Grains
What did Victor Tugelbend do before the clicks?
He was a student at UU?
Who is otherwise known as Theda Withel?
How many elephants make it to Ankh-Morpork?

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