In our nineteenth episode it’s back to the Discworld as we join Death, and meet his granddaughter Susan, as writer and illustrator Fury joins us to talk about the 1994 Discworld novel, Soul Music!
Susan Sto Helit doesn’t have time for anything silly – not for grief, not for tiny skeletal rats who are here to inform her of SQUEAK, and most definitely not for this new craze sweeping the disc. But music with rocks in it has other ideas, and doesn’t care who gets swept up in the swell. With her long lost grandfather (the one with the bony knees) missing in action however, Susan has no choice but to take on the family business and try not to *erm* rock the boat.
Pratchett is never one to shy away from the big themes and Soul Music packs a lot of punch into a deceptively simple plot. Exploring the complexities of grief, and the idea that family is more than just genetics, the 16th Discworld continues the story from where Mort left off, and introduces us to some new (sadly one-off) names that we quickly grow to love. Packed with more music references and jokes than one could shake a stick with bells at, this is one that was Imp-possible to put down. Got a favourite Discworld band name? Or an idea as good as My Little Binky? We’d love to hear from you! Use the hashtag #Pratchat19 on social media to join the conversation.
As mentioned this episode, keep an ear out for our first live show, recorded at Nullus Anxietas VII, where we discuss the short story Troll Bridge with author Tansy Rayner-Roberts! It’ll show up in the podcast stream soon.
Next month we head to the skies and cling on for dear life as we finish the Bromeliad trilogy with Wings! Get your questions in via social media using the hashtag #Pratchat20.
Show Notes and Errata:
- Fury is a writer and author based in Naarm/Melbourne. Their book, an experimental graphic novel memoir titled I Don’t Understand How Emotions Work is available here.
- You can find Fury’s book
I Don’t Understand How Emotions Work here.
- The Valhalla Cinema was a cinema in Melbourne which specialised in audience participation films – and in its early days you had to bring your own seats. Opening in 1976, it later relocated to Westgarth and changed names. The Wikipedia entry has a charming story about a rather eventful screening of The Blues Brothers – though we doubt that this was the one that Pterry attended (if, indeed, he attended at all).
- Look, the French Foreign Legion have a long and storied history, but in popular culture they are the go-to reference of the group you join when you want to get well away from your life. Brendan Fraser’s character in The Mummy? French Foreign Legion.
- Why are denim trousers called jeans? They’re named after the city of Genua, where the original fabric was manufactured. Read more about their history here. I know. We hoped they would be named after Gene Wilder too.
- Rebel Without a Cause is one of James Dean’s most famous films and is often credited with kicking off the idea of the teenager.
- Minder and Arthur Daley is a character from Minder, a British comedy-drama series that ran from 1979 to 1994.
- Animorphs, first a book series, later adapted into a TV show, followed the adventures of a group of friends who had been given the power to morph into different animal shapes in an attempt to fight back against a secret alien invasion on Earth. Their enemy were the Yeerks – a parasitic species which would occupy the body of a host and control them.
- Is Sioni bod da real Welsh? According to the Discworld Wiki “Bod Da is Welsh for Be Good, therefore Sioni Bod Da is Johnny B. Goode.”
- ‘The Day the Music Died’ is the name given to the tragic day where musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and “The Big Bopper” J.P. Richardson were killed in a light aircraft accident. It served as the inspiration for this Don McLean song. Both Holly’s wife and mother heard the news from media rather than authorities (his wife, Maria Elena, via a TV report and his mother via the radio). His mother collapsed at the news, and Maria Elena shortly afterwards had a miscarriage. This series of events led to the development of a policy for proper notification of victims’ families.
- How many Dalek invasions of contemporary Earth have there been? At least two.
- The natural human preference for length of day is a subject of much debate. Some studies showed that the human circadian rhythm, when absent of outside stimuli like light and knowledge of time skewed more towards 25 hours, but later studies dispute this. Need more people to volunteer to sleep whenever they want for further study? We’re available!
- Two-up, often played on ANZAC Day “is a traditional Australian gambling game, involving a designated “spinner” throwing two coins or pennies into the air.” Players bet on which way the coins will land.
- According to the Stratocaster Guide, Keith Richards once said “The Strat is as sturdy and strong as a mule, yet it has the elegance of a racehorse. It’s got everything you need, and that’s rare to find in anything.” Bascically? They’re the quintessential cool guitar.
- In the TV series Gilmore Girls Dean and Jesse are, consecutively, Rory Gilmore’s first and second boyfriends. Dean is an absolute garbage heap of a human being which only becomes more apparent as the show progresses. Jesse is marginally better, but improves. In the end it doesn’t actually matter though as the re-boot proves that Rory herself is actually the worst of them all.
- Popular Scottish indie group Belle & Sebastian got their name from tbe book and television series with the same title. The story of a boy and his dog, their namesake is about as charming as the music they produce.