These are the episode notes and errata for Pratchat episode 54, “The Land Before Vimes“, discussing the twenty-ninth Discworld novel, 2002’s Night Watch with returning guest Nadia Bailey.
Notes and Errata
- The episode title puns on the 1988 animated feature film The Land Before Time (dir. Don Bluth), in which an improbable group of very cute baby dinosaurs who are separated from their parents and search for a safe haven known as the Great Valley. It was quite the sensation at the time, and spawned no fewer than thirteen direct-to-video musical sequels. (Ben tried out several different time/Vimes puns and liked this one the best, since the Ankh-Morpork of thirty years ago is effectively the land before Vimes.)
- Nadia last appeared on Pratchat just over three years ago, in March 2019, for #Pratchat17, “Midsummer (Elf) Murders“, discussing Lords and Ladies. (Not including “pandemic time”, that’s only about twelve months ago.) The last time we recorded in person was a year after that, for #Pratchat29, “Great Rimward Land“, released in March 2020.
- Will Alma (1904-1993) was a Melbourne magician and historian of magic. Liz did indeed create the Wikipedia page about Alma; we’ll let you read it to find out more. You can also find information about the W G Alma Conjouring Collection on the State Library of Victoria website.
- Iceland spar is a transparent form of crystallised calcium carbonate, or calcite; it looks a bit like chunky glass, and crystals are usually rhombus shaped. It’s found in many parts of the world, but the most famous source is the the Helgustadir mine in Iceland – hence the name. It has birefringence, which means that it refracts light differently depending on its polarisation. (Polarisation describes the direction in which a wave oscillates. Light from the sun and most natural sources is said to be “unpolarised”, because it’s made up of a mixture of waves oscillating in all directions.) In practical terms, Iceland spar splits unpolarised light into two distinct beams when it passes through the crystal. It’s thought to be the crystal known as sólarsteinn (“sunstone” in Old Norse) by the Vikings, who used the birefringence effect on sunlight to find the exact position of the sun – a vital bit of data in navigation – even when it was obscured by cloud.
- Back to the Future (1985; dir. Robert Zemeckis) is the classic comedy time travel movie, and we’ve mentioned it on the podcast before. In the film, teenager and wannabe rockstar Marty McFly (Michael J Fox) accidentally activates a time travelling car built by his mentor, Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd), and gets stranded thirty years in the past. When trying to get home, he interrupts the event that caused his parents to meet, and spends the rest of the film trying to get them together before he alters history and wipes himself from existence. This is a form of the Grandfather Paradox – a time traveller interfering with the past in such a way as to cause themselves not to exist.
- The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents is actually the Discworld book immediately before this one; it’s the first explicitly written for younger readers, and also the first not to have a cover by Josh Kirby after he was established as the regular cover artist. (The Colour of Magic was initially published with a cover painting of Great A’Tuin by Alan Smith; Kirby was brought in from that book’s second edition.) We discussed The Amazing Maurice back in July of 2020, in #Pratchat33, “Cat, Rats and Two Meddling Kids“. An animated film adaptation, The Amazing Maurice, is scheduled for release some time in 2022.
- We discussed Men at Arms, including Vimes’ possible retirement, back in #Pratchat1, “Boots Theory“. We revisited it (rather shambolically) for the live recorded episode #PratchatNALC, “Twice as Alive“.
- There are many fan-produced Discworld timelines but the most famous is the one developed by members of the alt.fan.pratchett newsgroup, and published on the L-Space Web. You can find the latest evolution of that timeline on the L-Space Wiki.
- Sergeant Abba Stronginthearm was recruited by Carrot as part of his militia in Men at Arms, and subsequently mentioned in Jingo (where he is the next senior Corporal after Nobby) and features briefly in The Fifth Elephant (where’s he’s made Sergeant, and takes part in the Ankh-Morpork investigation into the theft of a model of the Scone of Stone).
- Poppies are the symbol of Remembrance Day (November 11, marking the armistice that ended hostilities in World War I) and, in Australia and New Zealand, ANZAC Day (April 25, marking the landing of Australian and New Zealand troops at Gallipoli in Turkey, and the subsequent campaign in which thousands died). They are mostly worn in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries. Pins of artificial poppies are sold to raise funds for veterans, and are worn by anyone who wishes to remember the dead of World War I (and, later, World War II). The poppy as an emblem was inspired by John McCrae’s poem “In Flanders Fields”, which refers to poppies growing in what were the battlegrounds in France and Belgium. The first lines of the poem read:
In Flanders Fields, the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.
- We’ve mentioned the end of Disney villains like Gaston before, in Eeek Club 2021, and #Pratchat28, “All Our Base Are Belong to You“. The trope is that the hero doesn’t kill the villain, but they die anyway because they act on their own wrath or greed, causing their own death (often by falling). This simplifies the story by preventing the need for any kind of forgiveness or punishment, giving the heroes an easy happy ending. (TV Tropes calls this a “Disney Villain Death”, which is specifically for the falling off of something version.)
- We’ve mentioned the dimension-hopping TV show Sliders before, mostly in episodes about Pratchett’s own multi-dimensional epic, The Long Earth series (see #Pratchat31 and #Pratchat46), but also in #Pratchat37, “The Shopping Trolley Problem“. The specific episode Ben refers to here is “Post Traumatic Slide Syndrome”, from about halfway through the second season in 1996. The title also refers to the framing device of one of the sliders, soul singer Rembrandt Brown, telling his story to a psychiatrist. Arturo’s final line that episode was indeed “Oh, my God…”
- While Ben still questions applying it to time travel, Liz is right in that realistic theories of teleportation involve destroying a person and building a copy of them at their destination. This is because the transmission of actual matter is impossible, but it’s at least theoretically possible to transmit the information about the physical state of a person or thing and then recreate it perfectly at the destination. In such a setup, the original is disintegrated, possibly as part of the scanning process, or just to avoid creating copies of people and collect raw material for the return journey. There’s some disagreement over whether this is how transporters work in Star Trek – some explanations say it is, while others claim they transmit the original matter at a “quantum level”, though it is definitely broken down first. The philosophical implications of either version are usually ignored until it goes wrong, perhaps most famously in the Star Trek: Voyager episode “Tuvix”. Some other stories which explore these ideas include Australian author Sean Williams’ Twinmaker trilogy of YA novels, a film we won’t name because it’d be a spoiler, and Ben’s own audio comedy mini-series Hello! My Name is Eddie, specifically in the episode “The Psychological Experiment of Death”.
- Buggy Swires, gnome watchman, rides a heron for this kind of operation. He prefers a sparrowhawk for crowd control, but doesn’t seem unhappy with his heron, which he tames through a combination of concussion and a secret potion. If this feels a bit like the bird-riding antics of a certain Nac Mac Feegle, don’t worry – all will become clear in several books’ time.
- For more information about the lightning strike from Thief of Time, see our episode about the book: #Pratchat48, “Lu-Tze in the Sky with Lobsang“.
- In The Terminator (1984; dir. James Cameron) and its sequels, characters from the future explain that the “time displacement equipment” they use requires a bioelectric field to work, which is why only living organic beings or things which mimic them successfully can travel through it. This includes the T-800 terminator, which has real flesh covering its metal endoskeleton, or the later models which are either composed of or covered in “mimetic polyalloy”, described as “living metal”.
- We previously discussed the rules that come with the mogwai creatures in Gremlins (1984; dir. Joe Dante) in #Pratchat51, “Boffoing the Winter Slayer“. We’ve also mentioned the sequel, Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990; dir. Joe Dante), in #Pratchat34, “Only You Can Save Deadkind“.; in that film, a minor character derides protagonist Billy’s explanation of the “don’t feed them after midnight” rule.
- Doctor John “Mossy” Lawn makes his only major appearance here, but he does return in a cameo role in several later books, notably Going Postal (see #Pratchat38, “Moisten to Steal“).
- The “vet” Vimes relies on in other novels is Doughnut Jimmy. He makes his major appearance in Feet of Clay, when he is called upon to treat the poisoned Patrician, but is also mentioned in Jingo and The Last Continent.
- We talked about germ theory, hand washing and Semmelweis in #Pratchat48, “Lu-Tze in the Sky with Lobsang“. We’ll again point you to this episode of NPR’s Shortwave podcast, which shows that even after Semmelweis’ intervention, doctors did not want to admit that they might be causing sickness or death.
- Granny Weatherwax explains her goblin-shaped germ theory to Tiffany in A Hat Full of Sky. We previously discussed this in #Pratchat43, “Big Wee Hag: Far Fra’ Home“.
- As Ben will remember later in the episode, John Keel’s real-world counterpart is Sir Robert Peel (1788-1850), a British Member of Parliament, and twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, though he remains most famous for founding the Metropolitan Police Force. He’s considered the “father of modern policing”, but his other achievements include the establishment of the modern Conservative party, free trade and modern banking in the UK. While we’re not a fan of his politics in general, it’s worth noting that he often started out with a traditional conservative opinion on a matter, but would later change his mind. Most famously, while he initially supported high tariffs on imported goods, he eventually moved to repeal the “corn laws” that made imported staple foods expensive in order to help alleviate the Great Famine in Ireland – acting against the wishes of most of his party, and leading to his resignation as Prime Minister.
- To be clear, “Mrs Palm and Her Five Sisters” (and variations thereof) is a euphemism for the hand when used for masturbation, the five sisters being the fingers. The phrase is most prevalent in the UK, but is pretty common in Australia too.
- Fred and Nobby’s ages are not specifically mentioned in the books. In Guards! Guards! Fred is said to have been married for thirty years, which certainly tallies with his younger self in Night Watch. Nobby is never described in a way that gives much of a clue as to his age, but given Fred is probably in his early twenties at most in Night Watch, the age gap between them is probably only a decade or so – not much of a consideration after thirty years.
- Fred’s military service is more-or-less first mentioned in Guards! Guards!, where he is said to have “served in foreign parts”, though the nature of that service is not described. We say “more-or-less” because also in that book is the famous passage describing him as one of life’s Sergeants, which specifically says “if he took up a military career”, though Nobby also says towards the end that Colon had told him stories about winning archery contests in the army. In any case the Watch is not treated quite as distinctly from the military in the first couple of books as it would be in later ones, with the distinction first being very clearly made in Jingo. Nobby’s adventures in stealing stuff, meanwhile, also get a minor mention in Guards! Guards!: in the aftermath of Carrot’s brawl in the Drum, Nobby is sizing up the boots of some of the unconscious brawlers and is described as a “veteran of of a score of residual battlefields”, suggesting quite ruthlessly that they could cut the throats of the fallen. There’s no mention of this experience being on literal military battlefields, though, and in Men at Arms, when Fred is comparing Detritus to his old drill sergeant, Nobby makes no mention of having been in the army with him, so it seems likely only Fred went into military service.
- Lu-Tze’s first re-writing of history occurs in Small Gods, and you can hear us discuss it in #Pratchat16, “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Vorbis“.
- Sam spends about four days and one night in the past – a limit imposed by Qu, due to the situation and strain of both the magical and bureaucratic kinds, meaning Vimes arrives on the night of the 21st (or the early morning of the 22nd). This seems to be about the same amount of time Keel had in the Ankh-Morpork Night Watch before the 25th of May, so his lifelong impact on the younger Vimes took him only a few days to establish.
- The Gestapo – short for Geheime Staatspolizei, “Secret State Police” – were established in 1933 by Herman Göring through a merger of the political and intelligence arms of the Prussian police force, making the new body national. They were responsible for sniffing out and eliminating any opposition to the Nazi regime, both in Germany and Nazi-occupied parts of Europe. They were disbanded in 1945, after being declared a criminal organisation in the Nuremberg trials, both for their involvement in the Holocaust and their ruthless and brutal suppression of any potentially anti-Nazi organisation. Their legacy of using informants and appearing to be all-knowing and around every corner were taken up by the Stasi (short for Staatssicherheitsdienst, “State Security Service”), the secret police of East Germany from 1950 until the reunification of Germany in 1990.
- There’s no single consistent definition of “psychopath“, nor is psychopathy a recognised mental illness or condition. It’s often described in terms of a lack of “usual” characteristics, primarily fear, inhibition, impulse control and empathy, though the definition is still very broad. The modern concept of the psychopath is shaped largely by the work of Canadian psychologist Robert D. Hare, whose famous Hare Psychopathy Checklist has been roundly criticised. As for whether Carcer and Swing would fit the bill, the answer is – probably, depending on who was asking the questions. UK journalist and writer Jon Ronson examined a lot of these questions (in general, not about these characters specifically) in his 2011 book The Psychopath Test, which brought the questionnaire to broader public attention, though the book itself did not avoid criticism either.
- In Men at Arms, Vimes thinks during the book that it is much better to be threatened by an evil man, since he’ll want to see you squirm and will gloat and talk, giving you a chance to escape, whereas “A good man will kill you with hardly a word.” At the climax of the book, Carrot kills Dr Cruces in order to save Vimes and destroy the gonne, without saying anything, prompting Vimes to think his earlier thoughts again. (For more discussion of Men at Arms, see #Pratchat1, “Boots Theory“.)
- The “revolution” in Les Miserablés is the real-life June Rebellion of the 5th and 6th of June in 1832 Paris. It has similarities with the events of Night Watch, but doesn’t seem to be the primary inspiration. At the time, Parisians were experiencing great hardship, with crop failures and economic problems causing a huge amount of suffering, alongside repeated attempted insurrections by supporters of the previous royal line deposed in the 1830 revolution (the one which followed the most famous one). A cholera epidemic swept through the city, killing more than 100,000 people – including the conservative Prime Minister Perier, and, on June 1, General Lemarque, an influential ex-military commander. Lemarque was involved in the 1830 revolution, and was one of the few members of the French parliament openly critical of the monarchy, making him hugely popular with republicans. After the massive state funeral for Perier, critics of the regime saw Lamarque’s funeral as a chance to show massive support for the republican movement, and turned out in huge numbers. Lafayette (yes, the one from Hamilton) was there, and called for calm after giving a speech for Lamarque, but to no avail. The republican movement was organised by secret societies like the “Friends of the People”, on which the fictional “Friends of ABC” from Les Miserablés is based (their name is a French pun). They raised flags with the famous revolutionary slogan “La Liberté ou la Mort” (“Liberty or Death”), and violence broke out between them and government troops. The insurrectionists put up barricades and claimed parts of the city. Fighting killed hundreds on each side, but the rebels were outnumbered and eventually defeated. In the aftermath, they were portrayed as an extremist minority, and the republicans would not have a true revolution until 1848 – but that’s a whole other story.
- Javert is the antagonist of Les Miserablés, a guard at the prison from which Jean Valjean escapes, and later a police inspector in the town where Valjean has made a new life as mayor; he is the one who realises Valjean’s true identity, and becomes obsessed with bringing him “to justice”. In the end, Valjean offers to surrender to Javert, but Javert is overcome with confusion and regret when he realises the brutal criminal he’s hunted for so long is actually a compassionate man seeking to do what’s right, and unable to reconcile the law with his morals, drowns himself. In the famous musical adaptation of the story, he is changed little from the character in the book. He was perhaps most famously played on stage – in English at least – by Australian actor and former Playschool presenter Philip Quast, while in the 2012 film version of the stage musical, he is played by another Australian, Russell Crowe. Quast’s vocals are legendary, but Crowe’s were less well received, though it should be noted that the film was unusual for a musical in that the actors’ singing performances were recorded live on set rather than mimed along to studio recordings, as is usual practice. (It wasn’t the first film to do this, but it was a big deal at the time.)
- Findthee Swing is described in the book as “a small, thin figure” and “a pale man with the screwed-up eyes of a pet rat.” Considerably more attention is given to the way he moves, which is summed up with the sentence: “There was no rhythm to the man.”
- Corporal “Mayonnaise” Quirke is here kicked out of the Night Watch by Keel/Vimes, sent to join the Day Watch instead. Along with Sergeant Knock and Ned Coates he’s part of Carcer’s troop who attempt to capture John Keel towards the end of the book, though his exact level of participation in the fighting is not noted – presumably he is wounded or flees during the first ambush by the Night Watch, before Ned Coates changes sides. He remains in the Day Watch, and by the time of Guards! Guards! has been promoted to its Captain – an equivalent rank to Vimes, but much more prestigious. During the events of Men at Arms, Captain Quirke wears his obvious racism on his sleeve, arresting an innocent troll for the murder of a dwarf, starting riots across the city. The Night Watch continue to investigate the crime, leading to them being told to stand down; Quirke is the one sent to take the Watch’s weapons, and thinks that once Vimes is retired the watches will be combined under his command. When Carrot later forms a citizen’s militia, Quirke arrives to stop him, but Carrot announces he is relieving Quirke of command and knocks him out cold with a single punch, much to everyone’s delight. Quirke is never mentioned again, the Day Watch being dissolved and merged into a single Watch under the command of the newly promoted Vimes.
- Winsborough Knock is the duty sergeant of the old Night Watch, a new character in this book. He is shown to be a thoroughly dirty copper, known to accept bribes and also attempting to frame Keel after he is demoted below him. He is also a coward, dropping his weapons and running away from the fighting at Treacle Mine Road.
- As noted in #Pratchat51, Pratchett was officially diagnosed in 2007 with Posterior Cortical Atrophy (PCA – a rarer form of Alzheimer’s), announcing it publicly on the 11th of December that year, slightly more than five years after the publication of Night Watch. The earliest he and his close friends and family realised something was up was in 2006, though they would retroactively trace his symptoms back as far as 2005. Perhaps his official biography will shed light on whether he had any personal experience of dementia in others, or otherwise why it so often comes up in his work well before his own diagnosis. See also our episode about Johnny and the Dead.
- “The powers that be” – meaning a group or organisation etc that has authority – dates back to at least the sixteenth century, where it appeared in the Tyndale Bible, the first in English to be mass-produced via printing press, and the first in Modern English to be translated from the original Greek and Hebrew, rather than from later Latin translations. The phrase features in Romans 13:1, which states that “There is no power but of God. The powers that be, are ordained of God.” This wording was preserved with only minor changes in the later King James Bible, still the main English Bible used in the world today, and from there into common usage. These days its probably best known from the Public Enemy song “Fight the Power”, whose chorus is a repetition of the title followed by “We’ve got to fight the powers that be”. Ben learned it there, but also from its usage in the TV series Angel, where the titular vampire with a soul and his team of demon hunters use it as a euphemism for the entities aligned with good which grant them visions and other powers. In the series the name is capitalised The Powers That Be, and sometimes abbreviated (as in real life) to TPTB.
- The seamstress who is actually a seamstress is Miss Battye, aka “Sandra the Real Seamstress”. While played for laughs in the Discworld, “seamstress” has been a euphemism for sex worker on Roundworld for centuries – there’s a pun along these lines in Shakespeare’s Henry V, for example. As usual, though, Terry has done a deep dive into history and based his jokes on something much more specific. As noted in a great Twitter thread by writer Gabrielle Kent, Men at Arms features a gag where the census finds that seamstresses in the Ankh-Morpork docks vastly outnumbered needles. This is a reference to a real occurrence in Seattle in the late nineteenth century, where a census revealed 2,700 seamstresses in one small part of the city; they were, of course, sex workers. The city, on the edge of bankruptcy after closing down many of the vice industries which had previously paid it big taxes, worked out a deal with the sex workers that they pay a $10 per week “sewing machine tax”, solving the city’s revenue problems and allowing the seamstresses to continue working without interference. (Thanks to Stevonnie Ross for their corrections to this note!)
- Dibbler’s full name is given as Claud Maximillian Overton Transpire Dibbler in Making Money, making his failure to coin his own nickname even weirder. While the phrase is most associated with Dibbler, though, he’s surely not the only salesman to have used it, so it’s also possible that in the original timeline Keel might have heard the phrase somewhere else and passed it on in the same way as Vimes does here, without having got it from future Dibbler. (And it’s also possible that Dibbler changed his name in order to allow him to legally be CMOT Dibbler, which is probably useful for brand recognition purposes.)
- If you want to learn more about the militarisation of police and armed police response to peaceful protest, this 2020 article from The Conversation is a good starting point. While its most often discussed in the context of the US, it’s also been happening here in Australia for years, as noted in this ABC article from 2019. Protests around the time of the book’s publication included huge ones in early 2003 against the war in Iraq, which were held around the world…and soundly ignored by most of the involved governments.
- You can hear more about Pyramids and the “Assassin’s School Days” section at the start of the book, in #Pratchat5, “Ten Points to Viper House“.
- Vimes does indeed tell Madam Roberta his thoughts about her motives for supporting the change of Patrician; he can see Lord Winder and his associates are bad for business, and tells her he doesn’t want to join her revolution. Vetinari is hidden in the room and watches the whole exchange.
- In the Batman comics, the young Bruce Wayne spent years travelled the world training with martial artists, detectives and trackers in order to become the ultimate crime fighter. A good use of his fortune? Probably not, but it has given us some great stories. The recent series Batman: The Knight revisits some of this time of his youth, and you can read more about his mentors in this DC Comics article.
- Vimes contributions to the Widows and Orphans fund are a plot point in Men at Arms, when Angua discovers why Vimes never has any money. His notebook has many names of women and how much money he gives them; it turns out they’re all widows and orphans of dead Watchmen.
- For more on Pratchett’s love of Dickens, see #Pratchat6, “A Load of Old Tosh“, our episode discussing his Dickens pastiche Dodger.
- As quoted in the Annotated Pratchett File, Pratchett described the ginger beer trick like this: “To save debate running wild: I’ve heard this attributed to the Mexican police as a cheap way of getting a suspect to talk and which, happily, does not leave a mark. The carbonated beverage of choice was Coca-Cola. Hint: expanding bubbles, and the sensitivity of the sinuses. I seem to recall a brief shot of something very like this in the movie Traffic.” Traffic is a 2000 Stephen Soderburgh movie about the illegal drug trade. In the scene Pratchett mentions, a killer who worked for the Tijuana Cartel is tortured by police officers who mix soda water and chilli powder and put it up his nose.
- You can hear Ben’s thoughts about the end of The Fifth Elephant in #Pratchat40, “The King and the Hole of the King“.
- Lord Ronald Rust appears in primarily in Jingo, but also crops up regularly as a typically awful example of Ankh-Morpork’s aristocracy, including in Men at Arms, The Fifth Elephant, Monstrous Regiment and Snuff.
- We’ve previously mentioned sitcom character Hyacinth “it’s pronounced Bouquet” Bucket of Keeping Up Appearances many times, including in #Pratchat51, “Boffoing the Winter Slayer,” #Pratchat43, “Big Wee Hag: Far Fra’ Home” and #Pratchat39, “All the Fun of the…Fish?“
- We know a little more now about the likely origins of “All the Little Angels”, thanks to reddit user armcie! On the alt.fan.pratchett newsgroup in November 2002, Pratchett was asked about the song, and said he based it on one he could only vaguely remember from his youth; to quote the man himself: “consensus of opinion is that it may be a WW1 trench song which became an early version of what are now known as ‘Rugby songs.’ Whatever the tune, it should be simple and swing along. it’s only ‘sad’ in context.”
Armcie also found that Terry seems to have asked folk song expert Steve Roud about the original song not long before the book’s publication; Steve hadn’t heard of it, but put out word for more info. Jacob B, in this old forum thread from the Mudcat folk and blues website, had the closest answer: a song sung to the tune of the German children’s song “O du lieber Augustin” (“Oh, you dead Augustin”), which puns “ascend” and “arse-end”, and has very similar lyrics.
You might not know the name of that German song, but you’ve almost certainly heard the tune, as its been re-used by dozens of songs, mostly for children, since it was published around 1800. In Australia or the UK, you might know the Scottish-themed “Have You Ever Seen a Lassie?”, while American versions include “The More We Get Together” and “Willy Had a Goldfish”. Most likely, though, you’ve seen the episode of The Simpsons featuring the song “Hail to the Bus Driver”, which seems to be a genuine American schoolyard song using the tune.
In any case, “O du lieber Augustin” is in 3/4 time, so it’s not much use as a marching song – it’s clearly not the tune used on the Discworld. But it does seem a likely contender for the song Terry remembered from his youth. Terry’s quote above suggests he had no specific tune in mind for the song Dickson and the others sing, though, so feel free to make up your own. Thanks again, armcie!
Here are the lyrics to the possible inspiration for “All the Little Angels”:
All the little angels ascend up to heaven All the little angels ascend up on high Which end up? Ascend up. Which end up? Ascend up. All the little angels ascend up on high
- There are multiple recordings of the more upbeat version of “All the Little Angels” on YouTube, all based on the arrangement by Sunday Comes Afterwards. It’s not a million miles away from “O du lieber Augustin“, but definitely its own thing. Here are the links:
- Sunday Comes Afterwards – All the Little Angels: their version is a simple demo of the tune they devised, with ukelele and vocals. The arrangement is also available as sheet music via flat.io. Released in March 2018.
- DJ Boogie – All the little angels (how do they rise up): this version from is the most “music with rocks in” of the three. The video also contains numerous references to the book. Released in May 2020. (Boogie is clearly a fan; he has a YouTube list of several Discworld tunes, including a very funny filk of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” written to fans, and a parody of “A Few of My Favourite Things” rewritten to be a list of Abominations Unto Nuggan.)
- Hate Kills – All the Little Angels: from a parody duo based in Devon, this version features acoustic guitar and some lovely harmonies. Released in May 2021. (They also do a great a cappella version of “The Hedgehog Song“.)
- Another, very different version of “All the Little Angels” is by US-based musician Genviel. It’s not trying to be the song sung by the characters in the book, but uses the Little Angels chorus to make a song referencing the events of the Glorious 25th of May and more generally being critical of war. You can find “All the Little Angels, Night Watch & Terry Pratchett Tribute feat. Marcello Vieira” as the final track on Genviel’s 2019 album “Chronicles of a Collapse”, available on their website as well as Soundcloud, YouTube music and more.
- Stevonnie Ross – Sunday Comes Afterwards themselves! – contacted us to let us know about another arrangement of “All the Little Angels” they thought our listeners might enjoy. This one is from Discworld-themed Celtic/German folk band “The Band with Folk In”, and definitely has a more “authentic folk music” kind of feel – especially the way they end. You can listen to it here on YouTube, and find some of their other songs there too; many of them are Discworld-themed “filks” – traditional or classic songs (including popular Tik-Tok sea shanty “The Wellerman”, and the Beatles’ “Let It Be”) with new, nerdy lyrics.
- One more for the road, added after the fact: community choir Liber Chorus recorded another very different choral version of “All the Little Angels”. We can imagine this might be how it might be sung many years after the fact in a temple on the Glorious 25th, by any religious folks who remembered that day. It’s certainly not how the Watch members would have sung it at the time, but it is worth a listen; you can find a video of the song on Youtube, released in early July, 2022. The video shows members of the choir, but also features some gorgeous illustrations of some of the participants from the barricades of the Glorious Revolution.
More notes for this episode coming soon!
Thanks for reading our notes! If we missed anything, or you have questions, please let us know.