Thursday, 19 March 2015


TOMORROW THERE WILL BE A SOLAR ECLIPSE, but whatever you do, DON'T go outside and watch it, just in case you burn your eyes. In fact, don't go outside at all, because on any other day of the year, the sun will still be in the sky, and will, in fact, be brighter and more visible than when it is 85% obscured by our planet's closest natural satellite*.
Just don't be unsafe. You can't be trusted to do a damn thing by yourself. Kindly download this form at once and complete it before you attempt anything, ever. Fill it in and submit it to me. Because I'm Pope, and I'll decide who gets to enjoy themselves, and in what ways, thank you very much.

*Ok, I'm probably wrong on this. So I missed that edition of QI. Bah. Up yours.

Sunday, 15 March 2015


So many emotions... but - gird yourself, Mu...

 My grandmother has recently died. She was 98, and her brain outlived the body from which it sparkled. She was an amazing woman. Today, being Mother's Day, and so close to the passing of another Great Mind, finds me experiencing a heavy mix of joy and grief. I'm not here to write about my family, though...
I chatted with my Mamma about it (who has, of course, inherited the title of Head Grandma and the Tiara that goes with it) and she said she would like to suggest a DW book for her book group. 

So, suggestions welcome. Reaper Man was my route in, but I don't know if it's the right one for a different generation: I was about seventeen, with a mind, to quote my other favourite, 'as ignorant and uninformed as the female mind at seventeen usually is'. I have said to Mamma that there are many who misunderstand Pratchett, much as many misunderstand Jane Austen: they think Austen wrote romances and Terry wrote fantasy novels. They didn't - or, that is, there was so much more to them than that. They wrote brilliant humour, biting satire and beautifully-observed parodies of their respective societies; they just clothed them in the garb of popular genres.
Sir Terry Pratchett was not a ranter - or, I should say, he was not a ranter in public; I was not privileged to know him in more private moments. Politically he was as sound as they come - decent, liberal, honest, and unforgiving of the stupid and selfish. At least, that is what I draw from his books and from the few occasions upon which I was fortunate to meet him. He was the nation's most successful author after JK Rowling* (Gods, I still can't believe I have to say 'was') and still he did not enjoy the recognition he deserved. 
  One of the DW Hive Mind has just given me this quote from Terry himself - and it's the reason I have gone ahead and written this post, because he says succinctly what I have managed only by rambling:
"Recent Discworld books have spun on such concerns as the nature of belief, politics and even of journalistic freedom, but put in one lousy dragon and they call you a fantasy writer."
Thanks again for reading. I've added a few pictures below, which I have probably blogged before; but they are moments which happened because of the unique world in which I feel privileged to be a part.

*Sorry, Potter fans - they're great stories, but I have never read and re-read a line of Potter solely for the sheer pleasure of its construction. STP is one of only two contemporary authors for whom I have.
The other is not Stephen King.