Sunday, December 31, 2006

December 2006


by Lady Anaemia Asterisk


Greetings, my happy Hogswatch horoscope-readers! The ancient time of Hogswatch signals the start of a new year full of fresh opportunity, endless possibilities and a host of Zodiac-influenced disasters. It's also a time for visiting dear friends and family, feasting and quaffing to excess, and most of all for New Year's resolutions. In light of this, I've recently travelled the Disc to seek out a number of well-known personalities (mainly with people attached to them) to discover their resolutions for the New Year and share them for your delectation and entertainment and also as a possible source of inspiration. There's no time like the present for changing your ways - after the festivities are over, of course.

Happy Hogswatch to all, and mind how you go with the sherry!

The Adamant Hedgehog 21 Mar - 20 Apr

Willikins, butler to the Ramkin-Vimes family:
"In the following year, I intend to see to the further restoration of Lady Sybil's ancestral home. Now that Young Master Sam is growing rapidly, it's time some of the long-disused rooms got a proper airing and are made suitable for visitors and guests. I shall also be studying new strategies for convincing Lord Samuel to allow me to buttle him properly. And I shall make time for a refresher course in the martial arts of Shamlegger Street, since I have finally accepted that extra-familial violence in the Ramkin home is simply a part of daily life for a personage as danger-prone as my employer."

Sally von Humpeding, Watchman and, um, spy:
"My Hogswatch resolution... well, after so many years of having Hogswatch as the number one time of the year for going out and getting really hammered on... um... my species' favourite drink, I think my resolution nowadays should be to never do that sort of drinking again. So this Hogswatch and every Hogswatch I will renew my Temperance Society pledge with extra formality and a good unbeating heart. I also resolve to do less drinking of the human sort, that is to say alcohol, because every time I go for a big night out at The Bucket with my colleagues, I wake up with some of my bats missing. Life as a Black Ribboner is difficult enough without having to spend hours chasing down bits of my extremities! So no more of those drinks with the funny paper umbrellas in them - they cause me to, well, let's just say that for a vampire, the expression 'forget my own head next' is upsettingly literal."

Mrs Earwig, a self-confessed modern Ramtops witch:
"Next year my sacred mission on behalf of the spirits of higher magicks is to fight against the latest resurgence of the un-Enlightened witching community. It seems that the younger members of the Craft are acting like, well, like old ladies in black - mixing curative herbal potions without so much as donning a piece of occult jewellery or consulting my book of Rituals of Purification for the Sisters of Arcana, making personal visits to those dreadfully unsophisticated villagers, and even refusing to cast spells! One can't be having with that sort of thing, can one..."

Lord Rust, scion of an old Ankh-Morpork family:
"My Hogswatch resolution? Get some law and order back in this city. What these uppity Guilds need is to be taken out and thrashed good and proper, to a man. And that should be to a man. Time we rid this city of all those lawn ornaments and rocks. And those vampires and zombies while we're at it - what they need's to be given a damn good thrashing and shown the way to the Turnwise Gate. Oh, and get that de Worde feller thrown off that upstart newspaper. Ought to have the whole damn thing shut down. Public opinions? Hah! The holding of opinions is an hereditary right of the nobility. The public need a damn good thrashing, the lot of 'em."

Gahoolie, the Vase of Tulips 21 Apr - 21 May

Grag Bashfull Bashfullsson, an encouragingly modern Dwarf:
"In this coming year, I resolve to turn my face further into the light while yet remaining endarkened. These times of change call for changing ways. Slowly changing ways, of course. I have every respect for our thousands of years of laws and traditions. But as the axe of the mind cuts away all but truth, so can it cut away the mined-out seams of pointless hatred and ways no longer useful to our people. Ankh-Morpork may be a city of the lost, but the lost can be reclaimed. Any anyway, the beer at Gimlet's beats anything I ever had back in Copperhead. Nothing like a friendly pint to help the reclaiming along."

Lobsang Ludd, a noted Time Lord:
"In honour of my esteemed teacher and boyhood guide Lu-Tze, I resolve to get around to giving the History Monks some fresh hours and a good supply of yesterdays. I also intend to investigate the mystery of why so many humans seem to have time on their hands. I'm quite sure I didn't put it there."

Sadie, an Agony Aunt:
"Actually, dear, I make other people keep their resolutions. I've never had a problem with my own. Although I suppose I could wish to work even more quietly next year. And to leave fewer marks."

Mustrum Ridcully, Archchancellor of Unseen University:
"In the New Year, I intend to institute some changes to the University. Time we brought back the daily compulsory dawn jog for all senior staff. And callisthenics. And fish. Must have a word with the Chair of Thaumozoology about breeding some sludge-resistant fish for our stretch of the Ankh, that wussy natural selection is a complete failure when it comes to making good tough pike with good tough teeth. And I'm going to have a word with Stibbons - he needs to get out of that stuffy High Energy Magic building and into the good healthy fug of the Archchancellor's Games Room so he can devote his high energy to something useful, like creating more wormholes in that rubber sheet he always goes on about so I can do more spectacular trick billiards shots."

Herne the Hunted 22 May - 21 Jun

Ella Saturday, Baroness de Genua:
"My resolution for next year is to visit Mrs Gogol more often - I've been kept so busy practising laissez-faire that it's quite ruined my social life. And I'll check all the palace mirrors more frequently and make sure they're safely covered. Oh, and much as I hate to interfere with the daily business of my dear people, I think I'll issue a proclamation, no, a request, that all restaurants keep frogs' legs off the menu from now on. The thought of frogs still gives me the heebie-jeebies."

Tiffany Aching, witch and cheesemaker:
"Next year I resolve to not kiss any boys under ANY circumstances! Even if they make avalanches and icebergs for me. And especially not if they give me water-colour painting sets! Also, I shall write my diary in code. And I promise to take Wentworth fishing at least once a month, and make sure he catches a fish of more than forty pounds' weight. Hamish the Aviator brought me a request from Horace to make him a bride, but I think one mobile sentient cheese is more than enough, if one can call an honorary Feegle sentient."

Susan Sto Helit, governess and part-time anthropomorphic personification:
"So another Hogswatch season comes, another mad scramble to buy showier presents than anyone else and dine and drink with relatives you spend the rest of the year avoiding for good reason, another time of taking vital ancient traditions that once had a purpose, a purpose of visceral urgent blood-deep death and renewal, and making them into debased tinsel-wrapped cuddly children's nonsense. And of course, of people who have spent the whole year misbehaving in depressingly typical human ways suddenly swearing to completely change those ways, and of this passionate resolve lasting only to the end of the post-Hogswatchnight hangover, at which point the whole sad parade of weaknesses begins all over again. You know, at times like this I almost feel a certain sympathy for Grandfather's, um, state of existence, as he doesn't have to bother with any of this. Yes, he makes a habit of trying to bother with it, but the point is that he doesn't have to. Excuse me, you're standing in front of a bogeyman. Pass me the poker, would you?"

Hodgesaargh, Royal Falconer of Lancre:
"Oh, is it a new year again? Hawks aren't too concerned about the new year, they really only care about the right season for nesting. My resolution is to increase the number of successful hatchings next year. And to teach Her Majesty's wowhawk to let go of my arm before flying off."

The Wizard's Staff and Knob 22 Jun - 22 Jul

The Librarian, a noted wizard and ape:
"Oook ook ook oook ook. Eek!"

    [Translation: "Next year I must discourage the student wizards from reading the books. What do they think they're playing at? That gets under my fur, that does. Books aren't meant to be read - they're meant to be cared for and cherished and comforted on stormy nights when the Library's magical field is off the thaumometers and above all else not read. They get frightened when people look at their pages! But these, these, these students, they borrow them and read them and bring them back with strawberry jam and sushi stains in them and - argh, it's more than an ape can bear. I'm going for a lie-down with my blanket. If anyone wants me, I'll be under my desk."]

Lady Roberta Meserole, a noted... aunt:
"Now that I'm spending what one might delicately call my dotage back in the pleasant clime of my very late husband's Genua estate, I've had time to look back over my more active years. Having done so, my conclusion is that all the resolutions I ever had have been brought to a satisfactory pass. My dear nephew continues to make a fine job of the position I so wisely arranged for him to take; my dear friends in Uberwald are making excellent progress in their quest for more modern and less sanguinary forms of government; even young Ella seems to be taking to heart my teachings on the subject of laissez-faire governance. I sometimes wish I was young enough to take a more proactive role in developments regarding the current Agatean Empire... no, I think the Fangs, Tangs, Hongs and MacSweeneys have a sufficient complement of political manipulators among them to solve the situation without my help. So my one remaining resolution is to continue having a quiet life. And improving my breed of long-haired white cats. I'm presently selectively breeding ones that possess a natural enigmatic half-smile. So appropriate, don't you think?"

Gytha Ogg, a noted witch of Lancre:
"Hogswatch resolutions, eh? My daughters-in-law 'd better be making plenty of 'em! I swear, I don't know how they can call themselves housekeepers - why, every time I run my fingers over the undersides of the cold-pantry shelves and down the back of the couch cushions, I come up with enough dust to fill an entire scumble glass. And sometimes when one of 'em brings me my breakfast in bed, the tea is cool enough for me to dip my finger into without getting scalded. The cheek! Speaking of cheek, I've had a request from that Mister Goatberger in Ankh-Morpork to send him a new book for publicating next year. I can't believe the nerve of that man, after he tried to rob me over The Joye of Snacks! But he says this time he'll send me an advance, and I never could resist a man's advances. So I s'pose my resolution for the new year is to give him what he wants. O'course, chances are he'll get more than he wants, but that sort of thing always seems to happen with my little books. Amazing, isn't it, how good some people are at misunderstanding. Or at not misunderstanding at all. So I'm minded to write a nice series of stories for children, all about love among the Gods and their earthly followers - and in keeping with my established theme (that's publisher talk), I'm going to call it The Joye of Sects. Make sure to buy a copy so's I can get some more advances!"

Serafine von Uberwald, a noted noblewolf:
"My resolution for next year is to be firmer with Guy regarding his table manners and other personal indoor habits. I also intend to write to Angua and her young human; after all, there's nothing wrong with a harmless old lady encouraging her daughter to produce a fine strong litter of grandpups. I would have resolved to answer Sybil's letters, but since her last visit she seems to have stopped writing altogether. I can't imagine why."

Bilious, God of Hangovers 23 Jul - 23 Aug

Roland de Chumsfanleigh, heir to the Chalk barony:
"Sausage and cheese keep very well, but they are rather binding; I resolve to stock up on extra fruit next year, especially prunes and dried figs. And speaking of prunes, I really must do something about my aunts. The way they've been selling off the family silver, it's a wonder I've any knives left to cut my sausages with. I'm also inclined to study the noble profession of shepherding. And cheesemaking. Not, you know, because those have anything at all to do with a certain young local witch or anything..."

Major Blouse, a career soldier of Borogravia:
"As every new year brings our beloved Borogravia further down the 'path to enlightenment' and the old traditional ways of our couture, I mean culture, move 'ever onward', I think the establishing of a full-time theatrical troupe within the military is an important and noble goal. We must 'keep up the spirits' of our fighting forces; even if we're finally not fighting anyone, it pays to be vigilant and 'ready for action'! So my resolution for the coming year is to create a 'special force', the Wrigglesworth Brigade, which will be dedicated to providing good healthy entertainment for 'our little lads'. I myself intend to play a major, ha-ha, there's a clever 'play on words' for you, I say a major part in these uplifting productions. After all, I am a trained thespian. With a fine 'collection' of frilly petticoats."

C.W. St.J. Nobbs, a Watchman and professional Nobby:
"My Hogswatch resolution's to be less good at dodging ole Hammerhead Pushpram's fish when she throws 'em at me. I'm def'nitely goin' up in her estymation - these days when she takes aim, she's usin' almost fresh ones. When she gets to the herring wot don't smell at all, I reckon it'll be time for me to pop the question. After all, we're none of us gettin' younger, an' I haveta think about producin' a child of my loins to carry on the Nobbs name. Never mind wot Fred says about my loins, we Nobbses are a proud old family. It's not like the Colons got within a sparrow's fart o' becomin' King, eh? Also I'm startin' a new enterprise for my retirement like. With all this new modern edjymacation, I notice there's a big market for paper an' pencils, and the other day I overheard someone talking about how there's a big consignment o' Number Three grey-lead pencils comin' up fer sale to the smartest buyer. After all, a person can't spend his nights out in the rain upholdin' the sacred principles o' law 'n order after a certain age."

Miss Perspicacia Tick, a talent-scouting witch:
"I hereby resolve to set a new personal record for witchfinding next year. I'm also going to work on my shamble technique. Oh, and I need to put out a new edition of the Magavenatio Obtusis, because I'm getting tired of having to comb river algae out of my hair several times a week. I think it's time those anti-witch folks moved up to the next phase - the one where, rather than tying witches up and throwing them in the nearest river, they dump one or two buckets of water over them and offer a good shampoo and conditioner. And naturally I shall apply myself to continuing and expanding my Feegle phrasebook. So many Pictsie swear words, so little time..."

Mubbo the Hyena 24 Aug - 23 Sept

Igor (not an Igor) of Biers, a publican:
"Resolutions for next year? All about improvements to the bar. It's what I live for, since I'm pretty much the only living being involved in running this place. Find a new supplier of meat pies and pasties - have to say Mrs Drull's pies just don't taste like they used to. Oh, and buy some raven-proof pickled onion jars. Also, search the second-hand market for sapient pearwood bar stools - word on the street is that they're self-repairing. Though I suspect that Dunelm at the Mended Drum has bought up the entire available supply. Oh yesss, and I need to find a better splatter for the door. These days it seems like half the customers are normals coming in just to goggle at the regulars. Though I've got to say, they certainly buy lots of my most expensive cocktails."

Pors Stronginthearm, a weapons maker:
"My resolution for next year will be to turn all Burleigh & Stronginthearm swords and crossbows into ploughshares. Hah! - no, sorry, just a little Kad'k joke for you there. Although with the way things have been since the Koom Valley Disambiguation, the idea of branching out into interspecies farming implements has a certain appeal. But our culture will endure beyond wars and... truces. And where there's a dwarf there's and axe, and where there's an axe there's always a need for a newer axe, so the B&S foundry will carry on from strength to strength. Actually, I do resolve to offer a new line in sized-up traditional Dwarf arms and armour next year. It seems that the recent Thud craze has led to high demand among Troll players for appropriate costume. Never let it be said that B&S doesn't believe in multiculturalism, especially when there's profit in it."

Annagramma Hawkin, a young witch of the Ramtops:
"Next year will be my year! The year when I teach the teacher. Oh, not Mistress Weatherwax; she's far too set in her old-school ways to learn from bright new blood, that is to say from me. But Mrs Earwig, now - it's time the silly woman woke up and realised that witching isn't just about spells and jewellery and dancing in the moonlight and selling books to impressionable young girls. I personally have rolled up my sleeves and witched in the presence of actual genuine peasants and farm women! Yes, and I might add that I'm entirely self-taught. So my resolution is to bring the true way of witching to all those who think that it's just about what gimmicks and accessories you can buy in a shop. Now, as far as personal resolutions, I don't think I need to improve myself at all. But I might take the time to have Petulia the pig-witch show me how she's coming along with her, er, craft. That should be amusing. It's not as if there's anything I need to learn about witching livestock, surely not!"

Millie Chillum, lady-in-waiting to Queen Magrat of Lancre:
"Ooh, you actually want to know my resolutions? Um, well, 'scuse me while I curtsey, makes me less nervous. Um, her Highness Missus Queen Magrat Ma'am keeps telling me to be more self-assertive, so I guess my resolution is to be more self-assertive next year. Um, 'scuse me, I just have to pick up Princess Esme's toys. So I guess what I'll have to do is learn more about what self-assertive means. Missus Magrat Ma'am says it's about self-determination, but I'm not sure how that applies to me because everything I do 's always been determined by other people. She, her Highness that is, said I also need to practise regular self-assessment, but I've always been regular and I've nothing an assessor'd be interested, I'm sure. Um, 'scuse me, I just have to go change the herbs in the garderobes."

The Small Boring Group of Faint Stars 24 Sept - 23 Oct

Banjo Lilywhite, former thug and current part-time anthropomorphic personification:
"Youse mean I gets a whole year? Jus' for myself? An' no gibbin it back! Golly! I don' haf dem reso, resola, dem things cos I'm happy here, dere's trees an' grass an' ever't'ing's clean like me Mam allus said it oughtta be. An' Miss Susan comes by sometimes an' we gets milk an' cookies an' she shows me how ta wash m'hands an' speak betterer. Um, I guess next year I could make a statchyer of me mam outta teef. Gots lotsa teef here. A whole year? Golly!"

Brick, a foundling Troll and trainee Watchman:
"My New Ears Resalooshun is not fallin over der wagon again, an' to work real hard and be a pro-duck-tive member of sossioty like Detritus, cos it hurts when he thumps me. Hey, why dey call it New Ears anyway? I don' need no new ears, I gots perfickly good ones already. Or mebbe dat's why Detritus him allus say he gonna gimme a fick ear. Anyway I hope I has a good year an' none'a dat stuff dat makes me brain all sparkly no more."

Petulia Gristle, a noted pig-witch of the Ramtops:
"Um, resolutions? Oh, I hadn't given it much, um, thought, we've been so busy here getting the pig-houses ready for winter, at least we'll be having a regular winter here this year, ha-ha, Tiffany hasn't been going to any special dances, no, can't think of any - ohh! Is that a Sto Lat Saddleback sow in the field over there? Lovely! I didn't know anyone up this way had one. They're wonderful pigs to work with, you know. Gentle, brighter than most breeds, and the sows in farrow are just fabulous, no bother at all. If more people invested in Saddlebacks my job would be a lot easier, I can tell you that. I'll just go over for a closer - sorry, what were you talking about?"

Assistant Postmaster Stanley of the Ankh-Morpork Post Office:
"My Hogswatch resolution is to catalogue all the Post Office's stamps by the number and size of their perforations. Many people might not realise what a fascinating activity this is! A stamp is more, much, much more, than a mere gummed square or oblong of coloured paper. There's the type, quality, texture and thickness of the paper; the type, quality, texture and thickness of the gum; the composition and colour depth of the inks (or, in the case of Quirm Specials, the cabbage and broccoli juice); the nature, size and calligraphic classification of the official Post Office writing on each stamp; and last but certainly not least, the size and number of the perforations. It's absolutely enthralling! Of course, some people claim that the type, size, weight and maker's mark of the perforating pins is also of vital interest but that's typical of your undedicated hobbyist collector - the stamp, the whole stamp and nothing but the stamp is what it's really all about. Honestly, who could possibly care about pins?"

Androgyna Majestis 24 Oct - 22 Nov

Queen Ptraci of Djelibeybi:
"My resolution for next year is to purchase more Royal crocodiles. And to feed more smugglers to them. Also, to double the number of flush toilets in the Palace. And hot showers. And cold showers. And to import an Igor, even though it's said they don't thrive in desert conditions. I can certainly understand that - this desert sun doesn't half play havoc with my skin! Which is why I want an Igor in the first place. Some people might think having your face on all the national currency is quite impressive, but I don't want to go down in Djelibeybian history as the Queen with a faceful of wrinkles."

Miss Battye, a noted seamstr-, um, needlewoman:
My resolution for Hogswatch is to open my own needlework shop! After so many years of being mistaken for - of being mistaken, I think it's time people know me for the work I'm proud of and not for the work certain sorts of people think I shouldn't be proud of, although of course I've never done that sort of work so I can't have something I've done that I'm not proud of if I've never done it. And I can tell you, a widower on a pension, who's in need of some darning, is certainly not proud! So I shall become Battye the bespoke tailor and wield my mushroom with pride. I wanted to rent the shop next to Mrs Palm's, but a nice widower on a pension pointed out an empty premises to me around the corner in Knocking Lane and it looks perfect. I think I'll call it Miss Battye's Knocking Shop. Finally, I'll be able to work without men walking up to me and asking impertinent questions!"

The Dean of Unseen University:
"My Hogswatch resolution is to combine my new hobby of crateboarding (I learnt it from some young fellers working in the University Clacks tower; you take the wheels from a pair of skates and attach them to a grocer's orange crate, and let me tell you, the thrills and spills are almost as much fun as that Music with Rocks In) with the Invisible Horse Power spell we developed to get Commander Vimes to Koom Valley at terrifying speed. Just think of the possibilities! For a start, it will make Mustrum ever so cross. Also, I think Mrs Whitlow would be impressed, and she's a fine figure of a woman and another woman, splendid old bat if I do say so myself. And I can get Stibbons and Turnipseed to set me up some trick shots - much more exciting than boring old billiards. Now that Paintball and Toe Fu aren't allowed on campus any longer, this will bring back some of that old school spirit. Surf's up! I'm bad! Whatever!"

71-hour Ahmed, a policeman of Klatch:
"I resolve to track down that Al-jibla's source of honeyed locusts onna stick - and put an end to it. That man's crimes against edibility give Klatch a bad name, and Klatch has a bad enough name already in inter-Disc cuisine. My dear D'reg mother cooks better than he does. My camel cooks better than he does. Hmm, now there's a thought... I've been thinking about taking another... holiday in Ankh-Morpork, and I noticed last time that Morporkians have simply no idea about proper Klatchian curry. Perhaps, under an alias of course, I should open a true Klatchian restaurant, and... yes, use it as cover for keeping an eye on... yes, developments. Measure the wind, as it were. Vimes needn't know I'm there, but I might be of some small help in averting any possible future wars. I hear the Watch now has a vampire who works as an agent for Uberwald, so why not? There's always room in Ankh-Morpork for another disconcerting foreigner."

Great T'Phon's Foot 23 Nov - 21 Dec

Drumknott, clerk to Lord Vetinari:
"In the coming calendar year I resolve to get to the bottom of the missing Number Three grey-lead pencils mystery. The attrition rate of these pencils is far higher than would be explained by the Palace clerks' rate of use; further pursuant to this matter, some of the clerks have entered a complaint about the scarcity of these items, and I myself commissioned an investigation by the Patrician's Dark Clerks which has turned up no clues apart from the discovery than, only last week, an entire consignment of Number Three grey-lead pencils has gone missing without a trace. Enquiries to the Thieves' Guild have produced no enlightening results, and I refuse to take a purely internal matter to the Watch. This may seem like an insignificant detail to some, but I keep a tidy Palace and after all, Cori Celesti is in the details."

Chrysoprase, a noted businessman of Ankh-Morpork:
"Ah, der Hogwatch season am 'pon us again, eh? We businessmen o' der community mus' respec' der soft ones' traditions, hmmm. We Trolls knows all about traditions. So you makes resolutions for last year, eh? Well, I be resolvin' to expand my finance and real estate business. And der same for my... security business. We Trolls knows all about security, 'specially when it come to what you might call security in der neighbourhood. Also, I's goin' for a holiday visitin' der Low King - for a li'l discussion an' a friendly game o' Thud, you unnerstan'... but don' be thinkin dat jus' because I's going for a holiday dat der neighbourhood won' be secure. I's leavin' my bes' security per-son-nel on de job. Odderwise no locals show respec'. Gotta keep up wid der respec'. If you ain't got respec' you be sleepin wid der ooograh in der deep forest. But I no nuffin' 'bout dat, cos I am a respectable businessman."

Mr Pump, a government employee:
"My Resolution For The Coming Year Is To Earn The Remainder Of The Price Of My Self-Purchase And To Cause This Purchase To Come To Pass. Also, I Am Considering Having My Chem Dyed A Fetching Shade Of Puce, Just To Be Fashionable. After All, Personal Internal Adornment Is An Act Of Will."

Dotsie, an Agony Aunt:
"My dear Sadie was a bit unspecific - we make other people keep the resolutions we resolve for them.

Hoki the Jokester 22 Dec - 20 Jan

Adora Belle "Spike" Dearheart, a noted social worker:
"A small child tossed a brick through my window yesterday. My resolution is to find that child and return the brick to him, preferably right between the eyes. Must send a clacks to Sacharissa. What, you expected me to take this seriously? I've got forty part-paid golems to see to, the roof's leaking again, a typhoon in Howandaland has wiped out this year's crop of my favourite tobacco, and now that idiot Lipwig has some ridiculous plan to take me gondola-trekking in Brindisi for Hogswatch. I'm too busy for resolutions."

Lord Downey of the Assassins' Guild:
"As Hogswatch leads us into a new year of undertakings, I must keep a closer eye on our Guild School. Far too many students these days are surviving, that is to say passing, their practical examinations; not a promising result, with the reputation we must at all costs uphold. For if our Guild's standards should fall, that might cause the value of our services to depreciate, and then where would we be? Certainly far less recompensed, and far less respected - and as the charming local businessman Chrysoprase so often reiterates, one has nothing if one has not respect. Apart from that, I intend to continue my personal explorations in the field of botany; my goal is to become the first to breed the famed black 'Delicia mortis' rose in this mortal realm."

Lord Vetinari, Patrician of Ankh-Morpork:
"Resolution. From the
Latatian resolvare, 'to break into tiny pieces with exceptional violence'. Interesting, is it not, the origin of the word. To rule a city, one must first consider its functions, break its very essence, as it were, into tiny pieces. Sometimes with exceptional violence. For the good of the polis, naturally. I find it fascinating that a word of such origin has come in this modern age to mean 'a decision taken with great enthusiasm on the spur of the moment, without having considered its consequences or possibility of success'. Our ancestors had a term for that as well: falcis fallacius, 'dangerously sharp self-deceit'. Hmm. Don't let me detain you."

Lily Weatherwax, a witch on hiatus:
"My resolution? Find myself! And get out of this damn mirror."

The Rather Large Gazunda 21 Jan - 18 Feb

Miss Level, a singular witch:
"My Hogswatch resolution is to improve my juggling. With all my hands."

Solstice Dibbler, nephew of a noted Ankh-Morpork entrepreneur:
"I welcome a new year of opportunities for enterprise. My Hogswatch resolution is to build and strengthen a business of my own - ever since the affair of Holy Wood (which my uncle says I must never, ever talk about) I've been scraping by while Uncle Throat goes from success to disaster to success to... hey, at least he has excitement and variety in his life. Now, he always says (in a careful whisper) that there's money in piracy, but I don't have the build to be a pirate so what I'm looking into is the fast-growing world of Clacks service providing. You may have heard of the new craze for Clacks-rooms? All it takes is a set of mini-towers and a cheap rented room and I can charge up to a dollar an hour for every pasty-faced "wirehead" who wants to spend his days passing messages back and forth with other pasty-faced wireheads in Genua and Uberwald and all over the Disc! Plus, there's a whole vista of moneymaking opportunities in selling advertising on WireSpace. So next year I shall add fame and glory to the Dibbler family. And I further resolve that after I've done it, I won't lend Uncle Throat a penny. I mean, where's he been all these years while I was scraping?"

Lady Margolotta, a discreet amateur politician of Uberwald:
"For me, every new day is a resolution. Such is the life of a Black Ribboner, as we know all too well. Now that things have gone quieter in Uberwald politics, I need a new, ah, hobby, so I suppose my resolution for the new year is to find one. My dear friend Bobbi Meserole tells me she's retired, but for such as myself there is never a possibility of gentle, aimless retirement. I am what I am. Let me see... knitting is right out; breeding ornamental rats is not nearly enough of a challenge... breeding werewolves, on the other fang... no, it just won't do. Politics and intrigue is what I love best, apart from biting throats and drinkin- no, no, must never think that way again. Perhaps an encrypted (and no, that is not a pune or play on words) Clacks to dear Havelock, to see if we can make additional use of young Sally as a quadruple agent? And while I'm at it, the idea of opening a deportment school for undead spies rather takes my fancy. Good manners are getting scarce among the young vampires of today, especially among the members of the Temperance League. We simply must keep our standards up! It's not all about underwired nightdresses and opera capes, you know."

Walter Plinge, musical director of the Opera House:
"My Hogswatch resolution is the same as last year's and my one for the year before - to teach Christine to carry a tune without dropping it on the orchestra's poor ears. I am nothing if not determined. Also, I want to get the Opera House production of 'Guys and Trolls' up and running, so a trip to Copperhead is in the offing. That's a useful coincidence, because I must visit Mistress Weatherwax and ask her to make me a new invisible mask. There are times when I can feel the old one she gave me wearing a bit thin. I certainly don't want to risk having it fall off when I'm in the middle of a full choir rehearsal... Mother would be so embarrassed, and she deserves a break from being embarrassed by her only son. And speaking of only sons, I must check on how young Slugg junior is coming with the new account books. Ever since the massive success of 'All You Need is Slugg', he's been holed up in the cellar offices. No-one's seen him for so long, he might as well be a ghost."

Lesser Umbrage 19 Feb - 20 Mar

Jeannie, Kelda of the Chalk MacFeegles:
"My Hogswatch resolution for next year is to do something no Kelda has ever before accomplished. Now that we MacFeegles of the Chalk are known as 'the Odd Clan' - the only clan with a cheese in our number, the only clan with a human lass as a former Kelda, the only clan with a fully functional aviator - I propose to have a word wi' my brother and have him teach me the playing o' the mousepipes. Why should a Kelda forever stay at home while her Big Man goes off to meet danger and adventure? Why should a Kelda not be able to recite battle poetry and use the mousepipes as her noble weapon? Why should a Kelda not be able to gie her enemies a proper face full o' heid, just like hers sons and brothers? Why indeed? Yes, my resolution is... Kelda Liberation! And getting Rob to not put so many dragons in his Explanations."

Horace, a noted cheese:

    [Translation: "Next year I resolve to consume many lesser cheeses, keep Jeannie's scullery free of mice and start working on a Feegle-Cheese phrasebook. Rennet rennet wax limewash CRIVENS!"]

Rob Anybody MacFeegle:
"It's a hard job bein' Big Man o' the clan in the best of times, but I wanna be the biggest Big Man in Chalk history. So for next year I intend to doin' o' the rrreadin' o' the Law, 'specially them pesky Writs an' Summonses. An' I rrresolve tae practise the not-rrreadin' as well, when it comes tae the big wee hag's pers'nal private letters'n sich. 'cept in emergencies. O' course, when it comes tae the big wee hag, there's no knowin' o' what's an emergency, but I'll always hae good Explanations. Wi' dragons in 'em."

Samuel Vimes the Younger, heir to the Duchy of Ankh-Morpork:
"Next year I'm going to find my cow! Without my Daddy's help!"

A Fairytale of Old Ankh

by Weird Alice Lancrevic

This is not the greatest Hogswatch carol in the world - this is just a tribute (SNH, SNH, SNH). I always had a horror of the sickly sweetness of most carols until the original of this one came along. For those of you unacquainted with its dyspeptic, misanthropic wonderfulness, get yourself to the nearest Anterweb and hunt it down - you won't be sorry! Ho ho ho.

with apologies to the Pogues

It was Hogswatch Eve, mate
Down in old Ankh
A chained mime said to me
"Won't learn another word!"
And then he sang a song:
The hedgehog's point of view
I turned twice Widdershins
And dream'd of hot stoo

Got Raven's lucky beak -
See, Death of Rats says SQUEAK
A slate is running
In Biers for me and you
So Happy Hogswatch
From Dots and Sadie
Making Morpork free of crime
And nightmares all come true...

They've got gnolls big as trolls
They've got wizards in robes
But the smell goes right through you
There's no rest for your nose
When we walked round the Shades
On that cold Hogswatch night
You promised me Ankh-Morpork vampires don't bite

"You were Bursar - "
"You were jolly..."
"You stank like Queen Molly!"
When the minstrels stopped playing
We set them alight
Piss Harry's "collecting"
Mossy Lawn, he's dissecting
We ate Dibbler's meat pies
And retched through the night

The boys from the YMPA Choir
Were singing sourly
And Dark Morris bells rang out
For Hogswatch Eve.

"You're a Fool, a nut-case."
"You're a civic disgrace,
"Swigging Bearhugger's booze
"Till you hoick on your shoes!"
"You Lancre sheep-shagger..."
"You unlicensed Beggar..."
"Happy Hogswatch, you Nobbs - "
"Hope the Gods shut yer gob!"

The cops of the Day and Night Watch Choir
Committed harmony
And Dark Morris bells rang out
For Hogswatch Eve.

5. DUKE FELMET: "I could've ruled the Disc..."
DUCHESS FELMET: "Well, so could any twit!
"You took my crown from me
"When ghosts unmanned you..."
DUKE: "I killed for Lancre, dear
"I grabbed it for our own..."
DUCHESS: "I'd rather stand alone!"
ALL LANCRE TOGETHER: "But we could never stand you!"

The ghouls from the Bel-Shamharoth Choir
Were howling tunelessly
And Dark Morris bells rang out
For Hogswatch Eve!

The original lyrics can be found at:

Thursday, November 30, 2006

November 2006


She's baaack! And it feels like it's been such a long - wait, it HAS been a long time. That's what I get for casting my own horoscope and discovering it wasn't safe to get out of bed for a whole that Alls Fallow has come and gone while I wasn't looking, and now that everyone's made their traditional post-Fallow dentistry appointments, it's as good a time as any to concentrate on the astro-illogical interpretations on monsters and demons and personal Bugbears of Horrorscopic Horribleness. Not your actual Bugbear, which is a harmless insect-mammal hybrid that lives in the Forest of Skund and produces a wonderful milk-flavoured honeycomb, but the more mettyforical sort of bugbear. The sort one has to beware. Or more properly, bewhere, as in "be where these creatures aren't". So for your edification and protection (after all, Alls Fallow will come around again next year), I present the most dangerous and distressing bugbears for each Sign. Bewhere!

The Adamant Hedgehog 21 Mar - 20 Apr

BUGBEARS TO BEWHERE: the Truth Fairy; Al-Zyma, Lord of Forgetfulness and Confusion

Unlike the Tooth Fairy, who gives you money for each tooth you put under your pillow, the Truth Fairy gives you nothing but trouble. Oh yes, sometimes people may commend you on your honesty after a visit from this bothersome creature, but what they're really thinking is more along the lines of "you know, there's a ship leaving for HungHung at six o'clock, and I would very much like you to be on it." It is particularly important for Hoggers, with their tendency to loud voices and positions of authority, to be where this Fairy is not - as confessions about one's private business tend to diminish respect amongst employees, troops and student bodies. You wouldn't want your wet-eared new recruits to know about the time you gave your trousers an inner redecoration at the Battle of Wounded Kneecap, or about those secret meetings you've been having with the nubile young second wife of your main business partner, or about - well, I leave it to your imagination. The truth can set you freer than you ever wished to be. Literally.

Another creature to avoid at all costs is Al-Zyma, rightly feared by scholars, executive officers, wizards and elderly single persons everywhere. The dreaded touch of Al-Zyma can lead to embarrassing public outings (without clothing, for starters), unwitting explosions (various), and spells going horribly wrong and opening a rift to the Dungeon Dimensions. Worst of all, Al-Zyma can make you forget to avoid...the Truth Fairy. Bewhere!

Gahoolie, the Vase of Tulips 21 Apr - 21 May

BUGBEARS TO BEWHERE: Count Specula; the demon Ankulta

Count Specula, once a minion of Lord Astfgl of the Underworld but now an independent Dis-harmony contractor, is the secret motivating force behind unwise investments, foolish major purchases, ill-considered business expansions, national lotteries, and the Antiques Roadshow. Patron demon of economists and financial advisors everywhere, Count Specula can always be counted on to find you when you've just discovered a stash of dollars the tax collectors overlooked, or when Great-aunt Anaesthesia finally dies and leaves you that promising block of flats in Empirical Crescent. Don't listen to a word he says, unless you really enjoy dining on old boots and keeping company with Foul Ole Ron.

Few demons are more terrifying than Ankulta, who presents a face of great fairness but whose evil influence causes sane, gentle folk to experience sudden attacks of rabid nationalism; social, moral and religious intolerance; and an addiction to supporting pointlessly repressive laws. Her honeyed words, poured into the ears of the unsuspecting, have ruined many a sweet soul! One day you're sporting a nice green ASK ME ABOUT FREEING THE BOROGRAVIAN REFUGEES badge; the next, you're declaring war on Klatch. A must to avoid, especially if you live in a large city-state. Bewhere!

Herne the Hunted 22 May - 21 Jun

BUGBEAR TO BEWHERE: Trihuga the Softener; the Heedless Horseman

As Hernians, it's good that you're caring and sharing and sensitive to environmental issues (especially ones involving lots of teeth and a taste for innocent Hernians). But if you fall under the curse of Trihuga the Softener, you'll discover, to your woe, what "too much of a good thing" can truly mean - because Trihuga the Softener doesn't make your laundry fluffy and fresh-smelling, oh no; he does that to your brain! You'll find yourself espousing every crackpot cause, every well-meaning-but-ridiculous lifestyle, every faddish cult in the book (and some that have quite rightly never been written there). Crystals? You'll buy a quarry-load. Animal rights? You'll be right there in Sator Square, shouting "CRUEL TO SCORPIONS, PATRICIAN OUT OUT OUT!" and having your particulars taken by the Watch. Water-saving? You'll be the one who refuses to bathe for a year (and having your entire self taken by the Watch for creating a public nuisance). There's one born every minute, and if Trihuga gets his way, it could be YOU.

The Heedless Horseman is a more physical sort of monster, but no less a sower of discord. An Elemental disguised in vaguely human (plus equine) form, the Heedless Horseman is the evil force that causes crop circles, trampled fence and unexplained stampedes and is the bane of sheepdogs trials and wrecker of military tattoos and municipal parades. Whenever a coachman swerves to avoid "some crazy bugger, just tore right past me, you'd think he never heard of brakes" and the crazy bugger can't be found, you know the Heedless Horseman has struck again. String piano wire across your gates and never farm unarmed, and you might just avoid him. Bewhere!

The Wizard's Staff and Knob 22 Jun - 22 Jul

BUGBEARS TO BEWHERE: Old Man Tribal; Tah-Beh Loyud

Old Man Tribal, a cousin of Hoki the Jokester, loves family gatherings. Specifically, he loves to demonically compel all those upsetting relatives you never wanted to see again, never ever, to attend your most select family gatherings and make absolute donkeys of themselves. That time Uncle Gurgury accidentally hanged himself from the chandelier whilst attempting to imitate competition Rim divers at your sister's wedding? - no prizes for guessing who was behind that! Old Man Tribal also infamously foments family arguments at holiday times, leading to broken marriages, broken china and broken heads. The only ways to avoid a visit from Old Man Tribal are 1) stay single (though you'll have to move out of Mum's house), 2) become a hermit, 3) try your hand at extended polar exploration, or 4) make serial killing your new hobby and start your practice close to home. That last option tends to be a bit messy though.

And if you catch the attention of the snoopsome Tah-Beh Loyud, also known as the Goss Whisperer, those family mishaps won't be confined just to your own neighbourhood; they'll be reported in The Times, complete with every cringemaking detail...or more likely in whatever scurrilous "newspaper" the Dibbler Media Group publishes in any given week, with cringemaking details that never happened but which the reading public will find all too believable. Of course, if fame at any price is your goal in life, try Option 4 (above). Bewhere!

Bilious, God of Hangovers 23 Jul - 23 Aug

BUGBEARS TO BEWHERE: P'Hulu of the Sewers; Modzilla

P'Hulu, tentacled monster of the urban deeps, was once thought to be an Elder God from the endlessly black, endlessly cold, strangely oblong-shaped Space Between the Multiverses, but has now been identified as the only survivor of a lesser species of demon from the Dung Dimension (note spelling). No less horrible for having been reclassified, though, P'hulu reifies the collected spirit residue of every bad meal you've ever eaten twice, every projectile hangover you've ever experienced, every bag of rubbish you ever forgot to put out before going on your summer holidays and all the less fragrant by-products of the duties of new parenthood, and brings them to you in full-colour nightmares with added SmellSurround. Not a lot else to say, is there? Eww. As if your life as a Bilian isn't already a world of noisome misfortune. You might want to pick a less colourful Sign to be born under in your next life!

The victims of Modzilla tend to find themselves in an unfortunate situation: not only do they experience a compulsion to dress in whatever passes for the latest fashion, but they also can't help but behave like sulky, rebellious teenagers...rather like the average wizard, really, only with more leather and sharper-toed boots. If you're touched by the claws of Modzilla, you will find yourself purposelessly hanging around street-corners, trying to turn your childhood wagon into a Brindisian-designed scooter, and gathering at the seaside for crumbles- um, rumbles. And refusing to clean your room. Rather like the average wizard, really. Bewhere!

Mubbo the Hyena 24 Aug - 23 Sept

BUGBEARS TO BEWHERE: the Blackbird of Uncertainty; Gothra

The Blackbird of Uncertainty was hatched from the same egg as the Bluebird of Happiness, and is thus known as the Ectoplasmic Avian Evil Twin. This incorporeal monster, recognised only by the flap of its unvisible wings, bestows foreboding, poor self-esteem, untimely attacks of philosophy and general existential dreeed upon even the most formerly blithe and untroubled; its victims have been known to abandon prosperous careers in favour of long, fruitless quests for the meaning of life (a tragic waste, as the answer can be obtained from any passing History Monk in exchange for a cup of buttered yak tea and a bag of chips, or from Mrs Cosmopilite for five dollars and thruppence), or to waste crucial consolidation-of-kingship time on musings about whether or not to be (a tragic waste, as the musers often find that the only answer is "not to be", delivered by a long pointy sword belonging to someone else). The only known antidote is scumble. Lots of scumble. Which ultimately delivers the same end...

Gothra, a low-budget Agatean monster, can often be found hanging out with the Blackbird of Uncertainty at celestial shopping precincts. Gothra's dreaded touch turns victims into a physical copy of itself - pale-faced, slump-shouldered, dressed in ragged black garments and sporting black or deep purple eyeliner, lipstick, nail varnish and hair dye - and causes an addictive desire to lurk in dark social clubs listening to lugubrious music and playing Hex games. A visitation from Gothra can be terribly distressing if you happen to be a community leader or rosy-cheeked grandmother...or, worst of all, a witch. Bewhere!

The Small Boring Group of Faint Stars 24 Sept - 23 Oct

BUGBEARS TO BEWHERE: the Fourecksian Yobbi; the Eater of Sooks

The Fourecksian Yobbi can be found in pubs. Or around pubs. Or asleep in the gutters outside pubs, sometimes stacked six deep. An active Yobbi (in its relatively harmless sessile state, it sits around watching sport, muttering about sport, or playing the ancient Fourecksian game Poh-Qiiz) will approach you sidelong muttering its feared cry of "Gissapint!"; if you are foolish enough to heed it, you'll soon be broke, brain-dead and suffering from terminal liver disease. Demonologists disagree as to whether the Yobbi is sentient, as its speech consists only of "Maaaaaaaate!", "Gissapint!" and "Aaaw, Warnie! Maaaaaaaaate!", but with much patience and cruelty a Yobbi can be trained to shear sheep. Or so it's said - no-one attacked by a Yobbi has ever stayed sober enough for long enough to attempt it.

The Eater of Sooks has a taste for Boring'uns, oh yes it does. While its natural victims are Mubboons, it is a voracious demon that will always go for timid, wet, unadventurous types, so Boring'uns bewhere! Avoid sulking in corners, because the Eater of Sooks will get you. Avoid sitting quietly in libraries, because the Eater of Sooks will get you. Avoid safe clerical jobs in cosy cubicles, because the Eater of Sooks will get you. And bewhere especially, because the Eater of Sooks often disguises itself as a stern headmaster, grumpy spinster librarian, leader of a Scout troop or fire-breathing boss. I'd say you have a problem...bewhere!

Androgyna Majestis 24 Oct - 22 Nov

BUGBEARS TO BEWHERE: VykiBekum; Kaatu and the Sisters of Hellton

Andies tend to fall prey to a host of sartorial and social weaknesses - and to the demons that cause the worst of these. Most fearsome of such demons is the VykiBekum. Bestower of wardrobe malfunctions, white handbags, terrifying lip-gloss and a craving to be iconographed whilst shopping, VykiBekum is the scourge of human women everywhere in the Multiverse. Respectable gentlewomen visited in the night by this she-demon have been known to awaken with unsought hair extensions and severe eating disorders. Worse yet, they find themselves obsessively drawn to handsome tattooed sportsmen of low intelligence, or even possessed of a desire to commit Music with Rocks In despite utterly lacking discernible talent. A minor relative of the VykiBekum, the Jakytila, is far less harmful - but whatever you do, don't let her in your kitchen, as she will put everything edible into your chip pan! Some say the Rohztila is also a demon of this water, but they're wrong; the Roztila is in actuality a type of Good Fairy and a saver of universes, lip-gloss notwithstanding.

Kaatu the Poseur, not a demon but rather a minor deity forever angling to become a major one, is the Small God of Social Climbing. Anyone touched by the acrylic nails of Kaatu will dedicate her or his life to marrying royalty, impersonating royalty at soirees and Clicks premieres, or snaring any heiresses or captains of industry who happen to be lying around loose (and lying around loose is also an embarrassing speciality of Kaatu's victim's). Kaatu is served by an order of blonde priestesses, the Sisters of Hellton, who are known by their shockingly brief habits, their briefly shocking other habits, and their penchant for keeping small vicious wild animals as lapdogs. Bewhere!

Great T'Phon's Foot 23 Nov - 21 Dec

BUGBEARS TO BEWHERE: the Gyyk Fairy; Rama-Kuni the Dancer

Footies already have a tendency toward unrealistic pursuits, so the Gyyk Fairy is a must to avoid for you lot. This Bad Fairy confers on the unwary an over-consuming love of technomancy, anoraks, bananana and sushi pizzas, insanely violent role-playing gamery, and terrible pulp novels about barbarian swordsmen (and impossibly gentle Noble Dragons...and impossibly over-endowed young princesses with bagels on their ears...and impossibly anachronistic weaponry...), and an insistence on sitting around to all hours discussing what sort of arm motions create maximum spell-casting power and who would win an arse-kicking contest between Granny Weatherwax and Cohen the Barbarian. On the plus side, victims of the Gyyk Fairy are much in demand with the UU High Energy Magic Department. On the minus side, victims of the Gyyk Fairy are much in demand with the UU High Energy Magic Department. It's a lose-lose situation.

Rama-Kuni, a demon once little known but now famously parodied in the Vitoller Players' theatrical series "Little Morpork", causes its victims to communicate only through the medium of Dance (not to be confused with Madame Smalls, the Medium of Dance - who practises prognostication in Dance Golightly, a notably clumsy-denizened village near Slice). Persons transformed by Rama-Kuni can be recognised by their fondness for tartan, tendency to become hostellers, and insistence on playing the flute. Bewhere!

Hoki the Jokester 22 Dec - 20 Jan

BUGBEARS TO BEWHERE: the Pterrordactyl; Worcta Ruul

The Pterrordactyl, a rare hot-blooded winged reptilian monster left over from the prehistoric days before the Fifth Elephant's crash-landing wiped out nearly all Discly life, is every Hokian's worst nightmare - or more exactly, everyone else's worst nightmare should a typical Hokian and a Pterrordactyl come together. The creature gives its victims both greatly enhanced power and a maddened desire to sow fear, mayhem and, yes, terror near and abroad. Especially abroad. Remember, Hoki is the Sign of powerful witches, powerful rulers and dangerously deep thinkers, all of whom are scary enough without the added boost of the Pterrordactyl's touch! Do we really want, say, a King or Patrician with the power of a Sourcerer, the cleverness of Leonard of Quirm and the murderousness of Lily Weatherwax? - um, that was a rhetorical question. If you needed more than one second to think about it, you definitely need to bewhere the Pterrordactyl!

Far less overtly dangerous but still capable of bringing entire societies to their knees, the demon Worcta Ruul sows its own sort of mayhem. Worcta Ruul, a distant relative of Count Specula (although usually working what could be described as the other side of the socioeconomic street), nests in featherbeds surrounded by picket fences and loves to foment strikes, go-slows and dogged adherence to the most minor and exacting small print in employment contracts. It frequently strikes at public works committees, road-building crews and distributors of tax rebates, but in a pinch is quite happy to stir up household wars over who has to wash how many dishes on Octeday night or whose turn it is to clean which square foot of the pig shed. Bewhere!

The Rather Large Gazunda 21 Jan - 18 Feb

BUGBEARS TO BEWHERE: Papa Rotsie; Kalmi the Wanderer

Papa Rotsie may have a jolly, avuncular name, but he's a bad, bad elemental. With his vast army of determined iconograph imps and his huge nose that can smell out any potentially embarrassing public or private situation, Papa Rotsie travels the Disc in search of victims among both high and low levels of society and marks them with his dread sigil, so that his icono-imps can take the worst possible pictures - where "worst" means "most likely to cause loss of face, loss of position, or loss of credibility" - and drop copies through the mail-slots of The Times and of every publisher of village newsletters, almanacks and scurrilous gossip-sheets. If you trip and knock over the Patrician at a stellar event, Papa Rotsie will find you (so will the Dark Clerks, but that's another problem entirely). And he'll also find you when you're trying a discreet exit from some famous Lady's bedroom window...or when you've travelled to Howondaland to secretly adopt a fashionably poor toddler...or when your latest Igor "facial" hasn't quite healed yet...a very dangerous manifestation, Papa Rotsie has even been suspected of causing high-speed royal coach crashes. Such is the price of fame. And unflattering iconographs.

A lonely demon on a lonely planet, Kalmi the Wanderer infects its victims with endless wanderlust, most of all with a desire to travel to the most remote and least safe of places, armed only with an oversized rucksack, far too few changes of underwear, and a badly dog-eared secondhand copy of Sir Roderick Purdeigh's "Rough Guide to Countries You Really Shouldn't Visit Without an Army". If called by Kalmi, you will immediately trade your watch for a compass, your cart for a pair of hiking boots, and your commonsense for, well, a Burton (remember, Purdeigh is the man whose most famous quotation was 'I only speak two languages, Morporkian and bad Morporkian'). Most victims find themselves far from home, freezing cold or sunburnt beyond recognition, and often inside a village's communal cooking pot - or a tiger. Bewhere!

Lesser Umbrage 19 Feb - 20 Mar

BUGBEARS TO BEWHERE: the Bewrick Rat; Habius, Server of Writs

Long ago, behind the rear entrance to what is now the Patrician's Palace, there stood a small laneway known as Bewrick Alley, where dwelt all the King's accountants, tax-counters and similar functionaries; and in this laneway evolved a small, tidy, harmless rodent that fed exclusively on scraps of the red ribbon used to tie up official scrolls. Then a storm of magical leakage from Unseen University swept through the area, turning the harmless rodent into a huge, slavering, insatiable monster (and coincidentally wiping out all traces of Bewrick Alley, so that the only surviving reference to it is the name of this dreadful creature. The Bewrick Rat is drawn to anything red-coloured to feed its eternal hunger, and thus is infamous for being able to extract blood even from a stone! It is also notable for being the Disc's only cold-blooded mammal, and for never deserting a sinking ship until all accounts payable have been collected.

Habius, Server of Writs, is perhaps the most dangerous of all the Proxi Demons. Known for its disregard of clocks, refusal to wait at locked doors, general rudeness, and uncanny ability to track its victims in crowded restaurants, pathless forests and mountaintop holiday chalets, Habius can prevail against the most carefully thought-out escape plans and never takes "NO!!!" for an answer. The best defence against this demon is premature death, although some members of the Fresh Start Club can testify that this doesn't always work. At least Habius does give its victims some warning, though - it's the only mystical creature that glows blue in the presence of... itself. Bewhere!

Haze of Octarine

by Weird Alice Lancrevic
(with apologies to the Beatles)

On the Disc where I was born
Lived a wizard, robed and keen
Who was known to live his life
In a haze of octarine

So he sailed around the moon
Safe in Leonard's space machine†
'Til he crashed beneath the Rim
In a haze of octarine

We all live in a haze of octarine
A haze of octarine, haze of octarine
We all live in a haze of octarine
A haze of octarine, haze of octarine

Dwarfs and trolls are playing Thud
Interspecies war: free of blood!
And the Band With Rocks In plays:

[dear filkers, insert two bars of cacophony here!]

We all live in a haze of octarine
A haze of octarine, haze of octarine
We all live in a haze of octarine
A haze of octarine, haze of octarine

As we live a life enthaum'd
From the Gods and kings to Foul Ole Ron (to Foul Ole Ron!)
Wizards fat (wizards fat!) to witches lean (witches lean!)
In our haze of octarine

We all live in a haze of octarine
A haze of octarine, haze of octarine
We all live in a haze of octarine
A haze of octarine, haze of octarine...

(Repeat and keep drinking until falling over occurs)

† I know that Leonard doesn't call it anything that simple, but otherwise it wouldn't fit the rhythm of the song!

Privet Dancer

(with apologies to Tina Turner)
by Weird Alice Lancrevic

All the folk come to my forest
Their requests are never grand
They know that I'm the poorest
Hedge wizard in the land

Mostly, customers are human
Now and then, a dwarf or troll
I put my show on to please 'em
Keeping myself off the dole

I'm your privet dancer, a dancer for magic
Brew any potion for you
I'm your privet dancer, I'm rural and tragic
And any old hedgerow will do...

I want to live a life more thrilling
I wanna live out by the Rim
Eating pies with tasty fillings
Yeah, my pointy hat could use a brim

All the folk come to my forest
Desperation brings them in
Here comes another chorus
So here's your medicine

I'm your privet dancer, a dancer for magic
Spell-casting only for you
I'm your privet dancer, no shambles or gadgets
But any old hedgerow will do...

Don't want Ankh dollars
A flannel full of cress will do nicely, thank you!
Play my parts just like Vitoller
Tell me, do you wanna see me read your future again?

I'm your privet dancer...

** NOTE:
original lyrics for Private Dancer can be found at:

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

No horoscope for October 2006

The Management regrets to inform that, due to baleful astrological 'fluences this month, the Lady Anaemia Asterisk has spent the entire month in bed hiding under the covers and consequently there is no horoscope for this month.
-- The Management

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Scumble of '69

with apologies to Bryan Adams

I got my first real hogshead
Bought it in a pub in Slice
Drank until my insides bled
It was the Scumble of '69
Me and some mates from Skund
Made some stills, we tried real hard
Carter's broke and Gubbin's exploded
I think he'd gone an apple too far

Oh, when I chug back now
Hangovers seem to last forever
And if it contains 'herbs'
Well, I'd drink from Grune to Ember
That's just the worst booze of my life.

Don't need Klatchian coffee
When there's Ramtop 'mountain dew'
Spend my evenings gatherin' apples
Mix in some dead sheep, too
Stumblin' from the Goat and Bush
I chundered in the Lancre River
Oh and when it floated past
I swear I saw my lungs and liver
That was the worst booze of my life.

Drinkin' the Scumble of '69
Oh yeah, drinkin' the Scumble of '69
Oh noooo...

Man, how our brain cells fried
Didn't need Assassins - we had Scumblecide
An' reannuals last forever, forever...owwww!

And now the scumble's changing
Looks like Nanny had a word with Shawn
Sometimes when I drink I stay sober
The vintage week of '69 is gone

Sneakin' into Granny's Herbs
I tell you, I was so dry-throated
Oh, the way they grabbed my legs
Who knew the sage and thyme were loaded?!
That was the worst booze of my life
Oh noooo...drinkin'the Scumble of '69
Oh dear...drinkin' the Scumble of '69
...a vintage Tuesday in '69...

September 2006


Crime! Who hasn't been at the sharp pointy end of it at some sharp point? Who hasn't contemplated committing a crime at some moment? Who, when you get right down to it, hasn't read about some daring, infamous criminal's exploits and thought, "Ooh, I wish I had the figgins to carry that off?" Of course, it's said -- usually by an overenthusiastic member of the Watch -- that even the most seemingly innocent persons, living the most seemingly innocent lives, are in contravention of some law somewhere at any given moment. Possibly even whilst asleep. Or in the bath1. And the last thing you want is a six-foot dwarf Watch Captain standing behind you when that moment happens, don't you think?2 So provided hereinunder for your delectation, my sweet little astrolopossums3, is a guide to which sorts of crimes are the likeliest choices for beings born under each Sign to, erm, get away with. Read on, and don't forget to pick up a few extra pairs of NoPrints gloves from the Sonky rubber works!

1 If you don't believe me, have a read through the publications of the Ankh-Morpork Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Rubber Ducks (AMSPCRD).

2 Especially in the bath.

3 Not to be confused with astropossums. These small, harmless Space Marsupials surf endlessly in the wake of Great A'Tuin's gravity waves and are sometimes mistaken for shooting stars by observers near the Rim. They mate in the vastnesses of Space, excrete octarine stardust, and never read horoscopes to see whether or not they should bother to get out of bed, because they have no beds to get out of.

NOTE! DiscWorld Intractables: Criminal Intent has no connection to any sort of well-known Roundworld entertainments whatsoever, and should also not be mistaken for Horse Tribes: Criminals in Tents.

The Adamant Hedgehog 21 Mar - 20 Apr

Your recommended crime is: Grand Theft

Anyone can be a thief (or a Thief, assuming you've passed the exams and earned the licence), but Hoggers, with their tendencies to presumption, arrogance and the holding of hereditary military commissions, are particularly suited to Grand Theft (i.e., stealing items worth more than a grand) and its relative-offence, Very Grand Theft, a (posher) class of crime that covers such things as stealing entire treasuries and becoming a king by cutting off the former job-holder's head with a very big broadsword. Grand Theft requires careful planning, panache and probably a packed lunch, as you may have to spend many long hours waiting behind a potted aspidistra in the Ankh Bank until closing time. Those of a musical bent might wish to investigate the committing of Grand Theft Piano.

Famous Hogger criminals include: Reacher Gilt, known for perpetrating Grand Trunk Theft; Junius "Jellyroll" Harpstrung, the noted piano thief.

Gahoolie, the Vase of Tulips 21 Apr - 21 May

Your recommended crime is: Fraud

Gahooligans truly excel at fraud and deception! Some of the most creative fraudmongers on the Disc were born under this Sign, and many of these have succeeded on a grand scale. Of course, many others have ended up in various dungeons or in the digestive tract of a Vieux River alligator, but a good fraud is always worth the risk. You live for the thrill of the sting, the rustle of the marks' money and the knowledge that you're just that bit cleverer than the common herd. Remember that, deep down, most people want to believe in the quick buck and the easy dough, and are ever ready to offer themselves like fatted calves for fleecing. In fact, your victims are so willing that they can easily be convinced to ignore the worst of your criminally mixed mettyfors. However, you should never try to play Cripple Mr Onion with helpless-looking elderly spinster ladies bearing brooms.

Famous Gahooligan criminals include: Moist von Lipwig, who has a better eye than most eagles for the main chance; Mister Frank, card hustler extraordinaire (shame about his not noticing that broom).

Herne the Hunted 22 May - 21 Jun

Your recommended crime is: Housebreaking and Shoplifting

It's said that thieving is the oldest criminal profession, and what proves it better than the ancient crime that set us all on the road to Civilisation? - namely, the breaking and entering of Cori Celesti by Fingers Mazda, who stole the secret of fire from the Gods. So all you Hernian housebreakers and shoplifters are but following a noble, nay, the noblest tradition of all. Unfortunately, it's also against the laws of all civilised societies, but you can't let a little thing like that put you off your glorious career! Still, it's best to be prepared. Sneaky Shim's Implements of Discretion offers a wide range of lockpicks, jemmies and invisibility spells, all of which can now be ordered by Clacks from Shim's extensive catalogue. Tip: never break into one of those shops that's always been there as of only yesterday; you might find yourself incarcerated in a universe 10,000 dimensions from home.

Famous Hernian criminals include: Fingers Mazda (see above); Grisham Frord, a cappella vocalist and lead enforcer for the Musicians' Guild.

The Wizard's Staff and Knob 22 Jun - 22 Jul

Your recommended crime is: Conspiracy

Conspiracies are meat and drink to Staffies. Whether it's secret political cabals, putting together a string of informers to uncover and publish the Truth, making deadly allies for advancing a career in wizardry, or forming factions within an extended family to ensure that a certain daughter-in-law gets her comeuppance for criticising your new curtains, no-one can conspire quite like a Staffie can. And if you can combine politics, magic and interdimensional intrigue, so much the better! You need to keep your wits about you, though -- those who conspire with fellow conspirators are canoodling with the sort of conspiratorial conspiracy-makers who are likely to conspire against them with other cabals, cadres, commiserators and similar secret societies not necessarily beginning with C. Choose your henchbeings wisely, or you may find yourself becoming the object of the sort of cover-up that has concrete in it.

Famous Staffie criminals include: Lupine Wonse, who learned the hard way not to conspire with dragons; Lady Roberta Meserole, the perfect auntie for an ambitious politician; Stren Withel, expelled from the Assassins' Guild for enjoying his practical classwork too much.

Bilious, God of Hangovers 23 Jul - 23 Aug

Your recommended crime is: Use and Sale of Prohibited Substances

Whether the poison of choice is Slab, Scrape, Hooch, Happy Baccy, Snoot, Scumble or the chocolates in that hidden Higgs and Meakins warehouse that their customers aren't supposed to know exists, the enterprising Dealer of Substances will never be short of a client or twelve. Bilians are famed for their unwise consumption of mind-altering chemicals, so it's only a short step to sharing the love. And the little purple winged elephants and nightmares worthy of a go in the Dungeon Dimensions. All you need is a tame Alchemist and a couple of silicaceous enforcers, and the key to illicit riches will be yours! Do remember not to sample the merchandise, and never forget that every third customer is likely to be a Watchman. Which doesn't necessarily mean an undercover Watchman. Even coppers need to relax and go "wibblewibblebliggetywoooo!" sometimes...

Famous Bilian criminals include: Mr Tulip, a Substancer of endless variety and invention; the late Sobriety Ogg, who perfected the modern recipe for Scumble.

Mubbo the Hyena 24 Aug - 23 Sept

Your recommended crime is: White Collar Crime

Mubboons excel at those crimes that don't involve violence (or at least only involve minimal and occasional violence, inevitably done by henchmen and hirelings...hmmm, if a gosling is a baby goose, is a full-grown hireling a hire?). Counterfeiting, embezzlement, money laundering, tax evasion, insider trading -- these are the crimes of persons of delicate sensibilities, who want the finer things in life but don't want to get their hands too dirty in the process of acquiring them. White-collar crime is also a field of exciting growth -- crimes that move with the times. Modern white-collar criminals can now practise in the thrilling world of Clacks hacking, not to mention all those new ways to use quantum thaumology to embezzle money that hasn't even been made yet! Best of all, you're a step removed from your victims, because white-collar crime is all about moving bits of paper around, really. And while counterfeiters also move bits of lead around, these aren't the sort of leaden bits that are as up close and personal as, say, a blackjack. Note: when practised by mimes, these activities are known as White Colour Crime.

Famous Mubboon criminals include: Mr Pin, who knew his onions but not his potatoes; Brother Charnel, who moved some gold and found it made him horny.

The Small Boring Group of Faint Stars 24 Sept - 23 Oct

Your recommended crime is: Causing an Affray

For all that the Small Boring Group of Faint Stars is the traditional Sign of excitement-abhorring law-abiding wusses, when Boring'uns set out to make trouble they do it with a surprising thoroughness. And let us not forget that the most accidentally-famous Boring'un of all -- Rincewind -- has been a prison escapee, riot-starter and even occasional almost-destroyer of universes! A notable aspect of Boring'un crime is that it's almost always unintentional in nature; persons born under this Sign tend to cause affrays by just going quietly about their business. You might say that they're more in the way of crime catalysts than actual criminals...not that that hasn't led to some spectacular affrays. You know what they say about good intentions and paving, hmm? Tip: avoid being summoned by amateur demonologists, or being sent to unknown continents by well-meaning wizards.

Famous Boring'un criminals include: Banjo Lillywhite, the most dangerous Tooth Fairy in history; Bundo Prung, expelled from the Thieves' Guild for incompetence at thieving.

Androgyna Majestis 24 Oct - 22 Nov

Your recommended crime is: Tampering with a National Treasure

When it comes to threatening anthropomorphic personifications, you Andies can hold your own even against the Auditors! It takes a special sort of mind to think far enough outside the box to commit crimes of this nature, and Andies tend to be so far outside the box that they need a telescope to see whether or not there's a cat in it. Not for you the ordinary round of violence and subterfuge -- no, your sights are set higher. And further. Why rob and terrorise the ordinary world when there's such a wealth of mythological figures and folk legends to be plundered? Pulling off capers like these carries a cachet worth more than booty; it's that frisson of style that gives you the feeling of a job well done, like the ones where you brave huge dangers to break into a lady's boudoir and anonymously leave her a box of...oh, never mind, just go do it. You know you want to.

Famous Andy criminals include: Medium Dave Lillywhite, who played above his weight class; Jonathan Teatime, who turned out to be a big loser at, well, poker.

Great T'Phon's Foot 23 Nov - 21 Dec

Your recommended crime is: Demanding Money with Menaces

This is a crime of considerable scope, as it covers all sorts of entertaining activities such as blackmail, whitemail, Show Us Yer Mail Because We Think There's Money In It, holding people for ransom, holding nations to ransom, holding on to people and hitting them for random sums, and even holding and hitting former colleagues because they took your share of the loot and ran some. What's more, it's a game for any number of players, from one-person blackmail enterprises to full-blown neighbourhood "protection schemes" involving your own private army of enforcers and, yes, whole neighbourhoods. And if you get successful enough, you can open your own financial institutions and threaten your victims with the full weight of the Law when they're slow with those loan repayments. Ain't life grand? Tip: a trained goombah with a big stick by your side is worth two crossbow-snipers on the roof.

Famous Footy criminals include: Chrysoprase, an absolute rock in the morass of organised crime; Cripple Wa, whose floating crap game often includes sleeping (rather than floating) with the fishes; Dotsie, who puts the agony in the term Agony Aunt.

Hoki the Jokester 22 Dec - 20 Jan

Your recommended crime is: Arson

Fire! Beautiful fire, warm fire. Fire, the source of heat and light and comfort and bed-warming pans and hot dinners. Fire is a wondrous thing, and the lighting of fires often leads to an almost spiritually exalted feeling. But truly enlightened arsonists know that, just as wizards know about the real point of magic being to not actually use any, the best part of lighting fires is not lighting them. Specifically, getting people to pay you for not lighting them. The original inventor of inn-sewer-ants was, of course, an arsonist who'd seen the light. Or the lack of light. So while it's fine to burn the occasional palace or distillery -- hey, everyone loves a good show! -- you should never forget that your greatest power lies in waving that unlit match around with just the right amount of...promise. A fire burns out by dawn, but an unlit match is a threat forever.

Famous Hokian criminals include: Carcer, for whom no job was too small to take Time out for; Bravd the Barbarian, who understood the beauty of a city aflame.

The Rather Large Gazunda 21 Jan - 18 Feb

Your recommended crime is: Crimes of Passion

Ahh, passion. The great motivator, the source of poetry and plays throughout the Multiverse, the driving force behind ravishers and green-eyed jealousy and those embarrassing moments that cause you to say afterwards, "Honestly, Corporal, I don't know what came over me -- axe? What axe? Goodness, is that an axe in my hand? I'm sure my wife can expl-...oh, dear..." Just as there is romance in crime, so there is crime in romance (or so people say, and one of those people is the novelist Barbaria Carthand, whose Prisoner of Pirate Passion series has outsold even Nanny Ogg's Joye of Snacks); and when it comes to criminal passion, Gazundians pretty much wrote the book, or at least posed convincingly for the full-colour iconograph covers. You Gazundians thrive on moments of murderous jealousy, on raptures of rapacious ravishment, on sallies of sudden seduction and lashings of licentiousness. And so you should! Without romance and passion, crime would be just another boring career choice. In any contest between chaste and chased, the latter will always be "it" for you. Even if the chasers are armed with crossbows and flaming torches...

Famous Gazundian criminals include: J.H. Boggis, patriarch of the notorious Boggises who comprise the backbone (and blackjacks) of the Thieves' Guild; Captain Findthee Swing, whose speciality was in fact crimes of what could more properly be called dispassion.

Lesser Umbrage 19 Feb - 20 Mar

Your recommended crime is: Behaviour Likely to Cause a Breach of the Peace (or Generally Behaving in an Illegal Manner)

As usual, you Umbragians -- being born under the last Sign in this Zodiac -- get the best bits. Your field of excellence is general bad behaviour, and that includes public drunkenness; private drunkenness; theft; housebreaking; arson; demanding money with menaces; demanding menace with menaces; conspiring to commit sedition; consorting with known criminals; consorting with known consorts; making, selling and using prohibited substances; rustling; hustling; trespassing; using inappropriate language in a public place; eyeballing; nostrilling; headbanging; consorting with known cheeses; being very short in a threatening manner; proceeding in a disorderly manner; Being a Bad Influence; being in possession of the tools of burglary, affray, riotousness and distilling; boy oh boy, you've got the lot. You're the reason ASBOs were invented! I'm so impressed that I'm not even going to mention the L-word. You know, the one that starts with the letters L, A, W, Y...

Famous Umbragian criminals include: Done It Duncan, who must be guilty of something since he confesses to everything; Daft Wullie MacFeegle, legendary for the stealin' o' the ship beasties.

(A Zodiacal note of interest about Feegles: all Nac Mac Feegles are born under the Sign of Lesser Umbrage. This has something to do with the optimum timing for Kelda conception. Given that Keldas give birth to dozens - some say scores - of infant Feegles at a time, the process is one of the most difficult parts of keldaring, and certainly the longest; this is why occasional Feegle births occur early, i.e. under the Rather Large Gazunda, and some of the last-out ones aren't born until the early days of the cusp of the Adamant Hedgehog.)

Thursday, August 31, 2006

We Didn't Steal The Fire


by Weird Alice Lancrevic,
with apologies to Billy Joel.

NOTE: for those of you who might not know the original lyric, rest assured that the verses below follow the rhythm and metre very, very faithfully (except for the last line of the last verse, muhahaha). If you wish to compare, go to

Turnwise Ocean, Great A'Tuin, Ridcully, month of Spune
Imp y Celyn, Coffin Henry, Stick and Bucket Dance
Corp'al Cheery Littlebottom, Lavaeolus, Margolotta
Tattooed blue MacFeegle wearing kilts instead of pants
Circle Sea, Sto Lat, Sourcery, pointy hat
Lu-Tze, the Book of Om, Necrotelicomnicon
Lords and Ladies, Night Watch, Bad Ass in the Ramtops
B.S. Johnson, Djelibeybi, Casanunda - I'm gone...

We didn't steal the fire
It was only restin' on Dunmanifestin
We didn't steal the fire
Now the gods decry us, but they can't deny us

Sgt. Colon, Copperhead, Beggars' Guild, "I aten't dead!"
Herne the Hunted, "Where is Muntab?", Reginald Shoe
Sam Vimes in The Times, Vetinari hates mimes
"Numbers" Riktor, "Oook!" and Lancre Blue
Broad Way, Lobsneaks, poor and proud in Cockbill Street
Jingo, Carpe Jugulum, CURRY? I COULD MURDER ONE
John Keel, Ronnie Soak, Dibbler cuts his own throat
Sto Helit, Agnes Nitt, Ronnie Rust's a right twit...

We didn't steal the fire
Io's too self-centred, so we broke and entered
We didn't steal the fire
Just a bit of cheating for some central heating

Reacher Gilt, Wee Free Men, Stibbons in the H.E.M.
Low King, Wolf attacks, strange message on the Clacks
Belafon...need a Gonne? - Leonard will design one
Swamp dragons, Harry King, Bel-Shamharoth, Captain Swing
Princess Keli, Duck Man, Blind Io, Klatchistan
Death of Rats, Igor, magic number's twice four
Gaspode, octarine, Senior Wrangler and the Dean,
Sacharissa, Rincewind, and the Band With Rocks In...

We didn't steal the fire
Flames were so good-looking we invented cooking
We didn't steal the fire
It just kind of blew in, now we're BBQ-in'

Hodgesaargh, Small Gods, Druids at Eisteddfod
Vorbis, Albert, stop for lunch in Twoshirts
Carrot Ironfoundersson, Cohen the Barbarian
Magrat, Clockson, Holy Wood...inna bun
Thieves' Guild, Mrs. Cake, cross Patrician? -- big mistake!
One in ten: lucky break, Captain Quirke is on the take...

We didn't steal the fire
It was only restin' on Dunmanifestin
We didn't steal the fire
No, they didn't catch us when we took their matches

Carrot and oyster pie, Quantum Weather Butterfly
Greebo, Modo, Nobby Nobbs (oh no!)
Dotsie, Sadie, Foul Ole Ron, Mrs. Palm and "Mossy" Lawn
Weatherwax headology, Unseen University
Lady Sybil, Willikins, Mr. Tulip, Mr. Pin,
Land of Fog, Wonder Dog, Wow-Wow Sauce, Nanny Ogg
Moist von Lipwig, "Where's my cow?", Done It Duncan, Here 'n' Now
Koom Valley, Mr. Shine
Whoopee, it's the final line!

We didn't steal the fire
It was always waiting for appropriating
We didn't steal the fire
We can build and burn it -- now let's go return it
We didn't steal the fire
Now the gods decry us, but they can't deny us
We didn't steal the fire...

August 2006


Hello again, my little starry-eyed skywalkers! We've reached that time of year when people of all species yearn for the traditional end-of-summer holiday (except for beings in XXXX, who have reached that time of year known as Oh No, Will This Winter Never End?! and yearn for their traditional beginning-of-Spring holiday). So once again I have consulted the celestial charts and am proud to present the most suitable package holidays - or "vacations", as some of our more whimsical Morporkians call them - for holidaymakers of each Sign, along with some useful tips and booking advice and whatnot. Enjoy yourselves, and don't forget the sunscreen (of course, for beings from Leshp, Dunmanifestin and the Dungeon Dimensions, the phrase "slip, slop, slap" takes on a whole new meaning...)

The Adamant Hedgehog 21 Mar - 20 Apr

YOUR HOLIDAY: Song of the Deserts

WHAT YOU GET: All the excitement of camel trekking across the Klatchian Waste, with stops in Tsort, Ephebe and - temporal anomaly permitting - Djelibeybi. Bookable extras include a side trip to the Dehydrated Ocean, though this is strictly seasonal, and a viewing of the fabulous Light Dams of the Great Nef. If you love sand, sun and smelly dromedaries, this tour won't disappoint!

WHERE TO BOOK: Harga's House of Ribs; any Desserte Waystes Tours franchise.

WHAT TO TAKE: Water; more water; extra waterbags; sunscreen; soft cushions; burnooses; camel polish; even more water.

NOTES: Your best bet for cabaret and exotic dance is Midnight at the Oasis. Any oasis. On no account should you speak to any Klatchian Foreign Legion recruiters, unless you wish to extend your holiday for a very, very long time...

Gahoolie, the Vase of Tulips 21 Apr - 21 May

YOUR HOLIDAY: Dungeons and Dragons and Pubs, Oh My!

WHAT YOU GET: A fascinating tour of Ankh-Morpork's lesser known (and perhaps rightly so) attractions, including the Sunshine Sanctuary for Lost Dragons, the Old Lemonade Factory, the Patrician's Palace dungeons, Bearhugger's Whisky Distillery, shopping in Sator Square, a traditional Ankh-Morpork pub crawl ("crawl" being literal), and Open Days at various Guilds (Seamstresses and Assassins not included) plus accommodation at the YMPA and daily breakfast at Gimlet's Deli.

WHERE TO BOOK: C.M.O.T. Dibbler, Sator Square; Clacks bookings also taken internationally.

WHAT TO TAKE: Seasoned travellers to the Big Wahoonie always take nose plugs, earplugs and boot scrapers. Also, always remember - your Thieves' Guild Visitor Discount Card: don't leave home without it!

NOTES: Avoid the Shades at all costs. There's another package holiday for that, but it wouldn't suit you Gahooligans. Trust me on this.

Herne the Hunted 22 May - 21 Jun

YOUR HOLIDAY: Lancre on Fifty Pence a Day

WHAT YOU GET: This charming rustic experience includes the high and, erm, less high points as listed in the Very Rough Guide to Lancre, and all the scumble you can drink (bring your own very small non-metallic cup). Tour King Verence's hydroponic gardens, watch a shoeing demonstration at Jason Ogg's forge, abseil into Lancre Gorge; visit Slice, Bad Ass and the Place Where the Sun Does Not Shine; plus tea at Lancre Castle and accommodation at the Goat & Bush.

WHERE TO BOOK: the Lancrastian Consulate (two doors down Turnwise from the Patrician's Palace); True Blue Cheese Importers.

WHAT TO TAKE: Sturdy boots; warm clothing (Lancre is in the Ramtops, after all); goat repellent; Ironheel's Guide to Morris Dancing.

NOTES: This tour is not recommended during Nanny Ogg's bathtimes, which are now listed by Royal decree in the Almanack.

The Wizard's Staff and Knob 22 Jun - 22 Jul

YOUR HOLIDAY: Death Makes a Holiday

WHAT YOU GET: Definitely a once in a lifetime experience, this tour of Death's Domain will change your Discview forever. In addition to the Beehives, Maze of Unforgetfulness and the Lawn of Eternal Wandering and Croquet, you can visit Ysabell's apartments and marvel at Albert's inimitable kitchen, where fried porridge is always on offer. Accommodation is, of course, temporary. With an option on permanent.

WHERE TO BOOK: Ask any witch or wizard, or apply at branches of the Tigerheart Misplaced Cat Sanctuary. Of course, there are also more... direct ways to book.

WHAT TO TAKE: Copper pennies; apples and carrots for Binky; antacid tablets; large amounts of mood-altering substances, as a form of mind protection; a copy of "There and Back Again" by the Abbott of the History Monks.


Bilious, God of Hangovers 23 Jul - 23 Aug

YOUR HOLIDAY: Messing About in Boats

WHAT YOU GET: An unforgettable pleasure cruise around the Circle Sea and great Rim Ocean, with stops at Hersheba, Krull, Mithos and the BeTrobi Islands. Wind, waves, whirlpools, sea monsters and - on the Pleasure Option cruises - an endless round of parties and colourful alcoholic beverages with little umbrellas in them. A popular cruise is the Circumfence Fishing Fortnight (includes tea at Tethis' place). Owing to the vicissitudes of deep ocean currents, there's always the additional possibility of an unscheduled stop at Bes Pelargic!

WHERE TO BOOK: Any seaport.

WHAT TO TAKE: Motion sickness draughts; flotation kits; wetsuits; dry suits (drip dry, for preference); hangover cures; swimwear; sunscreen; harpoons; hemp.

NOTES: There is no truth to the rumour that Lady Asterisk owns numerous shares in Grabpot Thundergust's sunscreen factory.

Mubbo the Hyena 24 Aug - 23 Sept

YOUR HOLIDAY: Let's Go Get Stoned

WHAT YOU GET: A visit to the quarries, dolmens, monoliths, megaliths, microliths, standing stones, leaning stones, stone circles, scree slopes, gravel pits and rain mines of far Llamedos. See the mysterious Llamedosian druids debugging their macrochips! Stand in a shower with a chamois over your head at the bullhide-tanning seminar! Test your endurance by sitting through an entire Eisteddfod! Oh, all right, it's a boring holiday, but you'll learn more than you ever wanted to know about rain and rocks.

WHERE TO BOOK: Huw & Pugh, Monolith Masons, Turnwise Gate, A-M.

WHAT TO TAKE: You need rainwear. Lots and lots of rainwear. Sunscreen is not worth packing. Ever.

NOTES: Reciting humorous verse at an Eisteddfod is considered grounds for deportation, or possibly human sacrifice. Just so you know.

The Small Boring Group of Faint Stars 24 Sept - 23 Oct

YOUR HOLIDAY: Discovering the Last Continent

WHAT YOU GET: A whirlwind tour of fabled XXXX, the land where even Wizzards fear to tread, women glow and men chunder, and the only non-poisonous native animals are some of the sheep. Highlights include a night's drinking in Didjabringabeeralong, a night's drinking in Wigga Wagga, a night's drinking in Strongalongadonga, and a day's drinking at the Disc-famed Bugarup University; also didgeridoo lessons, possum herding, croc-wrestling, and sheep-shearing competitions. Accommodation can be had at any billabong; tin sheds are extra.

WHERE TO BOOK: Rincewind's office, Unseen University; Tim Tamm's Terrific Tours (offices in Nothingfjord, Slakki and Ecalpon).

WHAT TO TAKE: Antivenom; sunscreen; socks and sandals; Jumbuck's Guide to Carnivorous Spiders; ant repellent; a Morporkian-Ecksian phrasebook; edible foods.

NOTES: Holidaymakers of a magickal bent may wish to investigate the students' foreign exchange programme at Bugarup University.

Androgyna Majestis 24 Oct - 22 Nov

YOUR HOLIDAY: Climbing Mount Improbable

WHAT YOU GET: A guided climb up the north face of Cori Celesti, home of the Gods and seat of the best long-distance views on the Disc; includes taking tea in the laps of the Gods, assuming they find you sufficiently amusing. Survivors can revel in an exhilarating dash across the Hubland Steppes, pursued by iconographogenic Hubland barbarians. This tour guarantees thrilling iconographs for the enjoyment of your next of kin.

WHERE TO BOOK: The Street of Small Gods; any Temple of the Lady.

WHAT TO TAKE: Extreme unction; every condensed Holy Book you can lay your hands on; good running shoes; pitons; crampons; all-weather tents; Yeti repellent; lightning rods; sunscreen (hey, it gets bright up there).

NOTES: Because it's there.

Great T'Phon's Foot 23 Nov - 21 Dec

YOUR HOLIDAY: See the Elephants

WHAT YOU GET: The Disc's only supra-atmospheric tour, featuring a fly-by of Great A'Tuin and the Four Elephants, refuelling stop on the Moon, unparallelled views of the Rimfall, and thrill-a-minute splashdown on the return leg of your journey. This short but unique holiday trip is literally out of this world. Plenty of peace and quiet interspersed with moments of sheer ogodswereallgonnadie terror; be prepared to get religion, or form one.

WHERE TO BOOK: Third dungeon on the left, upper level 3, Patrician's Palace, Sator Square. Ask for Leonard.

WHAT TO TAKE: Oxygen; airtight helmets; a telescope; watertight bags; fluids-other-than-water-tight bags; airsickness bags; airlesssickness bags; thermal underwear.

NOTES: As this tour is expressly forbidden by decree of Lord Vetinari, you should be aware that questions will be asked afterwards - quite possibly over a scorpion pit.

Hoki the Jokester 22 Dec - 20 Jan

YOUR HOLIDAY: Things That Go Bonk in the Night

WHAT YOU GET: All the malevolent marvels of Uberwald, including the Bonk sausage works, Lady Margolotta's Temperance Teahouse, Dances with Werewolves, the IgorWorks "hands on (and frequently off)" museum, and a free overnight stay in Dontgonearthe Castle. The magnificently snow-capped Ramtop and Trollbone Mountains form an unforgettable background for an unforgettable holiday, and the rare delicacies of Uberwaldean cuisine will perfectly complement your stay...and there's the added thrill of knowing that the dish of the day could well be you. Daylight activities are recommended.

WHERE TO BOOK: Gimlet's Delicatessen; Biers; Goodmountain's U-Print and Travel; the Fresh Start Club.

WHAT TO TAKE: Garlic; stakes; sensible nightclothes; silver bullets; gloomy trousers; sausage tongs; Greebo.

NOTES: Nanny Ogg may not let you take Greebo, but as he's fathered most of the tomcats of Lancre, surely some of his descendants will possess the familial cattitude.

The Rather Large Gazunda 21 Jan - 18 Feb

YOUR HOLIDAY: The Genuan Article

WHAT YOU GET: A romantic river cruise to the Birthplace of Gumbo. Up the Smarl and down the Vieux (masculine) on a vintage paddleboat, this celebration of the Age of Steam oozes charm, not to mention its oozing mildew, sweat and swamp moss. Cruise includes onboard accommodation, nightly casino passes, Cripple Mr Onion lessons, high tea daily, and 21 tips for avoiding river pirates; also included is a voucher book for the shops and restaurants of Genua. Mrs Gogol's jambalaya alone is worth the trip! Return booking by broomstick is available for a slight extra fee.

WHERE TO BOOK: The Guild of Seamstresses; the Ankh-Morpork docks.

WHAT TO TAKE: Parasols; concealable mini-crossbows; marked cards (only if you know how to use them!); hangover cures; sunscreen; mosquito repellent; anaconda repellent; mould remover.

NOTES: Those drinks with the herbs and fruit in them are not quite as innocent as they look; in fact, one might say they pack a punch.

Lesser Umbrage 19 Feb - 20 Mar

YOUR HOLIDAY: The Week of Living Dangerously

WHAT YOU GET: A full week in the infamous Shades of Ankh-Morpork - in some ways, the most picturesque tour of all! Surely the most colourful, especially if you favourite colour is blood red. TWoLD features a tour of A-M's low life, including C.M.O.T. Dibbler's lockup cellar, the Tanty, Biers, the Troll's Head, Shamlegger Street, and a number of nameless alleys and shops of ill repute. Lodgings at Mrs Palm's, if you don't mind lively nighttime noises. It is worth noting that a rebate is on offer for anyone who lasts the entire week here...and that so far no rebates have been demanded.

WHERE TO BOOK: Sidle up to any dodgy-looking street vendor in the Morpork industrial district. Or try Dibbler's in Sator Square.

WHAT TO TAKE: Personal armour; bodyguards; blackguards; blackjacks; money belt; edged weapons; life insurance.

NOTES: You can leave your Thieves' Guild Visitor Discount Card at home for this one; it's not accepted in the Shades.