Saturday, January 28, 2006

January 2006

Hello again, my dear denizens of Zodiac land! This month, as we draw near to the Roundworld festival of love and romance, my good friend Count Giamo Casanunda has kindly offered me some tips on the arcane arts of love which I shall now pass on to all you prospective swains and swainesses. I can guarantee you from personal experience that those tips of his work very - what? What do you mean, what's that interesting-looking bruise on my - oi! Back off, sunshine! It's the cold showers for you! Now behave yourselves and read your horoscopes...

The Adamant Hedgehog 21 Mar - 20 Apr

They say that music is the food of love. That's largely true - though Mrs Ogg would of course point out that the food of love is also carrot and oyster pie, or chocolate surprise with special sauce - and although Hoggers tend to prefer music of the martial kind, this month would be a good time to practice those gentler strains. Why not dust off that old lute in the attic and give it a go? Tossing a few coins to your neighbourhood minstrel for some pointers wouldn't go amiss, nor would a sacrifice to Reg, god of musicians. Songs about flowers and May mornings are a winner; songs about hedgehogs are not recommended, unless you happen to be one of those kinky types who dress up in animal costumes and meet up in darkened... um, forget I said that...songs about hedgehogs are not recommended, unless your beau happens to be into that sort of thing.

Gahoolie, the Vase of Tulips 21 Apr - 21 May

Say it with flowers (or, if you're of the silicaceous persuasion, say it with ooograh). It's amazing how a posy of even the simplest blooms of the field can melt a maiden's heart; if you don't believe me, ask King Verence of Lancre. If you do want to go a bit upmarket, exotic flowers are great, erm, persuaders -- however, avoid the carnivorous varieties and especially avoid Wahoonie blossoms, no matter what Herkulous "No-nose" Peaseblossom, the notorious Florist of Gleam Street, tries to tell you. Young ladies who follow the modern fashion of giving flowers to young men are advised to not give roses, petunias or pansies, as these can give a rather mixed message. For best results have your floral gift blessed by a priestess of Sessifet, Goddess of the Afternoon.

Herne the Hunted 22 May - 21 Jun

The art of conversation can be a powerful tool in the would-be wooer, and has the advantage of gentleness. Who would woo would woo well with well-chosen words; the most innocent of conversations -- about, say, the progress of the new Quirm floral clock extension or the pleasantness of the recent weather or how there are so few perpetrators of street theatre due to the efficacy of the Patrician's prudent public policies -- can be deftly turned to subjects of a more personal nature! In fact, if you converse pleasantly and interestingly enough, the object of your amour might even be moved to suggest taking you to dinner! Best bet for your sacrifice this month: Loquacius, small god of orators.

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

Your celestial tips this month are about food - not as if that's any surprise to you Staffies! And no, it's not just about the carrot and oyster pie. When it comes to overtures romantic, few things can beat a candlelit dinner with your best china, cut-crystal glasses, fine linen napkins, and an exquisitely prepared, lovingly served four-course meal. I know that for those of you of the wizardly persuasion, four courses may seem like a mere warm-up for a main snack, but do remember that being over-full interferes with the, you know, postprandial hijinks. Not that you wizards care about that sort of thing, eh...for those on a limited budget, slip Sham Harga a few shillings to set up his least filthy table in the back of the House of Ribs. Chip-shop takeaways will not win fair maids.

Bilious, God of Hangovers 23 Jul - 23 Aug

"Usque ad mortem per bibendum", as it says on the altar of Eructa, minor Goddess of the Tired and Emotional! A good drink loosens the inhibitions, gilds the tongue, brightens the outlook, and incidentally makes the toothless, odoursome and unsavoury look like the well and truly favoured of the gods. Exotic liqueurs can smooth the path to romance like nobody's business; thy something like Ancient Walnut Vodka Supreme or Genuine Genuan Cordial Passionelle. Bearhugger's famous Lochan Bloody Nora is another good choice - it packs a kick like a gastritic hippopotamus, though, so be warned that while your intended may swoon in your arms, getting to the next step could involve Igor-strength heart stimulants. Avoid scumble at all costs. It may be mostly apples, but there's nothing romantic about its effects. Oh, and don't forget to pack the hangover cures before you go a-hunting!

Mubbo the Hyena 24 Aug - 23 Sept

The giving of love tokens is an (artful) way to show your heart's desire to the desired heart (not that anyone much, apart from Mrs Drull, werewolves of Uberwald, and various Igors actually desire hearts; the rest of us desire... other things). Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but even lowly Ankhstones, tastefully gift wrapped, can result in a notable increase in friendliness. So when you set out to win hearts (and... other things), remember this: the bling's the thing to bring and sling. Pearls on a string make hearts go zing and ting-a-ling; a gilded ring? - to you they'll cling; when bling you swing, love will take wing and sing, and cling! - so springs a fling. Schwing!

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

It's not quite true that another name for Boring 'uns is "wallflowers", but we all know that those of you born under this sign are, well, less suited to the more, erm, energetic pressing of suits. So you'll need to start gently with the genteel art of friendship. First step: a sacrifice to Makko, the God of Confidence, and to Herne the Hunted (who, after all, looks after small, frightened creatures). Next, use your inborn ability for being unthreatening and sympathetic to become unthreatening and sympathetic. Be a good listener. Lend money readily and be slow to ask for repayment. Show willing to be awakened in the wee hours to provide a shoulder for crying on. Soon you'll have a bevy of desirables flocking to you. Of course, they'll only want you as a friend, but you're used to disappointment.

Androgyna Majestis 24 Oct - 22 Nov

Art: a great tool with which to ~cough cough~ draw an intended lover's eye! Many people underestimate the erotic power of even "polite" Art (though the sort of people who write letters of complaint to the Times are not among them...), but even the sight of a well-rendered pastoral scene or beautifully composed Still Life with Fruit can charm and captivate a swainabee's loved one. And if it's a fast track to va-va-voom you want, there's no shortage of proudly erotic Art in Ankh-Morpork! You could even try your own hand at doing Art - the traditional starving artist, complete with smeared palette, paint-spattered smock and absentminded expression, is a popular one in the romance stakes. Remember, Art imitates Life... although it's not compulsory to, f'rinstance, cut your arms off.

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

Grand gestures are the stuff of legendary loves, and my little-but-large-in-experience source assures me that a little gallantry goes a long way in the wooing industry. So you Footys would do well to practise those memorable courtly gestures! On rainy days this month, be sure to wear your second-best cloak so you can handily drape it across puddles for distressed maidens and slipper'd queens (forget about maiden queens; they're rare these days and thus disinclined to let commoners suck their toes). Carve your initials together with your sweetheart's on a corner of the Patrician's palace (beware those patrolling Dark Clerks though). Skywriting love-notes is always good, but I hear Buggy Swires is charging double for that these days, and Hamish Mac Feegle can't spell, so you might have to get, um, creative. Can I interest you in an albatross?

Hoki the Jokester 22 Dec - 20 Jan

Oh, for those honeyed words of love! And what words be more honeyed than those of a lovesick poet? It's hard for a girl to resist being favourably compared to a summer's day, or for a chap not to soften when described as noble-brow'd and mighty-thew'd (especially if he's the son of a rural provisions merchant). You don't even have to write your own poetry; mark well the tale of Cyanide de Bungee-Wrecke, who won the heart of his beloved Moxine by miming under her window to poems recited by his Bardic friend. If you lack a handy Bard, try that nice Mr Dibbler in Sator Square - he's offering a knock-down price this month on slightly used sonnets. Or if you suffer from shyness, try the new Gallmark clacks service: modern love poems delivered to your sweetie's door for only a dollar each. You know it makes sense!

The Rather Large Gazunda 21 Jan - 18 Feb

If you genuinely want to score, erm, win yourself a true love this month, why not go on a Quest? Quests have all the sexy stuff: danger, adventure, romance, excitement, magic (often with a "k"), enchanted swords, Grails, meddlesome wizards, Dark Lords, barbarians, rightful Kings, witches, fell Demons, treasure hoards, the occasional geas, and sometimes even dragons! And travel; you can combine your hols with your heroism. Another advantage (apart from the winning-your-true-love bit) is that if you survive your Quest you'll never have to pay for another round in your life. But beware those really long Quests...though of course if you stay away from Civilisation for long enough, even the Orcs start looking fanciable.

Note: if your Quest involves the slaying of dragons, on no account do it at or near the Sunshine Sanctuary. The Vimeses will be bloody furious!

Lesser Umbrage 19 Feb - 20 Mar

And so we come at last to the greatest sweetheart-magnet of all: money. Money! Show them the money! Whoever said money can't buy love never lived in a town with a branch of the Seamstresses' Guild. However...of course, money alone isn't enough; it's about how you earn it and how you spend it (and do take care not to fall in love with your money yourself! Coins can't kiss you goodnight). Successful beings of all genders and species always attract admirers (they attract gold-diggers too, but as long as your gold-diggers are bearded and under three-foot-six they won't likely break your heart). Making your fortune in enterprises involving daring is a good idea - there's always an opening for a successful pirate captain or gentleperson-thief. Or you could make a killing in the futures market, although that does involve a lot of late nights and freezing cold warehouses. Try to avoid anything too risky; after all, you want to stay alive to enjoy the relationship.

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