Sunday, August 31, 2008

Clog post 14 with YMPA and Reader In The Stacks



First Clog: "I can't let Morpork go"

So...I'm still here. But I'll be heading home soon. Maybe in a few days. Or something.

It's hard to leave Ankh-Morpork. It's like, um, quicksand. Or slurry. You try to drag yourself out and it keeps sucking you back in. I know, I know, it smells like quicksand mixed with slurry too, but there's something about this city... I've heard it said that the city is a woman (though in that case, it's a woman of very questionable personal hygiene) who gets under your skin, but that sounds very uncomfortable and also crowded. Of course, A-M is uncomfortable and crowded, so maybe they have a point, but it's just... so... fascinating here. And exciting. And dangerous. Okay, maybe less of the dangerous as a recommendation, but so very fascinating. They say -- "they" say a lot of things, don't they? -- there are a million stories in this big festering fragrant megalopolis, and that means an endless supply of inspirations for a Bard to write about.

But I'm going home soon. Really. Yes.

Very busy these days, but here's some assorted news:

Career goes from strength to strength! The Sisters of Invention is a five-piece now: myself, Listeria, Anaglypta (really taken to the lute, she has), Lucrezia (very decent on the mandolin and banjo), and an expatriate called LuRid from Morpork Below who apparently used to play Below with a band called the Vurm-lit Underground (good drummer, but his voice is a bit cracked). We're playing at least four nights a week now, and we've even joined the Musicians' Guild! For all the disturbing stories I've heard about the Guild, it seems like a tame enough organisation, and the rates aren't too bad...though I did hear they went through a major reorganisation a few years ago, so maybe that explains it.

One of our regular gigs now is at Wahoonie, I'm Home. This means I get my Barbarian at the Gate cocktails free. This in turn means a lot of scumble hangovers, which means a lot of hair of the dog (or of the "...mostly apples..."), which means I'm feeling a bit, um, liverish lately. Well, more than a bit. Might have to go back to beer. Though there are some interesting new cocktails on the drinks menu. These include the Tired and Emotional, which features Genuan creme de menthe, Brindisian grappa and BeTrobi Islands rum and has even more of a kick than the Rule You Wholesale (though less of a brassica flavour); the Aqueduct de Luxe, which claims to include real Ankh water with gin to "make it safe for drinking" (but I don't believe mere spirits could sanitise Ankh water); the Duke of Ankh, which is just sparkling mineral water with a slice of lemon, but the barman does wave an unopened bottle of whisky near it before serving; the Grand Vizier, featuring melon liqueur from Al Khali and fig juice; and the Hook, Line and Stinkered, which believe it or not is made from fish consomme and Djelibeybian garlic wine. That one give a while new meaning to the phrase "liquid lunch"! Very inventive, these modern bartenders.


There's a new bookshop that's opened in Rime Street, near the Contract Bridge end -- it's called Waterstain's. I paid a visit the other day and found a real treasure: Bawdey Ballades, by A Wanton Ladye. I've put some of these to music and they're going down a treat at the Seamstresses' Guild gigs, especially when sung by Listeria with, um, explanatory gestures. Mr Waterstain is something of a treasure himself, very friendly and helpful. And he also sells lute strings! I'm putting this one on my personal Mapp.


Yesterday I met a man with a duck on his head. No-one seemed to notice it. How very A-M.


There's a display of antiquities, which is to say things dug up during the Undertaking, currently on view at an old house on Chrononhotonthologos Street. Very interesting.


There was a party at the home of Rosella, one of Mrs Palm's employees, last night. Much more interesting.


Had my first Dibbler sausage inna bun. Also my last Dibbler sausage inna bun. One and the same.

Mr Dibbler still wants to manage the Sisters. After that sausage? No chance.


Found an Uberwaldean restaurant called Grossenschweinebitzen (which translates in Morporkian as Many Parts of Pig). It's in Scrag End, just off Pigsty Hill, and they do Ghoulish. Proper Ghoulish! Best I've had since Bad Blitz on the Blut! I'll be going there again for sure.


A-M beer does not sit well on mornings after. Am back on the Barbarians. At least with a scumble hangover you know what you're getting, and even essence of dead sheep is better than some of the things they put in the beer here.


Bad smog last night - a real curry-souper. I could hardly sing for coughing. I could hardly play for inebriation too, but that's not the point. They say the Undertaking will help clear the air here; Gods know that would make A-M more appealing!


I'm going home soon. Really.

Here endeth this post.

* * *

Second Clog: "...and the course of true love never runs smooth..."

Cert moved back off campus. Not back in with us, though -- he's taken a room at the YMPA in God Street -- but we're still getting on well and not at all like a house on fire, as it were. He's not as deep in his studies now because he's taken a job on the Undertaking. It seems they need all the Technomancers they can get, and don't mind if they haven't a UU doctorate as long as they have Talent and experience. Cert definitely has experience, as you all know from reading this Clacks log! -- so he's being paid very well, which is how he was able to afford the genuine octarine pendant he bought me last week. I said I wasn't sure what to make of that, and he said I could always make an investment of it. Aww, how sweet!

I suggested the YMPA because so many people, well, denizens of A-M, recommend it. It's clean and pleasant in a slightly run-down way, and even more broad-minded than Mrs Cake about who resides there, if that's possible. I wrote a song about it:

    Young mage, there's no need to feel down
    I said, young mage, pick your robe off the ground
    I said, young mage, you're in Ankh-Morpork town
    There's no need to seek for lodgings

    Igor, there's a place you'll fit in
    I said, Igor, when your stitches wear thin
    You can stay there, and I'm sure you will find
    Many willing organ donors

    It's fun to stay at the YMPA
    To laugh and play at the YMPA
    They have what it takes when you're putting down stakes
    Drop your laundry at Mrs Cake's

    It's fun to stay at the YMPA
    Tenpence a day at the YMPA
    You can practise your spells, you can make your own bed,
    You can live like proper Undead...

    Werewolf, are you ready for "Sit!"?
    I said, Vampire, are you biter or bit?
    I said, Banshee, you can be fright-ing fit
    But I've got to tell you one thing:

    No beast has to hunt on his own
    I said, young wolf, there's no need to be lone
    You just go there, to the YMPA
    I'm sure there's a kennel today

    It's fun to stay at the YMPA
    The stoo is grey at the YMPA
    They serve everyone there from Wizards to Fools
    You can hang out with all the ghouls

    It's fun to stay at the YMPA
    You're not a stray at the YMPA
    You can sleep on a slab, you can roost in a tree
    Even practise necromancy...

    Young mage, I was once lost as you
    I said, I felt near as dead as Reg Shoe
    I thought no one cared a figgin, you see
    I felt the whole Disc hated me

    That's when Creatures set me back on my feet
    And said, human, take a walk up God Street
    There's a place there called the YMPA
    It's where Belshamharoth's friends stay...

    They always stay at the YMPA
    No need to pray at the YMPA
    They have yellow soap, towels harder than boards
    You can mix with the mis-matched hordes

    Go right away to the YMPA
    You'll shout "au lait!" at the YMPA
    You can practise your spells, you can make your own bed,
    You can live like proper Undead

    You'll find it all at the YMPA!

* * *

Meanwhile, there's been another bit of what you might call romantic drama in our little circle...Lucrezia, of all people! It seems that some of her Little Errands took her to the University, and she met a special someone. A very special someone. It was one of those star-crossed relationships that was Never Meant to Be, but her life will never be the same again since she met the...


    Is she really hanging out with him?
    (Well, there she is. Let's ask her.)
    Lucy, are those his banananas you're wearing?
    Gee, it must be great reading with him!
    Is he picking you up by the scruff today?
    By the way, where'd you meet him?

    I met him at the Mended Drum
    He threw a peanut shell at me
    You want an iconograph? (yes, we see)
    That's when I fell for
    The Reader in the Stacks

    My folks were always putting him down...down, down
    They said, "He's not built to live on the ground..."
    (Whatcha mean when ya say
    That he's not built to live on the ground?)

    They told me, "He's an ape!"
    But I saw his true shape
    That's why I fell for
    The Reader in the Stacks

    One day the Dean said, "Find someone new"
    I had to tell my ape we were through
    (Whatcha mean when ya say
    The Librarian was no good for you?)
    He stood there and asked me, "Ook?"
    I borrowed another book
    Ill never desert you, my Reader in the Stacks

    He bared his teeth and swung for the sky
    His cheek-pads beginning to glow
    As he disappeared in those gloomy stacks
    I begged him not to go
    But whether he heard, I'll never know

    Oh no! Hippo! Look out! Oh shi...!!!

    I felt so helpless, what could I do
    With Dungeon Dimensions Things leaking through?
    In UU they point and stare
    No Librarian? -- well, I don't care!
    I'll never forget him
    The Reader in the Stacks

    The Reader in the Stacks -- now he's gone
    The Reader in the Stacks -- orange brawn
    The Reader in the Stacks -- not a prawn
    The Reader in the Stacks -- now he's gone

* * *

Must fly now. Rehearsal time! And then I'll start packing to go home. Really.

-- Alice

Note for Roundworlders: the original lyrics for YMCA, by the Village
People, can be found at:

...and the original lyrics for Leader of the Pack, by the Shangri-Las, can be found at

No comments: