Archive for the ‘Paul Kidby’ Category


[READ: January 2022] Nanny Ogg’s Cookbook

I bought this book when it came out because I was working in a book store that sold British imported books.  I knew I’d never find it at the mall, si grabbed it,  And now, twenty-some years later, I’ve finally read it.

I read it a little out of order, but I assumed it would come after Maskerade because in that novel, Nanny Ogg has a book published.  Although, it turns out this is her third book (the other two only came out in Discworld).  This book also references Jingo and Hogfather.

So this is in fact a viable cookbook.  You can cook everything that’s in here (provided you don’t include the arsenic).  But the recipes all have a narrative from Nanny Ogg, so there’s a degree of nudge nudge involved in the whole thing.

In addition to the recipes, there is a section on etiquette, which is more of the sort of naughty fun that Nanny Ogg sprinkles in the books she appears in.

The book opens with notes from the publisher (the one who published The Joy of Snacks), discussing whether or not they can actually publish this book and if any of it should be censored.  They just can’t understand how Nanny can use normal every day words and yet some how make them all sound dirty. (more…)

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dragonsSOUNDTRACK: THE NELS CLINE SINGERS-Tiny Desk Concert #78 (September 7, 2010).

nelsNels Cline has played guitar with Wilco for over a decade, but he has also played with punk rockers and jazz musicians.

The Nels Cline singers are an instrumental collective  that consists of Cline on guitar, upright bassist Devin Hoff and distinctly jazzy drummer Scott Amendola (he plays a lot of percussion including hitting a cymbal with what looks like a chopstick).  They also have special guest Yuka Honda from Cibo Matto on keyboards.

Cline gets some great sounds out of his old beat up guitar (I have genuinely never seen anyone play harmonics on the guitar in the manner that he does).

The music is airy and spacey (especially “B86 (Inkblot Nebula)” which features bowed bass and interesting sounds from Honda and a fascinating array of bell and cymbals on the drum set.

For “Thoughts on Caetano” he switches guitars.  Unfortunately the video seems to keep cutting out around this point so the rest of the show has to be on audio only.  But the sounds that they create are very cool and interesting.

The biggest surprise to me in these pieces is that they are mostly fairly short.  They seem like they could be side-long explorations, but “You Noticed” comes in around 4 minutes or so, and “B86” is only around 3 minutes as is “Thoughts on Caetano.”

The final song has a more jazzy feel.  Complete with a  bass solo and some very interesting drum sounds (I wish I could see how he’s doing them).  This last song is the longest it’s about 7 minutes.

I was really surprised by this Tiny Desk–I had no sense of what Nels Cline would play, and it was a real treat to hear.

[READ: August 19, 2015] Dragons at Crumbling Castle and Other Tales

Obviously death has never stopped anyone from releasing books.  So here is one of the first collections of posthumous stories from Sir Terry Pratchett.

Interestingly, these are stories from when Terry was a young lad.  This is a selection of children’s stories that were first run in the Bucks Free Press (he was a junior reporter).  They are simple but clever, with lots of ideas that Pratchett would explore in greater details as he got older.

There are 13 stories in the book, and they explore variations on Pratchett’s themes like that the unfamiliar is not the enemy (necessarily) and that people can and often will be surprised by how others react.  He also has some a story idea that would blossom into the carpet people stories later on.

“Dragons at Crumbling Castle” (1966) is a story of everyone overreacting when they find a dragon in the castle  (it proves to be a little baby dragon).

“Hercules the Tortoise” (1968) is the story of a brave tortoise who crosses his pond.

“The Great Speck” (1969) is an interesting story of huge worlds on tiny specks and how even they can be territorial

“Hunt the Snorry” (1966) is  a very funny story about brave hunters going in search of an elusive thing which proves to be something else entirely (and which they inadvertently catch).

“Tales of the Carpet People” (1965) is similar to the Speck story in that it talks about very small people living in a carpet and their adventures as they try to see the world beyond (the dreaded linoleum).  I actually found this first story to be kind of dull and confusing, but I can see how it became the basis for greater things.

“Dok the Caveman” (1966) invents all kinds of things but they usually go wrong–nevertheless the inventions themselves are pretty spectacular.

“The Big Race” (1968) differs from all the other stories in that it is about technology (although it is very Pratchettian in the end).  It proves to be a race between a gas-powered car and a steam-powered car (and anyone else who wishes to join the race and cheat if necessary).

“Another Tale of the Carpet People” (1967) was more successful perhaps because they actually got off of the carpet and met new people.

“The Great Egg Dancing Championship” (1972) was a funny story about how cheaters never win (and about dancing on eggs).

“Edwo the Boring Knight” (1973)  Sometimes boring people to sleep can be your greatest weapon.

“The 59A Bus Goes Back in Time”  (1966-67) This story was fun in its time travel (going to the major historical epochs) but more so because of the way the locals reacted to the bus.  And that the bus should always try to stay on schedule.

“The Abominable Snowman” (1969) had a lot of fun with the conventions of exploration and how easy it is to derail a planner.  It also works with the idea of a very tiny creature that everyone is searching for.

“The Blackbury Monster” (1968) is all about how fame may not be the best thing for a small town after all.

“Father Christmas Goes to Work” (1973)  How is Father Christmas supposed to make any money on the other 364 days of the year?  Get to work!  But what can he possibly do?  Not much it seems.  (There’s a happy ending of course).

The text is manipulated to make it very kid friendly (large print when people yell, different fonts, dark pages when it is a dark scene, that sort of thing.  It also has illustration by Mark Beech, but I found them to be really basic sketches.  I would have loved to see more by Pratchett artist Paul Kidby.

I tried to imagine my kids enjoying these stories, but I didn’t really think they would.  Perhaps because they aren’t British and it isn’t forty years ago.  But I enjoyed them.  And each one brought a smile to my face.

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