[READ: March 2022] Carpe Jugulum

It’s so hard to believe that Carpe Jugulum (Discworld book #23 of 41) is the last one to feature the Witches! Especially since it is quite clearly about vampires.  Actually, other books feature Granny Weatherwax (the Tiffany Aching books feature her a lot), but it’s the last one that features the classic trio of witches.

Queen Magrat and King Verence have figured out the whole bedroom thing (Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax weren’t sure they’d every actually figure it out) and are pleased to announce their first child–a girl.

The King has invited everyone to their naming ceremony.  That includes the vampires from Uberwald.

Since the vampires have been invited they are pretty much free to do as they want.  It turns out that they are quite clear about their plans–they are going to move into Lancre Castle and basically turn all of the humans into their cattle (as they have done in Uberwald).  But because of a kind of hypnotism, no one is upset by this–nor do they seem to fully get what the threats represent. Continue Reading »


[READ: March 2022] The Last Continent

The Last Continent in Discworld is Australia. Or as Pratchett says “This is not a book about Australia. No, it’s about somewhere entirely different which just happens to be, here and there, a bit Australian.  Still… no worries, right?”

In the previous Rincewind story, he was sent to Four Ecks in exchange for a kangaroo.  He has been there for a time and has been adjusting reasonably well–only nearly everything wants to kill him.

But suddenly he meets Scrappy–a talking kangaroo.  Scrappy believes that Rincewind is a hero of sorts who is going to bring the wet (Rain) back to the continent.  Turns out that it has not rained in Four Ecks for a long time, although it is surrounded by forbidding storms that make the continent almost inaccessible from outside.

Four Ecks is also a time travel parody of sorts, because Rincewind is able to see himself (and the other wizards) in cave paintings that are thousands of years old but which just appeared in front of him.

Meanwhile, back in Ankh-Morpork, the librarian seems to be going through something.  His magical field (which tunrned him into an orangutan) seems to be failing.  He keeps turning into various shapes, and the senior wizards (Archchancellor Mustrum Ridcully, The Dean, The Bursar, The Chair of Indefinite Studies, The Lecturer in Recent Runes, The Senior Wrangler, and Ponder Stibbons) are keen on fixing him–even if that means turning him back human–which he does NOT want, Indeed, the librarian destroyed all record of his original name–which would be essential for creating a spell to revert him to his original shape.

They decide that Rincewind might know a thing or two about the librarian since he was the librarian’s assistant.  They think about dragging Rincewind back, but soon realize the danger of that (and actually stop their plans before anyone can get hurt). Continue Reading »


[READ: March 2022] Jingo

With a title like Jingo, you know that Terry Pratchett isn’t holding back.  And indeed, this is a story about two countries fighting each other over disputed territory–and the unenlightened attitudes that people have about “foreigners.”

What is great about Pratchett is how much he is able to get his point across without being preachy.  Some of the unenlightened characters say offensive things, but they are quickly discoruaged from such attitudes–not with bludgeoning and hysteria, but with rational comments.  It’s very well done.

But what causes this trouble?  Well, out of nowhere, an island has surfaced.  The island of Leshp was submerged forever, and suddenly, it floated to the surface amid two fishermen.  Solid Jackson of Ankh-Morpork (and his long-suffering son) and Greasy Arif from Al-Khali, the Klatchian capital.  They often fought over their prey (the Curious Squid), because they sailed the same waters that were between the two countries.

While this is going on, diplomatic business is occurring in Ankh-Morpork.  The prince of Klatch, Khufurah, is in Ankh-Morpork to receive an honorary degree (Doctorum Adamus cum Flabello Dulci) in Sweet Fanny Adams.

Hostilities between A-M and Klatch are high.

Several leaders of the city are there to complain to Lord Vetenari about Klatch.  Watch Captain Sam Vimes is there to add a level head and sarcasm.  When someone complains that Klatch wouldn’t accept ten boatloads of cabbages, Vimes says out loud to himself “everyone knows caterpillars add to the flavor” and later “Meat is at its best when it’s going green.”

And of course, the Patrician knows his way around diplomacy: “it is no longer considered…nice…to send a warship … to show Johnny Foreigner the error of his ways.”

Later, the Prince meets with Vimes and asks him about the word he’s heard shouted at him: “towelhead.” Continue Reading »

[ATTENDED: April 29, 2022] Behemoth

Behemoth is a Polish extreme metal band.  I’ve never been to an extreme metal show before and figure it would be fun (I guess) to see one.

Behemoth have been around for over twenty years and have stirred up their share of controversy.  As NME wrote: Singer Nergal was prosecuted for blasphemy a decade ago for ripping up a bible on stage, but he argued his right to free speech and won the case, having to neither draw pentagrams in salt nor shed the blood of any lambs in the process.

NME also notes: When he is not onstage, he hosted the Polish version of Pop Idol, he runs a chain of barbershops and is a qualified museum curator.

I had heard that Behemoth live shows were legendary.  So I waited to see what would come next.

There were three sculpted microphone stands on the stage and a giant drum set in the back.  There was a sculpture behind the drum riser and lots of pyro.

Then the band came out in corpse paint looking ominous and intense.

The music started.  It was relentless and powerful and the crowd went berserk.  There were clearly long-time fans who knew the words to all the songs.  There was a massive pit in the center of the room.  But mostly there was the band.

Lead singer and guitarist Nergal was in the middle, conducting the whole thing.  Behind him was long time drummer Inferno.

We were in front of bassist Orion and on the other side was a behemoth of a guitarist Seth.

At some point Nergal changed outfits and was wearing a Pope hat.  Orion spit blood in the air and at the audience.  Seth stomped all around the stage and Inferno blasted the hell out of his drums.

It was intense and exhausting (especially after three other bands).  I was pretty wiped out by the end of the show and decided that I probably didn’t need to see any more extreme metal bands.

Behemoth had destroyed them all.

  1. Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer §
  2. Wolves ov Siberia
  3. Ov Fire and the Void
  4. Evoe Δ
  5. Christians to the Lions ¢
  6. Bartzabel
  7. Conquer All δ
  8. Ov My Herculean Exile Ø
  9. Decade of Therion ¥
  10. Slaves Shall Serve δ
  11. Chant for Eschaton 2000 ¥
  12. O Father O Satan O Sun! §

Ø Opvs Contra Natvram (2022)
Δ A Forest EP (2020)
♥ I Loved You at Your Darkest (2018)
§ The Satanist (2014)
€ Evangelion (2009)
δ Demigod (2004)
¢ Thelema.6 (2000)
¥ Satanica (1999)

[ATTENDED: April 29, 2022] Arch Enemy

I wasn’t really familiar with Arch Enemy.  I knew of them, but I wasn’t aware that they have had two female singers who can growl with the best of them.

The band is based in Sweden, but Angela Gossow–a legend among fans–was a German screamer who sang with the band for 14 years.  When she retired, Gossow recommended Alissa White-Gluz from Canadian metal band The Agonist as her replacement, and remained business manager for the band.

So I got to see White-Gluz in all fo her blue-haired glory.

She held the entire audience rapt.  Between her soaring voice and her guttural growls, it was hard to take your eyes off of her.  Which I suppose the band is used to, but it is their band too, you know?

The music was heavy.  Solid, old school metal with some modern flourishes.

Alissa was lead singer on two albums, but they played music from throughout their catalog.

The most notable thing for me, though, was that a Dad had brought his little girl (I think she was six), and she got up to the front (with big noise cancelling headphones on) and Alissa saw her and waved and later on gave her a setlist.  Sweet.

It’s possible that Arch Enemy is the more popular of the two band (I believe they alternated headline acts), but it would be hard to follow Behemoth’s stage show, even with a highly polished and rocking show like Arch Enemy’s.

  1. Set Flame to the Night [taped entrance]
  2. Deceiver, Deceiver
  3. The World Is Yours
  4. Ravenous §
  5. War Eternal ψ
  6. My Apocalypse
  7. House of Mirrors
  8. The Eagle Flies Alone
  9. Under Black Flags We March £
  10. Dead Bury Their Dead §
  11. Nemesis
  12. Fields of Desolation
  13. Enter the Machine [taped exit]

⊗ Deceivers (2022)
¶ Will to Power (2017)
ψ War Eternal (2014)

£ Khaos Legions (2011)
™ Doomsday Machine (2005)
§ Wages of Sin (2001)
€ Black Earth (1996)

[ATTENDED: April 29, 2022] Napalm Death

Napalm Death are legends.  They have been around since 1981 although formed a solid lineup in 1987.  Although their Wikipedia page lists 18 former members, the lineup I saw was almost has been with the band since at least 1991.

Current members Shane Embury – bass, backing vocals (1987–present) Mitch Harris – guitars, backing vocals (1990–present) Danny Herrera – drums (1991–present) Mark “Barney” Greenway – lead vocals (1989–1996, 1997–present).

That’s pretty impressive for a grindcore band whose first album contained songs that were almost all under two minutes long. Continue Reading »

[ATTENDED: April 29, 2022] Unto Others

Despite having tickets to see Girl Talk, I decided I’d go see this North American Siege of 2022.  I’ve been intrigued by Behemoth for quite a while.  The are an extreme metal band from Poland who sing of the occult and thelemic ideas.  But they are known mainly for their intense live show.

I haven’t really ever been to a show like this and it seemed worth a visit.

I arrived absurdly early.  I think doors opened at 6 and I arrived at 6:15 or something.  And there was hardly anyone there.  The guy at the bar said it sold poorly. Continue Reading »

[DID NOT ATTEND: April 29, 2022] Altin Gün / Sessa

Altin Gün sounds like the kind of band I would love–a Turkish psychedelic band from The Netherlands.  Their name means Golden Day).

Their live shows are supposed to be wonderful as well:

Altin Gün’s relentless grooves are truly immersive, anti-elitist, inclusive. It’s truly music for the dancefloor – all dancefloors. Altin Gün are the perfect 21st Century psych band, hinting at a deep record collection while still belonging to a living tradition and having a unique and distinctive voice
[from Forestpunk].

But when I listened to them I just couldn’t quite get into it.  Possibly because I knew I was so overbooked that night I didn’t want to have yet another band I was dying to see.

Sessa is a Portuguese musician whose record label says “a songwriter …. blessed with a flair for the intimate, the enigmatic, and the licentious. Sessa’s songs are sung in Portuguese, with visceral, sensual lyrics, and melodic flourishes.”  He seems more mellow than Altin Gün but I could see people on the dancefloor for both.

[DID NOT ATTEND: April 29, 2022] Kevin Devine / Kayleigh Goldsworthy / Kississippi

The embarrassment of riches continued on April 29th as there were four more shows I was interested in going to.  And what’s so fun about Philadelphia is that among the eight shows in two nights none were in the same venue.

I’ve been a fan of Kevin Devine for a few years.  I feel like I’ve seen him a bunch because he so often plays around here.  And yet I have only seen him three time (twice solo and once with his Goddamn Band).  I would love to see him again and would absolutely gone to see this show except that it was at the First Unitarian Church, avenue I won’t go to again.  So, this one was really a no-go.

I saw Kayleigh Goldsworthy open for Frank Turner and really liked her.  I didn’t realize she was part of Kevin Devine’s circle of players until recently.  I’d have happily seen her again.

Kississippi is a Philly band who I saw open for someone else.  They write super catchy songs and I would happily see them again as well.  Some other time I’m sure.

[DID NOT ATTEND: April 29, 2022] Girl Talk / Hugh Augustine

The embarrassment of riches continued on April 29th as there were four more shows I was interested in going to.  And what’s so fun about Philadelphia is that among the eight shows in two nights none were in the same venue.

Girl Talk is the stage name of DJ Gregg Michael Gillis.  He makes music that is comprised of samples and mashups.  His 2010 album All Day album used overlapping samples of 372 songs by other artists.

His live shows are described as an experience not to be missed and so I immediately grabbed a ticket.  But the more I learned about the experience–a sweaty, writhing dancing mess of people, I wasn’t really sure I wanted to be a part of it.  So I decided to do something else that night instead.  I’m not sure if I missed out on something life changing, and I’ll never know.

Hugh Augustine is a rapper, chef and activist.