Mark Reads ‘Soul Music’: Part 10

In the tenth part of Soul Music, the rock spreads. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.

Ed. Note: As of writing this review, I still haven’t figured out if my Kindle copy of Soul Music is formatted badly, truly messed up, or simply confusing, so if parts of this seem off, it may be because of that. Thanks! -m


Blert’s Guitars

Or are they Gibbsson’s guitars sometimes? I MADE A JOKE.

Guitar shops are both totally intimidating to me and utterly magical. I love them, but I’m not a classically or academically trained musician. I know very little (close to nothing!) about any music theory at all. I just go with my gut. I know what sounds good to my ears, and that means I have a better sense of rhythm than most guitar players, even if they’re leagues better than I am. So when I walk into a guitar or music shop, I feel like sometimes, I don’t belong there.

But I want to be there. There’s something just so magical about the idea that there are THINGS all over the walls and on STANDS that can just CREATE MUSIC if you try hard enough. So, no, I don’t really fit into any of the three categories that Blert sees in his shop. However, the guitar and the bass have always felt like musical weapons to me, and it’s because I grew up on punk/hardcore and thrash. They were political instruments, so to speak, and thus, playing them was part of an identity. My first guitar – a shitty Ibanez I bought for $199, which included a terrible little amp that sounded like a buzzsaw in a dryer – is long gone. I played that thing into the ground until it was nearly in pieces. I’m proud of that. My second guitar, a Schecter, was treated better, but still bears the scars of many a stage dive, a whole lot of sweat and blood, and years of touring. (There’s technically another guitar in there, but unfortunately, I owned it for just two weeks before some asshole broke it. Rest in peace, you gorgeous Epiphone SG. You will be missed.)

Guitars mean a lot to me, y’all.

I also one day really want to orchestrate this thing I’ve thought of for years. I want to take a group of musicians with me into a Guitar Center or Sam Ash or some place that has a variety of instruments, and we all bust out a perfect cover of some recognizable song but we act like we don’t know each other. This is the worst idea I’e ever had.

The Big Bang

There’s a part of me that admires that Pratchett set up the big bang thing in the first Discworld book because now that means that there’s been a sound since then. The biggest “complicated sound there ever was.” Why? Because I got to read a scene where Ponder Stibbons tried to explain the Big Bang to Ridcully, and it was precisely as absurd and entertaining as I could have imagined it.


I know that Pratchett is making fun of the ridiculous clothing that people wear, but there’s a soft spot in my heart for all of this stuff. I don’t consider myself much of a fashionable person, and dressing “punk” was often the only option available to me. I shopped at thrift stores and wore torn jeans because I couldn’t afford higher end shit. (Screw you, Macklemore.) It was easy to fit in at a punk show because I could wear a band t-shirt and shorts and THE END. I WIN. EVERYTHING’S AWESOME. Still, I admired the metalheads who would commit to the studs and spikes and the leather and the make-up. I won’t lie to you: that shit was endlessly cool to me as I was growing up. So I support Mrs. Whitlow dressing however she wants, especially if it means that the men around her won’t objectify her.

Rat Music

Maybe I’m just too sensitive after the whole n-word debacle, or maybe I’m just too quick to defend hip-hop and rap, but Pratchett’s rat music joke is fucking terrible. Awful. A complete travesty, and a willful misunderstanding of rap music in order to make a cheap joke. No. You don’t get to evoke and make fun of a predominantly black form of musical expression when you’re white, the end. Is that seriously what he thinks rap music sounds like? Ugh, gross.

The Cavern

So, The Band with Rocks In has graduated to their first major venue! That’s always a scary experience, but Pratchett ups the odds here. The Cavern isn’t just a big venue; it’s a troll place, and apparently, it’s so hostile that people might intentionally throw axes meant to harm at people. (Who knows? Maybe the trolls there will throw something else! That’s… not all that comforting, Mark. Nevermind.)

We are also introduced to Asphalt, who is perhaps the most adorable troll in the history of the Discworld 

series. He’s short! And wide! And really happy to help out! ALL THE TIME!!! Oh my god, he’s an eager roadie, and I want A MILLION PIECES OF FANART WITH HIM IN IT. Just… he’s just so unapologetically jolly! I WANT TO BE FRIENDS.

A Box of Music

I’m fine admitting that whatever Ponder and the other students built has gone over my head. Maybe it’s because of Pratchett’s use of “iconograph,” which is a picture formed by words. As far as I can tell, Ponder thinks he can trap this new kind of music within the string, which will allow it to be played back? Hmmm. What other purpose might it serve? Is it actually going to help Ridcully or make matters worse?

Mark Links Stuff

– I will be at numerous conventions in 2016! Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be Death Note and Neon Genesis Evangelion. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
– Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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