Mark Reads ‘Soul Music’: Part 11

In the eleventh part of Soul Music, I HAVE FEELINGS ABOUT MUSIC. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld. 

BUCKLE IN. It’s like Moving Pictures all over again, because I have SO MUCH TO TALK ABOUT. This book, y’all.

Live Music

Was Pratchett in a band? HOW DOES HE KNOW SO MANY OF THESE THINGS? (Probably good research and listening to other people, I’m guessing.) I’ve met club owners just like Chrysoprase. EXACTLY LIKE HIM. They have little to no interest in the music itself, and they really just want to make money. So you know what they do?

Sometimes, they pack a club with eight bands, and seven of them are local bands that desperately need practice, but they’ll bring in all of their friends, and hopefully, the bar revenue will get the venue a big cut of profits. (Because of course, those seven bands were all part of some pay-to-play scheme.) So, I’ve definitely seen more bands than I can count that were just like Insanity. Granted, Pratchett’s satire takes this to an extreme, but I honestly have seen opening bands where one member clearly did not know how to play their instrument. And really, it’s not that there’s shame in that! I’m not a stellar player myself, and we’ve all got to learn. But I’m bringing it up because it’s a sign of an eerie accuracy in describing the rock/punk scene. I’VE SEEN THIS, IT’S REAL.

I had the luck to tour with a number of fairly huge bands in the mid-2000s as a tour photographer, and it allowed me to witness the sheer magic of what Pratchett describes here. There are few experiences like it. To watch a band walk out of the wings and on to a stage, to hear that roar of appreciation and love and desire… it’s unreal. I was even luckier because for nearly ever tour I was booked on, it was with a band I adored. I spent time with AFI and Thursday, and those bands both gave me some of the finest memories of my life. Some nights, it was hard not to join in and sing along, to dance my life away, and to enjoy the infectious energy of live music.

But since I spent so much time with these bands (and many others), I got to see what the other side of this life looked like. Now, granted, I really didn’t tour with bands that “partied” as others do, so I realize that my perception of this is biased in that regard. But there’s a common misconception that dressing rooms / backstage areas are a non-stop party of girls and chaos and debauchery. I never saw it. Ever. Even at shows at arenas and stadiums. Most of the time, it’s where the band slept. Showered. Stretched. Went over business stuff. And after a show, it’s where they changed clothes, relaxed, and had muted social events with longtime friends they hadn’t seen in ages. The reason I’m sharing this is because it honestly looked much more like what Pratchett writes here than what most movies or television shows put on the screen.

All About the Music

You’ll have to excuse me for being suspicious of Buddy. I agree with him on one level that music should be free, but at the same time, musicians have to make a living, and they shouldn’t be expected to pay to entertain other people. However, my real suspicion is due to the fact that the Music seems to be affecting Buddy in an unnerving way. Why does he keep going into these trance-states? What does that mean?

I suppose that it’s impossible to ignore this feeling when every other member of the band is deeply concerned about the way the Music has taken over their lives. Both Glod and Cliff are aware of how scary this magic is. I think Glod puts it best:

“It ain’t music,” said Glod. “Music don’t do this to people. It don’t make them feel like they’ve been put through a wringer. I was sweating so much I’m going to have to change my vest any day now.”

It’s controlling them. And when the Music is over, its spell is gone, too. I found it interesting that they weren’t so caught up in it that they didn’t notice that Dibbler was making a fortune off of them. Yet Buddy doesn’t seem to care. At all. He has other things that matter more to him, which includes:

“Think about it. A musician has to be heard. You can’t stop now. We can’t stop now.”

But why? Is the music releasing something into the world? Why is this happening? Why is he so certain that this is the moral thing to do?


For those of you who enjoy live music, did you also have a tendency to seek out late-night food with your friends after the show? I FEEL LIKE THIS IS A UNIVERSAL THING, Y’ALL. Oh my god, it’s one of my favorite things to do ever.


What the hell is she doing? How was Ridcully able to see her when no one else could??? I keep re-reading that scene, and Ridcully saw her because he concentrated on her. She’s startled when Ridcully taps her on the shoulder, so… does that mean she did not expect anyone to be able to see her?

Then she says:

“But not on duty at the moment.”

Which… goddamn. So she wasn’t going to take the lives of the three guild men outside the club who were going to kill The Band With Rocks In. Was her intent to scare them away? Why? I DON’T GET IT YET!!!

The original test contains use of the word “insanity.”

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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