Mark Reads ‘Soul Music’: Part 12

In the twelfth part of Soul Music, Ridcully tries his best to stop the music, while Glod and Cliff try to do the same. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld

You know, it wasn’t until I wrote that little summary up there that I realized how much more aware these characters are when compared to some of the prior Discworld books. I don’t think that everyone stumbles around ignorantly while the world tumbles down around them, but four of the five main characters – Susan, Ridcully, Glod, and Cliff – were all astutely aware that something was wrong with the world before we got halfway through Soul Music. Not only that, but all four of them are trying to fix things on their own. Are they successful at that? Oh, GODS NO. But it’s fun to see them try!


Ah, the feeling of leaving a good concert… it’s a hard thing to describe. It was amusing to me that Ridcully sensed NONE OF THIS, which further supports my theory that he’s a proto-Ron Swanson. RIGHT? IT’S TOO PERFECT. But the music has not swept into his life, so he doesn’t understand these little things. (Which is okay! I know people who adore music but actually despise live performances, so I don’t want to come off as if I believe there’s only One True Way to be a fan.) Instead, all of it is a marker of how truly fucked up the world has become. What’s all this talk of ragin’ and dancing and coffee froth? It’s just nonsense to him, and we all know what Ridcully does with nonsense.

He roots that shit out.

So he tries – OH DOES HE TRY – to get the wizards in order. Once again, they’re all so utterly consumed by Music that they’re setting off coffee foam magic, flooding shops post-concert, and generally acting as if they’re college freshman. The image of men two and three times my age acting like fools in public is deeply, deeply amusing to me, first of all. But there’s an obvious contrast between the wizards and Ridcully, one that’s more dramatic than it usually is. If this is how the Music affects them now, how much more worse is it going to get?

A LOT WORSE, I’M GUESSING. Right now, aside from what’s happening to Buddy, I don’t actually see how any of this is harmful. The wizards are reckless and disorganized, but that’s not exactly the worst thing that’s happened in Ankh-Morpork, is it? So what if people are excitable and willing to throw their undergarments on stage? Who cares if people are enjoying an art form without hurting someone? It just makes me think that the other shoe hasn’t dropped. I’M SCARED.

Lord Vetinari

I feel real weird about Foul Ole Ron. I understand that Pratchett’s satire is meant to poke fun at the different members of a large metropolitan city, and I’m guessing the joke is that most of them have a large population of homeless people or beggars. They’re part of the fabric, no? Yet this satire feels like it’s punching down when it says that the homeless are smelly (since that’s a huge part of the joke about Ron), compares them to a mental illness, and then keeps them in a static state. There’s a guild for these people, as if homeless people want to remain homeless for all eternity. It’s just… not that funny to me? I’m biased, since I’ve been homeless twice, and I get that this severely limits my chances of finding these things humorous, but I also can’t see another angle to this joke.

The Band

The joys of touring! I once did a tour where for over two weeks, I slept on floors in a sleeping bag. Getting a shitty hotel would have been a luxury, but it was not something we could afford on the money we were making. (Very little money was made. VERY LITTLE.) But I recognize what Pratchett is describing here because you really don’t realize what sort of places pass as a motel in America until you are in the middle of nowhere with no place to stay. I’ve been lucky in Europe and the U.K., and I have not stayed at a nightmarish hostel or anything while I’ve traveled there. Some of the best places I stayed were at friends/fans’ homes! (Shout out to the_ladylark, whose flat is THE MOST GORGEOUS PLACE IMAGINABLE.) I do wonder what the experience is like for artists/musicians who tour in other countries, or it subpar accommodations that make you feel like you’re in a Cronenberg film are just a U.S. thing. TELL ME, FRIENDS.

Anyway, Glod and Cliff seem willing at this point in the story to give up everything they have to stop whatever has taken over Buddy. They don’t outright say that, but it’s clear that they want to separate Buddy and that creepy, living guitar. How do they do that, though, when he keeps it with him at all times? Well, first of all, I loved that they decided to go visit the original shop to determine what exactly they were dealing with. Again, I still don’t see what’s detrimental outside of the mental and emotional toll that the guitar has taken on Buddy, but hey. The musical instrument shop is definitely a messed up place. THEY’VE GOT LIKE TEN INSTRUMENTS THAT CAN BRING ABOUT THE APOCALYPSE. WHY DO YOU HAVE THOSE LYING AROUND? Does the owner plan on selling them eventually? Why haven’t they all been thrown in a fire???

Okay, not important right now. I want to know what it was that Glod saw and purchased in the store. It was distracting enough that they both left the shop without finding out more about the guitar, other than it just “always” existing. NO. YOU HAD ONE PURPOSE THERE, AND YOU BLEW IT. But why? What did they buy?

The original text contains use of the word “idiot.”

SUPER AWESOME THING: The lovely the_ladylark commissioned the 3rd part of the Cosgrove Hall adaptation of Soul Music, and the first 25 people can have it for free here. If you do purchase the commission, feel free to share your extra copies with folks here. To confirm this publicly as well, I will make it a point to officially cover all of the Discworld adaptations at some point. I don’t know how I’m going to do that yet, but IT WILL HAPPEN. I MUST SEE THEM.

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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