Introduction to the Discworld of Terry Pratchett. What was I doing! My beloved friends ‘We Are Theatre’ invited me to audition for their forthcoming production of Maskerade (the play of the book by Terry) and here I am writing Fan Fiction!!!!!!
Or possibly summarising the work of a great writer in a few paragraphs is the greater crime of plagor…
Let’s not go there.
I am a big fan though. When I was asked to audition (and quietly knew I would be in there somewhere) I felt a synopsis of the whole world of Terry P would entertain and slightly redirect their approach to his work……
(So I wrote it on the train with all its inaccuracies)
Welcome to Budapest, I said walking in the door with a leaflet in my hand, “He’s started!” “Wait hang on, we haven’t sat down yet.”
The great city of Budapest was originally two towns; the two towns of Buda and Pest. Buda was very poor and filthy and Pest was filthy rich. Hang on, that’s not right, that’s Ankh Morpork!
Ankh was filthy and Morpork was filthy r…, well you’ve got the idea.
Terry stole it off there.
Two towns and they grew and grew till they came towards each other and when they became connected by a bridge they became a huge city.
Long ago that was and new folks come along of all types all the time; if you want to be in the city you build in the city, so folks built on tops of old buildings. There are several layers of buildings sinking away below what you see. Many of those layers far below (shiver) are still lived in.
The city is protected though. It has the Watch. It needs protecting because everything in this world was stolen; stolen by the master storyteller himself. The very Terry who robbed from history, folklore, religion, tourist guides – and they call this comedy.
We are safe though. There is the Watch. The honest one on the Watch is Carrot; the huge strong tall leader of it all these days; he is huge, strong, tall, proper and slowly steady. He could keep the whole city in order on his own.
He is six foot eight and he is a dwarf. They found him when just a babe with just his regal sword by his side and raised him as their own. When he no longer fitted in the cave without a double stoop they felt he ought to venture into the world of those, er, other, er, folk…..
The Watch, yes that was it, the Watch.
There is a lot to be said for the highly untrustworthy Corporal Nobbs. Nobbs. Nobby Nobbs for short; he is short, and ‘technically’ human. You can trust him to find the thieves though, because he is very interested, in a personal way, in the things which they took – he will find them.
The night shift is also the best place for his boss Captain Fred Colon many decades he has been on nights, his wife is on days, any other arrangement would take the romance right out of it.
Commander Vimes, who married the lady of the manor, puts on his old ‘copper’ boots and comes back to help out in a crisis, these old boots have huge holes in the soles which he has lined with cardboard. You can feel the cobbles under your feet and you know just where you are.
He probably got involved when the Kings Head was demolished over night, but it was rebuilt in minutes early in the morning. Soon as Tiffany found out.
Yes, you knew it, it was the little, blue all over guys with nothing but a kilt and a very very bad attitude, (and mouth).
They got in a fight with the landlord and demolished the place.
Yes, Tiffany the girl witch of merely eight or so, “Hag o all hags yer ken,” she knew.
“Ok nay., she’s makin of the folding of the arms, she will be doing the tapping of the foot…..”
They ran back down there and rebuilt the Kings Head in minutes, trouble is they built it backwards. Now everyone has to go in through the back way – so, they don’t call it the Kings Head anymore…
You are safe in the city, well unless you buy a sausage. Cut My Own Throat Dibbler is out there hollering his wares and if you are to buy one of his so-called sausages you will soon begin to understand why the River Ankh is almost possible to walk across.
You would be safer doubling up your expenditure and buying his top of the range product, the rat on a stick – at least you would know what it is.
All stolen, even the disc; if you peer over the edge of this round flat world you may see that it rests on the back of four elephants, they in turn stand upon the back of A’Tuin the giant turtle. A’Tuin is on a galactic mission, flying through space to meet another turtle with a disc on its back – to mate.
The worry is, is A’Tuin a male, because we will probably be all alright then. Or, is A’Tuin a female, in which case when they meet up we are all in trouble.
You may wish to be rushing back to the city nearer the centre of the disc, for there behind you is the great mountain. You may need to pray to a god for protection. If you want to please one you will need to eat a lot of broccoli, to please another you will need to eat a lot of chocolate – I cannot influence you too much, it is your choice in the end, broccoli or cho……
If you are wanting to get away with things you may wish to choose Blind Io.
There they all are on the mountain above Ankh Morpork which is ruled with an iron fist of subtle manipulation by the Patrician.
Carrot of the Watch should be the ruler, he has the royal sword and the birth mark and just might go about killing a dragon, but if he does everyone will have forgotten by morning.
He does his best against the Thieves Guild. But the gentle Patrician, who is only standing in till the real king is found, has the guild organised. If you are robbed they will take eight per cent of your current monthly income and they will utilise half of this to employ the Assassins Guild to remove from the city any unregistered thieving types.
You are safe here though. Across the gulf of the Ankh is the great bridge, and, looking out forever upon the sea, from this bridge are huge great brass hippopotamus’.
If ever there were to come, it is said, foreign enemy fleets from the seas toward Ankh Morpork the hippopotamus’ would be the on the bridge looking out, they would see the enemy and they will come alive and – promptly run away – this is the nature of this city.
You are safe here, until a dark figure is cast in a role and walks into a dark theatre with a dark mask upon his face and audiences are entranced; when I played him in audition he fell below the casting table and stretched back up with a mask upon his face, “You call this a comedy!”
See Maskerade in the Upper Theatre of the ancient Black Swan Inn 26th to 28th February 2018
Yes it was a great gig, and it was very important to me. I wouldn’t have got there if it wasn’t for Gramey of Slim Knows Time, (That’s us below pictured with Ana Maus), he was nearly dying from a virus, but he picked me up and dragged me there. At my insistence of course. I just had to be there. I had my first chemotherapy the day before and I was supposed to be totally washed out and unable to get out. I was in a terrible state, but yes, I had to be there.
Gra hadn’t been able to lift his guitar the day before and still was unable to turn his head (which made for an interesting drive) but he got me there and even managed to play for a short set as Slim Knows Time in the middle of the show.
We finished the night with a few at the end plus an amazing encore set when half the audience had gone. A drummer friend had been unable to come due to possible malaria, so gra and ana stepped in at the end to do some of the pieces I had planned with her. Notably my praise poem which includes all the Norse Goddesses and which was described as very moving and unlifting by a lady wiping tears from her cheek. We also did a bit of Elliot, Whitman, WCW, Kenneth Koch and a few of mine all in a beat poetry style.
A little thing like a bit of chemo can’t stop me doing the things I love to do. And this was the first gig of a whole new series I have planned. The beginning of a dream.
For some strange reason I am calling it the Provinces Tour. I started in the vibrant city of Kingston Upon Hull the City of Culture 2017, and I plan to do parts of the tour in St Andrews, Edinburgh, Bergen and London; so it is hardly the provinces – but the idea has been in my mind for a long time.
The idea being that I do an evening of storytelling in cosy venues where I can just do my own thing; fitting in exactly what I fancy at the time I am aiming to include Scarborough (of Soldiers, Sailors and things a bit fishy), Malton (Steam days, Vikings and a bit about Beer) and little villages and towns along the way
For this one I brought a story back to folklore from the work of Chaucer, I did the thousand plus year old Tora in the Tower, mixed with modern mystery, and Hobb tales (among others).
I am starting to look at where to go next (there were already a couple of interesting ideas for returning to Hull (including a return visit to the smashing Union Mash Up.
Yes I am going to keep doing the things I love. My good friend Mary said I should blog about my health issues. and it does seem to fit in with telling you my plans.
I met my maker only about eight weeks ago now. In my mind I decided where I was going and what I needed to do before I went. Things change fast though, and from down there was a way up. Life looks horrid, but for me this is a horrid road which leads to being better.
It will be a year long journey of chemo and a rather nasty op so I am going to be really struggling over this year. But I did it, I went out there and dragged my self in and people ended up say what amazing energy I have. So I can do the things I love.
I am not going to be working totally full time. Just the things I love and that are important. So it looks like I am moving, I wont be able to keep up with the rent and am moving for recooperation. This will be though in such a way that I can still do my main things.
This will of course include blogging and selling online audio books and Spendlow TV!
It will also mean I shall carry on the drama work with We Are Theatre and some brilliant community projects as team leader (to date in, Bridlington, York and Hull). There is no way I can not go to Norway, in particular as Skald to my blood Brother in the Viking Town of Gudvangen (among other places), I am also hoping to be asked to return to the Mythology Festival in Jelling, Denmark and of course the very exciting tour of the rock opera Gods Bless Ya!!! with my amazing Norns Sigrun and Alda.
My next excitement is Rollercoastival in February as the Pied Piper of Scarborough taking you to a magical place.
There will also be a few lovely festivals and stone circle stories plus a few sessions as Celebrant.
So quite a bit really 🙂
Wishing Health and Love and Light
Oh yes, and Ruthy says I am going to be like a lat!
I am also planning to follow a couple more of your suggestions Ruthy. One is a new style to go with the skinny look – I am planning to go Mod with brogues an’ everyfink.
There is the brand new short hair cut (long hair falling out was a bit upsetting). But in no time that will be all gone and I will follow the other piece of advice and have a head tattoo.
O course the hair will all grow back, but,,,,
They tell me it grows back different!!!!!
I am putting in a request to the gods for a Ginger Afro!
A word of love to others, I am told I will be well again, and I know I will be touring and performing far and wide as 2017 progresses forward into health.
This is a time to think of others though. Many friends and others I have talked to are not so lucky to be given such a promise. I send love and respect, for everywhere where people are suffering with cancer I hear a balanced loving positive approach. I have so much respect for you all and send healing love. x
Saying Thank You
Your donation of $3 will encourage me to continue in my creative efforts.
God‘s bless Ya!!! – These are the stories for the show, when you come to see us you will experience the amazing music and song that these tales introduce; you will hear Alda!
You will also see the stunning Goddess costumes created by Alda Raven‘s sister Sigrún Björk Ólafsdóttir as an integrel part of our show featuring myself with Alda and our stunning models we present costume, music, song and story for a Goddess experience.
These costumes will be woven into the story by our talented actress / models as they were at our showcase event for Jelling Mythological Festival.
The Creation Of The Cosmos – Before anything there was nothing but darkness; the black abyss of emptyness: Ginnungagap.
Yet far far away to the North there was a land. A cold unforgiving land covered in frosty black ice, with a freezing fog that slept on the land with sharp icy thorns. This was Niflheim. A world of frozen hell-like misery and darkness.
Far south of Ginnungagap was another land; Muspelheim, and it was a complete contrast to Niflheim. This land was a burning hell hole where lava-demons and fire giants spew flying fire-balls into the air like shooting stars of death.
With time the lands of fire and ice got closer and closer until one day the fire balls shot so close that the ice started to melt – drip drip drip.
The creation of the universe
From a giant’s bloody corpse
His blood filled up the oceans
The mountains are his bones
(For the fuller version of the above – Come and see the show!)
Water of the well of Urd is carried by the Norns, the destinies, to nourish the ancient tree. Here, where the gods gather each day in council, reside the three Norns, the women of destiny. Dressing the tree, they heal its wounds, they advise the gods and they twist and shape your lives. They look down now; Urd, Skuld, Verdandi. Fate, being and necessity are but twisted twine to their wise eyes. Bringing new born creatures to the worlds, casting monsters to the deep, they peer and see what you deserve, judge you by your inner thoughts to turn your wishes into deeds. These fine three weave the threads of your life, twisting, tightening, loosening, colouring, blanding, paling – they are shaping your lives, wild and exciting or bland and drab; you had better hope they favour you, but not too much.
As the three wise old Norns weave the threads of your life far above upon his great high seat sits the All Father himself Odin, looking out with his one eye, from here he can see everything; the nine known worlds and all the other worlds as well. Upon his shoulders sit the ravens, Huginn and Muninn; wisdom and memory and he sends them out into the world where they decide what is important, remember and return to whisper in his ears. As they fly he worries so, for he sees many dangers.
They fly over Sif. She is stepping out anew from her chambers for the first time since the evil Loki played such a cruel trick on her. He cut off all her hair! See her now as beautiful as ever, as beautiful even as Frejya. Pure gold her hair. Fashioned by the Dwarven smithies with their magic it grows each day and brings her riches.
The ravens saw the cruel deed and now Loki seeks them, in his eagle skin he flies high and is yet another danger for the ravens. Odin loves them both yet favours Munnin, he worries so and wishes their return.
Beware, for here walks Goddess Skadi, wild huntress of the far north. Beyond the blue crevasses, far over highest mountains, far beyond the loveless lava-flows, there is her abode; where stones crack, there stands her towering halls upon dark rock heights. For the full Skadi story see – God’s Bless Ya!!!! 01
Look to the skies, for life is a battle and a goddess is looking over you, Brinhildr the Valkyrie. Her winged helmeted deities fly over you seeking who to choose. And if they choose, as the raven would eat the heart of the victim so they will wish for your heart. They wish for your death. We wish to be chosen, for we are glad to die, we want to die, we laugh at death. We wish to go to Valhalla to feast and fight forever. Choose me. Choose me.
Brinhildr tired of this way, of being perfect and she wished to breathe and be mortal and truly alive for a while. She threw off her shapely armour, her warrior attire. In Freyja’s swan-skin she flew down here. There by a lake she threw off the feathers and dived lady-naked into the
waters. A man stole her feathers. She was trapped. He would let her go if she would change the fate of a battle for him. She looked down from a hill upon a huge field of armies and she chose his enemies to die.
How Odin was enraged to hear of this; he cursed her.
“You are cursed!” “Cursed to die into loveless sleep forever.” “Encased within a ring of fire.” Odin cursed Brinhildr and she fell into lovelorn sleep. He entombed her, just as she was, upon stone, within a tower, upon a mountain, he surrounded her by jagged rock which he set to flame. In this burning ring she would lay.
The dragon slayer was riding that way, Sigurd, with his curse ring of death in his pocket and his other booty from the slayed dragon’s hoard. He rode upon a horse which was afeared of nothing. This horse leapt from the top of a mountain, across the sky. It leapt through the flames and through the window, to land beside the stone slab bed. He dismounted and touched her upon the shoulder, as soon as he did he was deeply in love. It was this love which woke her. She opened her eyes and looked into his. Their love was to be forever. As she rose up he fell to one knee and placed the ring upon her finger.
Born of a giantess who loved the unfaithful-one she was taken away because of her monstrousness. Hel’s mother Angraboda was bound in her sleep by the Gods who despised her, and so hated her daughter. Hel is a putrid thing, half dead half alive. See the full Hel story at God’s Bless Ya!!! 02 …awaiting the battle, the final battle to end all battles where everybody dies: Ragnarok is coming and you dark-hearted ones are ready, to rise up, rise up, rise up…
The next God’s Bless Ya!!!! blog will be all the footage, pics, dates and links so venues can book us and for people who want to book to come to see us.
And for the last word on the matter (for now) this lovely letter from Sigrún Björk Ólafsdóttir:
It has been an absolutely incredible journey and the 11 days spent in Denmark were nothing but amazing. There are so many highlights that it is impossible to simply choose one but one thing they all have in common is the incredible group of people I have been blessed with meeting during this trip.
This was the first time that Adrian Spendlow, Alda Björk Ólafsdóttir and myself worked together like this so it was reassuring to learn that we work really well together and are all on the same wavelength. It will make our lives easier as we continue to work on the full show God’s Bless Ya!!!.
If it hadn’t been for the generous and hospitable people of #Jelling Heritage, Flemming Midtgaard, Ole Grangaard Olesen and Bjarne Taudal @ #CafeSejd, we wouldn’t have been able to experience this amazing journey so to them I’ll be forever grateful and they can always rely upon my support and friendship. I’ll come back anytime they want me!
The same goes for the wonderful photography and modelling team. Jimmy Frisk turned out to be an absolute diamond who didn’t just take amazing photos of both the opening ceremony and the God’s Bless Ya!!! show but he provided the perfect locations for some nature shots, drove the team to the locations, provided images to display my creations with the mannequins at the week-long gallery show, provided images of the girls getting hair and makeup done which was donated by a hugely talented and brilliant team at #FrisorLyhne (thank you Marie!) but he also provided us with lots of laughs and support throughout the week.
We also could not have done all this without our stunning models Eydís Ósk Jóhannsdóttir, Anna Csukás, Tine Nyborg Jensen, Emilie Johansson and Tanja Thomsen Andersen who took to their characters with passion and made me proud that such stunning girls want to wear my creations. Each of them got to know their characters and took active part in the creation of them. We were also very lucky to have Egill Egilsson on-board with us as he tirelessly helped to sort out models and MUAs and who made a long journey for the opening ceremony, just to be a part of the team and took fantastic video footage, not only from the actual ceremony but he interviewed the girls, documenting this mind-blowing moment where the 3 Nordic goddesses and their Valkyrie Warrior Maiden, walked down the stunning old Viking UNESCO heritage mound. What a moment! How privileged are we to have the opportunity to do something so amazing! It humbles me. I cannot wait to see the final product he produces! He also took some fab photos during our shoot and I am grateful for his support and contribution.
On a personal level, the time spent with Perry Stenbäck was very precious to me and I would have wanted to spend a lot more time with him. It is hard to catch up with 30 years in a few short moments but even more precious is the new memories made. To be able to hear his band play at a random house in a random place was nothing but fantastic and I strongly urge everyone to check out #Bragr on YouTube. Even better was a proper Danish lunch that he prepared for us in his magical forest house where we ate some beautifully prepared Danish Smorebrod (I need the recipe for the remoulade and the svampthing) and were introduced to some award winning Danish ales. I personally really liked the liquorice ale! Yumm! This was the moment when we then got to hear him play the old traditional Swedish Viking instrument, #Nyckelharpa. There is something very magical about meeting an old friend and realising that although 30 years have passed, their fingerprints were embedded in your heart for a reason and that you will be friends forever, no matter how time passes. Perry – I love you.
A very sweet moment was getting to know Eydis and her twin brother Jóhann Pétur Jóhannsson. I had never met them before but they are my little cousins and from the moment I met both, I felt as if they were mine to hold and to protect. I guess you could say that motherly love came over me and I am ecstatic over having been able to spend some fantastic time with them, getting to know them – and finding out that they are so much like us that the family DNA cannot be denied! My family just got a bit bigger and better and my heart has two new fingerprints on it.
I was also left deeply humbled by the fact that 5 members of my family, Esther Gudjonsdottir, Joi, Ingvar Jóhannsson, Ragnheiður Hallgrímsdóttir and Guðjón Jóhannsson who live in Iceland, made the journey across the water and came to support us. These beautiful humans, whom I am proud to call my cousins, have supported me throughout my creative process and provided me with materials I would be unable to get if it wasn’t for them. It is because of them that I was able to create Hel’s headpiece for instance. I cannot thank them enough for believing in what I am doing and for their support. I love you all!
The support we received didn’t stop there. Mum Svanhvít Erla Hlöðversdóttir and Dad Ólafur Þór Tryggvason and Andres also flew over to offer their support and again, I am utterly humbled! I owe so much to these 3 people. Andres has provided me with a space to work to create and cut patterns, he has tirelessly been available when I needed him and he has sat at a sewing machine and helped me sew when the task of these outfits in this short space seemed daunting.
My mum and dad have given their all in support to these creations and my mum has spent weekend after weekend with me here on my patio, teaching me the craft of tailoring and sewing in a way that she was taught by generations older and so forth. She is an endless fountain of knowledge and her patience whilst I stumble, make mistakes and have to re-do tasks – again and again, never faltered. My dad, never complaining, has been at hand at all times to drive back and forth, fix my dishwasher, set up a cover so we wouldn’t get rained on whilst sewing outside, installed a watering hose outside for me so that I could save time watering my plants and when the sewing machine fell apart, he, with his engineering genius, sat and repaired it until it was as good as new. The fact that these 3 were able to see the show that they have so much a part in, was the sweetest gratification there is. This was their show. I can never thank you all enough!