Friday, October 27, 2006

Men Who Read Terry Pratchett

Strangely, most of the Men (of my acquaintance) Who Cook also Read Pratchett: father, husband, son, friend, and now several of the Pirates!

It was Friend who started it, arriving to stay in 1997 with his well-thumbed collection of the then twelve or so titles.

Habibi succumbed first, followed rapidly by Habibibaba, then aged about ten. Suddenly, all three were hooked, falling over each other to read and re-read The Colour of Magic, Light Fantastic, Wyrd Sisters, Pyramids, Equal Rites, Small Gods et cetera, et cetera, et cetera! They shared favourite lines, discussed favourite characters, renamed landmarks - I could direct you to the Dwarf Bread Factory in Al Quoz. Wha-wha-wha?!

So I joined the party, or tried to. The trouble was that, while I enjoyed Pyramids and Wyrd Sisters, and was entertained by the idea of some of the characters, like the Librarian, The Luggage, and Death (ok - I loved Death! and Binky!) I was put off by the writing style, and over-exposure to that tedious loser, Rincewind. Rincewind! Gimme a break! So I gave up, wrote it all off as a bloke thing, and left them to it, apart from buying new copies of favourites as they fell apart, worn to pieces by their devoted readers. After the second paperback copy of Colour of Magic disintegrated, I started buying hardbacks, on the basis that it would save money in the long run!

(But the Truckers trilogy, Johnny and the Bomb, and THE NAC MAC FEEGLE! Fabulous! There's no greater enthusiast than the late convert.

As to the research. Dad's due for a Christmas angel this year, and although I made a Scottish (He's a Scot!) Perfect Little Angel for his big sister a couple of years ago, resplendent in scarlet and green tartan, she's too feminine to repeat for a man. Hm. Puzzle. And then I remembered something about The Wee Free Men. Pictsies. Promising. Al-RIGHT! I would read a Pratchett!

The first couple of pages left me cold. I've just finished Philip Pullman's marvellous trilogy, 'His Dark Materials' and I'm still mulling it over, so the jump from Lyra Belacqua to Perspicacia Tick took some adjusting to, especially as other other parallels began to emerge: daemon and familiar; parallel and crashing worlds. A couple of pages later, well, I was cackling!

So Dad's getting a Nac Mac Feegle this year, six inches tall, blue skinned, red-haired, bearded, kilted, and heavily tattooed...... How on earth am I going to do this?!

Here's what these guys look like.

Just brimming with Christmas spirit, aren't they? Calico Gal? Not really. Perfect Li......??? Naaah!

Then I remembered this little book, which I bought in a library sale when we still lived near Bolton, in England. Translated from the German by Christian Albrecht and published in 1969, it is now, I think, out of print. Until quite recently, I think that German craft books and French craft magazines set the standard for everyone else: in the 1970s and early 80s, most of the really imaginative craft books were translated from the German.

These figures are small, only 7 inches tall (17.5 cm) and modelled from papier mache and clay on wire armatures. That would be the next stage after pipe cleaners, methinks. It's a sign!

This is actually the technique for the baby Jesus, who's about three inches long before he's posed.

The adults have wire and papier mache hands with fingers and thumbs. They also have whittled balsa wood torsos, and I'm not even sure I can get balsa wood here. Possibly at Art Stop in Jumeirah Plaza, or Elves and Fairies in Jumeirah Centre. Possibly an offcut of thick MDF from one of the hardware stores in Satwa. Otherwise it's going to be wire.

I'll let you know how I get on.



trailingspouse said...

Good grief, you read, blog, are planning to make a nativity scene, rehearse for a panto AND hold down a full-time job between now and Christmas! I'm exhausted just reading about it. Whatever you're taking I want some :)

Love the nativity scene! You can get balsa wood at Toys & Us (not to be confused with Toys R Us) on the ground floor of the old building next to Defence Roundabout (at the end of the service road which runs past the Shangri La). They sell it for RC airplane builders.

MamaDuck said...

Oh thank you! I tried several places today without success, and was thinking I'd have to use Fimo. I shall get down there next weekend.

And take comfort: I don't do much blogging or any reading in term time, hence the overdrive in the holidays; I'm not doing a nativity scene, just one Nac Mac Feegle; and the panto will probably kill me!

It's been mice knowing you...... ;)

MamaDuck said...

......mice......uhoh....senile already

nzm said...

Jeez - you once asked me if we ever rest, you seem to have twice as more hours in a day to get everything done than we do!

MamaDuck said...

It's the relief of returning to a more natural rhythm after the stress of hurtling through Ramadan like a hamster on a wheel. I really cannot cope with bells every thirty minutes for a month, and tasks and tutorials crammed into ever smaller spaces.

Half-Term meant actually waking up before beginning stuff; having time to visualise and refine ideas; rediscovering home as a personal base, rather then a recovery room - getting my life back for a bit! Contentment. Even I think I rather overdid it, but it was fun!

Now we're back to school, and normal-length lessons, it feels really good. I'm very glad that Eid follows Ramadan!

Jin said...

The person who put me onto Terry Pratchett, described the Discworld books as Hornblower on Acid. I can't get enough of them & like you, have my favourite characters.....DEATH (only speaking in Capital letters of course) Cmdr Vimes & Sgt Carrot...the list can go on for ages!
If you & habibi do head for the Spanish hills next year(?) then please (pretty please) bear me in mind for buying any TP books you might want to get shot of? Fanks xxx

MamaDuck said...

Er.. slight problem there, Jin: Ain't no Pratchetts getting left behind! Do you have House of Prose or Book World in Abbly Dabbly? We find all sorts of things at these second hand bookshops, including Tel's finest.