Wednesday, 7 April 2010


He is widely regarded, I understand, as being well read and a bit learned and a dab hand at his own peculiar genre of fantasy; no mean satirist, modest  and a scourge of the unGodly, of those who, hereabouts,  we lampoon and malign and spit at, just a shame about the knighthood, eh; still, probably aceepted it on behalf of struggling writers and not really for himself.

He has  sold zillions of books, all of them, as is the way with serial bestsellers, much the same. I tried one of them, one time -  it was in the loo  - and thought it was clever rubbish, no harm in it but I found his readers, the males, anyway, to be irritating, retarded adolescents, giggling stupidly at in-jokes, a reincarnation of greatcoat-wearing Hobbit-botherering nitwits from the 'sixties and 'seventies; not so much a form of literature, more a  juvenile secret society which I didn't want to join. Tossers. Douglas Adams, with his radio scripts,  seemed to do this sort of stuff with so much more dash and vigour and for my money mined the seam dry;  Pratchett though, like Harold Robbins or Jackie Collins is unstoppable this side of death.
I couldn't give a flying elephant for his work, I am sure there is much worse and there's also, for people who must be forever reading fiction, much better but I resent his assumption of  the role of Speaker-in-Tongues for the Alzheimeric million. He's a prat. Got one of those Gary Glitter beards

and talks like Kenneth Williams used to walk, all twisted and tippytoed, arch and extended, contorted.  If-I-may-say-so-ing and Shall-we-say-ing and Let-us-say-ing, Uriah-Heeping, deprecating himself and his unfortunate listeners, of whom, during a recent BBC (Not Very) Hardtalk, I was unhappily  one.

He has all but set aside the voice-operated software via which he shares his genius with us and concentrates now, largely, on his own mortality, rather like the ghastly, preening Debbie Purdy or Debby Purdie or whatever the fuck she's called, the horrible fucking bullying bastard. Uniquely, it seems, Sir Terry is going to die, maybe a good bit earlier than he would like to and of a disease which he would rather not have. Fuck me, Jesus, hold the front page -  Fantasist: I Don't Want To Croak;  Pratchett Vows He Can Write Another Hundred DiscWorld Books: Life Is So Unfair, Sobs Beardy Gabshite.

I have had Type One Diabetes for decades and it will kill me in one way or another and probably earlier than I would die if I didn't have it although if I didn't have it I might have something worse, as might Sir Terry,  which might kill me earlier and horribler but I genuinely do try not to make a fuss about it; there it is, job done. Heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, amputation, septacaemia,  one or several of these complications will see me off, and that's not to mention the possible side effects of the drugs but, y'know, everybody dies of something, Mr George Bernard Shaw, it was, who said View your health like a bank account and don't have any in it when you die. Should the tenor or duration of my  demise become more intolerable to me than  nonexistence then, with a bare bodkin, I will my quietus make. Might not be a bare bodkin, might be hoarded drugs or a razor blade but it's no big deal; we all, most of us, anyway,  can devise a means to match the will. Most of us will not give a fuck about government proscription, why would we?

 The thing about averages, and people living an average three-score and ten or whatever NewLabour life expectancy we now have, is that some of the figures which make up the average are less than the average and some of them more, shouldn't have to tell that to a literary genius like Sir Terry Fuckwit.

You see, the fact is, as far as averages go, that the average  person has less than two legs - some have none, some have one, most have two  but absolutely no bastard has three, apart from Sir Rolf Harris and he is statistically insignificant, although obviously not in his own, beardy mind. The average number of legs-on-people, therefore, is less than two; normal people, therefore, are not the same things as average people; average people are cripples. 

 Pratchett, hugely rich and adored by millions rages not against the dying of the light but at the fact that he cannot, as none of us can, write his own ending, when it comes to death, everybody is average.

I know, only vaguely, I am happy to say,  diabetics who, that's all they do, really, is be diabetics. Join Diatetes UK,  one of those fascistic, campaigning organisations, with hierarchies like the fucking Wehrmact, with the diabetic right at the bottom, on the Russian Front; after they join Diabetes UK they hold diabetes jumble sales and coffee mornings, visit the diabetes nurse - generally some useless slapper who can't even be bothered to wash her hands, let alone wear clinical uniform but comes to clinic in her 'pub clothes from the night before - at every opportunity, daily, if possible and never forget for a moment that they have an incurable disease  - as if a birth certificate wasn't actually a death warrant - and don't let any other bastard forget, either.  Worried to fucking death, they do their damnedest to kill themselves with a surfeit of self-obsessive care.  The awful thing from their point of view is that one can do all the required tests, take all the required precautions and still get the complications. And die. May just as well have taken it a bit easier on themselves and everybody else. Pratchett, acting like my shuffling, melancholy and anxious diabetics,  has allowed himself to become an Alzheimer's Sufferer when what he should have been is more like me, I have diabetes but I don't suffer from it; fuck that, having it's bad enough,  without suffering from it, too.

Pratchett, since learning that his brain is degenerating,  has been gobbing away about it, all over the airwaves. Nobody wants to hear his angry,  self-pitying shit. There are parents, every day of the fucking week, losing children to leukemia, infants, teenagers; there are teenage fucking hospices, there are kids dying all the time from cancer  and God knows what else, their parents just standing there, bewildered and fucked;  there are children, babies, burnt, blown-up, shot at, booby trapped, mashed-up by tanks, all over the Middle East and Asia; they get macheted to death in Africa, die for want of a drink of water. And every time I turn on the radio there's this prick, Pratchett, a millionaire in his sixties, wanting, demanding  a new etiquette of dying, wanting a tribunal to kill him off, at a moment of his choice, without him needing to trouble himself. What a horrible, whining, snarling, pathetic, self-centred useless  bastard.

He's not afraid of dying, he insists, Terry; no, his beef is with losing his mind. Look, he says, plaintively, when he stops mid-sentence, looking for a word, this is what the disease has done. Fuck, we must all have it, Alzheimers, for that happens to me all the time, as it must to most people who do their thinking into a computer and not out loud; it's just that, at a certain age, you know an awful lot of words, and you know that you know them and sometimes, out of all of them, none volunteer themselves, just at this precise moment, when you're talking out loud to somebody and you pause, trying to shame one of the little bastards, the right one, to take two steps forward; it's not absent minded, it's the opposite of absent minded and nothing to get hung about, it is a mind fully engaged on a multiplicity of tasks, nurtured and fuelled by a lifetime of thought and idea-shuffling, just pausing for thought.

Sometimes I walk from one room to another, scratch my head and say What the fuck did I come in here for and no answer presents itself. Ah, I'll retrace my steps, I think to myself, cunningly, and go back to where I came in here from, where I will remember why it was that I came in here. Of course, when I get back into the first room I find myself enquiring of myself, What the fuck did I come in here for?  It's not madness or deterioration, it's just a form of sophistication, my mind is hurtling away at several different streams of thought  and in the space between rooms, the corridors, the least important of them,  the reason I am in the corridor,  gets submerged. Who knows what goes on in the mind?

The public space, though,  is different to a private turmoil and in leaping into it,  whining,   Pratchett misuses it and us; he is neither legislator nor moralist, his opinions on euthanasia no more valid than anyone else's and due to his condition, suspect;  that he feels that his writerhood ennobles and exalts his fucked-up, crybaby  thinking is just one of Ruin's mileposts;   Ah, celebrity writer,  betcha he knows some good stuff about the sanctity of life, can we get him on Newsnight, Start the Week, Desert Island Discs?  Can you keep the gobby, whining bastard off them, more like. No business like showbusiness ; the most desperate but yet commonplace despair made entertainment; frothy, and lightweight.

That he may be losing his marbles, that his   connections are shorting-out is  sad for him but not for me, I don't give a fuck.  A treatment for what ails him will be developed, people died, for centuries, from diabetes, until it was better understood and the bitter irony of Alzheimer's is that it is because people are otherwise so much more healthy, longer lived, that it is becoming such a problem, one which ignites the self-indulgent hysteria of the likes of Pratchett, who would, for his own wretched vanity, empower the state to bump us off, we, the unwealthy, the uncelebrated, all in the best possible taste, of course.

But as we write and read this,  children are facing death here in hospital, from truly awful diseases; they are dying now, tonight, in the faminelands and on Uncle Sam's Freedom  Killing Grounds; by contrast,   Pratchett's sorrow is as nothing, he should shut the fuck up and make as good a death as he can. As must we all.

An anarchic, subversive satirist courageously eschews conformity. Wanker.


Edgar said...

"What a horrible, whining, snarling, pathetic, self-centred useless bastard."

Perhaps if my wife had the skill to string pearls of invective, that would have been her observation about me on Monday. What, in fact, she said was not so fluent, but carried the same message.

Ah, but I wouldn't want to make a career out of my misery, would I? Make myself an object of pity in the morbidly-curious, but strangely unaffected, eyes of millions, who cannot take an ounce of reality but neither could leave a stone of vicarious 'experience'? Not fucking likely.

Of course, Mr P. is not performing this unnerving ritual for his own benefit - it is for others. All those others, remember, who do not have television producers slavering, nor editors clawing the eyes out of each other for the right to publish the mawkish exudata. Everyone, it seems, wants to do stuff on behalf of the powerless, the neglected, the poor, the unrepresented. Funny, though, when it comes to the share-out, the ones who get least are the powerless, the neglected, the poor, the unrepresented. Still, let's cut the lying, thieving, cheating, treacherous latchicos a little slack: as I found out on Monday, sometimes it is really fucking hard to uphold my own standards.

PT Barnum said...

If one is always and everywhere preparing to die or striving not to die or shoring defences against dying, one forgets to live. I have more than the T-shirt for that one, more an entire wardrobe. Until I noticed that I was alive, for now, and that was enough for there was no more. Why waste life on death? It will be here soon enough for most of us. And for the rest it will come too soon.

lilith said...

As you pointed out in an earlier post Mr Smith, why do these people, who want to control the time and place of their dying, not take their own lives whilst they can still move their arms? Why must they wait for a relative or the government to do it for them?

I entirely agree with the book review. Tried one once but didn't get far.

Enjoying the Places Inbetween

Modo said...

Diabetes week 13th - 19th June.

My word... Gary Glitter? I thought it was David Essex, or Peter Gabriel.

lilith said...

I think you'll find it's Harold Shipman, Modo...

call me ishmael said...

They are Lord Pratchett on the left and Mr Glitter on the right, although everyone on telly eventually just joins the great slime trail of pushy celebrity, the one indistunguishable from the other.

What, pray, was Monday's event, Mr Edgar, which so vexed your household, if yoy would be so kind ?

black hole sunset said...

You've hit a lot of nails on the head, there, Mr Ishmael.

Fate's been extremely kind to Mr Pratchett; so much so that it'd be near impossible to describe his present angst to most of this world's inhabitants without receiving the local equivalent of "what the fuck is he on about, lucky bastard".

Mr Stan's Saga of Gordon the Ruiner show those Discworld novels up for what they are: lightweight easy-reads for an established, well-defined market segment.