Soul Music: Ep. 1

“To change the fate of one individual is to change the world.”

Terry Pratchett

I had no idea what I was going to blog about tonight. I had watched absolutely nothing interesting on telly, I’m still slogging my way through On the Origins of Species (don’t ask) and iPlayer doesn’t work in Germany.

So what should I do? Write a review of Lyra’s Oxford, which I haven’t read for ages? Spend an hour and a half watching Stardust? Talk about The Dark Tower, which I keep going on about but have never reviewed?

No. No, I’m going to review the first episode in the animated adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s novel Soul Music, which was broadcast on Channel 4 several years ago and is probably therefore almost impossible to find any more. (No, it’s not on 4OD, I’ve just checked.)

So. Soul Music. It’s a good first episode, although having watched it at least twice I am very possibly biased. In some ways I definitely prefer it to the various film versions of Discworld  that have been produced: the plot details are rendered more faithfully, and many of the original lines are in there, delivered exactly as I imagined them.

Of course, a cartoon is always going to feel silly, and there are moments when the novel seems underepresented. The sniggering schoolgirl dwarf really annoys me. It seems somehow trite.

I’ve just realised I haven’t given you a plot synopsis…basically, Imp y Celyn of Llamedos, the Discworld analogue of Wales (read it backwards and you get Pratchett’s opinion of that country…according to Resident Grammarian, anyway) goes to the twin city of “proud Ankh and pestilent Morpork” to seek his fortune as a musician. Cue many, many musicky jokes. “Are you elvish (Elvis)? You look a bit elvish around the hair.”

On the whole, the cartoon adaptation, despite the obvious disadvantages, is a delightful rendering of the original. And, given the fact that Hiking Friend, for whom this was the first introduction to Discworld, is now hooked on Terry Pratchett, it’s also a good entry point for new fans. Just a pity they won’t be able to find it.


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