Going Postal

Terry’s loyal guild of fans and disciples needs no introduction to the Discworld. Going Postal is performed by Stephen Briggs.

In Going Postal, an enterprising conman Moist von Lipvig finds himself first hanged (to half an inch of his life) and then coming round in Lord Vetinari’s office. Vetinari is Ankh-Morpork’s Patrician, described by some as a tyrant. Others simply question his parentage. He is also incredibly resourceful, fantastically well-informed and a graduate of the Guild of Assassins. He knows Moist’s real name, his profession and has identified Moist as a fraudster by vocation, a habitual liar and totally untrustworthy. As such, Vetinari has realised that Moist is ideally suited for a job in government and offers him the position of Postmaster General.

Moist could turn the job down; the decision would only cost him his life. However, largely because he doesn’t fully realise what he’s letting himself in for, he accepts the job offer. Although Moist would rather disappear under another false name, Vetinari has wisely appointed a parole officer to him – a very determined golem called Mr. Pump. Neither Moist nor Mr. Pump are going to have an easy time in their new positions – for a start, the Post Office is a mess. There hasn’t been a letter delivered in twenty years – all of them are still in the building, leaving very little room for people and golems inside.

Moist only has two members of staff – an ancient Junior Postman called Groat and Apprentice Postman Stanley (a little odd, though an expert on pins). Mr. Pump indirectly leads Moist to Adora Bell Dearheart, a tall dark-haired woman who works for the Golem’s Trust. She dresses severely, chain-smokes and, and by her own admission, is utterly lacking in a sense of humor.

Moist’s biggest problem is going to be the Grand Trunk Semaphore Company and its new Board of Directors. The Grand Trunk provide a high-speed communication service, better known as the clacks – the Discworld’s version of telegrams. It’s pretty clear the new board have cheated, embezzled and stolen their way to the company, are mistreating the workforce and are generally running things into the ground. Although represented by Mr. Slant (not only a zombie, but also a lawyer), the most dislikeable and dangerous member of the board is Reacher Gilt. Like Moist, he’s obviously a very gifted con-artist. However, it’s his willingness to use buzzwords that really send shivers down the spine. Anyone who has been at a meeting and heard phrases like “core competencies”, “synergistically” and “striving for excellence” will know.

This is not a reading – it is a performance. And it is a tour de force of a performance by Stephen Briggs. It needs a strong constitution to not fall on the floor in gales of mirth when the quavering voice of the geriatric Junior Postman Groat pipes up “I shall leap sir, leap into action, sir.” However, Briggs’ genius finds its pinnacle in the upper-crust tones of Lord Vetinari.

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3 Responses to “Going Postal”

  1. Ooooo, love your new look! 🙂

  2. purely temporary, i’m afraid. just a nod towards the season of joy, dear Lotus, of which i hope you are partaking the best. merry Christmas, all of you out there!

  3. I loved this book. It was amazing, the way Moist Von Lipwig turned into a hero from a conman. Hearing it must have been a lot of fun!

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