“The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.
Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.
But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.
This was the Captain Samuel Vimes ‘Boots’ theory of socioeconomic unfairness.”
– Men At Arms, Terry Pratchett (Discworld #15, City Watch #2)
I have been having great fun lately getting into the Discworld. I picked a few at random, then realised there were mini-series in the larger series, and have started properly on the watch sequence. I am sure that Lord Vetinari and Vimes are now two of my favourite characters ever – I don’t think you can separate them, they are rather a team aren’t they? I am also very taken by the unromantic romance between lady Sybil and Vimes – rather than big gestures and grand declarations, it’s a relationship based on mutual respect, understanding and enjoying each other’s company. Which is my favourite sort. I have gotten through the first two and am now itching at the bit for my next audible credit to come through so I can read more. I love how intelligent and wry these books are.
Audio notes: I was taken by Stephen Briggs take on Terry Pratchett in The Fifth Elephant and The Monstrous Regiment and am not quite as taken by Nigel Planers readings – his accents can sound rather odd, and can age or de-age characters in a very strange way, and his rendition of woman in particular can be very off. His take on Angua is shocking in men at arms – it improved in the second half but at first I really wondered who thought it was a good idea to make her sound so stupid. Nonetheless, Terry Pratchett being read out loud is vastly entertaining, and I do like some aspects of Planer’s narration. At least it’s the same narrator so it’s consistent too.