Lord Vetinari, Patrician of Ankh-Morpork, offers his own unique brand of support and advice to our readers.

Dear Patrician,

There aren't enough boxes on the membership form for my badge name; I've added a few more. Should I have done this?

Brig. Sir James Fishbat (Mrs)

You are about to suffer from Simesitis, a new and relatively rare disease. Fortunately for you, the symptoms of this are usually apparent in another person, most often Simes, who starts jumping up and down and tearing his beard out while shouting "Don't these people have brains?". The other main symptom involves severe name truncation, which can be very painful to the badge wearer. I don't recommend doing it again.

Lord Vetinari Dear Patrician,

Can you tell me if the REAL Terry Pratchett will be attending the Con?

Thomas the Unsure

I believe that the real Terry Pratchett will be attending the Convention. A couple of large, craggy troll acquaintances will be making very sure of that.

Dear Patrician,

Last year my house was burned to the ground by stampeding goats on acid. Then, just last week, the Watch turned up on my doorstep with one of them. Part of a new initiative or something, where criminals have to meet their victims. Now we're in love and want to get married, but the goat already has a wife - what should I do?

Sir Wilberforce Organne-Dona II

It's the kids I feel sorry for.

Dear Patrician,

I'm afraid to go out at night because of all the nasty people in the streets - what should I do?

Scapula Silque-Cutt (Ms)

No need for concern. All thugs, brigands and miscellaneous scum have been rigorously vetted and officially licensed by the Guilds of Thieves and of Beggars. Identification cards will be produced on request.

Dear Patrician,

Why, oh why, oh why is the coverage of mime so poor in this city?

Keith de Koosh

All the mime artists are permanently in attendance at the palace. You can join them if you so desire.

Dear Patrician,

I keep losing all my hair when I try to brush my swamp dragon's teeth.

Elisabeth Goatherder (Revd)

Use a longer toothbrush.

Dear Patrician,

My fingernails have stopped growing, my skin has turned green and I am having more trouble getting out and about.

Angstrom McTavish

You should seek a medical opinion on this, but my guess is that you're dead.

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December 1997