The Canting Crew is an informal name for a group of Ankh-Morpork beggars in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. Too anarchic for the Beggars' Guild, which tends to constrain them with rules, they frequently beg from it themselves, and often come away successful, due to their being heroes to certain guild members. Members of the group may often be found beneath Ankh-Morpork's Misbegot Bridge and they are frequently, though not always, accompanied by the talking dog Gaspode. They have also been accompanied by Death (in Soul Music) whom the group called (for reasons unknown) 'Mr Scrub'. Death's presence was described as enhancing the group's earning power and a pun when, on being given money, he is referred to as '..the Grateful Death'.
Foul Ole RonEdit
Excessively seedy, momentously dirty, overpoweringly smelly and entirely incomprehensible, Foul Ole Ron is the best-known member of the crew. He owns the world's only Thinking Brain Dog (as opposed to a "Seeing-eye dog"), Gaspode, and is a physical schizophrenic; his smell has become strong enough to not only melt earwax but to acquire a separate existence. In fact, it outclasses him, and is usually referred to in text as being almost another character entirely, who occasionally arrives ahead of Ron, opts to stick around for a while after his departure, and even goes to upper-class parties without him.
He is well known for his "catchphrase", "Bugrit, millennium hand an' shrimp...", which was the result of Pratchett feeding a random text generating program with a Chinese takeaway menu and the lyrics to They Might be Giants song, "Particle Man".
Another notable fact is that his catchphrase (minus "bugrit") is also used by Mrs. Tachyon, a character in the Johnny Maxwell series, also by Pratchett. Foul Ole Ron is in one verse of Sam Vimes 'City Version' of "Where's My Cow?". Young Sam enjoyed it, but Lady Sybil Vimes disapproved of this version.
Sometimes spelt Coffin' Henry. He has a habitual cough, hence his name, the result of his continuous smoking habit, again, hence his name. His cough is described as sounding 'almost solid'.
Unlike Ron, who asks people for money to stop him following them, Coffin Henry makes money by not going anywhere. People send him small sums so that he won't turn up at their parties and ask them to look at his interesting collection of skin diseases.
He also wears a sign saying "For sum muny I wont follo yu hom".
Altogether Andrews is a mass of multiple personalities (none of them named Andrews) in one mind, many of which are of considerably higher social status than him; these include Jossi, Lady Hermione, Little Sidney, Mr Viddle, Curly, the Judge and Tinker; the eighth personality is simply known as Burke, who was only seen once by the canting crew (though not in any narrative), and they had no desire to ever see him again. This last personality is probably a reference to 19th century serial killer William Burke.
The Duck Man speculates that Andrews was once a mild-mannered person of a psychic disposition who was mentally overwhelmed by the other souls. He is generally regarded as one of the most consistently sane of the group, as at least five of his personalities are capable of holding a sensible conversation with other people. His personalities 'voted' to decide whether to act as street vendors of The Ankh Morpork Times (in The Truth) and Andrews held up fingers to indicate the outcome of his personalities' decision.
The Duck ManEdit
The Duck Man is regarded as the intellectual of the group. He is apparently unaware of the fact that he has a duck on his head. He appears to have been rich and well educated at some time in the past, and even as a beggar, his clothes are the tattered remnants of an expensive suit. As a boy, he "messed around in boats". Somebody obviously wants him killed, as the price on his head at The Assassins Guild is $132,000.
A member noted for being completely legless. Literally; a cart ran over his legs several years ago and he now gets around on a wheelbarrow, usually pushed by the Duck Man. He carries an old boot on a stick, so muggers desperate enough to try and rob the beggars often find themselves being kicked on the top of the head by a man 3 foot tall.