I don’t know why but there are never any comments to my Blogs. Now why would that be do you suppose? Is it because they’re rather boring? Is it because I write rubbish? Or maybe it’s because no one reads them anyway. Well, I know my sister reads them because her comments come via e-mail, and I know Lewis reads them because any grammatical error or spelling mistake and he’s onto it in a flash. There have been three or four edits after his corrections but his corrections come by e-mail as well. So why does no one ever comment (well hardly ever) on my Blogs?
One of the books on my reading list at the moment is called “Popular Entertainment Through The Ages” (no publication date) and in it is the complete text of Punch and Judy eighteenth century. To my surprise, plot wise, it is exactly as I remember seeing Punch and Judy mid twentieth century, though the language is a trifle odd, as if Punch, still Italian, is trying to speak English; and somehow I can see why modern politically correct health and safety fascists are agin it believing, as they do, that it has a deleterious effect on children. Mind you the same in their minds goes for Hans Christian Anderson and the brothers Grimm and any other writer of fairy tales. Though, as far as the fairy tales are concerned, they maintain it is because it gives the little darlings the heebies even if it ends happy ever after, Hansel and Gretel, Snow White’s heart and all that, whereas Punch and Judy inclines them towards psychopathic violence. Of course they’re still allowed to watch mindless murder and mayhem on television, a more or less constant diet of sudden and violent death that some seem only too eager to emulate but it is poor Punch who is sent into exile. But back to that wicked puppet whose doings I have to admit are pretty grisly including infanticide and the murder of poor old Judy. After a couple more murders Punch is finally caught and put in jail. Mister Ketch the hangman appears and erects his scaffold. A coffin is brought on and Mister Ketch tries to entice Punch out of his cell but he’s not having any of it. He’s already had dinner and he believes supper is unhealthy. He says he knows he’s been bad but he won’t do it again. When he is eventually brought out he tricks Mister Ketch into putting his own head in the noose and so hangs the hangman and stuffs him in the coffin. ‘That’s the way to do it!’ Now the devil appears and, after a few moments of timidity, Punch sets about him as well ending up by shouting ‘The devil is dead! The devil is dead! Huzzah! Huzzah!’ as he swings the lifeless body around on his stick. End of show.
I do seem to remember when I watched it as a kid that a crocodile came into it somewhere but I don’t know why that was. Maybe Punch killed that too. The crocodile was highly colourful with big square wooden jaws that went snap. Anyway, I don’t believe watching Punch and Judy any number of times laid me open to murderous desires and it’s a pity that another old tradition bites the dust.
PS: Composer wanted for new musical version of Pickwick Papers. On spec but guarantee of publication!