Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The Bad Words

"I'm not writing it."

"It's the question that everybody wants answered."

"I've been there before. I did it three years ago."

"Well, I'll be in the front room, waiting. I hear they've got The Muppet Christmas Carol on this afternoon."

"There! Exactly... adults enjoy that."

"Only if they are really immature or on a nostalgia kick."

"Actually, the Muppets radically deconstruct stereotypes about theatrical values..."

"And the contemporary assumption that animals can't talk. It's rather premodern in its post-modernism, an Aesop Fable for the twenty-first century."

"Yes, very good. I'm busy here. I'm listening to the Buzzcut bosses define Live Art."

"Listening to your own radio show? Never mind, I've got a Wallace and Gromit box-set for your Christmas present."

"I won't like it. It is fundamentally conservative in its values, and seems to excuse its lack of wit through technical deliberation."

"It's an all-ages show, though..."

"I don't know why you need stuff that is made for TV, anyway. We've got YouTube now."

"Yes... I have just found a Punch and Judy show, filmed at some seaside town. The little ones are loving it. The parents are looking a bit concerned, though."

"It's not surprising. Mr Punch is a violent chap. In my essay, I examined how he represents a very British take on the bad-ass villain. It's fascinating to see how he evolved..."

"So, there's more to him than, say, Sooty and Sweep?"

"Yes - he would even face down the devil."

"A bit more complex than Basil Brush? Dealing with themes of good and evil, mortality?"

"And domestic abuse. He has one hell of an ancestry, too. Shares it with mime. It's only because of television that he is seen so infrequently on the beach these days."

"He does have a stupid voice, though. Seems a bit childish. He's another glove puppet. Bet he'll be saying 'boom boom" in five minutes. The story's a bit obvious, too. It's like a pantomime, with a bonus crocodile fight."

"I think you'll find a symbolic resonance there..."

"Check out this channel... it's got Pipkins. That hare terrified me when I was eight. He was all tatty. Then it's Ivor the Engine, bit of Bagpuss. You know what they have in common, don't you?"

"Talking heads on nostalgia shows pretending they remember them?"

"Their demographic."

"Don't."

"The plots are very simple."

"Please."

"There are bits where you can join in."

"I won't."

"They are all on before the watershed. You know, I think these are aimed at..."

"PUPPETRY IS NOT FOR CHILDREN. NO SINGLE ART FORM IS NECESSARILY DEFINED AS FOR A PARTICULAR AUDIENCE. IT IS A MATTER OF WHAT THE ARTIST AIMS AT."

"That didn't hurt, didn't it? Now you've said it, you can get on with being all smart and critical."

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