WHAT makes a MAKER? WHAT makes an ORIGINAL?

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Postby Chris » 06 Mar 2008, 00:29

Re the John Stoate Punch and Judy figures.
I can understand that there is some confusion as to what exactly this is all about. The lack of full knowledge doesn’t seem to have stopped people expressing strong opinions. For those who are puzzled I'll try to explain the matter with the limited information I have been given.

<img src="images/avatars/guestuploads/1279568891469bf2a0e3fc0.jpg" align="right">As I understand it: There is another Forum frequented by some ageing hippy types who are involved with the steam show type of events which John Stoate frequents. They were apparently friends of the Spanish lady Ruby, who is a member of this board and many will remember her charmingly colourful English and her avatar so strangely like John Stoate’s Punch.

There were a series of allegations on the other website about John’s Punch figures which they saw on this website, attributed to John, and which they claimed had vanished from the keeping of the actual maker and legitimate owner. They remarked on his claiming to have made them, and they did use the word “theft”. They had read this board closely and made disparaging remarks about all of us. They also wanted to know “who is this John Stoate? Does anybody know who he is?”
According to John they do know him, and he has worked with them. Perhaps under a different name?

As soon as I learned of these allegations I advised John of these.

Now it wasn’t just the picture they alluded to, but also John’s remarks in his postings. It does seem to me that John has made a point strongly on many occasions that true Punch men should make their own figures. He has also offered advice on this message board and on the Puppet Guild board based on his experience with puppet making, particularly with latex casting. Now it seems he didn’t make his figures, nor has he even got the molds.

Les apparently privately challenged John, and got less than straightforward replies. John claims that he had done so much reconstruction on the figures that he could legitimately claim them his own. Les, who has seen John’s show and his other puppets, feels that this is misleading. Personally, ignoring John’s preaching about making all one’s own gear, I feel that unless he has puppet making experience he shouldn’t really be giving advice and instruction as though he is experienced.
<center><img src="images/confusionofstoates.jpg"></center>
To my mind it is difficult to tell, but the centre Punch is the one used by John Stoate. I'll leave the last word with John regarding this Punch (and his Judy):<blockquote>
"They're based on a pair that I got which were badly damaged, and I repaired to the point of them being more mine than original. so I s'pose really they aren't totally original to me, but I had full permission to take them, they aren't stolen in any way"</blockquote>
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Postby johnstoate » 06 Mar 2008, 12:38

I know I said that I didn't wish to elaborate further, But I would just like to thank Chris for the above clarification. I accept, seeing the pictures together, that I succeeded in 'keeping them original' rather better than I thought, And I hope that you can see why I have such respect for the originator, As to my other figures, I do have the new ones almost completed, and will post pictures in due course for public scrutiny.
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Postby Chris » 06 Mar 2008, 17:12

As you have so much respect for the originator perhaps you could name him, and tell us something about him?
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Postby Chris » 06 Mar 2008, 17:49

Tony James' complaint seems to have got sidetracked, but since he managed to take over the topic it isn't really surprising that it got back on course.

Tony, I asked where you thought you had been libeled. Instead of giving a straightforward reply you chose to repeat whole chunks of past postings which, as far as I can see are not libelous. They are critical and I can see that you might find them offensive, but you fail to specify where you have been represented.

You profess yourself puzzled by David's outburst. I seem to remember it came in the context of your claims to your Georgian Punch show - something which puzzles many of us. Do you think David may have been irritated by the plentitude of your claims?
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Postby Tony James » 06 Mar 2008, 19:29

I am not a lawyer Chris. Just a showman. I leave it to lawyers who understand the distinction between that which is defamatory and that which is libellous.

I provided the whole of the post for you to make up your own mind, which evidently you have.

I had absolutely no wish to take over this topic. Indeed, I was hoping that my post might put an end to what appeared might degenerate into a bashing. Coming so soon on top of mine I hoped this site would avoid the fate of gaining a 'have a go' reputation.

Quote: Do you think David may have been irritated by the plentitude of your claims?

Plentitude

I love that word, even if my spellcheck doesn't!. Remind me to slip that word into one of my posts sometime..

Is that really why you think that outburst originated? Well you may be correct. Who knows?

I'll tell you something. I hope you are not going to defend it - as so many other bacon-savers have tried - by claiming that his outburst was a reasoned, considered and acceptable response.

He can't even remember whether he's seen my show, let alone all four!

Because if that is how it's seen then heaven help anyone else here who mentions something that is not agreed with.

I wonder who's next on the list for a Wild Bashing?
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Postby James » 06 Mar 2008, 19:47

Tony James wrote:The problem with these Covent Garden meetings is they are always at weekends and as you'd expect, I'm always working at weekends. That particular weekend was re-booked when I was at the event last May and as this is my livelihood, earnings come first.

I quite understand Covent Garden has to be at a weekend to allow the majority to attend who presumably are mostly working during the week.

And that's just one of the differences. For me it's a living and not a hobby.


We all have to make money Tony, but you seem to be saying that the May Fayre is a day for hobbyists. It certainly isn't as I'm sure the likes of Percy Press, Percy Press II, Leslie Press, Fred Tickner, Bob Wade, Glyn Edwards, Bryan Clarke, Geoff. Felix, Rod Burnett, Martin Bridle, Ron Townsend, Hugh Cecil, Ian Allen, Ronnie LeDrew, Sgt Stone, John Styles, Joe Beeby, Clive Chandler, John Alexander, Richard Coombs, Mark Poulton and countless other full time, highly respected entertainers from the UK and abroad would attest. People make a huge effort to come to these events, and turn down work too.

This is something that gives back to Punch, it is his birthday after all! It is a day that people look forward to and care about greatly.

And have you not thought that the festivals are at the weekends not to make it easier for the performers, but so they have a audience to perform to. As you said, most people with normal jobs are rather busy during the week!

And as you say you work so much during the season would one day off really hurt so much?
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Postby Tony James » 06 Mar 2008, 22:23

You make all seem so beguiling James. And irresistible. Well, certainly if you can conjure up the group of people you named. I'm sure they'll all be there, in spirit if not in person. Sadly I won't.

When I say I'm working I mean it. Other people work at their jobs during the week. The bulk of my work is weekends. There used to be till very recently a great many good mid-week outdoor shows, well attended by people who didn't work or took the day off. They're all working these days and most of those shows have either folded or moved to the weekends.

Even the mighty Royal Show - known simply as The Royal - has moved to the weekend. Four days, Monday to Thursday is now Thursday to Sunday.

Any number of big two day midweek shows have also moved to the weekend slot.

So weekends are when I earn most of my money. And after a fitful April - it always staggers along - May is the first solid earning month since December. It's my living. That's the reality.

Others do as they choose - spend money or earn it, work or play. That's up to them. I choose to earn because that money has to see me through till the following Spring. And that's reality too.

The other week 3,500 'magicians' went to Blackpool Magical Convention. I wasn't there. I worked.

How many were pros, earning their living from magic?

No, I don't know either but according to those who think they do, the guesstimate is probably no more than 30 or so. One percent.

Whether those ratios have any relevance to Punch & Judy workers I have no idea. I can only remind you that the Equity Children's Entertainers meetings are held.......mid-week.

So have a jolly good time and I hope the sun shines on all of us that weekend because it didn't last year and I had to change into dry clothes before driving home.
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Postby James » 06 Mar 2008, 22:39

The list of names was a list of May Fayre regulars, as well you know. If it was good enough for them, why not you?

I don't doubt that you are working, I wasn't suggesting you weren't, but once again you seem to dodge or rather miss what I was saying. You ignored my earlier question about libel and seem to have missed the point of the May Fayre.

Are you saying that the May Fayre is mainly for hobbyists?

This red is fun isn't it?!

I know entertainers work most at weekends, why are you telling us this? You just seem to be waffling on about jobs, which you obviously know a lot about, but I don't see the relevance.

The May Fayres and other such gatherings are noted and records kept. I for one would have loved to see the Tercentenary celebrations. Wouldn't you have liked to perform with Percy and Fred? The same attracts others to perform alongside today's greats.

And the thought of David only seeing your show on video is quite possible. I have seen a lot of shows live, but plenty of others on video or dvd. It has let me see some of the performers I missed out on. What's to say there isn't a video of yourself archived away somewhere.
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Postby Tony James » 06 Mar 2008, 23:24

Careful James. What is waffle to you is bread and cheese to me.

I gave you the statistics of Blackpool which clearly indicates that most of those attendees are hobbyists. I have no idea how this squares up with Punch. You tell me. I've never been.

How many attend Covent Garden and how many work Punch as their living?

Being a pro magician for example usually means exploiting what's there to best entertainment effect. Pros may come up with clever presentations, themes and dressings but most pros don't usually employ overloads of skill and don't often come up with new concepts either.

Magically it's the hobby merchants who are far and away more technically skilled and would you believe, historically, new concepts and great ideas have often come from the hands of magicians who are non-performers.

In general, much of this is probably true of a number of entertainment disciplines including Punch.

It's the numerical ratios that will be different.
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Postby Mark Andrews » 06 Mar 2008, 23:50

Folks, It's very rare that I post on here, but having read the nonsense Tony James has posted about Pro entertainers etc etc. I just can't sit here and let it pass.

Tony are you seriously suggesting out of the 3,500 magicians at the recent Blackpool convention, just 30 (or 1%) as you suggest were full time pros? Get real Tony, you know as well as I, that this is utter nonsense, from your own postings on the Magic Cafe, you will be aware of many who attend who are full-time, I often go myself, this year I didn't, for the first time in about 3 years.

Yes I am full time, full time entertaining kids with Punch and Magic, yes I go to the May Fayre, in fact I turn bookings down to go there - why do I do this? Answer I like to catch up with people who perhaps I only meet in person once or so a year, it's a great social occasion. My long suffering partner comes along with me too for the day and enjoys meeting and watching the shows of the many friends I/we have in the world of Punch. Some may be "Hobbyists" as you suggest, many are full timers - it matters not to us.

I am quite offended by your remarks as you can tell. You seem to have plenty to say and certainly know how to rattle the cage of even the more placid by-standers.

I'm delighted that you have a good run of county shows etc, if I wished to take this market on, I would - personally it's not for me. I get the yearly notification of the Showman's Show in Newbury but don't bother with it, it's not a market I wish to pursue - but please Tony, think before coming out with the nonsence you have of late, it bores the pants off myself and others and with such a small fraternity as ours word soon gets round.
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Postby Chris » 06 Mar 2008, 23:50

Tony James wrote:
I am not a lawyer Chris. Just a showman. I leave it to lawyers who understand the distinction between that which is defamatory and that which is libellous.

Now there's a coincidence. I'm not a lawyer either.
However I have learned to read and therefore have discovered that libel is the written equivalent of slander, which is oral.
For something to be libellous it has to be untrue.
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Postby billywand » 07 Mar 2008, 01:49

As someone who has been away for a while, I am a bit upset to come back to this.

The board is here for healthy discussion, but all this seems to be personal stuff that should be dealt with as such.

Do all these arguements need to be aired in public ?

I'm not saying all go "pink and fluffy" but let's not go too "green and slimey"
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Postby Tony James » 07 Mar 2008, 04:17

Mark

Please re-read what I said about Blackpooil in the post above. I didn't say what you think I said.

Like you I wasn't at Blackpool. The numbers attending appear not to creep but leap by large numbers annually. I asked a question. How many there were pros, earning their living at magic.

I expected an answer of maybe a fifty to a hundred. I wasn't sure. But talking to various people who were there they came up with perhaps 30 or 35 which is one percent.

And that is exactly what I said up there.

How many would you estimate over the past couple of years?

We are not talking about part-timers, semi professionals but people who make their living from it. And we weren't including visiting acts and lecturers. Just this remarkable 3,500. Where do all these people come from? Are they all working magicians?

I'm sorry if you feel offended Mark. It wasn't a criticism of you in particular nor hobby people in general. But over the years as you will know for every one person earning their living at entertaining there are many many more who have to work as well. They only have the weekend to attend events.

That's what this was about - James asked why I couldn't or wouldn't give up my weekend to attend. And I gave my reasons.

I was not suggesting that most or all of the attendees at Covent Garden were hobby folk. I asked the question because I didn't know the answer and thought James might have done. He is better placed to know than I.

Blackpool, whatever it's mathematical uncertainties, was merely an example.
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Postby Tony James » 07 Mar 2008, 04:52

Chris wrote:Tony James wrote:
I am not a lawyer Chris. Just a showman. I leave it to lawyers who understand the distinction between that which is defamatory and that which is libellous.

Now there's a coincidence. I'm not a lawyer either.
However I have learned to read and therefore have discovered that libel is the written equivalent of slander, which is oral.
For something to be libellous it has to be untrue.


I too read and was aware of the difference between written and oral.

As I said and you quoted, what I'm not clear about is the difference, if any, between a libellous statement and one that is deemed defamatory.
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nasty

Postby Trev » 07 Mar 2008, 09:26

I agree with Billy. The board has taken a nasty turn.

I know we have a reputation for heated discussion here but this is getting a little uncomfortable to say the least. Surely personal attacks should be made personally. I haven't met or seen either Tony James or Mr Wilde but I do understand why Tony feels offended and hurt. I too was shocked when frst read Mr Wilde's comments. I was appalled that someone who is, as james suggests, an authoratitive figure and apparently so respected should resort to such phrases and slag... yes, slag... off another performer's show in such a way on the open board. I don't know (or care) if it was libellous, slanderous or mickeymouse... it was just plain nasty. I'm not surprised Tony feels offended and perhaps it was unintentional and Mr Wilde should approach him off-board to discuss the matter.

Maybe I have been reading too many cheap novels but revelations that a (select?) number of people saw this 'mysterious' blog-site (before it 'mysteriously' disappeared) and phrases like "In our small community word gets around"are beginning to sound a little sinister. What next; "we know where you live!"? Now it seems like Covent Garden is some kind of allegiance test.

Having recently seen the recent remake of Invasion of the Body snatchers (if you haven't, don't bother... pointless remake) I almost feel like I should cry, "Don't go Tony... They'll steal your hat and replace it with a bow-tie!"

As one who has been involved in a number of heated debates on this (and other... surprise!) boards i know how tempers and emotions can get heated. However, despite all the reference in this thread to 'our small community' I think we should remember that this board is open to general public and while they might enjoy the spectacle, should we really be washing and airing our laundry in public?

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