Heights and Depths

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Re: Heights and Depths

Postby Richard Coombs » 07 Jul 2011, 22:40

While my thoughts turned to the sadly departed Michael Byrom , I remembered my nostalgic trip to the library in my home town at the start of this year , looking for the puppet books I used to devour when growing up .

Needles to say , neither Michaels , nor Peter Fraisers , nor the book of rod and shadow puppets were still there.

What had prompted my nostalgia , was nearly cutting a finger off in January ..something I have kept very hush hush til now ( otherwise Im sure one or two puppeteers , would have loved rumours to have gone around the film and tv puppetry circuit , saying I had retired because of injured fingers !).

It was a bandsaw accident , and also a narrow escape , -I was lucky the blade was as blunt as it was , or it would have gone right through my knuckle instead of grazing it .
Mind you, if the blade had been sharp I would not have been 'pushing' the wood.... anyhow I will spare you the details.
Except the final irony - the head I was starting to cut out was planned to be ....a "Health and Safety Officer "

No - I have not seen Glyns , or what he does with it ..so this time I would not have been 'cribbing : but as it happens I dont plan to finish that head , at least not this year ( it sits on a shelf near the Bandsaw as a grim reminder to be more careful !)

Anyhow deviating again - a few days after it all happened , and emergency visits to the Doctor etc , I very quickly realised that I had enough range of movement in that finger to still do lip sync and 'muppet' type puppets : and with series 2 of "Mongrels" approaching this was just as well.

Now with nine weeks of filming finally behind me , I can attest that , yes, everything was fine and dandy in that department.

My Big worry back in January was that I might not be able to do Punch and Judy again.....
It was mid April before the swelling in my Finger had gone down enough to let me squeeze it inside Punches head.
And then the scar on my knuckle was so sore that having Punch 'On' wasnt pleasant ..this too has passed now ( and I managed not to let anyone know about it at the Mayfare )

I have done quite a few shows this year and thankfully all is well.

But in those few weeks when the future was uncertain , I got very nostalgic about what Punch and Judy really means to me , and always has.
Hence the look in the library when I visited my Parents.
I was sad not to find the Books , hopefully they are still in circulation , and an eager young 'Richard' has them out on loan.

The other thing I did , which I have never done before , was to go and stand on the beach , next to the Peir where 'Uncle Colin" ( Bennet) had his show.

- Oh I have gone and 'looked' at the spot as an adult before , standing where I did as a child so many scores ( hundreds ? ) of times : at the railings, facing the sea , and imagining where the Show used to be.

But it had never occurred to me to go and stand where the Show would have been and face the other way ..towards the audience , and take in the view .
The view that Colin would have had year in and year out through the rectangle of his proscenium opening.

Im a silly sentimental old thing , but I did shed a tear or two , of happiness , that whatever the outcome of my finger would be , I had been lucky enough to know the same thrill that Colin must have got from performing , and that I too had a 'regular' Summer pitch and a Big Striped Wooden Puppet Theatre like his.
Here is a photo of it taken ten years before I was born:


Image

I decided then on the pebbles at Herne Bay , that if my finger would let me perform again , I would build the extension I had often thought about for my wooden booth ( so you see we come back on topic after all)

Just the sight of that striped wooden box always filled me with such anticipation as a kid ( even when it was all closed up like in the photo ) every now and then I wonder if my wooden box is having the same effect on another generation ??
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Re: Heights and Depths

Postby Miraiker » 10 Jul 2011, 20:29

Richard, I'm getting withdrawl symptoms here.
It wasn't fair to leave us without a picture on the final day and make us wait till it's in situ.

I am so glad that your injury is recovering, but please, put the nostalgia away and get the camera back out.
Best wishes
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Re: Heights and Depths

Postby CvdC » 11 Jul 2011, 02:31

I am sorry about this Richard but I visited your current pitch and couldn't resist taking a sneak preview. So for Miraiker's benefit I have to post this photo:
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It has been my experience that I am always true from my point of view, and am often wrong from the point of view of my honest critics. I know that we are both right from our respective points of view. - Gandhi (Having a bob each way.)
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Re: Heights and Depths

Postby Richard Coombs » 11 Jul 2011, 02:48

Ahhhh CvdC thank you for that ..really made me chuckle :-)

Alas there are no more photos Miraker ... The last pic was it for now .
It's now just a pile of unpainted panels ( just back fom a wonderful weekend at the Wolverhampton Show .. Courtesy of Micheal Dixon and the puppet guild : so no work been done on the booth for a few days ).

I will put on some "painting " pics soon - and also some og the splendid Wolverhampton Puppet Marqee !

Richard xx
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Re: Heights and Depths

Postby CvdC » 11 Jul 2011, 07:43

A chuckle is good enough. But all jokes aside, the chaps in the design department at Palatial Puppet Booths (http://www.speckinspace.com/palatial/) have taken a keen interest in your project and are keen to pick your brains over a few concepts you may have.

As for band saws my advice is approach anything with teeth, sharp or otherwise with fear and trepidation. Little old ladies with false teeth are an exception. Always keep some wood between the blade and your fingers. If the cut is going to go right through keep the digits well out of the way and every time think: "That blade's going to come out with a jolt when it gets to the end of the cut." That way you will have a longer career as a puppeteer and keep your options open with any number of musical instruments.
It has been my experience that I am always true from my point of view, and am often wrong from the point of view of my honest critics. I know that we are both right from our respective points of view. - Gandhi (Having a bob each way.)
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Re: Heights and Depths

Postby Chris » 11 Jul 2011, 15:14

There you are young Richard, good advice from a seasoned bandsaw user. You beginners should take note.

Also I feel you are missing out on your opportunities. Instead of those chairlift journeys or even the double journey in your second car, why not make the booth self lifting while you are at it? I imagine some sort of pedaling device to power a rotor on top. A hot air bag might be an alternative. That way you would be fully self contained.

Also you haven't mentioned your plumbing arrangements - out of delicacy I don't doubt. Forget I mentioned it.
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Re: Heights and Depths

Postby Richard Coombs » 11 Jul 2011, 19:10

Chris that all conjours up an image of Lionel Jefferies singing " Oh the Posh Posh Travelling Life " !
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Re: Heights and Depths

Postby lesclarke » 11 Jul 2011, 20:19

In the future all this work will certainly pay off Richard, as with the predicted global warming and huge rise in sea levels you will eventually have your very own seaside pitch.

In preparation for this you could practice self-sufficiency by remaining on top of your hill (as it is for now) for each winter and live off the land. To keep warm, as apparently part of global warming is more cold winters, ...no, I can't follow it either, you could stop shaving and let your hair grow.

That's what we need in Punch & Judy - more CHARACTERS!
As if I haven't got enough to do today, with all I've got to do today.
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Re: Heights and Depths

Postby CvdC » 12 Jul 2011, 03:05

Chris it is not so much advice I give but a reminder. I'm lucky I have a scar on my hand and every time I use the saw I see it and take care. You tend to forget such things when you are in the thrall of creativity.
And I always take advice from my elders, why I take heed of your often given advice all the time.
It has been my experience that I am always true from my point of view, and am often wrong from the point of view of my honest critics. I know that we are both right from our respective points of view. - Gandhi (Having a bob each way.)
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Re: Heights and Depths

Postby Chris » 12 Jul 2011, 22:27

but find it hard to admit it. I understand.
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Re: Heights and Depths

Postby Miraiker » 05 Sep 2011, 10:07

Hey Richard
How did the new booth work out over the holidays?
Hope you didn't get too wet.
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Re: Heights and Depths

Postby Richard Coombs » 01 Nov 2011, 00:10

Hello to all .
Even tho its long overdue ( The Summer Season being over weeks ago ) - thought Id post the pics of the finished Booth extension.

It was indeed two van loads to get to the top of Heights.
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Re: Heights and Depths

Postby Richard Coombs » 01 Nov 2011, 00:11

Hello to all .
Even tho its long overdue ( The Summer Season being over weeks ago ) - thought Id post the pics of the finished Booth extension.

It was indeed two van loads to get to the top of Heights.
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Re: Heights and Depths

Postby Chris » 08 Nov 2011, 16:27

We are waiting with bated breath for the pictures to emerge Richard. Seven days is a long time to have one's breath bated, can we hope for them soon?
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Re: Heights and Depths

Postby CvdC » 08 Nov 2011, 23:09

Richard is a master. A man's booth is his castle. This of course will up the ante when it comes to puppet booths. This could of course be the very thing that will bring home ownership within the grasp of millions.
Last edited by CvdC on 12 Nov 2011, 16:17, edited 1 time in total.
It has been my experience that I am always true from my point of view, and am often wrong from the point of view of my honest critics. I know that we are both right from our respective points of view. - Gandhi (Having a bob each way.)
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