Framed in the nude and tethered.

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Re: Framed in the nude and tethered.

Postby Chris » 06 Jul 2014, 18:20

Thought you hadn't got the message Martin. People on this website can still see it by clicking the link you gave so it still serves the purpose. By the way you might be interested in what I wrote about the use in the "Any Questions" section of the website.
Many Punch and Judy performers style themselves Professor. This dates back to Victorian times, and earlier, when it was common for magicians and other such mountebanks to adopt fanciful titles to impress the public. Both Doctor and Professor were used frequently by Magicians (eg. Professor Hoffman). Of course in earlier times the boundaries between medicine and conjuring and science were not so clearly defined, and many performances of prestidigitation were presented as demonstrations of the wonders of science. As the public became better informed so the use of misleading titles was gradually abandoned by the magical fraternity. The term Professor was still retained to denote a particular expertise and many early jazz musicians used the title, as too did Punchmen who have always had a great pride in their peculiar skills. In fact Punch-Professor has now become the accepted term for this particular type of puppeteer. And it is quite legitimate to adopt the title Professor. While it is true that it is reserved for the most elevated posts in a British university (or for any teaching post in a US university) it can also be used in other contexts. It has other meanings apart from that of academic excellence - basically implying one who "professes" some ability or religious faith. The most general meaning is the following, taken from the Oxford English Dictionary: "Professor: (A title for) a teacher or exponent of a non-academic subject etc. joc."
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Re: Framed in the nude and tethered.

Postby Chris » 06 Jul 2014, 18:31

Probably the snake oil remark comes from an American origin? Their history being shorter than ours, their equivalent term for a mountebank is probably snake oil salesman and I've no doubt that some quack doctors would use the term Professor as well as Doctor, so I can see the connection. But I think in Britain the term Professor was being claimed by entertainers long before the Wild West was known about over here.
But there's certainly no reason why you shouldn't use it. That wasn't the point I was making.
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Re: Framed in the nude and tethered.

Postby martinpunch » 06 Jul 2014, 19:01

It is causing me a bit of anguish, I have read a LOT about old red nose recently and there was definately something about it somewhere - now my head is hurting trying to remmeber or find the reference to it.

I seem to remember reading something along the lines of. The English punchmen idetified themselves with the travelling snake-oil salesmen of the wild west calling themselves Professors and took on title themselves.

Ooow my head is really hurting trying to find who put that into my head.
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Re: Framed in the nude and tethered.

Postby Chris » 07 Jul 2014, 00:01

I wouldn't trouble yourself trying to find it. There's a lot of speculative nonsense written about Punch. Look at it this way, is it likely that English Punch men would identify themselves with a particularly American character of which they are hardly likely to have had any experience? How many English people, never mind poor street performers, visited America in those days? The dates af the Wild West are reckoned to be around 1865 to 1890 and the appearance of the term Professor for a Punch man does emerge in Britain around the same time, but it also appears on occasion before that. For example George Speaight mentions (c. 1826.) The Book of Punch and Judy, containing the original dialogue .... by the late Professor Smith of London.
And as it was Brits who took Punch to America I would have thought that even American Punch men would be more likely to call themselves Professor because that is what British Punch men were calling themselves, rather than because some Snake Oil Salesmen also used the title.
But as in so much of our history it is all pretty speculative.
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Re: Framed in the nude and tethered.

Postby martinpunch » 07 Jul 2014, 08:11

Yes but someone planted it in my head and now I am wondering how it got there. I don't think I made it up myself, in fact I am positive I read it.
But as you say I am only reading whats on the web and that is hardly authoritive.
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Re: Framed in the nude and tethered.

Postby Chris » 07 Jul 2014, 12:08

Oh I'm sure you didn't make it up Martin, I sounds to me just what an American Punchman might write, and from an American point of view makes a certain sense. We are just as bad. A lot of Brit Punch profs have bits of history of dubious accuracy on their websites, or make implausible claims when interviewed. There seems to be a general idea that if you don't know the answer, then make it up. But while this doesn't do much harm in general it is more pernicious when the errors appear on the web because they get copied and re-copied and people tend to assume that if its on the web it must be true. As you so correctly say, that sadly isn't the case.
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Re: Framed in the nude and tethered.

Postby martinpunch » 07 Jul 2014, 20:12

Yes - I fell for it, and what you are saying is not just P&J it is true of all web knowledge in my experiance.
Soon as someone writes something plausable then it becomes fact in peoples mind becuase they google it in the pub and there it is!
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Re: Framed in the nude and tethered.

Postby lesclarke » 08 Jul 2014, 13:59

"I look forward to further responses with interest."

Here goes then...

Positive: You certainly seem to have a lot of confidence, so you have cracked that one!

Negative: ( I aim to be constructive.) Got to be blunt, your swazzling is still very poor, you have got to the early stage, but there is still a long way to go, stick with it, only time spent swazzling, and figuring out for yourself how to tune your swazzle will get you to a good standard. If you have to wrap and re-wrap your swazzle 5 times in an evening it is worth it when you finally get that unique sound! If you only have one swazzle, make another couple, if you wrap three at the same session, there is more chance of one of them working well, or responding to tuning, then at future performances you test out and use the one that's best on the day. Also getting used to having it in your mouth. Poor swazzling is very off-putting to an audience.

I still 'profess' that 'It's all about the swazzle." ...in that the swazzle is the KEY that unlocks Punch's magic.

Secondly, an obvious basic glove puppetry point, the show consists of a series of conversations between two characters, when one is speaking the other figure should not freeze, or droop their head, but remain animated.

Doing several things at once is required for a Punch show.

A final tip, Keep It Simple! Don't at this stage of your development try and 'reinvent the wheel.'
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Re: Framed in the nude and tethered.

Postby martinpunch » 08 Jul 2014, 19:45

Thank you Les, I am pleased that you you have made the comments you have and I take them in the spirit that they were made. Yes the swazzling is not great, I have no idea how to wrap and re-wrap the swazzle 5 times in an evening. I brought mine from Mr Clarke and just use it as it came. I did try to make plastic ones. But I could not get them to work (on the other hand I did not at the time appreciate the complete make up of them) As for taking apart something that works, I am scared I might make things worse. What I probably need to do is buy another to experement with. Bbut i thought that I should try to master what I have otherwise there are too many variables. I am practicing it everyday and I think it will come better in time, you obviously think I should be changing the one I have?
Yes the actual puppetary is poor especially on the clip, in my defence the the top of the booth blew open at the time Punch is drooping and I was in a bit of a state because of that, but I am now putting more puppetary practice into each scene ahead of my next outing.
I have a script and am not ad-libing, I will not be varing it until I have improved sufficiently to please you guys on here.
Thanks you are the nearest thing I have to lessons.
I hope to (privately) post more of efforts once I feel they have moved on a bit.
As for confidence, that might be getting up some poeples nose that I am crap and confident. But only practice make perfect and I can practice in front of audiances only if I have the confidence in the first place.
I am doing this for enjoyment and fun. I am not looking to make a living out of it. But I am hoping to become competant not only in bringing happiness ( this is already happening) but also in being an ok puppeteer and only in the Punch and Judy tradition. I won't wax lyrically why it has to be punch and judy as I will be probably preaching to the converted. But happy childhood memories is the prime reason.
Thanks again for your comments.

Martin
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Re: Framed in the nude and tethered.

Postby lesclarke » 08 Jul 2014, 20:24

Swazzling has of course been discussed much at length here before, look back on what advice has been written. One piece of great advice is that if a swazzle won't produce a really good tone when blown with it held to your lips,(with it wet of course) then there is no chance it will produce the right sound when placed at the back of your mouth!

So, has it got a good tone 'at your lips'?

It is understandable that you don't want to mess with something that is more or less working, but tiny adjustments of the swazzle can make a big difference, also a swazzle can come in and out of 'tune'.
Adjusting it can be 'hit and miss', but perseverance will pay off.

That's why I recommend having say 3 of them, it's then a matter of using your current best one and it's easier to jump in and alter the worst of the bunch.

Visually the tape should not be taut, and by squeezing the plates together you get a higher note and prising apart gives a lower note, but it is a fiddly technique. However the more you do it the better results you will get.

In the end the only way is to make, or at least to tie your own swazzles, after all if it's going really well, and then suddenly goes 'off song' you need to be able to sort it out yourself.
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Re: Framed in the nude and tethered.

Postby scumonkey » 09 Jul 2014, 07:48

Visually the tape should not be taut, and by squeezing the plates together you get a higher note and prising apart gives a lower note, but it is a fiddly technique. However the more you do it the better results you will get.

As a newbie to swazzling myself I found this bit of information VERY helpful-Thank YOU!!!
The swazzle I've been practicing with had fallen "out of tune", and developed a sort of rattle.
After reading your comment I braved up, grabbed the pliers, made the opening a bit wider and
loosened (I would have thought it to be the opposite), the tape a bit.
Now I'm getting a much more traditional sounding punch voice (which I like), rather than the shrill, rattling, higher than a soprano one i was struggling with :D
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Re: Framed in the nude and tethered.

Postby martinpunch » 10 Jul 2014, 19:14

lesclarke wrote:Swazzling has of course been discussed much at length here before, look back on what advice has been written. One piece of great advice is that if a swazzle won't produce a really good tone when blown with it held to your lips,(with it wet of course) then there is no chance it will produce the right sound when placed at the back of your mouth!

So, has it got a good tone 'at your lips'?

It is understandable that you don't want to mess with something that is more or less working, but tiny adjustments of the swazzle can make a big difference, also a swazzle can come in and out of 'tune'.
Adjusting it can be 'hit and miss', but perseverance will pay off.

That's why I recommend having say 3 of them, it's then a matter of using your current best one and it's easier to jump in and alter the worst of the bunch.

Visually the tape should not be taut, and by squeezing the plates together you get a higher note and prising apart gives a lower note, but it is a fiddly technique. However the more you do it the better results you will get.

In the end the only way is to make, or at least to tie your own swazzles, after all if it's going really well, and then suddenly goes 'off song' you need to be able to sort it out yourself.


I am having trouble understanding this. I did a search on the word swazzling and very little came up. Can you tell me what a better search term is please?
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Re: Framed in the nude and tethered.

Postby lesclarke » 10 Jul 2014, 22:41

Try typing SWAZZLE TAPE into the search box, this will bring up several worth reading especially the 'Re: Robert Peston & Glynn Edwards' posting which contains several bits of useful advice within it.

Swazzles are basically very simple things, but can be tricky/fiddly to A - get correctly tied and tuned, and B - to then learn to use. They both require perseverance, and practise.

It is worth it because of the amazing potential of the swazzle to help carry and give vitality to your show.
.....when done well!

Also search for 'ebook'
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Re: Framed in the nude and tethered.

Postby Chris » 10 Jul 2014, 23:57

Martin, if you want to know about the swazzle why not use swazzle as the search word?
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Re: Framed in the nude and tethered.

Postby martinpunch » 12 Jul 2014, 08:09

Hiya all

I did another show yesterday and concentrated on Les's points above, going a lttle slower and concentrating on the gestures btween the puppets on stage.

It rained and an hour or two before the show so I only had about 10 kids there and I must say playing to a smaller audiance is harder once you are used to more feedback

I have read the ebook and it was useful but I would like more information on the tuning of the swazzle.
I had a go at changing the swazzle a bit and I think it is not as good a sound as before.
I will take some of the advice in the ebook on restoring the sound and I will have a go at making a few more too.

I have manufacture another five and am waiting for the tape to arrive in the post. I might post a video of how they go to help other starters learn from my experiments. (non public post :wink: Chris)
Martin
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