Tradition, originality, and swiping bits

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Re: Tradition, originality, and swiping bits

Postby profpanic » 06 Dec 2010, 13:46

I think that to add a character or bit of business that is "stolen" or taken up by other punchmen and then added to the continuous tradition would be a great achievement.Can anyone think of a punchman of this generation who has achieved this?
I did introduce several puppets to my Punch show which were copied by one or two other performers but have yet to see them survive in the show for more than 20 years..... even in our family show script they survive as anacronisms...... the archetypes live on quite happily ....while topical novelties soon fade away.
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Re: Tradition, originality, and swiping bits

Postby Chris » 10 Dec 2010, 11:09

GORDON CRAIG in Puppets and Poets wrote:And so it is with puppetry . . . . . . After you have done it once, others come along who copy it, if it is well done, and carry scraps of your creation out on the high roads and delight thousands.
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Re: Tradition, originality, and swiping bits

Postby johnstoate » 12 Dec 2010, 23:42

Err, Wot about, 'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery'????
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Re: Tradition, originality, and swiping bits

Postby Chris » 13 Dec 2010, 20:04

So, is flattery something to be desired?
And surely sincerest flattery is an oxymoron.
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Re: Tradition, originality, and swiping bits

Postby johnstoate » 14 Dec 2010, 23:30

'Ere,... - Who're you callin' a 'Poxy moron' ??? - That's not nice that isn't!! :lol: :lol:
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Re: Tradition, originality, and swiping bits

Postby johnstoate » 16 Dec 2010, 13:39

Ahhhh.. 'He who wouldst pun would pick a pock' ... But, rather more seriously (Since no-one appears to be 'biting' :roll: ) I wonder if any of a given show can be considered truly original in the sense that it's content hasn't been used previously. Given that we have already established that the show has a couple (At least) centuries of performance by countless practitioners of greatly varying skill levels, but still retains the same, or similar modular 'base' units, I would suggest that it is rather like Shakespeare. All the plays are well known internationally, but there are always 'new' versions around,('Shylock' working for RBS. etc :wink: ) Does this mean that every contemporary play involving a 'Loan shark' or a camouflage attack on a castle, or a vodka advert with costume characters in a summertime woodland party is therefore material stolen from the bard???
Continuing this analogy, I think that Our show in this respect has rather more to do with the 'Roomfull of monkeys with typewriters...' :lol:
Last edited by johnstoate on 17 Dec 2010, 00:21, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tradition, originality, and swiping bits

Postby CvdC » 16 Dec 2010, 22:38

The Stoate doth protest too much methinks.
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Re: Tradition, originality, and swiping bits

Postby johnstoate » 17 Dec 2010, 00:20

Ooooh, another bit o' Shakespeare! - but it's 'much of a muchness' without a counter. Perchance a little of Hamlet's 'Crimson cragg' (Allegedly a tribute to our hero) Or a little more 'Bottom' to the tale?
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Re: Tradition, originality, and swiping bits

Postby CvdC » 17 Dec 2010, 07:32

I hope the quotes around "Much of a muchness" were not intended as Shakespearean quotes John. That term belongs to Lewis Caroll. But a Caroll is always apt at this time of year.
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Re: Tradition, originality, and swiping bits

Postby Trevek » 17 Dec 2010, 09:15

CvdC wrote:I hope the quotes around "Much of a muchness" were not intended as Shakespearean quotes John. That term belongs to Lewis Caroll. But a Caroll is always apt at this time of year.


Oh, very good, Sir.

Interesting how, with an Australian, Alice springs to mind.
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Re: Tradition, originality, and swiping bits

Postby johnstoate » 17 Dec 2010, 13:43

' Carroling ' aside, Whilst He may have used the quote, The original is Shakespeare. I must confess that I can't recall which play, (Much ado? -No doubt Trev can enlighten us) But thanks anyway for so nimbly bringing in an example of my point. :D - I used to have a monologue which listed fifty-odd of the Shakespeare literary inventions which have gone on to become part of our everyday language, (This being one of them) If anyone out there has it, could they please Email me a copy? Must re-read my 'Alice' - see what else Carrol swiped!! :lol:
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Re: Tradition, originality, and swiping bits

Postby Chris » 17 Dec 2010, 18:46

Not Shakespeare, nor Carroll but Colley Cibber:

phrases.org wrote:Shakespeare coined the words 'countless', silliness', 'tardiness' and many others of the same form. 'Muchness' sounds typical of the Bard's work and it seems a fair bet that it was one of his inventions. In fact, the word was in use by the 14th century, predating Shakespeare by more than a century. Also, the Shakesperian-sounding phrase 'much of a muchness' first appeared considerably later, in the play The Provok'd Husband, 1728, which was a collaboration between John Vanbrugh and Colley Cibber:

Man: I hope.., you and your good Woman agree still.
J. Moody: Ay! ay! much of a Muchness.

Muchness means physical magnitude or largeness and is derived from the earlier word mickleness.

Much of a muchness has remained as part of the language since Vanbrugh's day, but has never been commonplace. It is rather and odd phrase on the face of it as, in literal terms, it just means 'of a similar quality of being much'. Lewis Carroll picked up on that oddness when, in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, 1865, he had the Dormouse ask Alice "That begins with an M, such as... muchness - you know you say things are 'much of a muchness' - did you ever see... a drawing of a muchness?"
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Re: Tradition, originality, and swiping bits

Postby johnstoate » 18 Dec 2010, 02:24

Oops! :oops: - But nonetheless another example of 'pilfering' - (You forgot to mention; 'Charles Dickens'Edwin Drood', George Eliott's 'Daniel Deronda', Louisa M. Elcott's 'Jack & Jill', Trollope's 'Can You forgive Her?' and from across the water, Henry Adams' 'Democracy' Amongst others) But, again, the point has been made for me. The re-use of other's material has been going on since mankind learned language. Therefore the 'modification' of bits of business in terms of the show should, perhaps, be considered the 'rule' rather than the 'exception' Since 'The exception proves the rule' possibly this whole topic is something of a misnomer?? - Thus far, it would seem that the tradition(!) is to swipe bits of other practioner's originality, thereby continuing a show who's only true boundary is it's required 'modular' elements, 'Punch & Wife', 'Punch & baby', 'Policeman/Beadle' 'Joey' and of course, 'Punch & Devil' &c, &c... :roll:
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Re: Tradition, originality, and swiping bits

Postby Chris » 18 Dec 2010, 10:14

What a load of nonsense John. Nobody used anybody else's material. Nobody owns a word or a phrase. The source I was quoting was the derivation and first use of the word muchness. Every subsequent use of the word isn't pilfering it from anybody.
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Re: Tradition, originality, and swiping bits

Postby subsy » 10 Feb 2015, 18:57

I'm very late to the party but I'm catching up on the wonderful stuff on this board. The quote from phrases.org had me wondering:

Muchness means physical magnitude or largeness and is derived from the earlier word mickleness.


Should not the derivation be from "muckleness" (comprised of many micklenesses)?

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