Question: you’ve just had your birthday. You got Lego. You’ve just returned from a lightning trip to Perth, and the Lego store. You got Lego. Now you have all this new Lego. But you’re 99% sure you’re moving in the next couple of months. You’re literally cleaning up the house for it right now. So the wise thing would be to just leave the Lego in its boxes, to make it easier to move. But it’s Lego. And you might not move for a couple of months. So if you put it away you might not even see it, never mind build it until, I dunno, possibly February. And it’s Lego. But the wise thing would be not to touch it. But it’s Lego… but the wise thing…… but it’s Lego… but the wise thing…
Two movies to choose from for this post: first, this year’s stunningly beautiful and dream-like adaptation of Dune, which I chose as my birthday movie (a family tradition: birthday victim gets their choice of dinner, dessert, and movie) a couple of weeks ago and completely forgot to post; and secondly, Lord 16’s last act of sixteendom, choosing The Crow as his movie tonight, before transitioning into Lord 17 tomorrow.
Someehow it seems appropriate that on the 46th anniversary of leaving England, the random number generator throws up a cartoon that pitches me right back to my short, pre-Australian childhood.
Even as a kid, Punch and Judy was horrific. Indeed, that’s part of its… I don’t know if charm is the right word, but certainly fascination.
It’s a grotesque, of course, a deliberate soft spot between what is acceptable and the dark mirror world where all is allowed and nothing is forbidden. As a tiny person on the cold, windy, pebble-coated beaches of — well, I’m not entirely sure, to be honest. The scratchy super 8 films in my possession don’t really make it clear, and both my parents are dead so they can’t tell me. Call it Bournemouth, or Brighton, or more likely as we were in Nottingham, Blackpool — the Punch and Judy show was right up there with riding donkeys and eating fairy floss as the maddest of mad shit my four year old brain could cope with. But holy hot damn, when you look at it objectively… depending on the professor, and the time, and just how closely parents and the authorities are watching, Punch is a coyote, a joker, an agent of chaos, or an outright monster from the same level of Hell that ‘gifts’ us Jimmy Savile and Denis Nilsen.
My time together with Lord 16 is slowly, but inevitably, drawing to a close. We’re not at the finish line just yet, but as he’s coming to the end of year eleven, and could leave home as early as this time next year — Uni, life plans, sudden familial decisions to uproot ourselves and move halfway across the state, and so forth notwithstanding — it’s possible to imagine the final turn into the straight. To mangle an analogy.
So I’m running out of time to expose him to all the necessary texts to ensure he goes into his arts career with at least an acceptable understanding of the classics. And with the fortuitous purchase of a Mel Brooks box set, and the announcement of an upcoming History of the World Part 2 TV series, well, what better time to decide to show him the third of Brooks’ Great and Classic Trilogy?
It’s good to be the King.
Anyway, this is one of those you-have-to-recognise-the-movie-to-get-the-gag ones, but if you do, you’ll understand why I snorted like a pig seeing the farmer slip in a cowpat.
An actual completed one, from a time when I had some cash in my pocket, a pad of decent gsm card, and the means to pick up some proper-quality greyscale watercolour markers, so I could give this whole cartooning thing a decent go.
I did manage to sell a couple of them along the way, but the experience was enough to make me realise I needed to devote my entire attention to it in order to be even a jobbing journeyman, and at the time, writing was the artform in which I was more advanced, and in which I had a better chance of carving out a career.
‘Tis to laugh, eh?
Anyway, I didn’t sell this one, because the craft just isn’t there enough. But it still makes me smile: as an expression of my sense of humour, it’s pretty pure.