Posted on August 14, 2008 by glyn
The times they are a changin' for Mr. Punch in the UK as far as the media are concerned. It is a truism (but none the less true) that 'the media' can only hold one piece of narrative at once. For the first decades of my career as a Prof the standard line of questioning by journalists always ran along the lines of 'I expect it's a dying art these days isn't it?'. Then for the past couple of decades it ran 'I expect it's all banned because of Political Correctness these days isn't it?' In the past two years however it has reverted to the 'I believe it's all dying out....' line of questioning. What remains, however, is the perennial fascination with Mr. Punch and the willingness of the media to hang a story around him. I'm not going to argue with that. He's a star - and when the media stop following him he's in trouble. The latest tale is that a survey shows that children no longer see as much Punch & Judy as their parents did and so Chevrolet cars are touring a car with a Punch booth attached around seaside venues to reverse the trend. What a great story! If Mr. Punch were seriously at risk from the Political Correctess taleban then no commercial sponsor would risk going near him. Instead of which he's being used as an excuse to promote cars. (The morality of that I am deliberately side-stepping. It's Punch's potency as a celebrity I'm measuring here.) You can see the story in the British press here
Meanwhile just on a personal note I've recently performed at 'Basingstoke-on-Sea' (an attempt to attract punters to a landlocked housing development by means of a seaside fun day promotion involving a sand pit, and ice cream van and yours truly), at the 'retro themed urban beach' of a 5 Star Hotel and am lined up as part of 'Scrum at the Beach' (a family-friendly promotion for Beach Rugby sponsored by the 02 cellphone network and backed by the British Rugby Federation) taking place in Trafalgar Sq. Yes THAT Trafalgar Sq. Meanwhile I've heard of department stores running P&J promotions, more P&J at the prestigious new St. Pancras International station and a whole raft of other such high profile ventures. The times are indeed a changin' - and the PC fundamentalists are on the back foot. That is definitely the way to do it.
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