The Blog

The Importance Of Puppets

I've never been a serious person. Often I find myself at the end of another's judgement, with them claiming that I'm immature, silly or even stupid. Such labels would have their negative uninspiring effect, crushing me to choose a life less interesting; the 9 to 5 dull of mortgages and MOT's. When I severed in the Army, a playful person such as I had no place, my humour of silly voices and eccentric over enthusiastic body movements would make people laugh or cringe. But all directed at me personally, rather than the gag or over the top expression.

I have very little, to no regrets from that time in my life, and I continue to relish in my silly behaviour. This all steams from a childhood exposed to The Muppet Show and Sesame Street, both having had huge impacts on my life, and have almost certainly played a part in shaping me in to the man that I am today. When I am around the people that I feel the most comfortable, I find that I put on silly voices to talk to them, in a effort to cheer them up or lighten the mood. More often than not, these voices tend to be ones that have a caring tone to them, expressing to that person my concern, or that I just want them to know I'm here, completely approachable and that I care for them.

Both shows especially Sesame Street would get me into lots of trouble at school. I always remember my first teacher Miss Price telling me it's not Zee it's Zed Robert! Nevertheless, her extensive efforts at Colonial integration were lost, as I still make that mistake today, twenty five years on, much to my own embarrassment as it's normally to the people that care most about such trivial mistakes. Thanks to one man, my sense of humour is and will always be branded as being silly. He taught both myself and my twin brother, the importance of ignoring the inhibitions of an adult, that friendship among kindred spirits is as important as family. And that having fun and wearing a smile was what life is all about, I am of course talking about Jim Henson.

May of 1990 Jim Henson Died at the age of 53. This was the first time in my life that the death of someone I'd never met affected me emotionally. However, I knew his work or too well! Labyrinth on VHS; that tape would spend most of its time being watched from beginning to end, on none other than a typical drizzly English Sunday, only to find that it would then be rewound back to the beginning again for another blast directly into mine and my brothers cerebral cortex's, fuelling our imaginations.

The spell Jim Henson had cast on us both, made you believe that fun and being silly, we're nothing to be ashamed of. The worlds he created were full of magic and wonder, his creations meant so much to my childhood optimistic mind, that dreamed of adventure, comradeship among exciting and funny characters, and of course, the importance of love.

A few nights ago I had the pleasure of an evening to myself. All of my housemates were out, apart from the old lady ghost, that shows up every now and then to give me the willies! Apart from the terrifying anticipation of her uninvited pleasure, the evening was perfect. I decided to make myself a posh dinner to enjoy, and pop on a film. I was feeling rather reflective that evening, so decided that a documentary was in order. The film I finally settled on was about the puppeteer Kevin Clash. Kevin is Elmo, and his story is quite remarkable and extremely moving. I urge everyone to watch the film, Being Elmo. The history of the man, his relentless work ethic together made for such an inspiring story. Matched together in a seamless display of when great directing meets exceptional editing. An empowering message for black culture and the American dream in action makes Being Elmo a tour de force of inspiration for anyone with purpose or a dream that is so overwhelming it's out of reach.

Straight after watching the film I found myself with that all too familiar creative urge that many artists, no matter their medium get in those rare moments of kindred motivation inspired from another's will to succeed. However, it was the films message of love that really got to me.

Puppets are effectively a channelling device for the puppeteers soul. Through the puppet, they express their kindness, and love for the world. Any and every form of creativity is the same, all of our creations are extensions from our self, an expression of our souls. If that isn't important and worthy of praise and inspiration, then I really don't know what is.