Punch & Judy
SCRATCH MY NOSE - PUNCH & PUNCH & JUDY SHOW
The Scratch My Nose (SMN) ‘Punch & Punch & Judy’ spectacle premiered at Victoria Park Hotel in Marrickville wedged between two poker machines supporting an acoustic set of derivative blues songs from Australian actor Noah Taylor. Over the next 5 years this humorous, spectacular, grotesque and colourful work engaged audiences with their subversive politics and satire.
The ‘Punch & Punch & Judy’ show was a reaction to SMN’s earlier chaotic spontaneous non-performances in public spaces such as on Sydney Ferries, mannequin window boxes in railway stations and within the crowd at a variety of public concerts. Most of these earlier works were improvised with a basic skeleton idea: SMN interacted and baited their audience with slogans and strange sounds, not unlike a Dadaist performance. These works in the main were governed by the audience’s uptight behaviour and the unexpected nature of performing in public spaces.
SMN was looking for an avenue to perform their cut-up aesthetic sounds live without the usual posturing as with a rock band or a professional performance troupe. Through “Punch & Punch & Judy” SMN were seeking to comment on consumer culture, turning a particular brand of entertainment into art-form. Entertainment is now seen as a consumer right. Popular culture functions to keep ordinary people silent and ignorant of their true situation and the arts play to an audience’s expectation of being passive, decorative and entertaining. Truly great art needs to be capable of being the best or worst art on the planet at any given time - because it’s not about entertainment, it’s not about the audience and it’s certainly not about the adulation - the audience are something to react and rage against.
SMN understood public entertainment spaces such as the clubs and pubs. Inspiration came from seeing a ‘Jack in the Box’ old amusement machine in a café. The SMN performance box confronted the established form as it looked like an existing entertainment machines such as computer games and poker machines, and was duly placed next to them – not on a stage but in the audience’s domain. ‘Punch & Punch &Judy’ was created in the tradition of the vaudeville sideshow and could be compared to an early 20th century amusement machine found at Coney Island or Luna Park. “Punch & Punch & Judy” was a pay as you play. By paying with a gold coin the curtains opened and you could view the all-talking all-regurgitating, all-spitting and all-vomiting talking heads of the SMN twins.
The ‘Punch and Punch and Judy’ show was much more chaotic then anything SMN has conducted before. It was like a children’s party gone wrong. When the curtains opened the audiences were repulsed by the spewing of food products. Mixed coloured lollies, Neapolitan ice-cream, birthday cakes with candles, cigarettes, regurgitated eggs, coloured balloons, fish and ox-tongues played along too the drowning AM radio sounds of SMN laughing, burping, nickelodeon sideshow tunes. A real heightened sense of emotion was at play – in particular in an alcoholic environment. At times the audiences yelled or reciprocated by spitting beer onto the front screen at the SMN twins as the performance was in play. On a few occasions the performing box was shaken from side to side from drunken audience members. Many wanted to pay to have a turn as performer. At the end of the performance the stench of all the food mixed together was very overwhelming.
Locust Jones was drunk and out of control at one of these shows and wrote in his journal at the time:
Enter the Lansdowne Hotel to a room full of pussy whipped Neolithic disability pensioners and ‘mamby pamby’ artists, lame excuses for dole bludgers and girls that follow fashion and wear oversize Jacqui O sunglasses and black And white stripped T-shirts, pay 80 bucks for a haircut and a $900 for a Bosch Dishwasher. Why do we all follow and prescribe to sameness, Why the fuck isn't anyone kicking against the system. Where are the poets and the shit kickers and communists gone? What we have are - Strivers. Striving Striding Sampling Safety Sampling Trends. Anyway Enough!!
Beer. Beer. Beer. I am in the mood now to give ‘Punch and Judy’ a go alright mate!! Make some noise. Make some shit Spinal Snap Noise. Yeah now I’m feeling some energy, sirens ringing outside, and the prelude to another awakening.
Another beer. The curtains open. Scratch My Bum. Fuck me up the date mate, fuck me. Whoop it up the jack. That is crazy as a poof mother on tranquilizers.
I see Scratch My Bum, and I am doing the loke-amotion and I go ape – and they go ape - with a wet wet wet netting on the face spewing regurgitating vomiting free range eggs and orange food now looking like shit splattered. This ain’t ‘mamby pamby’. Tell those fucks to fuck me. I feel like breaking the necks off long necks and glassing some cunt at the pisser.
Think its bout time for a name change though - Blue.
SCRATCH MY ARSE
SCRATCH MY ARSE
SCRATCH MY ARSE
SCRATCH MY FUCKIN ARSE
Nice one cock! But it must be my turn now.
Locust Jones currently lives and works in Australia. He has held 25 solo exhibitions within Australia and internationally including: New Zealand, USA, India, Lebanon, and Germany. He was awarded the prestigious Hazelhurst Work on Paper Award in 2009. In 2004 was the recipient of an artist in residence exchange to Beirut Lebanon, while in 2010 he was also awarded the Asialink Residency to Seoul, Korea.