Shabcast 17 - It's So Stimulating Being Your Hat


As promised, hot on the heels of Shabcast 16, here's Shabcast 17 ... hopefully making up for our regrettably Shabcast-free February.

As also promised, this episode festures special guest Shana Wolstein of the Oi! Spaceman podcastOi! Spaceman is the best Doctor Who podcast I'm not directly financially linked to... though I am the podcast's official boyfriend (which is not something I ever expected to say). 

Back on the subject of Shabcasts, this episode is plenty-minutes of Shana and I chatting about two of her favourite films (and mine) the 80s Jim Henson fantasy masterpieces The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth.

Also, if you didn't catch it, remember to check out Shabcast 16 from last week, in which Kevin Burns (of Pex Lives) and I spend plenty-minutes attacking The Matrix trilogy... amusingly, I hope.

On that subject: I now slightly regret the timing of that last Shabcast, for obvious reasons.  But I hope it's obvious that disliking some of Lilly Wachowski's films doesn't mean Kevin or I have anything but best wishes for her personally.

Podlings of the world, unite!



5tephe 4 years, 10 months ago

That was the best 2 hours 22 minutes of podcast I have heard in a LONG time.

And Shana - don't bother trying to dispel any lingering fear of the reality of Skeksis by visiting the Henson workshop. It won't work.

I had the immense privilege of working with several Henson-built puppets (they didn't come out of the London studio, so they couldn't be called Muppets) on a kid's show made in Australia some years ago: Bambaloo. ( I was a 2nd AD on the second series, and my wife was the main script writer, and script editor.

The respect I gained for not only the puppeteers, but the puppet doctors and makers, and the puppets themselves, is profound.

See, each puppet made is treated as a cast member themselves. This is not just a quirk, or a metaphor, but a serious practice that cast and crews engage in consciously. The puppet itself is an inanimate object when it is finished being made, and remains so until the artist who will be playing them puts them on for the first time. And what happens then, is that the puppeteer enters a relationship with the puppet. They play, and experiment, and most importantly, they discover the voice - the actual sound that the character makes. The puppeteers describe it as letting the puppet tell them what they sound like, and how they move.

And from that moment on, only that puppeteer ever performs that character - unless under special circumstances, and only after working with the original artist.

And it's impossible not to get completely caught up in the immersive experience these artists engage in. They create such an atmosphere of respect for the puppets that you can't help it. And once they place the puppet on, they talk in that puppet's voice, almost exclusively.

I have personally uttered the phrase "Excuse me Fidget, can I talk to Adam for a moment?" only to have the puppet dog I was talking to rolf at me "O.K, Steve!", then have the puppeteer Adam call out from under the floorboards "What's up, mate?"

I have never enjoyed a workplace more.

So don't try to convince yourself by going to look at the puppets. Because the Skeksis are real.

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5tephe 4 years, 10 months ago

Also, related to Shabcast 16 when you discussed the Trinity Problem, I've realised that of course Labyrinth offers the perfect counterpoint.

If a person ever wanted to know how to write a proper Kick Ass Female character, they should go have another look at Sarah.

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Wood 4 years, 10 months ago

The Dark Crystal was one of the two films I saw in the cinema as a kid.

Like Shana, it has never left me (and Labyrinth too). I love your insights too. There's so much truth in these films.

I've got kids now and I've introduced both to them and the kids loved them, as I knew they would.

I never noticed the two pints of milk. I'm going to have to watch Labyrinth again and look for them.

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Wood 4 years, 10 months ago

Oh, by the way, meant to say: I don't think it is necessarily problematic that Jareth is teaching Sarah about things like "fairness" - when someone like that seduces someone more innocent, more vulnerable, they do so with truths, with relative wisdom. It strikes me as more true that he's like that. If he didn't have some genuine wisdom alongside the abuse and the passive aggression, he wouldn't be the magnetic figure he is... And he wouldn't be so dangerous.

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5tephe 4 years, 10 months ago

Couldn't agree more with you on that point, Wood.

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