Springingtiger's Blog


Her Master’s Voice

A few days ago I watched “Her Master’s Voice”, I think it upset me, whatever, I have been processing it for a couple of days. I had to retreat into a dark ro, into silence. I found it tough to process, I had to watch again on BBC IPlayer and I still found it disturbing. I think it challenged me for two reasons, firstly because my association with ordinary human reality is tenuous at the best of times. Secondly, and more importantly, I find emotions difficult to process; emotions expressed by a group of ventriloquist’s puppets threw me into serious overload.

I often say,  “It’s okay to listen to the voices in your head,  but don’t talk back to them out loud, in public,  or they will cancel your vote! ” Nina Conti was talking to the voices, but I found the different personalities of the puppets quite scary and one, Jack, was so nasty to Nina I was upset. I was even more upset when it occurred to me that she was providing Jack with his words and I could not quite work out the division of personalities.

I am not comfortable with emotions and when,  in the program, Nina was persuaded by Monkey to stage his death I was upset. When the car drove over Monkey her tears were obviously very real, I was upset. I was angry later when it was revealed that it was Monkey’s understudy who died and not Monkey, I resented being put through that upset.

There was much in the program that made me sad. The point of Nina Conti’s trip to the USA was to leave one of Ken Campbell’s puppets at Vent Haven a museum and home for the puppets of dead ventriloquists. I found the concept of bereaved puppets very difficult to deal with, it is so upsetting to think of those characters suddenly deprived of their voices on the death of their ventriloquators. Silence can be hell when it’s not a choice.

It appears that for some ventriloquists their puppets serve them as my writing serves me, to put my thoughts outside myself where I can see them. I was interested that there were some puppets to whom Nina could not properly give a voice, It is as if the puppets do have personalities of their own and not every ventriloquist can resonate with every puppet. I had thought to erase the iPlayer download after having watched it again, but I realise I still am not complete with it, I still have processing to do. Besides I love Monkey.

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