That’s the way to do it

punch_and_the_devil.jpg

The basics of the story of Punch and Judy, those screeching puppets who hit each other with sticks, is always essentially the same. Judy forces Punch to watch their screaming baby and Punch, pure sociopathic id, gets tired of hearing him and throws him out the window. Judy comes back and when she realizes what he’s done she starts hitting him over the head with a wooden spoon and he turns around and beats her dead with a stick. The policeman comes to arrest him and Punch kills him, the priest comes to condemn him and Punch beats him to death too, the hangman comes to execute him and Punch tricks him into the noose instead and finally the devil comes to claim him and Punch kills even him, all the while shouting, “That’s the way to do it!” after each murder. Then, pleased as Punch with himself (get it?) he says good-bye to the children in the audience and invites them back for the next show. Because, you see, Punch never dies.

English humor is so fucked up.

Punch and Judy is also the name of a pub I went to in Covent Garden this weekend. I met up with friends of a friend (thanks Julie!) and we went out first to a chain pub around High Holborn Street, where my hotel is, and after one of the women, Katherine, and I went to Punch and Judy essentially because it served alcohol and had a bathroom, our two main requirements. If I didn’t have to pee we probably would have gone to an outside pub where plenty of people were bundled up in winter coats, drinking happily in the open air on a January night, but I really needed that bathroom.

Covent Garden itself is an area in London right next to Holborn (where my office and hotel are) but it also generally refers to the central area of the neighborhood, an outdoor piazza where buskers and street artists perform amid various bars, restaurants and shops and the Royal Opera House. This was the first time I’d ever been there, but at night it reminded me of Pier 39 in San Francisco, without the sea lions. Or the water. (Yes, scoff if you like, but I like Pier 39. I like the views and the clam chowder in a sourdough bowl.) I’d like to go back there in the day sometime soon.

I had a really good time. We closed out the bar. It’s less impressive than it sounds since bars close in London at 11:30, but if you factor in the time difference beteen here and NY it was… 6:30 pm. I really am getting old.

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~ by kellly333 on January 8, 2007.

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