Tuesday 5 October 2010


Oh dear, my sleep patterns are all over the place. It's 2.20am, and I went to bed at 8.30pm, now unable to get back to sleep after waking up very thirsty. The reading I've been doing on Freudianism (most recently, the say-what-you're-thinking What is Psychoanalysis? by SomebodyOrOther Corriat) tells me that one of the most basic wish-fulfilment dreams is dreaming of water/drinking when you are thirsty. To the best of my recollection, I was dreaming of the cast of Emmerdale - analyse that, Sigmund.

So, I'm writing because I'm awake (and, incidentally, quite hungry - what is the social acceptability of eating a sandwich at 2.20am?) but I did want to ask you lot a question, in preparation for a forthcoming review. That sounds very organised, doesn't it? It isn't really; it's rather more a delaying tactic - but it would be lovely if you could answer it none the less.

What do you associate with Punch magazine? What are your thoughts when you hear of it? Which adjectives would you use to describe it?

For a bonus mark, and not related to the review I hope to write soon, what well-known phrase derived from the caption accompanying this image in Punch?

Writing the question reminds me that I once bought some fairly large old copies of Punch, but I haven't the smallest idea where they are - I have a feeling they didn't survive the house-move in 2005.

Great - so do let me know, and all will become clear. If you're lucky, I might even tell you a Punch related joke, shamelessly stolen from my brother. And now I'm going to eat a sandwich, because I imagine that somewhere in the world it is lunchtime...


  1. I bet they did! I bet they are in one of the deep recesses of the attic - so good luck with that one!
    The Punch cartoon featured doesn't have something to do with eggs does it? Ooo - did I spoil it? Sorry!
    Hope you enjoyed the sandwich - you could have made me a cup of tea - I was awake at much the same time, but made do with water!

  2. The cartoon is the one that derived the expression "a curates egg". I think it read something like "Oh, the curates egg is bad" to which he replies "but there is some good in it".

    I only know because I looked it up recently after someone had used the expression in a letter to me.

    Hope you got back to sleep.

  3. Punch - loved it in the 1970's. I remember with great pleasure most of the cartoon strips and a few of the written articles, particularly those by Miles Kington.

    I read some early C20 editions of Punch many years ago and without exception found them completely unfunny.

    Surely your cartoon shows the famous "Curates Egg"? A famous phrase indeed but it doesn't make me laugh (or even smile). As I have previously opined on Cornflower, I think that most humour is very much of its time and rarely time travels more than a few decades.

  4. i was going to guess "More tea vicar?" but i think it's the egg.
    Punch equals cartoons with witty captions. Don't agree that all the humour dates, some of the early ones still make me smile.

  5. I never read punch but now I am really curious... Wonder if I can get some old editions on ebay?

  6. I had no idea where 'curate's egg' came from, so thank you! Punch: satire, cartoons, and shamefully that's it really. Should get hold of some old copies...

  7. I'm afraid that these days I mostly associate Punch with being in hospital for ages after my son was born, kept in because I had flu. Stifling boredom punctuated by screaming infant and not-very-funny cartoons which all had a curiously febrile quality to them. My other reading was Bleak House, which I started before I went into hospital. Neither was very suitable in the circumstances. I did like Miles Kington though.

  8. Feeling very out of the loop as I have never had the pleasure of reading Punch. BUT I absolutely can not sleep if I'm hungry so good on you for making that sandwich!

  9. The adjective I most associate with Punch is bankrupt. Am I right in thinking it has gone out of business twice in the past quarter century, most recently after having been revived by Mr Al Fayed the former owner of Harrods?

  10. cartoons and I think colemansballs

  11. The Right Reverend host states "I am afraid you've got a bad egg, Mr Jones." The curate replies "Oh no, my Lord, I assure you, parts of it are excellent." (I probably misquote!) Dark Puss suggests that the humour is not transferable and cannot survive outside its period. Listening to today's news from the Tory party conference, it has a strange relevence! Parts are definitely 'off'! (1895 - 2010)

  12. I associate Winston Churchill with Punch magazine. I can't think of any quotes, mostly visuals of drawings of Churchill with a big cigar and walking stick in hand.

  13. The cartoons more than anything else. I used to read it in the '80's until it went bust, tried the new version and didn't like it so wasn't surprised it went bust again.

  14. It always had some (but not all) brilliant cartoons (we have a book of them in our downstairs loo). I used to dip into it most weeks - loved the late Miles Kington in particular.

    BTW Colemanballs is in Private Eye.

  15. I have several Punch books. My favourite is Punch Book of Women.
    Punch humour always struck a chord with me and you can go back and reread them year after year.


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