The Art of the Swazzle: The Voice of Punch
"The great difficulty in performing Punch consists in the speaking, which is done by a call or whistle, in the mouth... They ain't whistles, but calls, or unknown tongues, as we sometimes names 'em, because with them in the mouth, we can pronounce each word as plain as any parson... My master whom I went out with at first would never teach me, and was very particular in keeping it all a secret from me. Piccini taught me the call at the time I bought his show of him. I was six months in perfecting myself in the use of it. I kept practicing away nights and morning with it until I got it quite perfect."
- from the 1840's Mayhew interview with the Unknown Punchman published in "London Labour and the London Poor," vol iii, by Henry Mayhew, 1851.
Punch Speaks

Professor Freshwater, an expert in the art of the swazzle who performs thoughout the U.S., let's us listen to the voice of Punch that has captivated audiences for the past few hundred years.

"That's the way to do it!"
(AU file, 48k)

"Oh, what a pity."
(AU file, 72k)

The Seaside Song
(AU file, 232k)




(Shown at right is Prof. Freshwater's Punch in Duluth, Minnesota.)

Professor Freshwater comments:

"I was taught how to make and use a swazzle by British Punch professors. I had to swear never to casually reveal the swazzle's secrets. Only those who are serious about performing Punch in the traditional style were deemed worthy of the swazzle. Now, with the new millenium approaching and worldwide communication possible at the touch of a computer keyboard, the rule about swazzle secrecy has been somewhat relaxed. But I hope that this marvelous device will always remain firmly entrenched in Mr. Punch's domain, and that those who learn its use will never forget to respect its role in a centuries-old tradition."

 

 

Punch's Swazzle: what it is & how to make one

Punch Professors: meet more Professors

Freshwater Pearls Puppetry: visit Prof. Freshwater's Homepage

The Punch Page