Friday, September 23, 2005


Anna Tambour, guest blogging

"You'll enjoy this Puddin'," said Bill, handing him a large slice. "This is a very rare Puddin'."

"It's a cut-an'-come-again Puddin'," said Sam.

"It's a Christmas steak and apple-dumpling Puddin'," said Bill.

It's a --. Shall I tell him?" he asked, looking at Bill. Bill nodded, and the Penguin leaned across to Bunyip Bluegum and said in a low voice, "It's a Magic Puddin'."

"No whispering," shouted the Puddin' angrily. "Speak up. Don't strain a Puddin's ears at the meal table."

"No harm intended, Albert," said Sam, "I was merely remarking how well the crops are looking. Call him Albert when addressing him," he added to Bunyip Bluegum. "It soothes him."

"I am delighted to make your acquaintance, Albert," said Bunyip.

"No soft soap from total strangers," said the Puddin', rudely.

…from THE MAGIC PUDDING almost forgotten in Australia, but being discovered in the USA
At Melbourne's Continnum: Creatures Natural and Unnatural, in July 2005, The Magic Pudding never made an appearance in any discussion, to my knowledge, even in the panel "Folk and Fairy Lore in Australia". I asked why, and someone said, "I guess everyone forgot it." Perhaps this wonderful book and its unique characters will be rediscovered as valued imports, in the grand tradition here.

"But it was always thus. As far back as 1857, a Sydney nurseryman advertised in his catalogue of plants the Swan River daisy--from seeds imported from England. Then during the First World War a Melbourne nurseryman sent to England for seeds of Sturt's desert pea, which covered untold acres close to Broken Hill. He received the reply: 'None available now that the German market is closed' …before the German market closed another Melbourne nurseryman imported the seeds of 100 varieties of Australian wattle--the cultivation of them had not been attempted here…" - from "Knockers", by Keith Dunstan, Cassell, Australia, 1972

There's never a Magic Pudding in my house. He keeps getting himself given away. Incomparable, irascible, unpredictable in the extreme. The story is "better than Alice in Wonderland", and the pictures are even better--all by that incomparable himself, Norman Lindsay, the man who painted "The Crucified Venus", and whose caricature of himself (with a nose that if made of wood, could have made a thousand ships) is on the cover of my novel, Spotted Lily.


At 7:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 6:15 PM, Anonymous Ben Payne said...

I loved the Magic Pudding when growing up... we had the book plus a tape version with all different actors playing the parts...the guy from Kingswood Country played Bill Barnacle... I haven't read the book in years but still remember the pudding song from the tape...

At 3:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank goodness someone mentioned the Magic Pudding an hilarious read that is quite forgotten these days, along with Blinky Bill and Snugglepot and Cuddlepie. The wicked banksia men were wonderfully frightening at the age of 6 or 7 if I recall.

Anne S

At 6:20 AM, Anonymous Anna said...

Ben and Anne,
I'm so glad (and relieved) to read these from you (and I'd love to hear you sing the pudding song, Ben!).

Anne, I wanted to talk about Blinky Bill and Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, too, but thought people might think I was going overboard. Also, I wondered about the wicked banksia men. I saw the banksia men on banksias before I saw them as Gibbs' men; and I thought and still do think, that banksias and their pods are endearingly friendly, especially when they open their eyes and mouths. What's it like having a friendly and cuddly seedpod that looks like it's smiling, to me, turned into an object of fright? Or did they never look friendly to you? What do you think? This is from someone who had horrible nightmares from that children's film, Snow White. Were you really frightened, or just pleasantly, fun-frightened?

At 4:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Banksia men in Gibb's book preceded my seeing a banksia in the flesh so to speak. I can still vividly recall an illustration in the book of a Banksia man holding a gumnut baby by its feet and a dangling it over an abyss or something.

I don't think they gave me nightmares though.

Anne S

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