The Truth about Goats
While English professors and people who mourn the loss of pipe-smoking focus their attention on the poets of 1914-18, some contemporary historians feel more should be done to commemorate the loss of so many hand-based performance artists. Sock Ingénues (or ‘Glove Puppeteers’ as they prefer) played a vital role in maintaining Trench morale during the Great War and offered much needed warmth, a counterpoint to the Kaiser’s use of ‘jugglers and stilt walkers’ and the occasional ‘light hand relief’
Alongside these valiant puppeteers, the Allies employed an array of finger-painters, circus freaks and ‘guys standing very still covered in paint’ to repel the Schlieffen Plan. One museum curator commented: ‘Who can forget the Nose Flutists of the Somme? Or the silent struggle of the Passchendaele Mime Artists? The devotion of those Glove Puppeteers could be felt for a long time in the British consciousness. Of course everyone knows that the 50’ s Sooty Show was a powerful satire on the folly of war and the perils of a dog who can only communicate via saxophone, squeaking and by molesting your bear girlfriend’.
The strange obsession with WW1 poets can only be attributed to national guilt at having ‘flunked A-level Literature’. One Oxford academic reminisced: ‘What you have to remember is no one really likes poetry. Oh, we all pretend we do – to impress girls, justify wearing a beret and to appear sensitive. But really World War One poetry is the most turgid pile of whinny arsed cr@p you can imagine. At least other wars provided a good soundtrack or some spinoff movies. All we got from WW1 was a load of complaints about trench-foot in iambic pentameter’.
Unlikely the ‘workshy’ and ‘cowardly’ poets, these puppeteers stayed committed to the armed struggle; with many making the ultimate sacrifice of laying down their glove in favour of using an actual gun. Controversially there is still no statue for the fallen ‘Irish ventriloquists’ and many of the ‘female impersonators’ from the Commonwealth received proportionately less honours than British entertainers. It is however worth noting that allegedly several million non-artistic soldiers died in the conflict, but seriously – who cares?