Page 414. " Gerald had still not received the accolade of a Spitting Image puppet in his likeness "

Spitting Image is a British television show which ran from 1984 to 1996.

It featured puppet caricatures of members of the British Royal Family, British politicians including Margaret Thatcher, Neil Kinnock and Edwina Currie, as well as various celebrities from the world of entertainment.

 

                                                      

Page 414. " The Gorbachev was the latest trophy "
Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987
Public DomainMikhail Gorbachev in 1987 - Credit: White House Photo Office

 Mikhail Gorbachev, who was born in 1931, was General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991, and President of the Soviet Union between 1990 and 1991.

He attempted to initiate far-reaching reforms in the way Soviet government and society was structured, and used the collective terms perestroika and glasnost to describe the proposed changes. These terms may be loosely translated as restructuring and openness.

In April 1989, President Gorbachev and his wife Raisa came to Britain on a two-day state visit.

 

Page 416. " skittle-people , with bellies and collars and Punchinello hats "
French depiction of Punchinello (1860)
Public DomainFrench depiction of Punchinello (1860) - Credit: Maurice Sand
Pulcinella puppet in Naples (2009)
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikePulcinella puppet in Naples (2009) - Credit: mari27454

 Punchinello, known as Pulcinella in Italian and Punch in English, is a stock figure in traditional southern Italian puppetry.

He has his origins in the 17th century Italian comedy theatre known as Commedia dell'Arte which involves three main classes of stereotypical characters: masters, servants (or clowns), and lovers.

Pulcinella falls into the clown class. He is always depicted with a white costume and black mask, a big  hooked nose, and a sharp, rasping voice. His form is often short and fat, and his character, nasty and sly.

In other European traditions the character has been modified in various ways; for example, he has become Kasper in Germany, Jan Klaassen in the Netherlands, and Mr Punch in the English puppet show Punch and Judy.

 

 

Page 419. " 'Well, there was Morgan Le Fay, wasn't there, the famous witch.' "
'Morgan le Fay' (1862)
Public Domain'Morgan le Fay' (1862) - Credit: Edward Burne-Jones

 Morgan le Fay  is a powerful witch or sorceress in legends about King Arthur.

In various Arthurian tales, she is depicted in different ways. For example, in the early romances of Chrétien de Troyes, she appears as a healer of the sick. She also takes on the role of healer in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Vita Merlini (c.1150) where she is one of 9 sorceresses who live on the Isle of Avalon. In later stories, however, she is depicted as one of the adversaries of King Arthur, Queen Guinevere and the Knights of the Round Table.

 

'Voyage of Arthur and Morgan le Fay to the Isle of Avalon' (1888)
Public Domain'Voyage of Arthur and Morgan le Fay to the Isle of Avalon' (1888) - Credit: Frank William Warwick Topham