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The Dedes are the reflection of their Artist and truth be told they struggle. When they first popped up, the Artist was still working and had to deal with different personalities on a daily basis. As an educator it was the Artist’s intention to find win-win situations where possible, or if not possible, at least come to an understanding of the thinking of others.

The puppets provide an excellent tool to investigate any issue in an non-threatening way and from many different angles. Like in human society, different puppets have different opinions derived from their own individual experiences. While these, on scrutiny, often don’t even exclude each other, they often result in major disagreements – even animosities, when everyone stubbornly insists on their own position. The key to understanding is careful and sincere listening. A skill well worth developing.

Then Top Dog showed up in their little society and everything changed. All of a sudden there was this knifing, lying puppet that twisted words and didn’t care about reason, truth or the well-being of others, but only about his own advantage and power. In typical Dede-fashion they took it lightheartedly at first. Sadly, what happened to the Dede-society was mirrored big time in the real world shortly after.  Over night, the Dedes were no longer funny! And the struggle began: The Dedes’ life philosophy was challenged to the core, if not endangered.

Meanwhile, the Artist in her typical fashion is sitting on the fence. Should the Dedes die, or should they come out fighting? While there is no definitive verdict, the Dedes are still potting around on Instagram. So the Artist kept the Dedes alive as she believes coming back from the dead is arguably more difficult than coming back from sick-leave. While the Dedes were convalescing the blog was somewhat neglected. They really should be out of their sick-bed by now.

Well, of course I am the Artist and the Dedes reflect my own struggle. Personally, I am blessed beyond my own belief, and live an extremely rich and fulfilled life (not in the monetary sense, though). I haven’t always, and like everyone else I have my ups and downs. I invented Top Dog, when I had to cope with a bullying work environment. Writing Top Dog’s adventures helped me tremendously externalising the issue. Though in the end the real Top Dog and her antics did grind me down and even worse Top Dogs popped up everywhere in the political world, like mushrooms after a nuclear fall-out.

My solution was to withdraw back into the privacy of my own life and onto a 1.5ha lifestyle block being as self-sufficient as possible. It suits me to a tee, as I always had hermit-style tendencies (hence the first puppet book ‘Hermit’s Web’).

The Dedes on the other hand are public figures, they like an audience and once again, they complain that I am not doing enough for them. They believe they have a message worth hearing. And there we are…

Do they really?

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The Super Dede Competition is well and truly over and the puppets have to find a new project. But before the next thing, they had to post the Artist’s Survival Cookbooks to the winners. Foxy Lady volunteered to go to the post office in town. As this is quite a trip nowadays, she made a real day out of it.

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After she had run the errand she visited one of her favourite places, the old Stone Store in Kerikeri, which is the oldest surviving stone building in New Zealand. Looking across the river she had an idea: “Maybe we should show our readers more of where we live” she said. “People in other parts of the world will yawn” said the Artist. “A building from 1836 is not something to write home about. Where I come from, there are building half a millennium old and older!”

“It’s not a competition” huffed Foxy Lady. And the readers agreed, they would like to see more of where the Dedes hang out.

Though not all Dedes agree.

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“I don’t think it is a good idea to show our readers our dilapidated realm” said Snotty Nosed Prince to his father Benevolent King, when he heard about the suggestion. “Why not? It is refreshing! Everyone on Instagram shows a picture perfect world.When we open our castle, people realise we are just as average as the next person.”

“I’d rather like to keep up appearances,” said the prince and walked away.

“One day you will realise, one-up-man-ship doesn’t get you anywhere!” said the king calmly and the benefit of old age.

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“No one is interested in how you personally live” laughed Court Jester and tickled Snotty Nosed Prince with the tip of a fern leave. “I understand our readers want to see more of New Zealand, our beautiful country!”

“Not quite” a reader responded. “We are interested in both.”

Some of the Dedes are still not convinced. Calamity admitted that seeing all these beautiful pictures on Instagram make her depressed.

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“We live in a beautiful environment, true, but seeing all these nice landscape images depresses me when I have to go back to work on Monday.” Some did understand her concerns, but others believe he should try to live in the moment. Well, good advice, but it is not that easy with her predisposition.

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Calamity found a supporter in Rob D Light who said he totally understands her. “Cheerful pictures on Instagram drag you down big time. It makes me so aware I never will be on the sunny side of life. I’ve tried and tried and tried!”

Now the readers started to get concerned that the Dedes are so down on their surroundings. Most of them are actually not! It is just that the sullen ones spoke up loudly and skewed the opinions so the world got the wrong impression.

You never will please Calamity. She puts a negative slant on everything and is terribly envious of anyone who has a better live than her (in her judgement). While Rob D Light is tired of trying to break down walls, busily put up by others to exclude him.

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“Sadly these two puppets have a point” admitted Philosopher to L’Artiste “the real Dedeland is a place in the mind. When you lack positive imagination it must be an extremely dreary place.”

 

 

The last week was skills week in the Super Dede Competition and Cool Cat had to present first.

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“I am sick of sharing these dreary old nobody bodies” she said pointing to the black robes they all forced to wear. “When can a pretty girl like me show cleavage? I made this dress so I can stand out from the crowd.”

Well the Artist thought she looks like a housewife from the fifties, though the readers loved the dress. One reader, @spoons_and_friends reminded Cool Cat, that ‘it is not important what you wear or will garner your attention… and if it does, it is really the kind of attention you want?’ That definitely got Cool Cat thinking.

Next day Skeleton Edeltraut had to come up on stage. Poor thing, having lived in the closet for such a long time she was a bit confused.

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“What is a skill” she asked Devil. “Something you are good at” he replied and shoved her into the lights without further ado. There she stood like a little possum and couldn’t move. “We don’t have all day” reminded Devil impatiently.

“I think I am best in keeping secrets” the skeleton said finally and quickly slinked off the stage.

Some readers felt sorry for Skeleton Edeltraut that she had been pushed into the limelight, while others confirmed that she has a valid skill indeed. @theblanche reminded us that ‘loose lips sink ships’ and commended Skeleton on her talent.

Monkey of course has no problems with being centre of attention and showing off.

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“Look” he said “I can balance a banana on my nose…. oops” and it fell off.

Devil shook his head “There are skills and there are useful skills” he sighed “where on earth did we find these contestants?”

The real skill here, and some of the readers agreed, is that Monkey can make others laugh, right?

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Court Jester seems to have a very similar skill as Monkey. He came on stage and proclaimed “I have the skill of making fun of everything.” Devil of course couldn’t withhold his comment: “That is not a skill, that is a nuisance!” Court Jester wasn’t flustered at all “I totally disagree,” he said with his trademark smile “Nothing is more rewarding than to see people laugh about themselves!”

The readers were divided on this one. One said both Dedes spoke the truth, while others said he should keep up the good work. It shows that everything has two sides.

Last, but not least Push Push had to show her skill. She has been practising for month, if not years. Ever since she took part in another talent show and failed.

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She swooned onto the stage donning a tutu and… started crying inconsolably. “I worked so hard on my ballet routine, but the stage is too small for me.”

Isn’t the management committee disorganised this time round? Push Push had in fact complained about the size of the stage last week, but nobody took notice. We are missing Detail so much.

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And then Devil realised they stuffed up big time. They had forgotten to tell the readers that next week is Q&A week. Mouse looked bedazzled. “I never though I would say that,” she admitted “I really miss Detail. With her in the management team this never would have happened!”

To be continued next week….

 

Last week the competition started in earnest. And the contestants had to talk about themselves. Push Push was first up. But she started with a complaint. The stage was too small for her.

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Devil reminded here that she should talk about herself and why she wanted to take part in the competition. “Well,” said Push Push “it is a little known fact, that I am a sponsored Dede. That means I have been sold to a collector. Since I forgot to send my sponsor a Christmas card last year, I felt obliged to take part in the competition to push my value up”

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Cool Cat was taken by surprise that she made it into the competition and she let us in on her secret: “I am a fashion girl and want to look my best. When I first didn’t make it into the competition I was so upset I cooked myself a huge meal of mouse, my favourite. And then  when I heard I made it, I had to eat grass to throw it all up again. What a waste!”

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“Who likes Mouse pie?” asked Monkey. “I like pancakes with banana and I think the committee should announce that any comment in the competition goes into the draw for the ‘Artist’s Survival Cookbook’.” He showed the readers the page with his recipe in the book. “Stop it!” said Devil from behind the curtain “tell us something we don’t know!”

Monkey took a deep breath and said proudly “Once, an old lady said, I looked like Obama!” and then he added with a lower disappointed voice “but I think she wasn’t wearing her glasses.”

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Skeleton Edeltraut wasn’t too sure anymore, whether her decision was right. “Everyone said I will feel so much better, when I come out of the closet” she said while she was tightly holding on the curtain. “Now I am no longer sure, whether I can do it. You know, this is a point of no return. Once I am out, there is no going back! The door will be closed forever!” The readers were very supportive and encouraged Skeleton Edeltraut to continue.

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Court Jester was taken aback by the whole event. “OMG” he sighed, “are my competitors really taking it  that seriously? Where is the fun in their lives? What the heck, I dress up as Leprechaun and have a pint of Guinness. Cheers!”

And that was the end of the first week.

Now the next day Mouse had to make good for her omission. “Monkey is right,” she admitted very embarrassed dragging a copy of the Artist’s Survival Cookbook on stage. “I have forgotten to mention that any comment during the competition goes into the draw to win our flour and water recipe book. I so wish Detail was here, she certainly would have reminded me, but she is still missing.”

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The competition is always very stressful, so on Sunday Mouse and Devil needed to have some time out. They went to the beach, sat on a bench and didn’t talk all day.

To be continued next week….

Well, it should have been all easy peasy. But you would not believe what happened last week. As usual, the readers voted who will take part in this year’s Super Dede competition.  To give all contestants the same chance, voting closed on Tuesday, two days after the last contestant was introduced. Unfortunately the management committee gave an example on how someone could still affect the temporary result.  If someone wants Eve L. gone, they could leave a comment on Cool Cats post. NOT COOL at all. Sure enough two people followed that ‘advice’ and left a comment on the cats post, with the result that Cool Cat passed Eve L.

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Of course Eve L was not taking it lying down. As we already know he was working on a complaint but miraculously he also got a comment from St Petersburg, Russia. (Truly, I could not have made this up!)

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No idea what it says**, but nifty as Eve L is, he figured out the rules mention comments but don’t stipulate the language or whether the comment makes sense.

The next day Mouse, the organiser, wanted to chuck it all in after she looked the the revised vote count.

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“This competition is such a mess.” she said. “Now Cool Cat and Eve L. both wiggled their way into the competition and they pushed Push Push, the elephant out. ”

Devil had enough of the kerfuffle “I am making an executive decision here” he said firmly “Eve L is under suspicion of colluding with a foreign power and should be barred from this year’s competition!” Does anyone dare to disagree with Devil?

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Meanwhile Push Push was so anxious whether she gets in this time, that she did her own recount and had to find out that Foxy Lady did better than her as well. Honest as she is, she admitted the fact to Foxy Lady “nobody seemed to have noticed that you have a point more than I as well.” Luckily, Foxy Lady absolutely hates talent shows and patted the elephant sisterly on the back while she replied: “And we won’t tell anyone either. With your colourful circus personality you will do so much better than I. I am just a cranky old liberal academic. No one seriously wants to see me in a talent show!”

Well, she hadn’t reckoned with our readers. Sure enough someone said “I do!” But by then voting had closed.

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Finally the group picture of the five contestants was released. Not a particularly happy bunch, I must say. Who can blame them. After these two chaotic weeks, they were totally exhausted and they were allowed to go off for a weekend of golfing to get a good break before the competition starts in all seriousness today.

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Problem is, the Dedes can’t play golf at all. Gifting them a golfing weekend just sounded good. So, how do the Dedes relax? They went to a spa anyway. Sitting in a hot tub is no good either, as they are not water tight. To make the best of it Cool Cat treated herself to a massage by Chance. Pity the Dedes have no bodies and a massage is somewhat wasted on them too.

…To be continued next week.

**PS: We tried to find out from enders_production what their comment meant. While they responded, they didn’t engage with our request. It happens that we have Russian friends of our own and even though we did not get a direct translation from them either, we were told it is a word of encouragement. And we opted to believe it.

 

Last week the remaining contestants were introduced.

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Contestant No 7: Rob D Light. With Devil’s supportive words, Rob D Light mustered all his courage to enter the competition. He has a bit of a handicap, as he has a dust allergy and has to wear a kerchief in front of his mouth at all times. Because of this, he is currently unemployed and with no fixed abode. He is desperately looking for a job, though. In the meantime he has volunteered to help Devil building the stage for the competition. He really hopes he will get into the competition and people will change their minds about him.

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Contestant No 8: Skeleton Edeltraut. She simply believes it is a liberating move for every Skeleton to come out of the closet at one stage. Nothing much is known about her, but that is the nature of things. Isn’t it?

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Contestant No 9: Eve L. He wants to be part of the Super Dede Competition as he believes every show must have a nasty character and he certainly can fill this position very nicely, thank you. The big question is, could a nasty puppet become Super Dede?

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Then Lapdog had difficulties deciding on the last contestant. He went to seek advice by the management committee. His dilemma was that Top Dog wants to be part of the competition as he is convinced he is the best Dede ever. However, Lapdog who has the job of canvassing the contestants, can’t stand the narcissist and doesn’t want to give him a change. Luckily Foxy Lady, (who already tried to kill Top Dog once by pushing him of a shelf) stepped up. While she despises talent shows she offered to step up, just to sidestep Top Dog. Lapdog wondered if this approach was ethical. But the committee left the decision up to him.

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Contestant No 10: Foxy Lady. Well as we know, she is not a fan of talent shows, but she strongly believes that the likes of Top Dog need to be stopped. For the benefit of all, she had to snatch the last free space from the narcissist.

 

In the last competition, there was a complaint at the end of the canvassing procedure. Top Dog strongly believed he didn’t make it into the competition because he was last to be introduced. ‘Fair point’, said the management committee and changed the rules. This time the viewers have until Tuesday to get behind their contestant and for now they published the preliminary results only for everyone to see where the contestants stand at this point in time.

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Until Tuesday the readers can add comments to their preferred contestants and by doing so add points to their tally. Every comment counts 5 points. For example, if you want to push Eve L out of the competition, add a comment to Cool Cat and Eve L is a ‘goner’. Unless of course someone else enters a comment to Eve L.

Well, the committee should not have given this strategic example. Miraculously Cool Cat got two more comments over night and left Eve L. in the dust.IMG_4881

Sure enough, this morning Top Dog and Eve L were seen huddled together over pieces of paper writing up complaints.

To be continued next Monday…

 

 

The Dedes realised they need a project. Their little society has become too divisive in the last year, with Top Dog always wanting the limelight. When brainstorming, most were in favour of running yet another tried and trusted Super Dede Competition. However, Mouse, the organiser, who has to do most of the work, asked if the competition could be run on one platform only. The Dedes have currently a very active following on Instagram, so she decided it will be there. But don’t worry, we will report on the progress here on the blog, a nice little weekly summary with some additional background information.

At the moment the contestants are introduced. One per day. (The Dedes don’t want to flood the readers with information and keep pretty much to one post a day). As in previous years, there will be 10 puppets to choose from, with five making it into the three week competition. The selection is strictly on likes and comments. While every reader has only one like per contestant, they can have more than one comment. A like counts as one point and a comment as five.

Here are the contestants that have been introduced so far:

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Contestant No 1: Court Jester. He makes fun of everything and never seems too serious. ‘Seems’ is the operative word here. If you care to listen, he actually makes a lot of sense. He also had to put his name forward, otherwise the next contestant wouldn’t have agreed to give it a go.

 

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Contestant No 2: Snotty Nosed Prince. He appears to be arrogant and doesn’t want to mingle with commoners. One can be never sure, whether he has a wicked sense of humor or whether he is deadpan serious. Listening to his words, one only hopes it is a wicked sense of humor!

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Contestant No 3: Monkey. It is no secret he does everything for a banana and a laugh. He tried to get into the first Super Dede Competition in 2013, but didn’t make it. Of course he would be heart-broken if he didn’t make the cut again.

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Contestant No 4: Push Push. The elephant was told by Monkey, there will be bananas and she wants to have her fair share. Besides, her therapist said she has to work on her confidence.

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Contestant No 5: Junior. When he was born he was given this baseball cap by Top Dog to set him up for life. Sadly Junior had to find out the hard way, that a cap doesn’t necessarily make one great. Now he wants to prove he is good for great things.

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Contestant No 6: Cool Cat. In the last competition Cool Cat had put Alley Cat forward as a representative of the feline fraternity. Alley Cat didn’t get in though, so this time it is Cool Cat’s turn to prove the worthiness of cats. The two couldn’t be more different and we have to see if this cat fares better.

And this is how far we got. Four more contestants to introduce this week. Lapdog the gender-fluid little dog, who won the competition last time has a hard time to find volunteers. He is adamant not to give Top Dog a chance, so he is hard at work convincing some indecisive ones.

Cool Cat was only introduced this morning, so her results are not in yet. However here is a sneak preview how every one is doing after the first week:

The loser is definitely Snotty Nosed Prince. Yes, arrogance doesn’t seem to be attractive to our wider audience. He has 45 likes and two comments.

With the other ones, everything is still possible. The forerunner a the moment is Court Jester with 56 likes and 6 comments, followed by Monkey with 52 likes and 5 comments, Push Push 50 likes and 4 comments and Junior 51 likes and 2 comments.

Competition is fierce!

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Meanwhile on the journey across the property to get materials for the stage, the odd jobs worker Rob D Light confided in Devil that he would rather like to be on stage than building it. Devil was most supportive for Rob to give it a go. We have to see if he is brave enough to approach Lapdog to put him on the list!

Next report will be next Monday!

 

 

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We are still alive and kicking, but much has happened since Christmas the year before last, when Top Dog in our last post tried to steal all the Christmas presents. He has in fact stolen not only the presents but also the Dedes’ innocence and lightness of being.

But from the beginning: As you might have figured the Dedes are dye-in-the-wool liberals They found it more and more difficult to cope with the rise of the autocrats all over the world. What use to be funny, when they were only a sideshow, it no longer funny and so the Dedes lost their voice and became speechless.

The Artist of the Dedes decided in the meantime to leave the of hustle and bustle of big town Auckland behind, like so many others, and moved to the sunny Bay of Islands in New Zealand’s Far North. Well, looking out the window today. It’s all but sunny. Anyway, along the way she was homeless for three month. Not homeless as in ‘no future’ as you can see increasingly on the streets of our big cities, rather homeless as in shake off the old and and clear your mind for the exciting change to come. She spend the time sailing around the Hauraki Gulf and Great Barrier on a little 26-foot catamaran, together with her soulmate and three traveler Dedes. It is documented on the Instagram account @dedepuppets that continued throughout the journey. Then they went for a month to Melbourne housesitting. But after the sailing stint it was clear, citylife is no longer an option.

In July the Dedes moved on an 1.5 ha lifestyle block with a delapidated house and are renovating ever since, digging trenches, planting out vegetables, cutting down trees and and and. Life has never been busier, but at the same time it has never been happier either. Though there is a clear mental battle going on. Taking the easy route and happily withdraw into the privacy of a little bubble, or continue to make public statements and give a small group of readers something to smile about.

Unfortunately for the Dedes, the happier, the quieter they are. Well, on Instagram the Artist had suggested, once the Dedes drop below 700 followers they will die. There was a little outcry amongst our handful of diehard followers. And so we continue. To be honest, the amount of followers is not important to us. On instagram they come and go like flies anyway. For the Artist the Dedes are really there to make sense of her world und understand human behaviour. And there is still so much more to understand. We can’t go back to where we were, but we can’t continue towards the abyss with open eyes. So for now we soldier on without a solution! Maybe it will be around the next corner…

It was always in the back of our mind to revive the blog once we are sort of settled in our new environment. And we feel really back to have it neglected for over a year. Thanks to our puppeteer friend in Australia who missed the blog, here we are…

On instagram the Dedes are preparing to embark on yet another Super Dede Competition. The ones in 2013 and in 2016 were definitely the highlights of their career and they hope they can repeat their success, proving to their Artist that there is still live in them. The Artist is suspicious, as well, she doesn’t want to flogg it to death.

The blog will be different, but how we don’t know yet :)

I hope there are still a few followers out there, who are happy to see us back.

Go, Dedes, go

 

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“I am very disappointed in you,” said Devil, who somehow managed to make his way back onto the scene. Like most of the Dedes he had been packed away.

“But why?” asked Foxy Lady and pulled the picture of the dashing fox closer to her heart.

“I would have expected a girl of your intelligence to stand up and fight for her believes! Not run away and follow a mirage into some romantic dreamland.”

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Of course Foxy Lady knows she is in trouble now. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that her attempt to assassinate Top Dog will have repercussions. It would be best if she could disappear. But how? How can she escape this little Dedeworld?
It happened that we received snail mail from @denise_m_oehl recently. Denise had sent us a pack of beautiful postcards of her work. Oh, postcards, greetings from the big wide world! Foxy Lady’s heart nearly stopped when she discovered this image of a gorgeous fox with golden fur. “I am going to find this man” she thought instantly “and I am going to marry him!” Problem solved!?