IT’S ONLY A CLOWN!
The other day I was having a quick scroll through facebook and came across a photo of a mother dressed as a clown and hiding under her child’s bed. I had to laugh out loud but I also had to cringe remembering my own childhood fear of clowns and basically anything that wore a costume and mask. I’m very much a person that likes to see someone’s eyes to get a sense of who they are or what is going on in their minds. I’m not sure the exact moment I decided I hated clowns but it’s possibly since I was aged 8. I was taken to Luna Park in Sydney. Look you are walking through a huge red mouth with massive white jagged teeth above your head, not forgetting its bulging eyes wide open in a startled supposedly delighted look at eating you if you dare enter! I’m surprised that there aren’t hordes of screaming children digging heels in working themselves into a frenzy in a pool of sweat and tears. Seriously who ever thought that clowns very funny for children? Okay the clothes might be funny, but the face coated in thick white paint, big black arched angry eyebrows, eye sockets rimmed with colour in triangles or smudged black, painted tears bleeding down its face, a big round bulbous red nose – a bit like an aging alcoholics (okay that can pass as funny) but the mouth outline overdrawn in red lipstick paint with a smile that looks more like scream gashed into its face, come on!!. Yes Kids are transfixed but mostly in stunned wary horror . A clown does weird things supposedly to make you laugh, unnatural human behaviour, like throwing buckets of water at people, mocking normal human behaviour, pushing other clowns over, odd tricks, they are usually non-speaking too which adds to their weirdness, okay juggling is cool that takes real skill. Back to Luna Park . I swallow my fear of walking into the mouth of the clown to come face to face with a live street performing clown. He begins making a balloon creature, twisting and knotting until a dog like balloon has formed. He hands it over and as he does it goes boom!! in my face whereabouts from the shock I fall backwards straight into a gutter full of water. Well of course I’m crying and my new frock is covered in water and dirt. Not a happy child at all! It sure wasn’t a good start to the day. Of course I carried on and went on all the rides, spinning around, going into the ghost train, Coney Island distortion mirrors, big dipper rides, even the Rotor (spinning extremely fast stuck to the walls of a floorless barrell trying to dodge flying vomit!, throughout all this I was eating copious amounts of candy and gulping litres of soft drink down. That evening all I could see when I closed my eyes were hypnagogic hallucinations , a swirling psychedelic circle with the full spectrum of colours with a Clowns head in the centre in a grotesque grin. I experienced full auditory components. I was sure the clown was in the room because I believed I could hear its breathing and speaking obviously a summation of the days events mixed with food colouring and overdose of sugar intake! Of course I passed out under the blanket probably asphyxiated from lack of oxygen!
Some people act like clowns but some actually look like they were born to clown! Such as the actor Jack Nicholson, an eccentric fantastic actor but his facial features are perfect for a clown, but a very scary one! I loved him as the Joker but even more so just as a mentally deranged man in the Shining!!
Even Hilary Clinton could do clowning just with normal make-up …
Either way I think anyone that wants to dress as a clown especially for a job must be a bit odd. Are they saints that want to amuse children? Or socially twisted and a bit demented lost souls or something a whole lot shadier. A few years ago as an adult I attended the Cirque du soleil circus show in Brisbane, Australia, it was called “Saltimbanco”. I had an adoring boyfriend back then who was a Major in the Army and he was in Brisbane for work. So for my birthday he flew me from Sydney to stay with him and amongst other gifts of red lace lingerie 🙂 were tickets for front row seats to the Cirque du soleil show. So that evening we headed off to dinner and the show. I was dressed in a tight-fitting backless black Spanish lace evening gown that I have to admit was a mouth dropping outfit. Something like this but shorter
Finally we arrive at the show and settle into our front row seats. Once again I am surrounded by clowns bounding around the aisles scaring or amusing the patrons whilst distracting them from the prolonged wait for the show to begin. I feel a shiver as if someone walked over my grave and shuddered though it was a quite a warm night. Several circus acts commence from amazing acrobatics, intricate dance and balancing acts, tightrope,trapeze and of course the Miming clown! This clown was dressed in a gruesome black outfit with a black golly afro wig, the traditional painted white face, scary arched black eyebrows, elaborately made up eyes and grotesque jagged red mouth with massive white fake teeth!!
He grabs a poor man out of the audience and ties his hands behind his back covers him with a jacket back to front and the clown puts his own arms through the jacket. As you can imagine the whole stage is blacked out but the spotlight on the man. So it gives the impression it is he that is doing some embarrassing antics like picking his nose messing his hair up etc. Fairly tame stuff then the clown gestures to the man to stand and wait while he scampers off to capture another unsuspecting patron…he circles our seating area gazing in our direction. I’m almost jumping with glee chuckling to myself thinking surely he is about to grab my partner, then suddenly he lunges forward and yanks me to my feet! Oh dear, my heart starts racing as I’m in such close proximity to this grotesque looking clown and he is now even touching me!! I feel sweat trickling down my open-backed dress and under my curly hair. Increase in heart rate, teeth clinching fear, its flight or fight! But this damn clown has my hand held in a vice like grip and he drags me onto the centre of the stage. Okay so there are at least three thousand people around this stage, totally blacked out but for the glaring spotlight burning down on me. He does the same stupid activities with my hands behind my back using his own hands to make rude gestures on myself pulling my skirt up, flashing my legs, messing my long blonde hair. Meanwhile I’m feeling like I could regurgitate the dinner consumed earlier. Vainly I am also thinking lucky I wore a beautiful dress, but this is probably why he dragged me on stage and he seemed to be enjoying it way too much! Oh creepy, I certainly didn’t find him sexy at all!! He whispers in my ear that I must act the damsel in distress and act out my own dramatic slow death with the two other guests on stage doing a mimed shoot out as if at a Western OK Chorale. Holy mother of god, here I am thinking I can’t do this, can I run for my life right now? I almost can’t breathe from nerves, heart pounding loudly in my chest, feeling my neck and back muscles tense up, hands and legs shaking, sweating profusely body kicking into fight or flight mode. I say to myself this is it you have to do this, you can’t run off the stage so give it your best dying damsel performance. Then creepy clown wraps a black blindfold around my eyes. More spotlights beam on, one either side of me. I know the two men are waiting beside me hands poised as if holding guns. The music begins, the audience have been told over the loud speaker to count to ten. The men commence the walk and on the count of ten bang! I know it’s my cue so I buckle half way over as if shot (at this point it wasn’t hard as I felt like I would faint!) and start staggering down the middle of the stage still blindfolded in my best dramatic damsel death. I collapse as elegantly as possible into a pile of black lace with my blonde curls fanning out across the floor. A deafening applause precedes me. I am again yanked up by Creepy Clown and my blindfold ripped off. More applause and thank god Creepy Clown escorts me back to my seat where upon my boyfriend is nearly wetting himself with laughter. Well I did give him a swift kick in the shins as I sat down for laughing at me but then again I would have laughed even harder had it been him but I’m sure he wouldn’t have fit the part so well!! I won’t be attending another circus show for a while!