11-04-06

[ Nights at the circus ]


' For not infrequently there is no element of the voluntary in clowning. Often, d'you see, we take to clowning when all else fails. Under these inpenetrable disguises of wet white, you might find, where you to look, the features of those who were once proud to be visible. You find there, per example, the aerialiste whose nerve has failed; the bare-back rider who took one tumble too many; the juggler whose hands shake so, from drink or sorrow, that he can no longer keep his balls in the air. And then what is left but the white mask of poor Pierrot, who invites the laughter that would otherwise come unbidden.
' The child's laughter is pure until he first laughs at a clown. '
The great white heads around the long table nodded slowly in acquiescence.
' The mirth the clown creates grows in proportion to the humiliation he is forced to endure,' Buffo continued, refilling his glass with vodka. ' And yet, too, you might say, might you not, that the clown is the very image of Christ.' With a nod towards the midly shining icon in the corner of the stinking kitchen, where night crawled in the form of cockroaches in the corners. ' The despised and rejected, the scapegoat upon whose stooped shoulders is heaped the fury of the mob, the object and yet - yet! also he is the subject of laughter. For what we are, we have chosen to be.
' Yes, young lad, young Jack, young First-of-May, we subject ourselves to laughter from choise. We are the whores of mirth, for, like a whore, we know what we are; we know whe are mere hirelings hard at work and yet those who hire us see us as beings perpetually to play. Our work is their pleasure and so they think our work must be our pleasure, too, so there is always an abyss between their notion of our work as play, and ours, of their leisure as our labour.
...
' There is a story told of me, even of me, the Great Buffo, as it has been told of every Clown since the invention of the desolating profession,' intoned Buffo. ' Told, once, of the melancholy Domenico Biancolete, who has the seventeenth century in stiches; told of Grimaldi; told of the French Pierrot, Jean-Gaspard Deburau, whose inheritance was the moon. This story is not precisely true but has the poetic truth of myth and so attached itself to each and every laughtermaker. It goes thus:
' In Copenhagen, once, I had the news of the death of my adored mother, by telegram, the very morning on which I buried my dearly beloved wife who had passed away whilst bringing stillborn into the world the only son that ever sprang from my loins, if "spring" be not too springhtly a word for the way his reluctant meat came skulking out of her whomb before she gave up the ghost. All those I loved wiped out at one fell swoop! And still at matinee time in the Trivoli, I tumble in the ring and how the punters bust a gut to see. Seized by inconsolable grief, I cry: "The sky is full of blood!" And they laughed all the more. How droll you are, with the tears on your cheeks! In mufti, in mourning,some long bar between performances, the jolly barmaid says; "I say, old fellow, what a long face! I know what you need. Go along to the Trivoli and take a look at Buffo the Great. He'll soon bring your smiles back!"
' The clown may be the source of mirth, but - who shall make the clown laugh?'

Angela Carter

21:52 Gepost door Pam* | Permalink | Commentaren (2) |  Facebook |

Commentaren

dieje mens heeft dat ook verdient hé dus smile to the clown please

Gepost door: willy | 11-04-06

I was wondering if anyone knows where "The sky is full of blood!" is refrenced from? Maybe a poem, book, person. Could someone please tell me if where Angela Carter refrenced this quote from and email me please at ashelya@gmail.com. Thanks

Gepost door: Ashley | 03-12-08

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