THE internet is buzzing with outrage over the circus coming to town. It’s a proper, red-blooded circus of the traditional type with lions and tigers. I’m keeping out of it because I don’t like clowns. Charlie Cairoli was okay, but that mate of his with the padded shoulders and pointy hat was as scary as hell. Let’s talk lions and tigers . . .
We are renting a house in the Andalucian countryside near the town of Orgiva. Big colourful circus posters have appeared on lampposts. Anti-circus posters have been pinned to doors and stuck in windows. Tension is as taut as a trapeze wire.
The social media site Facebook is growling with anti-circus sentiment. And I must say I agree with all of it, but having lived here less than three weeks I don’t feel sufficiently confident to get involved. Hey, shooting off at a tangent for a moment, listen to this . . .
I set up a Facebook page recently to keep in touch with family and the few friends I’ve managed to retain during my 58 years on this earth. Last night I was browsing through stuff and just happened to glance at the “People you may know” box. At the very top of my personal list is Paul Chuckle, the larger half of the Chuckle Brothers.
It turns out we have a mutual Facebook friend in the shape of my cousin, Jimmy, who worked as a stage manager at a Blackpool theatre for many years. I was so impressed that I couldn’t sleep. All I could think about was Paul Chuckle being the number one “person I may know”, and that I was only a click away from a virtual “to-me-to-you” conversation.
Back to the lions and tigers. My main difficulty with anti-circus sentiment is that while most forward-thinking people – myself included – would be happy to see an end to the ritualistic humiliation of big cats, the indignation doesn’t appear to extend to dressage, horse jumping, horseracing, greyhound racing and other forms of so-called animal entertainment.
So if coaxing a lion to jump through a hoop is wrong, what’s right about training a horse to walk sideways across an Olympic arena and fold its legs in the most unnatural of fashions while some great lump of a ruddy-cheeked fellow is sitting on its back? Or forcing a horse to gallop to exhaustion while the Queen cheers from her royal box? Do horses not qualify for respect and compassion?
But, like I say, I’m not getting involved. I hope the campaigners win a moral victory and the circus people wake up to the reality they are living in the 21st Century, not the 18th. And I hope the clowns don’t scare all the little Spanish kids.
Meanwhile, my cursor is hovering over Paul Chuckle’s “Add Friend” button. To me, to you, to me, to you, to me, to you . . .