LETTERS FROM LONDON
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
15 October 2016
Bring in the Clowns


Wait! Don’t! We hate clowns. Even Federico Fellini’s childhood obsession
resulting in his film, The Clowns, couldn’t convince us otherwise. Aughhh.
Clowns. The tears of a clown? We don’t care.

This new clown infiltration was initiated across the pond on the fifth of August in
Wisconsin. Why? No explanation available.

Nonetheless, in that American competitive way they have, South Carolina has
claimed the first sighting on a low-income housing estate. No explanation
available.

Here we are assuming it wasn’t a McDonald’s attention-getting ploy regardless of
the fact that we hate Ronald. The rubbish food franchise has had to limit their
iconic clown’s appearances and simply cancel most. Ah. What a pity. No,
Ronald has not made a comment.

It reached our shores the thirtieth of September and has spread worldwide. In
the US it has been linked to the remake of Stephen King’s 1990 IT. Denied of
course by New Line Cinema.

Weapon wielding clowns chasing, accosting, jumping out at people with knives,
baseball bats, chainsaws - oh that was for a ‘prank video’. This is now being
referred to as the ‘killer clown’ craze and can result in criminal offenses being
charged. Those clowns are scaring and possibly scarring children. Clearly
crazy. Surely you know all this or have even been shocked by a local clown
yourself – or know someone who has been.

So far: an 11-year-old girl felt the need to bring a knife to school to defend
herself against clowns. A ‘creepy clown’ (aren’t they all?) wielded a knife to
attack a 28-year-old man at a cash machine in Blackburn, leaving the man with
serious, severe injuries when he tried to defend himself. The 10in blade cut
through four ligaments of his hand. “It was like something out of a horror movie.”
Oh dear. In Archway one of those sinister clowns on a bike chased a
woman…another employed a hockey stick…a man required stitches after a
clown threw a branch at his face…another clown in a car was arrested when he
was seen wielding a gun in Hayes. No worries. It was an imitation firearm.
Quelle relief.

Forget the police, it’s Batman to the rescue! The costume-caped crusader has
promised to protect children from crazed clowns. Evidently Batman has begun
his crusade. He was spotted chasing off a scary sinister clown who had been
terrorising children in Whitehaven, Cumbria. He will be very busy up to and
including Halloween. Clearly an army of Batmen are needed. So. Stop clowning
around! We are not laughing. We hate clowns!

Or, there is a clown tracker available. You can check on an app as to where
these evil clowns are hiding ready to pounce, chase, harass, maim. At the
source of this clown infestation, the US if you have forgotten, there are more
fake clown sightings reported than actual clowns. Huh?

Film-maker John Carpenter, that horror creator said: “It’s getting ridiculous.
These people are idiots…” And who scares the maker of scary films the most?
Well, Trump of course. Possibly the scariest predator clown of them all. “It’s so
crazy out here now, it’s really scary. There’s a part of America that is really
nuts…he’s scary in a different way from anything I’ve created…it’s like we’ve
gone back to the Fifties.” And here I was thinking Boris was the biggest clown.
OK. A clown, but our clown.

The first clowns – you were wondering weren’t you? You thought it originated
with court jesters, didn’t you? Surprise. They were first in Ancient Egypt from
2400BC. The purpose? To make people laugh, not scare them to death.
The secretary of the UK-based Clowns International group, Ian Williams, or
Smartii Pants (oh dear, oh dear): “We are about fun and laughter…”. Really?
And the name?

According to parenting site, ChannelMum.com, nearly half of the 1,434 parents
in a study thought costumes aimed at kids are now “too frightening”. One in
seven fear that Halloween is becoming more sinister by the year. 30 per cent
say costumes are selected simply to scare. Or worse, “too sexualised” for young
children. The survey said that half of children have left Halloween parties
because they were too terrified of a friend’s costume. A friend’s no less.
Where's the fun then? Oh Mr Smartiiiii Pants….

So, some creepy examples this year? Jack the Ripper, Regan from The Exorcist
and Jason from Friday the 13th – lest we forget the scary clowns. But those
Machiavellian Middleton ‘clowns’ have won the costume party prize for little
children. Roadkill. Yes, Roadkill. Not a dead pet, a dead child. A roadkill
bodysuit costume with a tyre mark across it. Surely you had to reread that
description. Child roadkill?

Oh those Middletons never miss a gauche/inappropriate/greed-driven
opportunity do they? They also offer a clown costume with a ‘menacing evil
clown face’ and a blood-stained suit for £28.99. We are not amused.


Your Song and Dance Man

As you know, Bob Dylan has won the Nobel Prize in literature for his "new
poetic expressions within the great American song tradition." An obviously
controversial choice. Evidently the committee has been considering him for the
last 20 years. Bob described himself as “a song and dance man”.

“You never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the clowns when
they all did tricks for you, never understood that it ain’t no good, you shouldn’t let
other people get their kicks for you.” OK Bob.

But you must admit that Bob must accompany his ‘literature’ with voice and
guitar to fully appreciate his messages. Reading it is just not the same. Thus the
Nobel Prize for Literature? Possibly not.

Non-sequiturs, collaged-imagery – poetic, but is it literature? A tweet from
novelist Irvine Welsh: “I'm a Dylan fan, but this is an ill-conceived nostalgia
award wrenched from the rancid prostates of senile, gibbering hippies.” OK.
Norman Mailer said: “If Dylan’s a poet, I’m a carpenter.” OK. But clearly
somebody thought he was to splash out on hotel stationary pencil-written lyrics
of Like a Rolling Stone - $2m. Really.

According to rumours, some of the major writers who were also being
considered for the prize included Japan’s Haruki Murakami, American Don
DeLillo, and Kenyan Ngugi wa Thion’go. Other winners? Rudyard Kipling, Harold
Pinter, William Faulkner, TS Eliot. Hmmm. Really? Bob in the same category?

Well, The Academy permanent secretary, Sara Danius, compared Bob to
Homer and she said Bob’s work would be performed in 5,000 years. What!?
This woman is stupid or insane or both. 5,000 years? Oh for God’s sake.

Now that Bob has won, what do we reckon Bob will do with that $1m prize? Set
up some sort of help for young song writers? Create a home for old lyricists?
Why do I doubt it? And where did Bob celebrate his being chosen for this
prestigious award? Performing in Los Vegas. Just singin’ – I mean sayin’. Or as
Bob once said: “Play it fuckin' loud!”

There were 11 other winners: one for medicine, three for physics, three for
chemistry, two for economics, one for peace, and one for literature. How many
women you should ask? Oh really. Do you need to ask? None. Of the 900
people who have ever won a Nobel Prize, 48 have been women. Let’s take a
minute to consider that shall we? Hmmm. OK. Another minute. Lest we forget,
Obama received the honour for being a ‘peace-maker’. I’m giving up here.
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