Wednesday, 11 September 2013

The Way of the Showman - II - Sideshow #1


Sideshow Part One

In 1998 I found myself thrown into a crazy world of street performers, freaks, homeless people, angry locals, all night parties, and general mind altering experiences. Travelling with to brilliant, vibrant, and inspiring fellows from Australia with a freshly broken heart I watched the world explode in every direction.
I played streetshows at the Edinburgh Fringe and this was before anyone controlled what we did. So it was a little more chaotic, to put it mildly. Amongst all the crazy people handing out flyers me and my
fellow travellers the Space Cowboy and Shep Huntly were invited to see a Freakshow which performed as part of the festival. The show was called the Kamikaze Freakshow and was run by the crazy power engine and freakshow fanatic John Kamikaze. I was blown away by the shows great fusion of theatrics and hardcore sideshow stunts. John did an unprotected neon swallow, sat for an hour pre show "pinning up" as he called it, putting 350 hatpins and hyperdermic needles through his flesh. This was just his costume.
I had dabbled in some human pincushioning and had put three pins through myself. This was dedication on a whole other level. So when we were all partying and dancing in the wee hours of the night and I was sporting some of my flexi stuff on the dance floor and suitably affected Kamikaze, whom we had met and come to fear and love, asked me to join his family, and carried away by the moment I said yes.
Next day he came up onto the High Street, the Royal Mile and saw my show. He was still interested in adopting me. I had been whisked away from a messy break up by Shep Huntly and the Space Cowboy only weeks before and from my brokenhearted haze the world was offering up opportunities faster than I could contemplate them. So I had decided to just say yes to whatever life threw at me.

I had previously had a love of the Sideshow. I had experienced the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow and marvelled at the Enigma, Mr Lifto and Mat the Tube. I also had befriended Håvve, the Head of Pain Sollution, an awesome fakir/sideshow outfit from Oslo Norway, but I had never seen anything like the Kamikaze's.
Before long the Freakshow had run away with me and I found myself sleeping literally on the floor in John Kamikaze's little house in Pilton, Edinburgh. Sharing the house with Pinky Pinky, (Baby Dee)-  a hermaphrodite which had been performing with every sideshow and freak establishment in the States, Danny Powertool - a dwarf penile phenomenon lifting unimaginably heavy weights with his privates, and Chris Tanner a musician from Melbourne part of the Freak band. It was a crazy time. Crazy shows.
I read Geek Love at the time, and my strange headspace and living space made the book loose some of its impact. The twisted characters of the book blended in so naturally with my real life new family that it wasnt until a few years later, when I reread the most awesome Freakshow novel of all time that I discovered just how twisted it really was. Those who know that book  will appreciate how strange my life was at the time...

The Adventures of CF Melbourne Comedy festival - 06
This first real episode of The Way of the Showman web series shows some scenes from that crazy time of my life. 1998 seems like a very long time ago. I seem like another person, yet still so much the same. Same block of marble but so much less finished. Life keeps chipping away at me and it still very much is.
The episode also shows bits of my first full solo show called the Adventures of Captain Frodo from 2006, already 7 years ago... wowsa. Time flies and it is great to have Hamish McCormick digging through the extensive archives of Carnival Cinema to dig up and create these gems from the past.

I hope you enjoy episode 1.

More episodes:
Part III - Sideshow #2