Oh my little chums! Mon petits braves! Where to begin? You will, of course, have missed your favourite hirsute, tricycling entertainer these many months. Well, blame it on the North Koreans - and the British Council.
The latter hired the former for a tour of that beknighted country. Heaven alone knows what they were thinking. I mean do they WANT to start a war? Dodgy jugglers, depressed clowns and cowardly lion tamers aren't exactly going to give our Asian friends the best picture of Old Blighty. Mind you there's always your old tricycling pal to put a smile on their faces with his many entertaining japes and wheezes.....
Anyway, as usual, our esteemed owner was boracic lint at the time (internet poker has a lot to answer for) and was dazzled by a fistful of taxpayers ackers....up front...so off we went.
After a Command Performance we set off for a tour of the provinces. Each place we fetched up was less appealing than the last - which is saying something in North Korea - until at last we arrived in the most far flung part of N.K.........and ran into our er "little local difficulty".
I won't say there wasn't much in the shops.........mainly because there weren't any shops. There wasn't much of anything, actually, and that included cash. We were reduced to accepting vegetables in lieu of readies at the box office. I hope I never see another radish in me natural. Ooops. Pardon. That, however, was to be the least of our troubles!
Our Acrobatic Dogs Act started to attract a lot of attention.....far too much attention. Now its one thing to show your appreciation for the circus performer's skill by clapping your hands and even stamping your feet but this lot were actually salivating, licking their lips and rubbing their stomachs in all too eager anticipation!!!!!! They obviously considered our canine compatriots to be "fast food"!
Matters came to a head when a couple of the local "Likely Lads" attempted a "Carry Out". A fracas ensued and the local rozzers showed up swinging batons like.....well like a North Korean rozzer. The last thing I saw was stars - and I'm not talking Milky Way.
After months of being held in the local "chokey" we were given a show trial in Pyongyang. It was televised every night for a week between "An Audience With The Dear Leader" and "Flog It". By the way forget about antiques, in their version its the political dissidents who get the flogging. Talk about making your eyes water. Can't see that being licensed around the world. Mind you in a world where they made a show about people's dirty lavatories anythings possible!
Yes, the whole sorry affair very nearly did your correspondent in - permanently! Until that is Dave - yes, you cynics, that Dave - came to the rescue.
Now I know that he has had a lot of stick recently for not standing up for us circus animals but here's one that will be forever in his debt!
I don't know what he threatened the Dear Leader with - an airstrike against their nuclear facilities, sending Bob Crow to run their Railways or an immediate ban on imports of pickled cabbage soup - whatever it was it did the trick and before you could say 49th parallel we were all back in Dear Old Blighty.
Ah yes, it all seems like a bad dream and a world away. I'd like to say I've put it ALL behind me but unfortunately those radishes are STILL repeating on me.
NEXT TIME: From the sordid extremes of a North Korean jail to the equally sordid extremes of every day circus life.
Marcel the Circus Monkey, who has been recently indisposed due to stress, depression and a hernia brought on by a too strenuous bicycle act, will soon be returning to the sawdust ring.
From his bed at the "Home For Distressed Circus Monkeys" he would like to thank all his fans for their good wishes and gifts of bananas, peanuts and toffee apples. But he would like to ask people to desist from sending bars of peanut brittle as it tends to get stuck in his choppers.
I'll give you "I do like to be beside the seaside......." What passes for management at "the Circus of Fools" decided that, since we were booked to appear at Sandy Cove On Sea, it would be a good idea for us artistes to mingle with the hoi polloi along the Esplanade as a way of drumming up some free publicity. Whoever was responsible wants to sit down in a darkened room and put their head between their knees the next time that they get a bright idea.
Strangely, the idea might have worked tolerably well had it not been for the spite, malice and sheer stupidity of some of my so called colleagues.........oh, and a pair of roller skates! But more about that later.
As I say, the "Big Plan" was for all of us Merry Circus to do our "sctick" on the Esplanade in the hope that this would lead to a stampede to the Box Office.
The juggler was to perform tricks with his new coloured balls (stop it, you at the back). Stromboli was to tow a baby Fiat with his teeth - and after all that expensive dental work too!
Mario was to wave his wand and produce things out of thin air. The last time he waved his "wand" in public it produced a desperate need to pay out a tidy sum to hush things up.
Apologies for the lapse in communication my little chums but morale round here has been lower than a snail's Dr. Scholl's recently. We are in the middle of the dog days of summer and most of our dysfunctional little band of jugglers, clowns and cut throats are even more "barking" than usual. We are currently encamped in a remote part of the West Country ( whose bright idea was that - it means that the audiences are even remoter)where the heat is something brutal. Oh the heat!, the torpor, the unattractive sight of circus workers in string vests!. It's like Tennessee Williams with Cream Teas! It's so hot that I can't sleep at night. I tried lying on a mat on the grass outside the caravan but the local wildlife kept nicking me crisps. Weeeeeeeeell, if I can't sleep I've got occupy myself somehow haven't I? It's not just the heat though. At night there are strange noises coming from the woods at the edge of the field where we are camped. The sound of car engines, doors opening and shutting and, oddly, creaking metal and the odd horn sounding - in more ways than one!. Beppo reckons its some Pagan group celebrating midsummer but its a bunch of the local, randy "stoats" doing what randy "stoats" do with no consideration for the peace and repose of hard working show folk. That Beppo! For all his bravado he is as innocent as a day old babe - only a lot less intelligent. Allow me to give you an example. The other night, just as I was sitting on my mat polishing off my umpteenth bag of crisps and longing for the "arms of Morpheus", dopey comes around the corner, trips over yours truly and falls flat on his face. The good news was that he was wearing his three foot long comedy shoes and so sprang straight back up again. The bad news was that he bent his new video camera all out of shape. Apparently, those sniggering little psychopaths, Zippo and Bippo, told him that the lady who rides the big white horse had a habit of sleep walking in the nude and Beppo had the idea of capturing the event for posterity - not to mention selling the footage to "You've Been Framed". Is there nothing that some people won't do for £250? I hope he takes it out on Zippo and Bippo's hides with that big comedy belt of his - the one with the massive ornamental buckle. Just so long as he doesn't do it at night. As I've just mentioned, it's hard enough trying to get to sleep around here as it is! P.S. A word to the wise: Never eat more than six bags of salt and vinegar crisps at the one sitting. I did last night and I my bl***in lips are still numb!
P.S. A special treat for all you pleasure seekers this time! Play the clip at the top of the posting and hear Mr G. Colonna sing his little heart out. Mr. C is currently the Assistant Pachyderm officer but, who knows,if your response is favourable the management may find a late night spot for him. It will probably be a very late spot - and not necessarily at this venue! If the response isn't so hot, well don't worry, the pachyderms speak very highly of him.
HEARTFELT THANKS FOR THE TALENTS OF GERRY COLONNA AND THE KIND FOLKS WHO PUT THE LOVELY FILM TOGETHER, THE MANAGEMENT.
OR DOWN WITH THE MOB AND THEIR CONFOUNDED FOOTBALL HYSTERIA OR "OH, THOSE WORLD CUP BLUES
Well, folks, its on its way, thundering down upon us like an express train on steroids and, if you feel anything like I do about the prospect, you'll feel as though you are tied to the track with no hope of escape like that lady in the silent pictures that Stromboli and I are so fond of.
It would all be bad and bad enough but we look out of the caravan window and what do we see? None other than the sight of Beppo practising his ball skills (stop it!!!!) in his spare time. Have you ever seen someone practising "keepie ups" with two foot long shoes. No? Thought not. Add to that an orange wig and a big red nose and he looks like........well a proper clown - and not in a family entertainment sort of way. I'll say this for him though, he is a proper Millwall supporter - no-one likes him and he don't care!
No use bogging off abroad on holiday either! It'll be he same there. Only the colours and the language'll be different. Has the whole world gone mad? Even the Bedouins will be clustered round the old Panasonic Wide Screen Grrr!
Football? I just don't get it "mes amis". What's so special about 22 grown men kicking a leather ball around a field anyway? Don't they have proper jobs?
We actually had a similar game back in the jungle but at least there was a reason for it.
The object of our game was to get rid of members of the tribe who, in one way or another, had become liabilities to the rest of us.
We'd chase the miscreant through the jungle kicking coconuts aimed at his head. The one who scored the most "goals" got first dibs on the most nubile young female in the tribe. I'll tell you what, as incentives go you can keep your Porsches and Maseratis and Lamborghinis.
Needless to say, yours truly was absolutely hopeless at the "game" and once had to be stretchered off after my coconut bounced off the trunk of a Ban Yan tree and hit me square between the eyes.
As for the aforementioned miscreants, after the umpteenth missile connected with their noggins they usually got the message and were seldom seen again.
Brutal little savages, I hear you say, but, face it, it's no worse than what you lot can do to your Team Managers. Besides, we had a great esprit de corps - and there wasn't so much as a dodgy footballer's haircut between us!!!!!
You folks don't half get yourselves into some scrapes when picking your leaders!
A certain baby faced individual called Nick Clegg performed well in a couple of T.V. debates and now, all of a sudden, he is the "Great White Hope".
Performed well? Let's not get carried away (although many of you seemed to have).Basically, he performed as well as Wally The Seal when he manages to keep that big coloured beach ball balanced on the end of his nose for a few minutes.
I can understand letting T.V. advise you on which soap powder to buy, but choosing a leader for you...........
I live in a circus and see madness up close and personal on a daily basis but choosing a leader that way is just......well madness!
I know that I am just a jelly bean munching, toffee apple chewing circus performer with questionable personal habits and none of it is any of my business anyway, but baby face wants to let 58,000 criminals out of jail to paint fences, tidy up gardens and help old ladies over the road. He wants to give up the good old pound to join the crumbling euro and he even favours a law that would give drunks the "right" to demand that the driver stops the bus to let them off wherever they please. Grrrrrr!!!!!!! To add insult to injury he is annoyed at you for being glad that Britain was on the winning side in World War11. What would he be doing now if you'd lost it?
Anyway, what can you expect from a party that managed to find a home for that mad bat Sarah Teather?
By the way, am I the only one that's noticed Cleggie's remarkable resemblance to Private Pike in Dad's Army?