Wednesday, 10 August 2011

This Week: John Redhead...tales from the deep south

Ryley Redhead busking:John Redhead

"One morning we were woken by the growls of a lion and the banging of iron rails. Sure enough, down from the house in the square were several lions in cages and wagons painted bright red and yellow, the spectacular Cirque Apollo! The tricolor French flag sat proudly on top. The troupe had come to town in the middle of the night. We were shocked and saddened by the sight. We were even more shocked when the lion tamer prodded one lion with an iron bar. The abuse continued throughout the day for all to see. The rails were rattled with the bar and the lion poked and prodded and even spat upon by the tamer. We saw the lion lash out with a claw at the tamer’s hand. Angrily, the tamer lashed out too with the bar on the animal’s flank, causing an anguished scream of pain. This was too painful to watch. We thought that somebody would step in and stop it. However it seemed the bystanders were amused and impressed at this behavior.

I said to Mel that we should get some fliers together to raise attention to this horrendous animal abuse and propose a boycott of the show. I turned my back and Mel had gone! She was so angry and upset at the pain this animal was suffering she decided to confront the lion-tamer personally. Ryley and I heard the angry shouting of the tamer in the square and caught sight of a slap that took Mel to the floor. We ran out to the square, Ryley grabbing a stick on the way. We were confronted by an angry and violent circus family, a mob of flying fists and abuse! A large amused crowd stood by as a melee developed and we parried the blows back up the hill. This was a street fight that blocked the road! The lion tamer goes down clutching his heart and the town sirens blast from the church that summons the ambulance. His son throws fists and kicks and spits my whole family will die! It must have been his daughter, wearing a sequined leotard, shouting, “Fucking English, this is France, our lion” whose flying fist finally clocked me. We held our own, but clutching a sore eye I was perplexed at the lack of support.'

This week another slice of Colonist's Out. John Redhead's eagerly anticipated new book which is due for publication later this year. In this highly entertaining extract,the Redhead clan having escaped from the cold climate of 'The Pass',chance upon a Romany circus in the heady climes of Southern France.An entourage which appears to have arrived from another century!
As they cast about for a new home and sense of purpose in this strange new environment,enter an array of bohemian ex pats and eccentric locals.