Saturday, November 13, 2010

Do Alcoholics make Bad Clowns?

All the alcoholic clowns (not counting me) I know are quite brilliant, the same sort of risky attitude that will leave your liver, over years,the consistency and texture of a raw, three week steak can also be used in exploring comic boundaries of form and content.
I agree that all alcoholic clowns could conceivably be better performers if they didn’t drink, (I have and continue to experiment ) but I do think that alcoholic clowns have one idiosyncratic form, a performance devoid of their disease, in which they invest. To watch them work, you would have no idea that offstage they were shuffling husks of their own unbridled adolescent egos, inebriate, incontinent, surfing manic depressive swells, isolated and at heart, self pitiful.
I admire people who create pockets of laughter (itself quite a powerful drug) in which to briefly bask, relieved momentarily from a universal pointlessness that would swallow them whole but for their one performance jewel which helps fuel their self medicating lifestyles.

It is the ability to perform pathos with the right emotional credentials that helps some clowns dredge comedy from unexpected sources. (themselves in most cases)
I’m not suggesting it’s mandatory, Sad clowns really should stay where they belong on biscuit tin lids. Having said that some of the saddest people I know are clowns (and THEY pity ME!!)
I know others who don’t drink at all and others who are the very emblem of moderation.
Its trite to suggest that disfunction is a price to pay for creativity, but I think it’s valid to suggest that creativity can sometimes be a self induced reaction to disfunction.

So initially I would argue against alcoholics being bad clowns but would certainly concede that their development would automatically be stunted by their condition.
Start out, create brilliant material, coast... (until physical and mental deterioration sets in.) or
Start out, apply yourself to novel circumstances, exhaust whatever support structure presents itself, repeat...
Start out, burn out. Start again, burn out, repeat.
Start out, make big waves, let your PR sell you for what's left of your career.

You can combine these elements in as many ways as there are hangovers.
There's heaps of ways hard drinking clowns can destroy themselves. Most of them slow and degrading but not without entertainment potential.

I think the fact that some haven’t, that some survive themselves, whether they are recovered,recovering or still bobbing about in their own waste with permanently startled expressions and delusions intact is testament to who they are, not what they are, or what they could have been.
Some of my best friends, have best friends who have drinking problems, as we age I see some of them making healthier concessions but what is not lost is the knowledge that on any given day, you will not recognise your surroundings or situation on regaining consciousness.
Few would choose such a lifestyle but fewer could adaquately argue it wasn’t more eventful on most dramatic scales than those of non alchoholic, non clowns.
To survive yourself, while producing entertainment, is a tight little dynamic.
When 'events' flow unrelentingly without respite. Well that's just a curious side effect. 

1 comment:

Martin Ewen said...
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