Wednesday 31st May 2006

My Dad rang me at work. I didn’t give him the number proactively, I just think he took it off a business card. Anyway, he asked if I would come along if he booked tickets to the circus. I reluctantly said yes. This would be yet another first for me (but also my Mum). So straight after work, I got changed and headed down to The Rye, Wycombe’s famous park, right in the centre of town. The idea of Uncle Sam’s American Circus, perhaps gave the impression of an over friendly and big is beautiful act. Although I was keen to at least try and enjoy the experience. We parked up with a few minutes to spare until 7pm. Heading down to the big tent, there was already a small crowd gathered inside and the inner circle seats had been taken by the younger children and their parents. There was a live band, but the tent from the outside gave the impression of being quite big, but when you were seated inside, you realised that the stage was quite small. Perhaps this was the idea, to make the audience feel part of the show. I hasten to add that I of course what in the age group that the show was intended for. So, this review perhaps is rather harsh in tone, but I am only being honest from an adult point of view. Firstly there was the pre-show ploy. Have your acts selling hats, plates with sticks, to then spin and stupid furry tails at extortionate prices. Of course, if you are with child, or several, they will be keen to pressure you into spelling your hard earn cash on these novelty items. Then there was the food, once again over priced popcorn and candy floss (cotton candy to some readers across the pond). Perhaps this is where the owners of this moving bandwagon make their money. As I am sure once all the fees have been paid from the ticket sales there is not much else to go around. No time to review the balance sheet, the show was about to begin. The band kicked in and a strong American voice boomed across the PA system. I could not see the man, I considered to be the Uncle Sam. The voice was too American, so it was difficult to confirm whether it was real or purely put on. In the end I could never conclude either way. He welcomed everyone but then gave his standard disclaimer, that must be standard fare for most public related events, so the organisers can immune themselves from any potential prosecution. The show began with some can can dancers? Now please explain how American that is? Never mind, it was only the show opener, to get everyone in the mood and clapping. Then Sam introduced the next act, Woody’s Roundup. Yet instead of Stinky Pete, there was Buzz Lightyear (my all time favourite character from the whole franchise). But does Uncle Sam have rights from Disney and/or Pixar to use these characters? The likeness was close but not quite perfect, giving the impression they were not sanctioned by the studio. It was mindless fun for the children and the crowd really came to live for these characters. There was even a hint of the smile of a boy, twenty four years young in the audience, when the Space Ranger turned and smiled to our stand. Then the ‘real’ talent acts came out. We had a mixture of performers, ranging from the bankable bow and arrow (sorry, crossbow, I stand corrected) and trapeze artist. A Mexican, who fell off first time around. But he did have his feet strapped to buckets and was double blindfolded. He made it across the second time around. The best act were Equilibrium, who were artists (two boys and girls) who performed amazing feats with a ladder suspended in the middle in the tent. Walking out, I didn’t feel short changed but I thought the overall experience apart from some spectacular acts was cheap, tacky and rather distasteful. Yet, it was half term and I supposed you have to keep the little ones occupied.

Great Scott!

I was inspired by a t-shirt that Pav had. He wore it when we were in Germany. I searched online and found another t-shirt, while similar was slightly different. I ordered it from Truffle Shuffle, a web site for us children from the 1980s. I placed my order on Tuesday from work at lunchtime and sure enough by Wednesday, I had my shirt in my hand. Fantastic. I have nothing but good things to say about the service from the Goonie dance inspired web site. Excellent original products, sleek easy to use web site and no annoying e-mails, trying to entice to buy more merchandise. I have been avoiding my friend Mighty Mouse (AKA Hussein) for the past few days, well since the weekend in fact. I know if I speak to him on MSN, I will get uncontrollably excited about this weekend in Norfolk. Instead, I have opted to keep communication down to a minimum. He picks me up around 8.30pm tomorrow and my second weekend adventure begins. Can you guess what it is yet? Maybe the t-shirt above will give you a big clue. Plus giving some Libyans a bomb filled of ‘used pinball parts’, Hill Valley and power lace Nike sneakers. Time to go pack, charge my digital camera batteries and get set for an adventure, shall I say of a lifetime.

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