Bank Holiday TV viewing, when I was a kid growing up in south London in the ‘60s, invariably involved a circus.
As a ten-year-old, keen to get some career ideas, the circus was no help at all.
One year, I visited the traveling circus on Clapham Common. This was like an appointment with a school career officer.
If you had a head for heights; owned a whip and a small stool; liked sharing a Mini with heavily made-up men (and tonnes of fire hydrant foam) or, to paraphrase Robert Duvall, loved the smell of elephant dung in the morning, then there were potential jobs for you.
These ticked none of employment prospect boxes for me.
This was confirmed when I’d watch the circus on TV (and you’d only watch that because there were only two channels and no one could be arsed to get up and physically change the channel as they’d over-eaten the cold turkey and bubble, OD’d on dates or had alcoholic poisoning through consuming too many chocolate liqueurs).
I remember watching Billy Smart’s Circus. I thought to myself that he couldn’t have been that smart as one of his main tasks was collecting elephant pooh – why else would he need a top hat?
Also, the smell of sawdust reminded me when someone had been sick in class and the long-suffering school caretaker would come in and scatter sawdust onto the problem in question as if it were some form of fairy dust with magical powers to ensure the smell disappeared.
This New Year Bank Holiday I won’t be watching the circus and I’ll be keeping any fruit buns to myself.