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snapdragon before

so exciting
to winch up the king poles
they held up the little big top
for Snapdragon Circus

they head hunted me
to be in the show
I was thrilled to bits
1990 and so called ’new circus’
was all the rage

the king poles were held in place
by a big heavy cable
sledge-hammered into the ground
with two enormous stakes
that first time for me
putting the tent up
was like dreaming

I climbed one of the poles
during a break for tea and cigs
looking around
from way up top
I realised it was
“a moment”
a redolent pause
where the scene was set
the characters introduced
all the drama
about to begin

that beautiful blonde girl
big bouncy barky dog
old green Bedford bus
I was about to properly fall
head over heels in love

musicians and children
acrobats and actors
technicians and weirdos
artistes and fools
tightrope, jugglery, costumes
all laid out below me

the show was basically theatre
my character an outsider
who keeps stopping the action
on some administrative pretence
the ring master’s magic powers
would trick Mr Gasket
into performing various stunts
against his will and in a trance
until finally he wakes up
and changes his mean old ways
and runs away with the circus
of his own free will

that tour
that summer
was the absolute best time
a boy can possibly have
some hundred shows
around the UK
and finishing in Israel
representing the country
The International Festival of New Circus
but we were still only really
just a bunch of hippies

follow your dreams
everyone says
but what happens
when they become


Hughie 5 rings

HC: 2019