Popular Lies* About Circus

A few months ago while I was perusing in Shoreditch I came across a book ‘Popular Lies* About Graphic Design‘, as someone with a vague interest in such things I bought myself a copy and read it on a long flight that same day. Since then it’s been popping up in the back of my mind fairly often as it ties into a few other ideas for a project I had planned in my own line of work, circus.

I decided to write my own list of lies told by the circus industry, which I briefly presented at the Lab:Time night at Jacksons Lane a few weeks ago. I was going to go into detail but instead I’ve decided to let you fill in the blanks, there’s an example for the first chapter title to get you going in the right direction…

Circus lies as told by the industry…

Cirque du Soleil is bad
Taking an anti-Cirque stance seems to be the cool thing to do, common to over hear circus students running the company into the ground. Criticising everything from its mega y corporation status to artistic vision.
Sure some of the shows are not my cup of tea but O is one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Cirque has produced so much work. Taking into account sheer quantity and breath means it’s very probable you just haven’t seen the right Cirque performance for you.
Their artist care is second to none, from salaries to working conditions no other circus that I’m aware of offers the levels of comfort and care Soleil musters. Sure it’s a business that turns a profit (most of the time) but I don’t buy into the argument that this implies they are evil.
In general Cirque du Soleil’s influence on circus has been massively positive, from changing the publics perception of what circus actually is to pushing artists and disciplines to new heights.

Knowing about circus is pointless
Black costumes are cool
Juggling is boring, acrobatics is fun
Using melancholy music means it’s art
A good idea doesn’t require a budget
Being original and being artistic are the same thing
People will want to watch my show
Longer deadlines lead to better work
The bigger, better known companies make the best work
Sequins are bad
Circus communities = collaboration and better work
Nothing is original anymore
People care about circus

I’m sure some you will disagree with some of my lies and there are other lies you could suggest. I’d love to hear them, comment below or on Twitter.

I’m planning to give a keynote on circus lies told by the public later this month at the Fringe if I can find somewhere suitable to present it.

Here is a draft for my ‘Circus Lies Told By The Public’:
The Circus is full of Wild Animals
Clowns wear red noses/not funny
It’s just showing off
Circus takes place in tents
Trapeze and Tight-wire are the same thing
Circus is overpriced
Cirque du Soleil are the best
Circus is just for kids
Circus is old fashioned
Circus artists are freaks

Love to hear your feedback on this, anyway enjoy finding your own truth in circus.

4 thoughts on “Popular Lies* About Circus”

  1. Circus lies told by the public:
    I’ve been to see your show twice, I know you all personally and intimately.
    Circus folk have an easy life, they barely do any work.
    Circus life is only during the summer, the rest of the time you work in bars.
    I’m friends with the owners.
    Any many more!

  2. The Ringleader is the director or person who’s in charge.

    Traditionally the Ringleader was just a barker or what we call an MC these days. Though circuses use to always have an owner who was the financial investor & curator of talent like an event promoter does today, the root of the word “circus” is “circle” and it was based on everyone contributing to the whole and each role as essential as any other regardless of ever being favorited by the townies or bringing in the most loot.

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