HARRIET: Run away to the circus

“Now I’m the king of the swingers Oh, the jungle VIP. I’ve reached the top and had to stop, and that’s what botherin’ me.”

Figure 1: Me mid flight, squattin’ and flyin’

Arriving at The Gorilla Circus Trapeze pop up school in Battersea Park I had a hidden agenda:

  1. I did want to be the king of the swingers.
  2. Originally I intended to run away to the circus with a Russian fire eater called Sasha, delve my pink locks in beer and hang from a 100ft crane with nowt but my hair keeping me from falling.
  3. I like things well hung.

Picking up Mimi on route, in leather trousers a string vest and a 1920’s vintage silk purple Kimono and creepers we hit a brick wall. What does one wear to Trapeze in? We agreed on Kimonos (vibrant colours, great for attention seeking) velour tracksuit (inner WAG) and reversed baseball caps (just so people didn’t think we were taking ourselves too seriously) Mine is gold lamé, Mimi’s sky print.

Figure 1: Tarzan, Green Hot pants and Batman.

Arriving an hour late, harnesses are strapped to our waists as a 50ft metal and net erection towers over us. “UP”- Green hot-pants shouts at me. I begin the ascent of a vertical ladder. As I near the top and start walking the plank, I am greeted by a dreadlocked Tarzan. He stands behind me, grabs onto the handle of my harness and backs into me. WOW. I could have stayed there all day. Now, with the trapeze in hand I am told: “Take a step forward” Right, yer, Onto what?

So I squatted, closed my eyes, squealed and flopped forward. At this point Green Hot-pants starts barking orders like:

“legs forward. …Legs back….”yep

“Knees up”Okay

“Let go” Say what?

“Now hang there” Right.

“And Back up”Ouch.

“Knees up and Back flip” Wait what?


I land in a pile of limbs, netting, rouge hair extensions, and MAC Lipstick. My braless boobies follow suit a few seconds later. I wait for my brain to stop bounding round my skull excitedly and flip off the netting.

It was an experience, it’s a £19,000 one if you want it in your home. For me not being able to practice and perfect the jump and flip was a downside, I cant bare to share. Especially with a possy of professionals. I would suggest far more one -on-one attention from Tarzan and his mate in the batman leggings.-who’s cartoonish attire I blame as a distraction for me not being able to complete level 2 (the double flip and catch.)

Would I do it again, yes. Private lessons with Tarzan only, Kimonos mandatory and no knickers a necessity.




It’s the same reason I play Billie Pipers “honey to the bee” full volume when I awake, why I went, and have been obsessing over, Hula Hooping classes. The same reason I drag my unwitting friends to pole dancing in activist’s and freedom fighter’s squats in Hackney Wick (you get a tangerine and a slap on the bottom at the end). It’s the quest to find and insure that my inner 90’s bea-stung breasted monster child is still in there. So, with the promise of a florescent pink Queen of Hearts cocktail and an assurance that this is NOT exercise, darling Mimi and I  ventured to the Biscuit Tin, Shoreditch, to find the 6 packs we had lost somewhere between puberty and McDonalds.

MARAWA the AMAZING. Phowaaoor.  Not only has she played at EVERY festival you’ve ever been to, The Amazing has  done it on every continent, she’s done it on a trapeze, TV shows, music videos. You name it Marawa has grinded on it. Pint sized Marawa is a delicious, Nutritious, heart racing and good for your health. Her current record, she told me, is 133 hoops at once.  She’s better than a light installation or a disco ball, its mesmerizing to watch.  So after an hour of Mimi boomeranging her hoop across the room several times, me playing a brown nosed teacher’s pet, we upped our game.

So imagine a torpedo hula hooping, okay? So your this torpedo, hula hooping pedo, your arms are in the air, your nipples have popped out and then taken shelter and Marawa starts throwing a heap of hula hoops at you, screaming, HARDER, KEEP IT UP, rhythm… cuuum OOOOORRRN, KEEP GOING FASTER!!

“Ok well it takes a lot of practice”.

I ended up being 130 away from Marawa’s record, three on the go, frizbeeing someone in the head only once.

Mimi at this point has a green bruise crawling up her hips and announced herself exercised out. I announced myself too sober and we left. But I am going back Sunday…

(Photos courtesy of Marawa the amazing)

Marawa website: http://marawatheamazing.tumblr.com/post/20002449886/circus-fest-is-getting-close