We Are The Clowns – Beijing

I am a clown. We are the clowns. Not big-shoed clumsy clowns. Not slap-stick, dick-slap, trip-trick squirty-flower clowns. We are anarchist clowns, J.G Ballard clowns. Bad clowns. Clowns in Japanese nuclear suits and cheap latex masks. Clowns that will fuck you up.We are not in a circus, we are in Beijing. The polluted sky is a canvas tent; the limit to our deeds, how we will be judged. And tonight is Halloween. The boundaries between worlds has weakened, east and west, heaven and hell, blurred, lost to the night, and we are here to stomp them into oblivion.

Through Chaoyang District, the sanitised safety of Sanlitun, the tidy grime of Dirty Bar Street, we terrorise this urban sprawl. Over each bridge, down each cut-through, through the very veins of the city, we go, limbs flying out with Inspector Gadget reach; legs coiling and unloading.

There are shadows to speed through. Lights to stand tall in.

On the stage of a nightclub a clown dances, surrounded by slack-jawed disbelievers, his reflection carved in a thousand mirrors by lasers.

One clown clambers up to the top of a street lamp. He sways, surveying, ready to pounce. He heckles passers-by and taunts the twitching lenses of the security cameras.

Another pounds his fists on the concrete and howls at the moon before scurrying away after a young couple foolishly out past the witching hour. We clowns have bounce, agility, Tango-slap palms, and attitude. People are scared of us; their smiles as fake as the big red slices on our masks.

I sweat inside my mask, taste latex crumbs on my lips but I can’t take it off. I am too far gone. This mask has power, it is sucking my personality out through my nostrils, mouth, eyes with each breath and replacing it with a dangerous energy that pushes at the seams of me and my nuclear suit. I look at the others. I don’t know who they are. But I know that we are the clowns.

halloween beijing

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Tom Spooner

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