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Topic: Act Shortage UK
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Aug 24, 2005 07:19AM)
Well it will soon be the "Great Dorset Steam Fair" The largest Fair of it`s kind in the world,stretching over 15,000 acres of ground with 500,000 punters over the five day run.
This will be my 20th + + year at this great show and I am still a singlo feature with the Fakir,Fire and escape shows.

Talking with the Tober bosses and riding masters it seems impossible to get working acts to work there,,,,the diversity of people type and performing requirements are very vast with the modern day performer not meeting this challenge.

To me it would be the ideal place for street entertainers to work but very few attend.

After all this time I can only conclude that we are a dying breed with little or no new blood working there way in,,,, this is so sad as I am sick of magicians,escapologists and the like belly aching about haveing no contracts or performances,,,,I conclude that the average UK entertainer is too B****y lazy to get off their A** buy a portapotty and generator (The most important requirements for this job, plus a kettle of course!)And get out there and do it.

I wonder if this is the general trend, world over.

Sorry to let steam off here but I aint getting no younger and I love this job/life.

I wonder how Dougs baby is going to do ????

Message: Posted by: drwilson (Aug 24, 2005 08:55AM)

Now let me get this straight...you are going to get half a million punters...you are the only working act...you have a Higley show...yet you are not a happy guy? You are the only game in town, and you are going to get all the money!

OK, I see, you are lonely. You want the torch to be passed.

I worked a very small fair here recently for a single day (six hours, hardly a full day in this life!). I was the only attraction pitching things or charging admission (to my Feejee Mermaid show). Everyone else was a historical reenactment getting paid by the organizer. I got all their money, and the organizer thought that it was a good deal, because he didn't have to pay me. I looked at it as free space (30 feet of frontage) with a lock on the entertainment. We made about half what I have netted at a four and a half day fair, after their crazy rents for a lousy spot far from the midway.

The last thing I needed at this small fair was somewhere else for people to drop off their cash!

But I agree, anyone with the necessary skills in the UK that isn't looking for a piece of this action is clueless!


Message: Posted by: DavidEscapes (Aug 24, 2005 09:39AM)
Hi Ken

Calm down buddy, you might burst something :)

Seriously, you know the only reason I am not chasing that end up right now is becuase I have a lot of other things going on, but in 2006, I am there. You know I will get off my a.ss and sort out whatever! I even have a spare kettle handy.

I have something in the pipeline that is going to kill at the outdoor shows. I'll tell you about it next time we chat.

Speak to you soon my friend, ding 'em for every dime. I am sure Mr Higley's baby will pay for itself all over again.


Message: Posted by: Kondini (Aug 24, 2005 11:24AM)
Hi david, no it`s not a knock at the workers among us,it`s the attitude of some entertainers who look down their nose at this type of work.

I am proud of what I do and the way I do it so to be told that "No way am I going out to work in a field for a living it`s beneath me" !!!! Well it get`s me back up and these are the guys who moan about low fees and no contracts.

I have always tried to share with others the good oportunities which come my way (Often passed on to me by fellow workers)David Deval,David Weeks,Betty Allen,Frank Marchington,to name just a few.I shall always be in their debt for without them I would have achieved nothing.

Five years ago there were a number of entertainers who kept the shows alive.People like Rigdens Can Can Girls (God bless em,and their long legs!!! They will be with me at Dorset, also in to double number years of working this and other shows)Barry Walls,Melton Mowbrey,Stromboli,Nick Jansen,The Apachy Troup,Picton with his car,Bo the Clown,Skidazle,Dave Dante(The best EA in the UK,my words,not his)Etc,Etc, I could name another twenty straight off,,,,, now all gone in other directions or to the Tober in the sky.

All the evening gatherings of like minded show entertainers have gone.

The days of looking for Dr Death the morning after the night before,,,,only to find him fully clothed in tail outfit and topper under a table in the beer tent,,,his wife going crazy!!!!! This is the side of the biz that made you bubble with the joy of outside entertining.

Its now all gone, proberly never to return.

The oportunity to work an act twenty times a day and sometimes for seven days a week would result in the most ham fisted entertainer eventualy making the grade.These are the things that the up and coming "Stars" of tomorrow will never gain, an apprenticeship to that which we love.

Sorry a large tear has just dropped into my whiskey.

Good Dr,,,yes your attitude is %100 Showman.
I have been lucky to make a fair income,bring up the kids and pay off the mortgage as well as travel the world on the back of the outside shows.
Yes the zib will bring in the baby and believe me next year Doug is going to surpass himself here in the UK, yes we are bringing out the show of shows,the Royals!! Royce of the unusual, to do the rounds of the UK shows.
But good Dr it`s more than the cash when you get to my age, it`s the tradition which is far more important than even me.
Look at our non animal Circus !!!!!!!! No animals that aint a B***DY Circus,,,so what`s it to be, no more outside show acts????

I am fully aware that I am proberly the best sideshow act with own unit in the UK and have been for the past five years or so (Cos no else does it) I am also very modest!!!!

Well I guess I just want this side of the biz to continue so it`s a selfish moan if you like.

*** it,,,I was born in the wrong era.

Will let you know the true no BS take on the Mer.
Eat yer heart out.

Message: Posted by: DavidEscapes (Aug 24, 2005 11:48AM)
Hi Ken

Personally, I love working in fields. Festival and outdoor show audiences are the best you can get. I don't do enough of them. We just did Three days at one near Edinburgh, and have a couple coming up in September. The show I bought that 'thing' for (thanks Ken :) ) just went bankrupt, thankfully not before paying me some up front, and I have another show to replace it now.

Don't ruin good whiskey (and I am assuming that a man of your refined tastes would have nothing less) with salty tears ken, that's nothing short of criminal.

Have fun

Message: Posted by: Harley Newman (Aug 24, 2005 03:29PM)
Hey Ken!

Will Rogers said, "If you done it, it ain't braggin'". That says it all.
Message: Posted by: jonthewierdo (Aug 27, 2005 07:04AM)
Hi Ken,

Having read your post a few thoughts spring to mind in random order as follows...

01) Regards Barry Walls, a genuinely nice man - god bless his soul, but a Grade A nutter. He bought me dads Bed of Nails as used for three years at belle Vue Circus and then threw it away complaining it was not sharp enough.

02) As another Sideshow, outdoor event worker once said to me "Where possible fake it and fake it safely as you won't get paid anymore for putting your life at risk!" - Roy Rama was the guy who told me that by the way, no doubt you may have encountered Roy who unfortunately is now very ill, as he was a regula ron Fairground, sideshow and outdoor event circuit.

03) I gather Todd Cody (son of he famous Western Circus Act) is still promoting acts for out door events all over Uk, indeed his wife goes out as Gayle Gordon female escapologist doing high crane escapes.

04) Portapotty, surely you've upgraded to a Chemical Flush Toilet these days Ken? (LOL) - mind you anything is better than the on site portakabin toilets which are health and death traps after day one of a busy event......

05) I agree your right Ken, the evening camaradie with fellow acts, fairground people and such like makes this a most interesting lifestyle and one which with some hard graft can be very profitable indeed, but its more a WAY OF LIFE rather than a avenue to perform at and I reckon that's why many performers don't consider it or try it and give up.

Many try to work in Cricus and give up part way thru season or don't return after first season, that's because ITS A TOTALLY DIFFERENT WAY OF LIFE, I should know I was born on Gandeys Circus, and over the years have worked on Gerry Cottles, Sir Robert Fossetts and other shows, YOU KEN ARE OBVIOUSLY A SHOWMAN IN THE TRUE SENSE OF THE WORD and obviusly are cut out for the lifestyle, many are not.

I well remembe rone night after "Wheels Car Rally" in Lincolnshire on Manby Showground the gaff people opening the rides for the showmen and other on site people,

They had an old Noahs Ark and truly took te knife out (I think you know what I mean Ken) BOY WAS IT FAST -bloody too fast they'd fitted a more powerful modern motor to it.

I was sat on one fo the animals and nearly came flying off the ride this was truly a white knuckle ride, also one of many memorable experinces I've taken away from doing outdoor events like this, Royal lancashire Show and many others.

Some people are just ot cut out for it.

kind regards

Message: Posted by: jonthewierdo (Aug 27, 2005 12:29PM)
Just remembered what about Bernard Bale?

Regular contirbutor to Worlds Fair Circus page, it was he who booked me and me dad for Manby Showground in Licolnshire and many other Gala Events.

Indeed years ago he acted as promoter for me dad when he was doing the "cheating the gallows" stunt for Galas all over uk.

Bernard came up with headline "HAS HE LEARNT THE SECRET OF THE DEATH CELLS?" and it got loads of bookings.

I agree Ken, theres no reason for many performers to be out of work if they get off their arse and adapt their acts to the work that is available.
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Aug 29, 2005 03:08PM)
Just a quicky,back from Ardingly and off to Dorset now.
Yes I have worked Wheels at Manby as well via an agent and this is another venue now defunct.

Four Seasons Events this last weekend were let down by a Knights reingactment display,,, the staff drove to Brighton sea front looking for buskers to fill out the bill!!!

I believe Roy Rama promoted the standing bed of nails that Peter Diamond puts out,,,,geee that one hurts, a lot!!!

Gary and Molly Ryan of Anglesey worked the Tower Circus for many seasons,,,are you by chance related to them?

Will return next Monday morning OK

Cheers Ken,

BTW I hope to be at Blackpool in February,,, I want to see Capehart and his rings.