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February 2007

Are clowns even funny?

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I think this is a question worth posing due to a recent clown encounter I had while watching Cirque de Soleil’s Allegria on Saturday. As you might imagine, whilst the rest of the show was truly brilliant, and culminated spectacularly with some insane trapezing. But the clowns – they verged on irritating.

If perhaps I’d bought the programme I might have discovered that Alegría is a mood, a state of mind. The themes of the show, whose name means “jubilation” in Spanish, are many. Power and the handing down of power over time, the evolution from ancient monarchies to modern democracies, old age, youth—it is against this backdrop that the characters of Alegría play out their lives. Kings’ fools, minstrels, beggars, old aristocrats and children make up its universe, along with the clowns, who alone are able to resist the passing of time and the social transformations that accompany it.

Jeepers. So that was it. The clowns are cleverly resisting the passing of time and the social transformations. How did I not get that? OK, I think I’ve got it – because the clowns are boring, time seems to pass really slowly while they’re playing Laurel and Hardy and thus they’re resisting the passing of time. Genius.

I don’t get it though. I didn’t realise it was about power. Power and jubilation. Right.

I have a baby.

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And in many ways I’m thankful that it’s not my own.

Now that I’m a married man I suppose it’s just the sort of extraneous object that one finds oneself inadvertently in posession of – after all, you can now put me in the box ‘recently married, reasonably settled and responsible’.

Even I would question the last assumption but nevertheless, it was made, and so I found myself in posession of a seven month old baby whose name I didn’t even know (it was Dutch and unpronouncable).

After the mother rather tentatively made her exit, Rebecca and I found ourselves standing in a stunned silence, not quite sure what we’d let ourselves into with our less than limited experience of dealing with babies.

The great thing about small children is that they find the most boring things the most entertaining. And so it was, that after a generous half hours wimpering and griping, the small child (let’s call her Beatrice) became fascinated by a box. This suited me perfectly as I soon discovered, as any babysitter worth their salt would, that I could watch TV whilst cleverly propping her up with a well positioned knee, safe in the knowledge that I wasn’t neglecting babysitting duties.

I wasn’t quite sure about feeding ettiquette so after a bit of a discussion, Beatrice and I came to some kind of an agreement that she could play with the box and enjoy her lukewarm milk simultaneously. This was obviously after she’d rejected my suggestion that she should sit down to eat/drink.

Rebecca took over soon after, nurturing those mothering instincts with great trepidation but somehow getting Beatrice to sleep – with no small thanks going to the assortment of plush pieces she’d brought back from Disneyville.

In conclusion, small children are great for a short time but I have found them to be all too limiting on getting on with things. That’s about it really.

Truffles & Nuggets

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Truffles and Nuggets are, without a doubt, what make life taste so good. You can’t beat a good forage for a truffle or a nugget. So contained herein are a few titbits to inform, persuade and be.

Good work is always an exciting thing to find because it makes so much easier to do when you can can kind of copy from someone else. Seeing as I’ve done the work, I see no point in keeping it to myself when no else can make use of it. This work, although my own, does not necessarily reflect my current views or opinions. That said, if I have made an exceedingly good point, it was probably because I meant to. This work made up my BA Politics and International Relations (joint hons.) at Sussex University between 2002 – 2005. A delightful resource, a friend and a truffle.


What is the Impact of Corruption on Economic Development in South East Asia?

Book Review: Larry J. Sabato & Glenn R. Simpson – Dirty Little Secrets

Is Deafness a Culture or a Disability?

How Can We Explain the Emergence of an EU Citizenship?

What is Structure and Agency? How Does This Framework Help Us In Political Analysis?

Policy Models: Rational Decision Making Model: Case Study ? Soccer Betting in Hong Kong

Can We Apply the Concept of Citizenship to the EU?

How Can We Explain the Emergence of an EU Citizenship?

How Does Community Law Affect National Sovereignty?

How Useful are Theories of Integration to Understanding the Development of the EU?

Account for the shift towards democratic forms of government in much of the third world.

Are the political systems of developing countries intrinsically clientelist?

In which respects are we equal and in which respects should we be?

Is the Individual the best judge of what they should be free to do?

In what ways does the present Electoral Law in Britain affect Voting Behaviour?

What are the key differences between ?Old? and ?New? Labour?

What is the role of the Monarchy in modern Britain?

International Relations

To What Extent Can the Genocide in Rwanda Be Understood Within the Context of Globalization?

Critically assess Kaldor’s assertion that new wars have to be understood in the context of the process known as globalization

To what extent are China and ASEAN States partners and to what extent are they rivals?

?The best hope for developing countries to attain economic growth is through integration into the world economy. And their tool, if only they are willing to use it is?the multinational company’. Discuss.

Explain the emergence of International Political Economy as a field, and why, if at all, it is relevant today?

Discuss the claim that international order among states can be maintained through international organisations.

What does a gendered division of labour within the state have to do with international politics?

To what extent was the Gulf War provoked by external forces?

How Fundamental Change is Globalisation?

Why is the French Revolution regarded as such as important event in modern international history?