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tweedy’s in town

Photography supplied by Giffords Circus

tWeedy’s In toWn the cotsWolds’ favourIte cloWn and gIffords cIrcus star on hIs begInnIngs, the ‘cloWn eggs’ and hoW young hopefuls can set theIr sIghts on the bIg top… He’s been shot out of a cannon. He’s shaken his fist at the Greek gods. He’s been immortalised as a centaur in artist Melodie Cook’s accomplished pastel portrait. It’s safe to say that the life of Tweedy the clown has proven pretty unconventional. Those familiar with Giffords Circus will be well familiar with his antics, but now it’s time to find out more about the best-loved funnyman in town. Were you always the joker at school? Yes. I was really small until I was about 16, so I had that little boy cheekiness – the way you get away with things because you’re little. I loved being small. My friends used to say to me ‘you’re only funny because you’re small’ so I had this fear of suddenly shooting up and becoming really big.

I then had the realisation that I wanted to be the cartoon, rather than draw them and make them. I was about fifteen or sixteen when I had that epiphany, if that’s the right word. So I taught myself to juggle and to unicycle and do whatever tricks I could teach myself. How did your first clowning job lead on from that? It was difficult back then trying to do the research.There was no Internet, so trying to find out any information on how to be a clown or clowning was really hard. I wrote a questionnaire and sent it to circuses that I could get addresses

for. I sent out loads and got two back. On one, it said that the best way to learn is to join the circus and learn from other clowns. They offered me a job off the back of that to do promotional clowning, which was to go to schools to do shows and hand out fliers in the street and things like that. I just had that lucky chance to step into the big shoes – obviously if I’d been rubbish they wouldn’t have extended me the job, but there was a bit of luck there. How did you craft the Tweedy persona – is he an exaggerated version of yourself or is he somebody you created over time?

When did you first realise that you wanted to be a clown? I always had a fascination with Laurel & Hardy and Buster Keaton and cartoons and things like that. Originally I was going to go to art school to study animation, but then I realised for animation you needed a lot of patience and it can actually be quite dull…

I alWays had a fascInatIon WIth laurel & hardy and buster Keaton and cartoons and thIngs lIKe that. orIgInally I Was goIng to go to art school to study anImatIon, but then I realIsed for anImatIon you needed a lot of patIence ...

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