20. Why there’s nothing like being there, being part of it

19 - Copy - CopyI’m MARK HAYSOM, the author of two novels, LOVE, LOVE ME DO and IMAGINE. In my occasional Blog, I attempt to make sense of the world for my grandson, Theo – and for myself. Theo is now 18 months old


A family outing: we go to the circus. And high above the sawdust ring, beneath the stretched deep-blue dome of the big top, we take our seats and wait.

Wait for the magic to begin.

Laser lights play; music pounds; the tent quickly fills.

All around, in an eager sea of popcorn and candyfloss, children’s excited voices bubble with laughter.

Vendors work the aisles.

One row all buy glowing light sabres and happily carve the air: we opt for a spinning windmill of rainbow lights. Mesmerising. Hypnotic.

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The story of one traumatic day. 

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The tempo of the music quickens: becomes a thunderous driving beat.

Below us, the ring is raked and swept: every slow, getting-ready motion a teasing promise of what is to come.

Finally, to applause, to squeals of delight, the top-hatted red-coated ringmaster steps forwards, raises his microphone.

My lords, ladies and gentlemen ’ he booms.

And it begins.

Suddenly there are jugglers juggling; tumblers leaping, rolling: strongmen lifting, holding. There are big-footed, red-nosed, hair-flapping clowns playing trombones and tubas. There’s a rock-steady human pyramid caught in the spotlight.

A clown in a loud checked coat and a blue hat works a small dog around the ring; the dog weaves zigzags between his legs, rolls over, plays dead, springs to life, climbs on to his shoulders.

A contortionist performs a handstand, arches her back, fires an arrow – with her feet; a giant wheel spins, a man dances fast and dangerously above. Two high-stepping horses parade, pirouette: one is haughty and magnificent, one Shetland small. Little mimics large.

And through it all, Theo, eyes wider-than-ever-before, transfixed, you point.

Look! Look at that!

You laugh and clap.

And you learn a truth that will last a lifetime.

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That there’s nothing like being there, being part of it, feeling the tingle of anticipation, the joyous adrenaline rush of a crowd.

And later you’ll discover too that there’s nothing like being in a theatre as the audience gasps in shock or surprise; as it rocks with laughter; as it holds its breath and quickly wipes its tear-stained eyes before the curtain falls.

Nothing either like being at the Millennium Stadium as seventy thousand voices lift in exhortation, exultation; at Wembley as the crowd explodes to its feet as the net bulges; or at Lords as a ball races to the boundary and a bat is raised triumphantly high.

Nothing like being at a concert when the audience can’t keep to its seat, can’t stop dancing; when it roars its approval, hands aloft.

There is nothing like it.

All that magic, Theo. Still to come.

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2 Responses to 20. Why there’s nothing like being there, being part of it

  1. Jacquie Forbes February 4, 2016 at 7:46 pm #

    Hi Mark,
    three days off work and in bed with flu was the reason I read Imagine. I bought it as an extra Xmas gift for whoever I may have forgotten, a just in case. I hadn’t read anything of yours and it was a quick buy one get one half price offer. All I can say is that afterwards I had to find out more about you on line. Then I read the blogs too. It’s as if a million little light bulbs have gone off in my head and my heart all at once and like never before after reading someone’s words. I could go on and on but instead I will just say that I am so looking forward to more of your words and will soon have your earlier work to enjoy.
    With sincere appreciation Jacquie Forbes

    • Mark Haysom February 5, 2016 at 8:39 am #

      Jacquie, I have been fortunate enough to receive many kind comments about my writing – but nothing, I think, quite to match yours. I’m so glad that what and how I write means something to you, and I love the idea of the million lightbulbs going off in your head and heart. Having read IMAGINE first, you may find LOVE, LOVE ME DO coming in the wrong order! I hope it still works for you. Finally, if you haven’t seen them already, there are five free short stories you might want to read before turning to the novel http://www.mark-haysom.co.uk/the-stories/. Thank you so much for your words. Mark.

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