LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BOYS AND GIRLS... welcome to the big top blog of Douglas McPherson, author of CIRCUS MANIA, the book described by Gerry Cottle as "A passionate and up-to-date look at the circus and its people."

Friday, 27 November 2009


As we count down to the publication of Circus Mania, it seems like everyone is catching the circus bug, to judge by a couple of CDs sent my way for review.

New singer-songwriter Will Kevans (his parents should have called him Than...) has decorated the cover of his disc, Everything You Do, with an attractive montage of retro circus artwork: elephant, lion and polar bear on pedestals and so on.

No circus songs, but it’s an OK album. A rootsy pop outing somewhere between Squeeze and Dexy’s Midnight Runners.

Nashville piano man Phil Vassar, who visits the UK for the first time in January, has taken things even further, calling his latest release Travelling Circus and adorning it with paintings of himself kitted out as a ringmaster.

Again, there are no circus connections in the actual music, which is a pleasing combination of contemporary Nashville meets Billy Joel. A travelling circus is just the way Phil sees life as a touring musician.

“I always say to the band, let’s get this travelling circus on the road,” Vassar told me, in a phone call from Music City. But he admits to being a big fan of the sawdust circle: “Oh yeah. I always liked the fact that it’s so much bigger than life.”

Finally in this musical interlude, the best Christmas album I’ve ever heard is Gold And Green by another Nashville act, Sugarland. I particularly like their rock’n’roll version of Winter Wonderland. You know that line about building a snowman and pretending he’s Parson Brown? Well, strange as it seems, I never realised until now that there’s a second verse that runs: “In the meadow we can build and snowman and make believe that he’s a CIRCUS CLOWN....”

So thanks to Sugarland’s gorgeous Jennifer Nettles for bringing that to my attention.

Thanks, too, to My Weekly for running a nice advance plug for Circus Mania alongside the first instalment of my Christmas comedy crime serial, The Blue Rinse Brigade. Look out for it in stores now.

With the recent release of a film called Cirque de Freak, all these circus references are nicely paving the way for the publication of Circus Mania in the New Year. Why wait until after Christmas, though? You can order now from Amazon, and all other good online stores.

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