Friday, 28 October 2016
Growing up in the circus - a picture that says it all
Here's a picture that surely sums up how wonderful it must have been to grow up in one of the great circuses of yesteryear. Two kids taking an elephant for a walk down a suburban street... on skateboards!
That's Bobbo Roberts in the foreground (read about his new clown show here) and his sister bringing up the rear. As for the elephant... surely this picture sums up the harmony in which circus folk and their animals once lived.* The jumbo was obviously part of the family, a big pet, considered safe enough to play in the street with two young children who she clearly trusted completely, and them her.
Notice there's not a bull-hook in sight. Bobbo's father Bobby Roberts, the circus owner and elephant trainer never used nor even owned one. He thought an ankus was something you found on a boat.
What a shame we're unlikely to ever see scenes like this on a British street again - a picture from the days when human and animal relationships were considered both normal and natural, to be celebrated, not outlawed, as they are today.
*And yes, I know there are still circus trainers keeping alive the tradition, but they are becoming ever more rare and the threat of a ban on their vocation grows ever closer in Wales (see article here) and now Scotland, where a ban on wild animals in travelling circuses will be debated in the Scottish Parliament next year.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if those with the power to ban could gaze upon a photo like this, from the days before protesters, political correctness and killjoys, and realise that those simpler times were better times. Let's bring them back!