On the way to the Neverending Cafe
He was running around in Leidseplein with large gun in his hand. Red nose and a beautiful costume – shoes like planks and makeup fringing on burlesque with curves and eyes and swirls> Wide yellow and black checked bow tie and paisley shaped eye make up around in each eye – one sloped up the other sloped down. A tear fell from the downward sloping corner of the left eye, so delicate and intricately painted in white and blue you could see the swirls of oceans and eddies of sadness curling on his cheek, that would swell and fall with the clown’s expression.
He was swirling on one foot, with the other leg standing at a right angle and even in those boots he made it a ballet. The gun would fall to his side, point haphazardly at strangers and swirl around with his dance, which was slow at first. Arcs of feet and hands and a head: now looking through legs, now curled on the end of the neck and twisted round to the back of him. He was a snake under those comedy clothes – red and black squares on a puffy suit. The face and intricate make up would sneer and grimace and laugh and swirl almost like the eddies in the tear and in morphing it was seamless. Not one followed by another but one endless changing expression.
As the dance progressed the gun whirled faster and face kept up its gnarled then joyful then passive then remorseful poise, whirling in and out of legs the gun changed from hand to hand he’s holding it now like a cop, now against his head and now BANG@! he lets a shot off at the crowd. They jump at the blank. The whirls intensify and the shots ring off in stacatto bursts, he’s shouting now, the clown and the mania isn’t funny any more, or beautiful, except in its most abstract and you want to turn away as the grotesque overreaching arms take the man in folds and contort him ripping off his clothes ripping off his suit, his hat, though makeup and shoes left intact. The gun has fallen to the ground.
He’s standing in white all-in-one underwear, belly pouting to the breeze and crowds, half in horror, half scared and the mix challenged as to what will happen next. Will you save us with your act dear clown? Or leave us hanging in the reaches of paralysed despair – your arcs our enemy and your pastiche the frustrated whirls of our every day?
Sadly, he’s standing. Challenging the breeze, challenging the whispers of the crowd, challenging each to move away or meet him with a gaze and the gay man, the happy sad man with an outward pouted lip, red nose and eddies on his face flops his upper half to the ground and picks up the gun. Tears springing – really – from his face, smearing swirls – white paint stained with a clear tear and posing, pouting places the gun to his head. Parents take their children away. We watch stunned.
But he doesn’t pull the trigger. He just stands waiting until he becomes a standing shows, passers-by remarking on the clothes scattered around and the funny tragic man who’s showed us our destiny for a time.
Dear man – you walk away. The next day he was gone.