Clowning about

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Welcome to February! The time for… erm… nothing much, really.

It’s not the most inspiring of months, is it? Cold, dark mornings followed by cold, dark afternoons; the excitement of Christmas a fading memory, the promise of springtime still agonisingly distant. T.S. Eliot would have us believe that “April is the cruellest month”, but I think he missed the mark by a good eight weeks there. To echo the words of Don McLean, February makes me shiver.

Stop the press! There may be a glimmer of hope on the horizon. February, it would seem, may not be so relentlessly grey after all. This coming Thursday sees the start of the Chinese New Year – The Year of the Rabbit. And not only that: as each Chinese year is also linked to one of the five elements, 2011 will be the year of the Metal Rabbit. Ann Summers must be preparing themselves for record profits this year. February then could see the beginning of a period of heightened excitement, of gaeity, of dynamism, of titilation! Picture the rabbit: frisky, full of life, skipping energetically hither and thither through scenic countryside. Rabbits are wily. Rabbits are dynamic. Rabbits, so my Chinese horoscope guide informs me, “are private individuals, a bit introverted and withdrawn”. Oh.

But, of course, there is much more to February than leporine listlessness – for the fabulous 14th brings St. Valentine’s Day. Yes, that’s right, the one and only day of the year when one can express undying devotion to a significant other through the gift of laminated card and all things shiny. Nothing says I love you like refined cocoa products and flowers cut-down in their prime. No, there must be more to February than this.

And here it is: Sunday February 6, the Dalston Clown Service. This is more like it. What better antidote to the monotonous malaise of the second month than a celebration of all things clown? Big hair, face paint, squirty flowers – it’s perfect. Now it may be a little impractical to make a pilgrimage to East London just for the sake of some light comic relief, but this is the way forward, I’m sure of it, and I for one shall be marking the occasion with a rummage through my girlfriend’s makeup bag. Oh! To see the joy spread across the faces of my friends: their smiles, their laughter, their cries of “oh no, he’s started wearing makeup again”. I can see it now; a campus full of brightly coloured faces, the air thick with the sounds of happiness and the smell of grease paint. Join me, my friends, join me. Paint your faces with pride this Sunday and help to lift this grey old February up from the doldrums, and drag it kicking and screaming into life.

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