On Being a Target

It seems a little strange but, in my career as an acrobat and circus performer, I’ve found myself looking down the barrel of one of these – twice. It is not a happy experience.

Life was wonderful before all the shit started. Fantastic love life with Dave and our superb friends, spending our time doing acrobatics, which we loved and was all any of us cared about. The germ of the problem was actually sown before any of us ever met up, but we wouldn’t discover that for nearly four years. It first appeared to start when four of us met up to go to Cody’s place in the woods for a little ‘friendly’ S&M. Just for the experience, you understand. Gay boys being curious. But we never got as far as Cody’s basement of fun before getting tied to a tree and being assaulted by an ex-con. We didn’t know it then, but the events of that day would appear to provide the cause for us getting shot at subsequently in Edinburgh (that was my first sight of a the wrong end of a gun). Between Cody’s and Edinburgh there were several other ‘encounters’, one ending with two of our mates, Randy and Dan, chucking our stalkers’ luggage into the fast-flowing waters at the top of Niagara Falls after they assaulted Zach: you can maybe imagine that doing that only made matters worse.

Niagara, where we were hosted by our great friends Alain and Michel

Niagara from the Canadian side

Several more ‘encounters’ would follow before Edinburgh, but I can’t tell them all here – not yet, anyway. And, worse still, after Edinburgh, we realised that it was not over, even though the perpetrator was behind bars in a Scottish gaol. For some of us, much worse was to follow. Luckily, as acrobats, we had certain skills which the felons hadn’t quite bargained for…

Once, during some of our touring with Circus Extreme, we found ourselves in a fabulous South African game park called Pelindaba. Here some of us were suddenly faced with a threat of a different kind. Not one of the ‘big five’ – such as the elephant which tried to tip over a wagon full of tourists and trample them just before our visit – but a hazard actually inside our hotel! The menace was one of these:

Always cover your eyes!

This is the evil Spitting Cobra, whose caustic juices can blind you. Fortunately, the instinctive reaction of my American colleagues was ‘rattlesnake’, and ‘make a run for it’.

But the place we stayed was wonderful – Bakubung Lodge – and, in the staff quarters where we were lodged, we met wonderful local people whose wisdom, handed down through generations, was able to correctly foretell the sex of our children by giving Karen and Clare a ‘close’ examination…
…so much to tell, if I finish writing it all down…
…so, if you can ever get there, do. Here’s the actual reception area where the cobra tried to take us out. You never saw the staff move so fast! But  it is a wonderful place and you should certainly try to visit it one day.

Bakubung Lodge, Pilanesburg, South Africa

About tonycavanagh

Born Northampton UK; school Oxford UK and Oak Ridge Tennessee, where I met my wonderful partner Dave, also from UK. Oak Ridge is our main training base for acrobatics and circus stuff, but we also established a base in Wales (UK) to serve us when we are working in Europe. Our 'story', of finding gay love, learning the acrobatics trade and then of how we got shot at during our show (and worse was to follow - just to prove that the risks of being an acrobat are not always the most obvious ones!) are now available in my three books 'Loving the Boy', 'The Power of Love' and 'Against All Odds'. Links available on most blog posts. Actually, waiting for the imminent arrival of the first printed copies was far scarier than anything we do in performance. A fourth book - not about us but exploring the sadness of a gay Native American boy denied his true identity - is currently with an agent for evaluation. watch for 'Let The Future Find Me' in due time. And now to book five... another boy, another quest... seems its always boys...
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3 Responses to On Being a Target

  1. Pingback: Health and Safety at Work « Tony Cavanagh

  2. Pingback: Lexington Lads (and a Pussy Cat) « Tony Cavanagh

  3. Pingback: Bosons, Bisons and Balance « Tony Cavanagh

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