Slings and Arrows

Its about 3 in the morning right now but we’re on a ‘high’ after celebrating with our Man.Power colleagues following the successful show rehearsal. Chris and Billy’s dad kindly took Leo and Jaymee for a sleepover so that we could, erm, party…

I wanted to mention a few other elements in the show. I wrote a while ago that Randy and Dan, our original knife throwers and swordsmen, were giving up. We’ve taken on a few of their elements: for example, when the girls come to the end of their fire sequence, Pete unzips his lycra trunks (new matching set for all of us with crafty side zips to enable us to shed them quickly, with a neat ‘top’ for Jaymee) to leave just the T-backs we all use for the endurance elements and stands with his back to the audience, flexing his back. The girls add a little ‘spice’ with their torches, whilst Leo and Jaymee bring on some glass bottles and do a few press ups (like this lad):


However, the idea is that the ends of the bottles get hammered off (the debris gets added to the pile of glass we shall jump and roll around in later), they are upended onto fixed ‘corks’ on a frame, Dave and I then take Pete’s arms and Clare his feet and we lower him on to the upturned jagged edges of eight bottles: two for the shoulders, two at lower back, two mid thigh and two calves. After some stuff with breaking wood across his stomach, the centre four bottles are removed leaving just four, and Jaymee does a quick handstand on him…

darts small stomachWe also do the ‘human dartboard’ stuff (special darts with short and thinner barbs are used for this): again, because Pete has fewer other routines than we do, he takes them first, although we all get a few (not the kids though). And a few pins get pushed through suitable parts of the skin…

You do need some significant muscle to do the dartboard act – although most people on the sideshow circuit seem to rely on large folds of fat instead!


Anyways, we also decided at the last minute that the girls (Karen and Clare) would not be content with fire and glass but would resurrect their hook suspension finale (alternating between them each show).

7189785-mdThis means taking the frame with us because we don’t have one in UK, but guess we can afford the excess baggage. This is the usual position they use, demonstrated below by a Ukrainian guy: Dave and I have done it once, but decided ‘never again’. We like our bodies intact and looking good for acro, not scarred and bloodied. The darts and pins, well, they have little lasting effect.


For Dave and I, the most important part of the shows will always be the acrobatic elements. Initial tumbling, then our old faithful duo routine first worked out when we were 17 which climaxes with my free head balance on the back of Dave’s neck whilst he is in a front planche… quite honestly, I think we can do that in our sleep now.

We all finished in a row of front planches – Pete in the centre, Dave and I each side with Leo and Jaymee on top in ‘double’ planches, and the girls at ends. There was plenty of applause from the invited onlookers.

After the show, my fantastic talented son Leo leapt on me, hugging his sweating body to mine, unable to contain his delight. Dave is equally proud of his Jaymee.

Exploring gay love and acrobatics...Darker forces emerge...Coming shortly: the denoument...So that’s it. How we got into all this stuff, and some of the misadventures which accompanied our first three years, are detailed in these sturdy volumes. Off to the UK on Friday, where the final proof of the final volume Against All Odds awaits my attention.

Oh, and when we’re in the air on Friday, according to the Mayan calendar, the world is coming to an end. So I’ll try and squeeze one more post in before then, just in case…

and, of course, a few

Bonus Boys


A nicely sweaty workout boy next to his punchbag…


…and what every home needs by the front door…


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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