At the Cutting Edge

Another post with a title with a double meaning!

Many of us claim to lead our lives ‘at the cutting edge’ of whatever it is that we are into. Science, for example. Some people, however, do this literally. Beds of nails, beds of swords, beds of glass. The underground culture of ‘backyard wrestling’ frequently features smashing fluorescent light tubes across your opponent’s bare back. Occasionally, there are odder example, like this Indian boy who appears to be enjoying having tubes smashed over him whilst wearing a well-padded anorak… one only has to ask, ‘why?’


Well, he seems happy enough. Our former performing friends Randy and Dan used to enjoy light tubes, biting the ends off, despite my worries that the phosphor is actually poisonous.

Yeah, we do ‘fakir’ stuff with swords, nails and glass too, but in ways which are actually relatively safe if your train properly first.

What is going on here…


… is more the sort of stuff, but count the number of nails there. Huge number. Weight per nail? Relatively little. Pain per nail? Relatively minor. Figure out the physics, and then you can better appreciate this:


Our dear friend Gary, who has trained martial arts for twenty years now, does four nails – and he doesn’t keep his hands on the floor. Dave and I, and most of our group, are somewhere in between!

You can, of course, endure your four support points the other way up:


…and, indeed, reduce it to one sword in the abdomen, as Gary also can do after intensive training with his Chinese colleagues.

I’ve written extensively in these posts about beds of glass and the rest of our stuff (including small darts thrown into our backs, our only real potentially ‘damaging’ part of our act) but our focus is always on the acrobatic elements. The question we are starting to face, though, is ‘how long can we keep all this stuff up?’ We’re approaching 30, and starting to think of what slightly more sedentary occupations might engage our attentions in the future? How long, in other words, can we keep at ‘the cutting edge’ of our acrobatics and gymnastics…?


How long can we sustain the necessary flexibility…?


(there’s someone else who likes to ‘perform’ in a load of rubble, and in an apparently derelict lift [elevator]!)

Well, we’re determined to keep performing the skills as long as we can (I’m pretty sure this is a repeat posting, but it’s a great picture and a great guy performing too)

piked iron cross

..and we will certainly be keeping up with the weights to look good as long as we are able (which is also an important part of our performance, given that our bodies are, essentially, ‘on display’), both in the gym with the best equipment…


…and in the home, with whatever we have (which in our case is a pretty extensive selection of free weights and benches):


Meanwhile, any ideas for how a few acrobats who might be getting a little creakier in a few years’ time can better occupy themselves are very welcome! We are, of course, coaching gym, so no need to suggest that. Comment, or if you prefer use

Now, what about that double meaning in the post title? Well, that relates to these:

The adventures begin..Darker forces emerge...More drama, and an eventual resolution... coming early 2013The paper version of the final volume there is about to go to press. More info about these precious items can be had by clicking on the covers. Plenty of acrobatics and weights, a wholesome dose of gayness, and a couple of rather serious misadventures. The forthcoming part three will explain, finally, why I am so coy about posting pictures of ourselves here, or at least identifying which ones they are. We perform under a different name, for a very good reason, which probably isn’t necessary after more than five years after a certain event which should have wiped out a previous ‘threat’ against us, but you never can be sure…

OK, now, the ‘other’ cutting edge. I have decided, after a lot of thought because I haven’t sold anything like enough paper copies to pay the bills, that I will nevertheless pay to have them all converted into e-books. If you guys won’t burden yourselves with the paper on which the half-million words are written, maybe the ‘cutting edge technology’ for your assorted Kindles and pads (which comes at a slightly easier price too) will appeal. Let’s hope so. Watch this space for more information. Vols 1 and 2 should be out in that form quite soon.

So, our resolution, as we approach ‘old age’ (!!) is to hit the gym as often as we do now, and try to keep our bodies in the muscular but flexible state to which we are accustomed, feeling good about it, and appreciating the efforts of those around us in the gym, encouraging them too. Here is some encouragement for you, then:



Now a boy with a big spanner…



…and a slightly grainy one to end with…


‘Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of…’ oh never mind! A seriously well-built guy.

Actually, one more. A funny. I’m convinced that these guys are at the cutting edge of something, but I leave you to decide what it is. As other bloggers often suggest, use comments to ‘caption this picture’!


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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