The Young Professionals

10430488_304395123069546_3420588148393715694_nYears ago, no one would have been in any doubt that this painting depicts what young boys should be doing in their free time: enjoying the open air, in the water, getting muddy, wrestling around with their friends… surely better than spending all their time staring at electronic screens, as most kids seem to do these days.

Our hideaway in rural Wales (UK) certainly has provided the environment for exactly this kind of outdoor stuff this summer: amazing weather (until the last couple of days!) for boys to be outside shirtless and barefoot, enjoying life with their friends. Son Leo, his best US mate Chris staying with us, and their English friend Ollie – all in the 11-12 age bracket. Many nights have been spent bivouacking under the trees as well. Sweaty: muddy: happy.

imagesCAZ7JBG6One notable difference, though, from other boys in a similar situation. Leo has had the recent experience of nearly 50 professional shows performing as acrobat and fakir! Indeed, he has been training with his acrobatic parents and the rest of the group ever since he was old enough to stand up, and his “sister” (similarly aged daughter of my partner Dave) too. So he has a very responsible attitude towards training and has inspired a number of friends back in US to “follow in his footsteps”, notably Chris who is enjoying his second vacation in UK with us. Ollie is the son of my oldest friend in UK and his wife – both gymnasts, so you can see that all three boys are similarly focussed.

All of this preamble because Ollie’s mum and I walked in on one of their training sessions in our barn unnoticed yesterday, and were struck by the intense professionalism and maturity with which all of the boys were assisting each other with appropriately chosen light weights, spotting for one another in balances, thinking about their safety and, moving on to the beds of nails and glass, taking all the appropriate steps to achieve their goals with safety… Leo on his back on the nails supporting his two friends in balances on his hands and feet, for example… carrying on a tradition that Ollie’s dad Colin and I began, aged about seven, shirtless and carefree on the banks of the Cherwell river near our Oxford homes, discovering acrobatics for ourselves.

They are all, frankly, brilliant, and we’re immensely proud of them. Ollie (the youngest) has insisted for the last year to undertake a similar programme to ours in Tennessee at his home in Oxford (UK), and Skypes the others almost daily to compare notes and progress. Ollie also got to make a visit over to USA a while back, to spend time with the others, and all of our acrobatic friends over there made time to help them train. 4000 miles apart, most of the time, doesn’t get in the way of real friendship.

Training in the barn over, the boys erupted on to our mountainside, yelling, shouting and fooling around, just as boys should. But nothing would be allowed to get in the way of their serious training!


Last evening, when they were finally asleep, Ollie’s mum and I had a little training session of our own. ‘Tash wanted to get some experience working on nails and glass as well, to impress husband Colin when he joins us later this week. So I’m sharing our barn gym with my best friend’s wife, next to naked, standing on her back whilst she lies on the nails… but remember, I’m gay with a loving partner, and the relationship – just as with the boys – is entirely professional when we’re training! Just in case you were wondering… and she had a long call with Colin after, telling him exactly what we had been doing and what she had achieved. Feisty one, that Natasha, as related in my books amidst all the other gay, acrobatic and adventure stuff…

Loving the Boy: ISBN 978-1-907732-30-0

The Power of Love: ISBN 978-1-907732-41-6

Against All Odds: ISBN 978-1-908645-35-7

e-books from Amazon etc too. Your perfect beach read this summer… (you don’t have to be gay to enjoy, if you’ll accept what gay guys do, but you might enjoy them even more if you are!)… yes, I’m a gay dad, and that’s all in the books too.

On to the customary pictures now, starting with the theme of groups of guys in various numbers “being there for each other”:



Birds of a Feather153

sun and shade


A professional double act where two work as one – one of the best – Kalutskikh brothers:


…they’re streets better than we could ever be, and work with their friends Steelkast on nails, glass and sword beds also, which most acrobatic groups don’t (see the links at the bottom of the page).

On the lighter side:


Birds of a Feather160

Mutual admiration in the weight room:


‘Fun’ ?? on the beach:


Let’s include a more intimate one: a guy gently massaging his partner…


…whilst on the (possibly) ‘gay’ side…


(damn – one of them is holding an electronic device!) – but what is the other one thinking?

No doubt here…


I’m waiting for my Dave to return from his trip to the English Lake District… and then, like them…


(No vests in bed for us, though)

But wait: where did all this begin? Artworks of boys having fun…


…real boys having fun…


Boys getting muddy:

Birds of a Feather158

…ah, to be that age again…! And finally, of course, boys training like young professional acrobats and artists:


Go on, boys, go out there and be a LION…









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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