Multiple Load Paths

No, this is not a tutorial in engineering! Bear with me…


Exhibit ‘A’ – a glass box. Actually, a coffin. Well, we’re all headed there, but hopefully not yet. And probably not in a glass one. Well, we’ve just had one delivered.

Actually, ours has no lid, and straight sides. Seven feet long and wide enough for your average Circus Extreme performer to take a nap in. On about two inches of broken glass, obviously…

Then the rest of the box is completely filled with more glass, so the performer is apparently ’embedded’. And then his colleagues stamp around on top. Barefoot, naturally…


Regular readers will be well aware that we include working on broken glass in our acrobatic/endurance carabet performances. And, naturally, we make a big ‘thing’ of how much stress/pain/anxiety etc the ‘victim’ is enduring. But, let me share a secret. Multiple Load Paths.

There are so many pathways in which the weight of the guys on top can be transmitted from one piece of glass to the next that the guy in the box hardly feels a thing. And, equally, the guys on top hardly feel a think because there is sufficient ‘give’ in such a depth of glass that, if there are any locally high loads (uppy-pointy sharp bits), a slight slide of the foot as it comes into contact gets rid of that problem.

Same principle as jumping down a couple of feet onto broken glass – as long as the bed is more than an inch or so thick, and as long as you avoid any very sharp splinters (and you can obviously see those, and your partners should tip them over for you as they prepare the bed and work up the audience), then easy peasy

Actually, the hardest bit is getting out, which the guy in the box really has to do for himself by sitting firmly up so that his mates can grasp him and lift him clear – until we got that right we did, indeed, sustain a few cuts on the legs. I ask you, the things we do for money…

So there I am, giving away trade secrets again, under the probably misplaced assumption that an unusual title for the post would attract interest from outside of the usual circle. Well, maybe it has, and maybe it hasn’t!

The ‘usual circle’ (welcome back, guys) are hear for the more athletic stuff, as is previously described in those wretched books I keep harping on about: gay love, acrobatics, circus, and adventure:

Cover1 FullLoving 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

Do take a look, and you’ll find them on Amazon and Kindle too.

Right, enough of that, on with those fitness inspiration items…



That’s what a daily workout on the bar does for your shoulders!


But cables are pretty good, too, and work the medial deltoids which the bar doesn’t (much).


I like black and white – it often shows up muscle development better, especially with good lighting. But get a good body in front of the camera, and you can’t really go wrong…


…well, try to avoid the flash reflection next time, guys! But do try to use enough light…


Nice workout sweat there. OK, I’ll shut up now and let the rest of the pictures speak for themselves.






nile wilson

sports bag


Let’s finish the pix today with a night scene – one that really ‘does it’ for me, in several ways!


Shirtless and kewl, nonchalant thumb in the pocket, backpack, the hairstyle… the lighting effect…

And, by the by, since someone is bound to ask, yes, our 13yos have had a go in the new glass thing. We needed to be very careful about eye protection, but performing is what they love to do and, as I explained already, it is safe enough if you (and they) know what they are doing.

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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2 Responses to Multiple Load Paths

  1. Pingback: Grrrrr – Come out Fighting!! | Tony Cavanagh

  2. Pingback: Shedding Some Light (and Some Darkness!) | Tony Cavanagh

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