Harriet Clare
Palestina and the strong man,
Illustrated chapter of 'Saint Frank', by Conor Creighton
book launch at Team Titanic, Berlin 2013

PVC banner, glitter, rope, dowel
120cm x 200cm


The circus moved every week. We came in and out of towns like ghosts, but our crowds weren’t much better. At best we were half full. At worse there was more of us than them.

There was nothing sadder in the whole world than seeing Palestina wheeled into the middle of the ring, dressed in gold and glitter, and lifted into the air for half a dozen people. Often they’d be drunk. That was country living. They’d yell at her to get her tits out or make some awful comment about how she wouldn’t be running away come morning.

The strongman would never let them away with it. He’d barge through the wooden benches and clock the guy. It would take just about everyone of us to pull him back. He had the same violence as Popeye, but he kept his closer to hand.

Often we’d find ourselves pulling the tent down half way through the show before the police got there. The thing would snag and rip and buckle. Between shows we’d all be out with needles and thread.

When it was up, standing tall in all its glory, our circus tent looked like a patchwork quilt.

'Saint Frank' - Chapter 44 - Conor Creighton