I am not the only person in this world who finds clowns to be not only not particularly funny, but also a little scary. I know this because I have found out that there is a technical term for the irrational and abnormal fear of clowns (coulrophobia). What the technical term for a perfectly rational and normal fear of clowns is, I have yet to discover.
However, these strange fears are by no means limited to men with large shoes, collapsing cars and implausible orange wigs. I have long found ice-cream vans with their catchy tunes to be not only extremely annoying (which they undoubtedly are) but also somewhat disturbing, as though they were a sort of modern equivalent of the Pied Piper. A number of weeks ago, I went for a walk through a leafy part of northern Brighton, and, everywhere I went, I could hear the frighteningly jolly jingle of an ice cream van (“If you go down to the woods today, you’re in for a big surprise”). This carried on, street after street, lane after lane, until I fully expected to see Mr Whippy waiting for me around the next corner. Even when I reached home and ran into my bedroom (perhaps to hide?) I could hear, through my window, the sound of the ominous purveyor of iced confectionary, as if to say "You got away this time, but in the future you might not be so fortunate".
Perhaps the only way out of this maze of fear and unreason is for me to don a clown-suit and begin dispensing ice-cream to children in a brightly coloured van with a catchy jingle. Now that, surely, would be a disturbing sight.
The Friday Joker
A Little Girl Feeding Some Baby Crocodiles, 1932
4 hours ago