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Anna Jane McIntyre

The Strongman Acrobats

The Strongman Acrobats

The strong. The strongmen. The strongmen come to town. They flaunt lascivious lips and darling mustachios, waxed and curled, perfectly symmetrical, perfectly black. Perky buttocks and barrel chests fill strapping spandex wrestler suits. On days off: bowler hats and umbrellas, union jack underwear. Confetti optional. Clive has a healthy obsession with Rod Stewart. He once worked as a bouncer in London at the club Rod used to sing at. The song “Do you think I’m sexy” often plays in his head. He pumps iron to it, regulating his sessions with the lyrics. If you want my body (up) and you think I'm sexy (down) come on sugar (up) let me know.… (down). If you really need me (up) just reach out and touch me (down) come on honey tell me so…

Donovan is more of a George Michaels fan, secretly of course. Federic and Josette can’t stand George Michaels and have been known to blanch whenever he graces the radio waves. “Turn it off! Turn in off!” they yell. Federic claims the music makes him instantly nauseous. Their aversion came about when they hitched a ride across Canada in the 90’s with a loopy, fascist driver who played the same 10 George Michaels and 5 Ace of Bass songs for the entire trip. Donovan dreams of the Wham! renaissance years and has been known to practice his George Michael spins watching the same damn videos over and over and over and over. At the clubs he busts it out, slyly checking afterwards to see if anyone noticed. He thinks he looks like a better-looking version of George. His sister agrees, “You’ve got a better bone structure.” she says.

Dominic. Dominic is the oldest of the three. Dominic is sweet, dreamy and spry. Dominic has a flashing gold tooth and plays the drums, specializing in Trinidadian folk songs. Dominic has the accidental sticky charm of an angelic conman. In February every year, Dominic leaves the circus and heads to Rio to play lead repinique in his cousin’s bateria for carnaval. His favourite place in the world is the Water Wheel restaurant in Arnos Vale. The Water Wheel is a mill-turned-restaurant situated in the ever-encroaching tropical rain forest, which the owners attempt to keep at bay with gardeners wielding machetes and whining weedwackers. The forest is winning. The mill was originally staffed by African slaves. It is almost always deserted. There is one ancient sullen waitress. She seems to resent the customers and gives them cut-eye at every opportunity. Dominic gets much of the inspiration for his acts thinking about this place and the strength that was required by the people who originally worked here.

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