Circus Friends Association Time Warp!

The Circus Friends Association Time Warp. A wee bit dated according to this advertisement.

The Circus Friends Association have been active since 1934 as a supportive group for circus. One would suspect that they would do their absolute best with their activities. We are sure that they do but!

What is wrong with the above front cover issue? As we see The University of Sheffield has the top billing. This is so because the association have placed all memorabilia under the shown title ‘Fairground’. Circus is not a fairground that implies coconut shy’s and penny arcades. Joint assumptions may have had meaning 100 years ago but have no meaning now. Note that fairs take precedence on this poster. We say a credible following of dedicated fans would be proud to keep circus memorabilia under their wing and seperate. The words Circus Performers is now well out of date if it ever was in date. A performer can mean any activity on a stage – acting – the word ‘performer’ has taken on unsavoury meanings (unfortunate). No one in circus uses the word certainly not the theatre. The correct word should be ‘Artiste’ or Artistes’ it means a definite dedicated trained activity that is most personal (actors speak lines written by someone else – a circus artiste is totally individual). It should be noted that the fans never place a name to a photo or an act within a circus as if they must avoid it at all cost (if only they would tell us why! The panel is open). Hardly promotional? The C.F.A is most active promoting itself! One will notice that they claim 250 years of Archive although only active since 1934. One might ask; who has allowed the association to manage 250 years of archive? Most questionable must be ‘Ordinary People! Great circus artistes must be anything but ordinary people, but this is the image put out by the C.F.A. One thinks they actually enjoy being negative! Great circus art is extra ordinary surely as vast crowds appreciate, as seen within the pages of this website proudly placed. As we make clear on another page free speech is hard to place, the two show business journals are censored and expensive, the C.F.A. is most biased and censoring even secretive (one must be a member to find out what they are saying about anybody!).

To be liked and respected the association should market this issue journal to the general public and donate all incomes over expenses to a circus artistes charity. This website is free for all comments and views, it is public, we invite the C.F.A. leadership (we can not name them!) or any free thinking member to respond to the panel below.

Author: Tom Sandow

born into showbusiness - full life entertaining, management, agency, engager of acts and artistes - show producer presenter.

2 thoughts on “Circus Friends Association Time Warp!”

  1. Hi All
    In request for your ‘free thinking member of the CFA to respond’:
    Although I am not in a position to answer/reply to many of the comments above I can advise on a number of the points raised regarding this publication which I helped produce.
    The ‘Performers’ title was chosen by the NFCA and is the title of their current exhibition at the Western Bank Library. This publication is a joint venture with them and as such carries the same title.
    I along with a number of others voluntarily assisted with the identification of all artistes and acts that feature in the exhibition and where possible they are fully credited in the panels that accompany the exhibits.
    From Joseph Grimaldi to Captain Ankner, Pablo Fanque to the Pinder Bros, Blondin to Jules Leotard and Adah Isaacs Menken to Miss Marie Studholme, this publication credits artistes and circus personnel shown in the illustrations where possible – even Alpine Charlie gets a credit when he appears driving the Sanger lion tableau!
    Though the CFA was indeed only formed in 1934 the 250 year tagline refers to the period that the archive now covers.
    The circus archive was placed in the hands of the dedicated archive at the Western Bank library to help preserve, restore and catalogue the ever-growing number of unique items covering circus history. To date items have been featured in dozens of exhibitions and presentations worldwide – the archive has had over 3million views on its website this year alone. In my view this archive is a great place for the Associations items to be housed rather than in an individuals care. The archive changed its name to include ‘Circus’ at the request of the Association as ‘Fairground’ obviously didn’t cover this entirely separate sphere of entertainment being added to the archive. Incidentally, there is also all other sorts of other entertainment covered.
    I would encourage anyone interested in circus to view the exhibition:

    Best Regards, Steve

  2. Steve, thank you for this response. Of course I am aware of the deposit made within Sheffield University at a cost of £1,000 for the C.F.A. as discussed at the time, is it ten years ago? I know that it did cause controversy with members. However that is in the past. My constant criticism of the association that you must be a leading light within, is well documented on this website. As for the collection, you should know I have praised (!) the C.F.A. for having a collection, left to circus there would not be one of any substance, my criticism is its lack of respect by the association. I visited the University to collect the great photographs of the Billy Smarts Gala Shows to place them on this site. I do think the effort has been great for circus image. I do not criticise the University at all but no titles were placed with any of the photos posted online recently including some photos attributed to my father and family that were not of at all! The C.F.A. totally failed to make sure that all the photos deposited were correctly dated and titled, this has been left for the University made clear to me. I still have this opinion – I do not see members placing dates or artistes or act titles to photos on Facebook or anywhere – why not?. I find this disrespectful and very negative.

    Your name is upon the King Pole issue so I do fully appreciate your effort, I would not criticise what is in the issue, (I would not publicly criticise it if I had the issue!) I am not a member so an issue would not be posted to me. I am sure you have made a great effort as you did with the Sir Robert Fossett History. My complaint, as well covered above, is the issue front cover. I have no criticism of the fairs or fairgrounds but for the sake of circus promotion it is not the same product. This shared title can only inspire the public (and the media) to keep thinking that it is. I just think that the word ‘performer’ is wrong but that is my opinion. I would object to circus artistes being ‘ordinary’ for the lifestyle, the philosophies, the abilities and the culture is always extra-ordinary! If the University included the word ‘circus’ to the collection could it be my constant (unpopular) badgering of the C.F.A.? My reference to ‘individual care’ was meant to mean total dedicated accurate guidance for the University by the C.F.A. Frankly the association should stop being sloppy and be as professional as the brilliant artistes it follows. (Obviously I have seen the collection).

    P.S., Equity is now using the term ‘Variety and Circus’ – I do think I may be credited for that! (More badgering).

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