Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Circus toys and nightmares from Charbens

On my first day as an undergraduate I was handed an ancient greek sippy cup. It shouldn't have been shocking (Ancient Greeks all started off as babies and babies spill things) but I still remember the horror of holding it. Childhood things that outlast childhoods feel like a violation of natural laws; it's why dolls are so damnably creepy.

So that the Hornsey Road used to be a coven of toy makers fits with its spooky, liminal status. Where else but on somewhere that used to be called Devil's Lane could this have been made?

Pre War Charbens Lead Circus Laughing Clown with Hands In Pockets.
Ebay it here.

Tell me that the picture above won't give you nightmares. Pretend that as you drift off tonight you won't hear the swish of oilskin and a swaggering step come towards your bed, or see a ghostly face with a monstrous gash of mouth.

Really? You're okay with it? So okay, in fact, that you would sleep perfectly happily in a room with that image repeated like hellish wallpaper?

Fine. In that case, you won't have any problems with this:

Unknown solid cast circus clown on unicycle like Charbens. 

 Ebay it here

Eyes gouged out and bleeding, gaping bloodstained maw, and a unicycle. It's a psychotherapist's dream. 

Charbens were one of the great Hornsey Road toy-makers, and specialised in circus toys. In other words, there are many more like these. 

I need to recover and will be taking a break until Monday. Have a pleasantly clown-free weekend. 

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