I did a charity gig, a birthday party for a 7 year old at a Mennonite compound in upper state NY.

They were going to pay me in maple syrup and a sideboard for the bathroom.

These people dress funny and tend to conceive via second hand bathwater a little more frequently than average but they are pacifists and hard workers and gosh darn it clown is universal.

So there I was in a bare hall with 20 children with overdeveloped biceps and badly set limbs after farm related fractures when I noticed the birthday boy had a harelip.

I know how it feels to be shunned by your peers simply because you look funny and slur when you talk and wet the bed. (I don’t drink nearly as much as I used to)

So in the spirit of collective camaraderie and everyone walking a mile in each others scuffed farmboots I dove into my prop-bag where I keep arts admin, performance and sado masochistic props , emerging with a stapler which I used to staple everyone but the birthday boys (who didn’t have one) upper lips to the base of their noses.

I then improvised a show that consisted of prat falling while attempting to comically mop up their collective spittle and drown their cries for help playing Ramones at volume from my PA.

On reflection (and I’ve had time to reflect) I might have been a little too sophisticated for this particular audience.

As Gustav the clown who I consider a mentor once told me, “your primary responsibility in life as well as performance is to keep yourself entertained.”

So the doors were locked which is the custom at these venues apparently but one of the tykes managed somehow to throw a wooden wheelbarrow through a window and escape and next thing you know the doors burst open and a scrum of surly looking parents and elders rushed in and with needle nose pliers undid all my good work before forming what i could only call a threatening circle about me.

It was at this point the hairlipped birthday boy let out a silken peal of laughter,

Everyone stopped and stared.

I had been warned on arrival that along with the lip and the involuntary violent bowing and the missing ear and the club foot that little Jacob the 12th and a half had never uttered a sound.

I tried to remain humble, I waited for them to work out for themselves what a profound clown they had had the privilege of bartering services with but instead they picked me up and roughly bundled me into a windowless room that smelt vaguely of goat vomit.

I was stuck in that room for 6 days, they would bring be in a preserve jar every day full of marinated yoghurt cheese balls.

I feared the worst. I thought I was being kept as breeding stock but in a strategy worthy of a magyver episode I escaped.

I retained 6 days worth of cheesy flatulence and using a flint I ignited it and blew the door off its hinges and hightailed it .