The Death of April Fools’ Day: Grouville couple in passionate appeal for a return to festivities
Amateur clown enthusiasts attempt to drum up support for rekindling bygone mirth
Husband and wife team, and devoted performance artists, Lionel and Barbara Blampied, are calling for the people of Jersey to embrace April Fools’ Day - and to approach life in general with a greater sense of jocularity.
We caught up with the couple, operating locally as Bingo and Putz, in their Grouville home this morning.
‘Look!’ explained Mrs. Blampied, shaking a pile of newspapers. ‘It’s April Fools’ Day today, and there’s no decent or funny articles in any of them.’ ‘There’s nothing going on anywhere in the island in fact. There’s nothing happening in the schools. Nothing in the offices. There’s no custard pies at parties. No stocks in the town square. No wobbly-wheeled buses on the Esplanade. No face painting or oversized shoes. And no greased pole at regatta week!’ Mrs Blampied banged her hand on the table. ‘It’s getting to the point’ she said ‘where…’
‘I blame Facebook’ interrupted Mr Blampied, tossing a curly orange wig disconsolately to the kitchen floor. ‘Everyone is so fixated with watching dancing cat videos, they’ve lost all sense of fun’
Mrs Blampied nodded. ‘It’s all finance now’ she said ‘Finance and digital marketing’
‘That’s right’ said Mr Blampied. ‘That and organic food restaurants’
We sit in silence.
‘We’ve lost touch with something magical’ Mr Blampied then said. ‘I set up my equipment in Howard Davis Park the other Saturday. Purely for fun. And all of a sudden, this bloke shouts at me: ‘‘Oi!’’ he said ‘‘Stay away from my kids! Come anywhere near me with those fucking sausage-dog balloons and you’ll be wearing that helium tank as a monocle!’’
Mrs Blampied wretched slightly.
‘And that!’ said Mr Blampied, comforting his wife, ‘is what we’re up against’
‘‘The poor man’s Krankies’’ whispered Mrs Blamiped, straightening herself on her chair. ‘That’s what someone shouted at me the last time we were out’
‘‘Bungle and Shartz’’ Mr Blampied added. ‘‘The Two Fat Pikers’’, ‘‘The Schmuckle Brothers’’ … I’ve heard them all’
‘It’s relentless’ said Mrs Blampied ‘Yesterday, I offered my squirting flower for smelling to a lady in the Co-Op, but she told me that if I wasn’t going to buy anything, could I please just get out of her way. I said: ‘‘perhaps you’d like to look into my kaleidoscope?’’ I produced it from my pocket, but in doing so, I managed to smear all of the shoe polish I had wiped around the eye-piece, all up my arm.
She saw it, then barged me to one side and muttered ‘grow up’. She then snatched a box of tampons off the shelf, and stomped off. ‘‘And while you’re at it,’ she then said, turning back, ‘‘why don’t you just throw yourself under a bus?’’
‘And that was the Co-Op’ said Mr Blampied. ‘Imagine if it had been Waitrose.’
Mr Blampied sighed. ‘I was in the next aisle down when all this was going on’ he said ‘And not two minutes later, I had my matchbox out, and was just revealing my severed thumb to a lady on a Zimmer frame, and all of sudden there’s a security guard at my arm, asking me to leave.
I said ‘‘On what grounds?!’
He said: ‘‘For being a prick’’
‘We are sleepwalking into darkness’ warned Mrs Blampied sternly. ‘And people need to damn-well sit up and take notice; because at this rate, they might just wake up one day, and realise there are no clowns left’
‘You’re not wrong’ said Mr Blampied, leaning forward across the table. ‘And what I want to know is this:’ he said ‘If people claim to just want to get on with their lives and not get involved with any messing around and having a joke, why, when I park anywhere in our events van, do I keep finding my tyres let down, and bags of dog shit left under my windscreen wipers?’ ‘Answer me that’