The show must go on was a phrase which was first heard in the late 1800’s in the circus. It was used after an incident such as a tiger on the loose in order to keep the patrons calm and reassured. The phrase caught on and has been used in show business ever since meaning that regardless of what happens, whatever disaster unfolds backstage, the show will continue. Sometimes this phrase scares me, it makes me distrust those who say it, like they are somehow ignoring an obvious problem and continuing blindly down a road to danger, in the name of entertainment. I worry that they will risk the audience, who are oblivious to potential threat, in order to bring in money, keep the circus afloat and maintain their reputation.

2020 has felt to me, like a circus in many ways. An unimaginable show that certainly tells a gripping tale, we watch on in horror at some of the acts, afraid to see just how far they will go and if they survive at all. Despite the fear, we can’t look away, we watch the performance unfold. Some moments we even have to giggle at the absurdities, as one man throws twenty toilet rolls into the air and juggles them from hand to hand, laughing manically and going back for more.

We are being lead through this show of 2020 by clowns. We watch the whole display with our hands partially covering our eyes, biting our nails and clapping along as the ring leader insists, ‘The show must go on, get back to the pub’.  We watch the clowns with a vague humour yet deep rooted fear, fear of the unknown, what is really under their masks, who are they and what do they know? Where will they lead us next?

We walk around on tightropes, afraid of touching anything around us, afraid of falling. We wear masks hiding our faces, we perform balancing acts trying desperately to keep ourselves stable. We paint on smiles and tell jokes to our children to distract them from the fear behind the makeup. We practice the act of juggling of work, study, socialising and exercise, all while caged in our homes. We bend and twist and contort ourselves in to any position necessary to fit in to this new world.

The only difference is that the circus of 2020 is not entertaining a single person. The ring leader is delusional and we are frantically awaiting that fall of the final curtain.

Anyone else wish they could just tackle the wild circus animal and be done with it?

Yep, me too. 

Photo by Gratisography on

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