I used to be in a circus. It was called “Cirque Plume” in France. That was before they got famous and grew to be the biggest circus in Europe. There were no animals in that organization, just a troop of jugglers, acrobats and interesting people. That was what was selling really well, the interesting part. I did a few shows here and there while attending high-school. They were paying me a king’s ransom for a 16 years old drummer. 400 francs per! All the money in the world at the time. I even did a few tours. The one I remember most is when we went to the south of France. It was in the oldest mountains of France. France has one big chain of mountain right in the center. It’s called the “Massif central”. There isn’t much population there. Most of the French live around that dry and deserted land. We had a few gigs in this vast desolation. We traveled in a convoy, every vehicle trailing the one of the director. He was the only one with the map, you see. And he loved birds. It meant that often the average speed would suddenly drop because some rare species was visible from the road. The whole convoy would slow down, as the director was feasting his eyes on some volatile high in the sky or perched somewhere.
Another important detail was that I was traveling with a juggler in a van. We had the longest van of them all, the one with the most equipment. I think we had the whole tent in the back. Trying to climb those steep mountains in first gear and turning those tight curves was a lot of fun. Usually, we would end up banging something.
When you go somewhere and you know you’re going to see a lot of street performers, don’t forget to bring cash. I did that when I went to New Orleans.