Juggling Chainsaws With Archaos



Chainsaws, fork lift trucks and semtex - twenty years ago the French ripped into the traditional circus format with a demented vitality that outraged authorities across the UK.

Archaos were the creation of Pierrot Bidon, "part gypsy, part street urchin, very hairy" according to Mark Borkowski.

He was their British publicist, and saw it as his job to get them out of the cultural pages and onto the front pages instead.

"The Human Circus Hides Sick Secrets" - a typical tabloid headline that followed Archaos wherever they went.

As a result local councils banned them again and again, a cunning ploy to sell huge numbers of tickets wherever they went.

In Juggling Chainsaws with Archaos, presenter Miles Warde tracks down the British participants who made Archaos more successful here than anywhere else - including their producer Adrian Evans, and performers like Mischa Eligoloff who moved from backstage to fire-eater, hiccuped during a performance, and felt all his paraffin enter his lungs.

Or as Pierrot Bidon used to say, "A life without danger is not a life; a show without danger is not a show.".

Miles Warde on Archaos, the touring French circus described as the sickest show on earth.