Charlie Chaplin, The Three Stooges, clowns at the circus – I never found them funny. Clowns were scary, with huge red alcoholic noses, big clown clobbering little clown, bullying taken to the nth degree. It is all about status – who is positioned more strongly can dictate the terms. The learner is an idiot because he doesn’t get it right the first time round, and gets penalized accordingly with a pie in the face or a slap with a mop. There’s no forgiveness, no saving face – or maybe that’s the point, ridicule lies in knowing he’s going to make the same mistake again, no matter what. Life must be a slapstick comedy and we mortals the clowns, and the gods must all be reclining around eating grapes and sipping chalices of ambrosia and waiting for the next human to make them roar with laughter. I see it in my friends’ choices of men - the same man, either literally or metaphorically, doing the same things to them, and their falling into the same behavioural patterns, the same codependent relationships, locked into a compelling – and at the same time repellent – cycle. Is slapstick funny because we recognise our own shortcomings? Or is it the anticipation of glee at another’s overconfidence and arrogance going awry…? Watching them strut through life like masters of the universe only to step into a bucket of paint or get slapped by a mop or fall off a ladder…? Curiously, the comforting thing about clowns is the way they bounce back, dust the sawdust off their hands, wind up their determination, and do it again.