Coulrophobia is a neologism used to describe a fear of clowns—or really by the word’s derivation, a fear of stilt-walkers.
I can attest for the fear clowns can instil in some people. I once worked as a clown. My job was handing out fliers for an electrical showroom. I had to hit on unsuspecting families: give the kids a balloon, then hit the parents with a too-good-to-be-true hire-purchase deal on TVs, radios, Walkmans, fridge-freezers, cookers, that kinda thing. Thinking about it now, my job was in many ways a fair description of what makes a clown—someone who seems to be ultra-friendly and fun but is in fact a devious and calculating fuck with unimaginable intentions.
Starting at the feet: I wore black size-thirteen comedy boots. I had a frilly red, white and blue costume with three big pom-poms on the front. I had padded white gloves that made my hands look cartoonish and made it exceedingly difficult to hold balloons and peel-off fliers. I had a multi-colored wig and a red hat. But I didn’t get the make-up. That was way too pricey. Instead, I had a disgusting and well-used (who knows what for..) old rubber clown mask, that someone had embellished with grotesque clown make-up which was beginning to flake off. It kinda made me look like a zombie clown who’d just escaped the crypt. Of course, I had to have a name, so I chose Pogo the Clown—which no-one seemed to appreciate other than thinking it was me just adding a couple of “o’s” to my initials. This was the west coast of Scotland not Cook County, Illinois. Not only did I look horrific, I had that grim moniker too.
But companies don’t give a shit about things like that when there’s money to be made. Off I went, down the busy high street, zooming in on families on their day out. I had no idea what to expect, other than feeling none too keen on twisting the arms of moms and mads into spending money they didn’t necessarily have. Times were hard. Money was tight. Unemployment at an all time high. Thankfully, I was not on commission otherwise poor Pogo would have starved. However, what I did not expect was the look of sheer unadulterated horror on some kids’ faces when I greeted them. These poor lambs would struggle to break free of their parents grasp and sometimes run as fast as they could in the opposite direction. Their foolish parents would laugh and joke and coo about it being just Pogo the friendly clown, and drag their traumatized offspring back to shake my unwieldy hand and get a free balloon. If you were one of those poor damned kids, well, tough. At least you gotta free balloon and an experience you’re still paying an analyst to fix.
In my innocence, I never knew the sheer dread, the sheer horror, the sheer pant-shitting terror clowns cause some people. And I’m fairly sure, these kind of poor unfortunates won’t have any of the following classic clown-covered vinyl in their record collections. And I don’t blame them. For who in their right mind would have this shit in their home other than serial killers and clowns.
More ghastly clown vinyl, after the jump…