The Greatest Showman

On Easter Sunday I travelled back home to the Fens. I hadn’t been home since before D&AD and I felt calm, happy and nostalgic. I saw my parents, cuddled my dogs and crashed on my childhood sofa. With labrador on lap, resembling the pre-pubescent boy who would once flake out on that sofa after a long day of school to watch The Simpsons on Channel 4 at 6pm, I stuck on the telebox. To my absolute delight, my second biggest guilty pleasure (after James Blunt, of course, the most underrated man in music) was just starting: The Greatest Showman. I cannot exaggerate how much I love this film. I love a musical any day of the week, but this one hits different. If I wasn’t already watching it on +1, I would have switched over to that at the end to catch the final hour again. I’m not quite sure why I love it so much. It must be something to do with the fact that the music is catchy as hell (I’m listening to it right now), the story is endearing, Zac Efron is sexy as hell, and oh baby do you feel uplifted after watching it. Christ, just inject it straight into my veins already.

Anyway, as it finished, knowing that I had a SCAB to write tomorrow, I thought I should somehow wedge this melodic masterpiece that causes nigh on orgasmic pleasure to my ears and face into a SCAB.

But how?

Then it hit me like a key change after the second chorus. We’re all living out the film’s plot this year, with our own Phineas Barnum at the helm in Marc Lewis. Feldwick in his book Why Does the Pedlar Sing?talks about Barnum as one of the first great advertisers, and practically the founder of saliency. How apt then, that our greatest showman, Marc, drives saliency into us from day one.

But that’s not why we’re living the plot. It runs deeper than that.

No spoilers, but for those who haven’t seen the film (go kick yourself in the shin you damned fool), the semi-biographical story follows Barnum as he assembles a rag-tag team of misfits and social rejects to put on the greatest circus show ever seen to man. For those who aren’t aware of SCA, it’s built around a man who assembles a rag-tag team of misfits and social rejects to put on the greatest advertising show ever seen to man. Un-bloody-canny.

We are the great circus, Marc our ringleader. We submit ourselves to the people for their entertainment. We will perform for them in weird and wacky ways. We will make them feel something. We will become world famous.

Even more than that though, Barnum brought these miscreants together and gave them somewhere to call home. A family. He found those that were lost and gave them shelter. You ask half of us in Pop Brixton what SCA means for us and we’ll say something similar. A second chance. A place to belong. Somewhere we can truly be ourselves. That’s what SCA means to me.

Applying for SCA, I spent too many years pretending I wasn’t miserable in the legal world. Biting my tongue and gritting my teeth. I was lost for what to do and terrified at the thought that that was all there was for me. My pasta business gave me a lifeline, a starchy buoyancy aid that kept me afloat, but I needed a goddamn lifeboat.

Now here I am at SCA, thriving. I’m with my people. The other misfits who have found peace amongst chaos in our shipping container circus. Xavier, who was fixing roofs in Lincolnshire or somewhere random before September, Jamaal who was apparently in politics if you can believe it, Alec who was one more off-grid adventure from starting a cult. Charlie Haar, who was working in a weed store…actually that one makes total sense, but still. We’re the circus freaks that our Barnum deemed worthy of his great show.

This Easter break has felt long because, as much as I’ve enjoyed it, I’m addicted to SCA and my new tribe.

So get me back to school, I’ve got a show to prepare for. And thank you Barnum for bringing together our family.

“The noblest art is that of making others happy” – P.T. Barnum

Robbie Westside, here only to make others happy x


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