Barnum

The Essex Lion and the Roar of the Crowd

The bank holiday would not be complete with out a silly season story. This year we were spoiled with the legend of the itinerant Essex lion. Mysteriously, an escaped lion was spotted on the loose in Essex, instilling panic as it roamed the grassland of St Osyth. The big game media hunters turned up in(…)

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Derren Brown: The Art of Understanding

I admire two people. One is dead and one alive. The dead one is the great American showman PT Barnum. He is my muse. Why? Discovering his legacy influenced my thinking on the power of the crowd enormously. Barnum’s majestic stunts were works of genius – they went viral long, long before that word sneaked(…)

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Breaking X Factor in America

This weekend the nation gathers around the TV once again, to watch the X Factor final; the uber-karaoke contest live from the Wembley’s Amphitheatrum Flavium, thumbs poised for pollice verso. Tomorrow we will marvel at the victor who, with scrupulous and unaffected dignity, will be giving thanks to the loyal viewers for allowing him or(…)

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Archaos: The Sensations of the Circus World

The first uber client Borkowski PR ever had was Archaos, the punk circus which scandalized the UK between 1988 and 1991 with dangerous chainsaw-juggling, a raunchy Gallic attitude and explosive, two-fingers-in-the-face-of Health & Safety performances. The UK circus scene was shaken to its very core and would never be the same again. And I’m proud(…)

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BP PR: Too Slick or Not Too Slick?

BP’s PR machine has been in overdrive of late; their latest effort at saying “look how hard we’re working to sort the oil spill out” is a live roving webcam monitoring the clean-up effort. I’ve tried to go on it but it’s never operational – either broken or offline. Whether that’s by overload of people looking(…)

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Michael Jackson’s Funeral: The Greatest Show on Earth?

And so Michael Jackson is to be put to rest – or his physical form is at least. There is no doubt that his name, his brand and his image will live on for as long as it makes money. Death is merely a chapter break in the life of Michael Jackson – it’s not(…)

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Boyle-ing Point: The Caustic Nature of Fame

There’s not that much of a gap between Phineas Taylor Barnum, grandmaster of the freak show, and Simon Cowell. Both Barnum and Cowell are exemplars of transmuting showbiz into mega-biz gold. The difference is that we look back now, 150 years later, and judge the freakshows that made Barnum’s name as exploitative and degrading. I(…)

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Max Clifford: Media Ringmaster

Put any misgivings about Jade Goody’s Barnumesque three-ring Circus sideshow to one side for moment. Instead, focus on the silver fox who has been the undisputed ringmaster of recent events in her life; Max Clifford. He may not be attired in a garish ring suit, but Max Clifford is clearly visible as the man, centre(…)

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David Blaine: Word of Mouth Showman Supreme

A breakfast meeting with David Blaine last week was a very pleasing and revelatory experience; it’s good to sit and talk with someone who really, really gets true showmanship, spectacle, creativity, word of mouth and viral publicity and who has encountered many of the same things I’ve encountered, even the Russian circus act with a(…)

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Reality Show Rehab: Car Crash TV

The ghost of Barnum is stalking TV land, as a new show displaying the dark and slightly freakish side of celebrity seems to be proving: Living TV’s Rehab. And some less-than-A list celebrities are queuing up to take part. One, who was turned down, was apparently eager to get on the show and discuss their(…)

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