Trapeze lessons in London
Frankie Mullin takes a trapeze lesson in London one lunchtime and is (sort of) a natural…
Most lunchtimes I’m unlikely to be swinging by my knees 30 feet in
the air. In general, you’ll find me wolfing carbs in front of my
computer. But all that is about to change as I begin my mission to
reclaim the 240 hours of lunchtime (that’s the equivalent of ?10 days)
I, like most Londoners, ?usually waste every year: I’m taking ?a
On the edge of Regent’s Park, Gorilla Circus has
set up the Flying Trapeze School, possibly the capital’s most
terrifying lunch-hour pursuit.
With trepidation I climb the
narrow ladder to a platform high above. I’m attached to a harness and
the net below will clearly prevent death, but, nonetheless, it takes a
leap of faith to grasp the bar and cast myself off. Despite there being
kids in the class, I make a massive fuss, hyperventilating: “I can’t!
No sorry, I just can’t!”
Debs, a Gorilla Circus instructor and
trapeze pro, manages to restore a shred of my pride as she tells me:
“Don’t worry, I’ve seen grown men crying up here. The first time is the
With an undignified squeal, I leap off, swinging in a
wide arc through the blue sky. Debs calls commands, telling me to hook
my legs over the trapeze, then let go and hang, before making ?a
controlled landing I ignore her, dangle for a few swings, then flop
face down on the net.
To my surprise, however, this flying lark
gets easier and, on my second swing, I manage to get my knees onto the
trapeze and let go. As the blood rushes to my head I think to myself,
“Look at you. Yesterday, lunchbreaks were nothing more than a quick
peek at Facebook; today, you’ve discovered you were born to
With that, I catch sight of the ground – too
out of focus, too far away – panic, and crash spread-eagled on to the
net once again.
Andrew Strathan, 32, originally from Melbourne,
fares better than me; managing flips, somersaults and even to be caught
by someone mid-swing.
“I’m not working today,” he says. “But
this would definitely take my mind off work. And just think of all ?the
trapeze-related metaphors you could take into your next meeting: ?’We
need better timing on the handover’; ‘A safety-net for operations’;
‘Let’s launch with no fear…’”
I have to stop him, but I get the gist: life is way better when you do something exciting at lunch.
Circus founder, Ezra Trigg, 27, tells me his regular lunchtime
trapezers include a lawyer who creates imaginary meetings to come
flying in the park, and a host of ‘working from homers’. Some do it for
the exercise, some for the buzz, some simply to escape.
flying trapeze is almost meditative in that you have to switch off and
think about nothing else,” Trigg says. “And people get addicted; they
like pretending they’ve risked their lives that day.”
At the end
of the class, Debs shimmies up to a second trapeze, an agile, graceful
silhouette against the sky. She makes it look so easy, but I’m no
So maybe I’m not ready to run away with the circus, but, hell yeah, I’m ready to use my lunchtime.
Flying Trapeze School with Gorilla Circus, £22.50
Regent’s Park until Aug 22; Battersea Park until Sept 12: then indoors