Friday, 22 June 2012
Memoirs of a Sword Swallower
While in the process of moving house I've been digging through the book collection in recent weeks. I came across this absolute gem that I'd forgotten about - 'Memoirs of a Sword Swallower'. First published in the 1950s this book takes a look at the alternative society that formed around the outcasts and freaks who went on the road with the carny. Daniel Mannix accounts his time as first a Fire Eater and then a Sword Swallower. The book includes a great number of photographs from his collection and includes some fantastic anecdotes and tales from his experiences as The Great Zadma. Sailor Jerry tats, side-show iconography all seem to be a staple amongst the inked crowd in recent years but probably most have little clue about the tattooed "freaks" and outcasts that provided a staple of entertainment for many.