Should There Be A Chainsaw Juggler in Covent Garden?

Street performers can attract quite a crowd. And so they should. Some of them are pretty good, even though they’re performing outdoors where they have no control over the elements and are cajoling for attention with everything else that’s been happening around them.

We’ve seen musicians, artists, dancers, and what not on the streets of the capital. Just a week ago we walked past a group of dancing rappers in Trafalgar Square who were able to contort their bodies in circus-like fashion to the beat of music. We glanced over and continued walking. Not exactly up our street.

In fact, we find that we are rarely enticed to stop for more than a second. Many times we’ve seen it before. But then there are instances when we can’t wait to get as far away as possible. And Wednesday was no exception.

While walking through Covent Garden, we noticed a group of people huddled together — it was cold. They were all raptly looking at a guy, a few feet from the crowd. We did too, and quickly realized that the man in question had a chainsaw in his hands and was about to start it.

Does anyone else find this picture disturbing? Because we did. No matter how great a juggler this guy is — and he was about to start juggling — accidents happen. Here’s a guy standing in the middle of a busy square in the center of a big city with a piece of equipment that can easily kill someone, not to mention maim them. Even if the chainsaw had an almost fool proof safety catch (is anything fool proof?) switching it off as soon as the juggler lost control of it, the sharp blade is dangerous even when the device is turned off. If it hits someone, they’re in trouble.

Then there’s another issue. What if some crazy person hits the guy on the head and takes the chainsaw? Here we are, in the middle of a populated area, with some guy banishing a potentially lethal weapon. Because let’s be honest now, while a chainsaw is a perfectly innocuous tool, if it falls in the wrong hands, it can be terrifying.

And if you think we’re being spoil sports, criticizing a street performer simply because he is using a chainsaw, let’s put this hypothetical scenario: What if someone was walking in the street with a chef’s knife in his hand? Wouldn’t you just run away as fast as you can? Perhaps that person is an actual chef, going to work, and is carrying his knife with him. But even if that’s a perfectly plausible possibility, would you want to stick around?

Well, we wouldn’t. We don’t know how good the chainsaw juggler is. We walked away as fast as we could. But we don’t think a chainsaw should be used in the middle of the street. At worse it can hit someone or injure the juggler himself. Who wants to see that?

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