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Editor's Letter: Why hate the Northampton clown?

By steve.scoles  |  Posted: September 15, 2013

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As I write this something like the 100,000th person will be reading about the Northampton clown on our website this weekend.

They have been tweeting about this phenomenon all over the world and for the moment at least it seems to have caught the public's imagination.

In case you have been away for a couple of days here's what seems to be going on.

On Friday (the thirteenth I might add), a clown started appearing on Northampton's streets in full costume and make-up.

He doesn't juggle. He doesn't twist balloons into animal shapes. He just stares.

He has been elusive enough to limit the evidence of his appearances to a handful of grainy smartphone snaps.

The backdrop so far has been Northampton's East Midlands industrial town architecture: the brickwork of Victorian terraces and the gates of former shoe factories. He is not a jolly clown, he is a jolly creepy crown but this seems to be part of the appeal.

A huge number of the people commenting on Facebook and Twitter are talking about how scary the clown is but they are still fascinated.

Sadly – bizarrely - an equally large number are offering up violence of the “If I see him I'll deck him...” variety.

I really don't understand that. I wonder what it is about an unexpected clown that is so difficult to cope with that it would provoke an outburst of uncontrolled physical agression? How do these people cope with Halloween, fancy dress parties or even fashion makeovers?

I'm sure most of it is just talk, but why do so many people think it is still ok to write in recorded, traceable, comments threats that they wouldn't make in person for fear of being arrested?

On his Facebook site, Spot Northampton's Clown, the clown has posted today: “Too much hate not enough love . No, i don't have a knife on me!, thats just stupid rumours spread by stupid people. I'm also 'not' on twitter as it confuses the heck out of me.

However, i might go for a jog around that pond in Abington park later as i'm really unfit... See you around! Beep Beep!”

(For those of a clown hunting frame of mind, Abington Park has more than one pond, a wooded area between them and it has been raining all day here. No sightings so far. Good luck.)

The responses so far have been heartening:

Jay Gould “Poor clown just trying to liven up Northampton and people threatening to hurt him.”

Jessica Maffre “woop woop im loving all this, its brightened up boring old northampton a treat, people need to stop taking things so serious and just enjoy the fun, dont try and ruin it, and please dont be violent towards the clown xxx

Isobel Thompson “I'm scared FOR you. Some of these idiots are monsters who need to take a good look at themselves and their behaviour. Keep safe x

So far the identity of the clown is a mystery. The clues are few. He's limited his appearances to a wedge of the town that lies between Wellingborough and Kettering Road. He seems to favour evenings. He might not even be a he.

Let's hope the fun lasts a little bit longer and that it stays fun. If you spot him, let us know...

Sighting of Northampton clown


Mystery grips town

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