“It's not me,” said Alan Moore leaning forward in his low armchair and hoiking his eyebrows up into a facial expression that took in all the emotions from blind panic to blind indifference in one go.
Alan, creator of V for Vendetta, The Watchmen, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Constantine... (the list goes on and covers so much more than graphic novels) was ruling himself out as a suspect in the search for the identity of the Northampton Clown.
It was worth checking. The clown's mysterious appearances in grainy photos, sinister and forlorn, had many of the hallmarks of a Moore creation: absurd, fascinating, troubling and thought provoking.
In fact many internet users had already had the same thought.
Photographer Mitch Jenkins, who is collaborating with Alan on a multi-episodic film project called The Show which is set in Northampton (and features a sinister clown), had been emailed by a number of people asking if the clown was Alan.
“Apparently there had been a certain amount of comment on the internet suggesting probably some connection. No it’s not me.
“I am getting kind of used to this. After having a comic strip I wrote 30 years ago spewing masked anarchists across the global political stage for the past couple of years. Things that I write do have a tendency to spill into reality. Since that was one of the principles behind Jimmy’s End [an episode in The Show] - to blur the boundaries between one and the other - I suppose that getting clowns manifesting in my neighbourhood is only to be expected.
“We had only just done that thing on Kickstarter with His Heavy Heart which starts shooting in a few weeks. I had said it was about Strippers and Clowns. The suggestion is that there is some kind of dream time existing under Northampton and that occasionally things will break through from one realm to the other. It is just a demonstration that Jimmy’s End is a kind of a documentary. It’s reportage. We are not just making this shit up.”
Apparently coincidentally, Alan has found himself close to the heart of the clown story. One of its first eerie appearances was in Alan's road, standing on a corner in the dark with a light shining from a window above.
Alan's explanation for this is simple: it's just a weird road.
“It would be Cedar Road. I remember about 15 years ago the other end of the street was completely populated by inflatable grey aliens. In every window, not just one or every other one, there were these inflatable grey foetuses either hanging on the curtains or staring at you from a window. I thought in some way this does constitute an invasion. But then if they have come here for the comfort of our Earth curtains then why should we bother.”
He had an unsettling experience the day the clown sightings started: Friday the 13th.
“The strange thing was that just before I left for my rare vacation this would have been the Friday, I wast just going to the supermarket along Oakwood Road, there was this big white box van crawling along Broadway about five mile an hour and it had got a speaker system that was playing a tape loop of this horrible discordant metallic sort of grating or scraping noise, a weird kind of scrap metal shriek then a burst of unintelligible speech then the same noise again and so on, crawling through the streets and I thought is this some sort of art installation? Is it a misguided salesman who thinks people will understand what this noise means? Is it some kind of call to revolution?
“Having heard about this apparently local clown epidemic then I wonder. However the fact that we don’t have anything to do with it will not stop us from exploiting this strange chance occurrence. Me and Mitch were quite tickled by that...”
In Part 2 of our interview on our website tomorrow night Alan talks about his new book Fashion Beast which is available now from Avatar Press.Vote In Our Clown Poll