‘Stav et la joie’ by Simon Parke

Stav brings us ‘a little joy’:
Stav is a deputy manager, sure. But he’s also the comic, the gagmeister, the roving entertainer bringing a little joy to our sad lives. He is the elusive pimpernel of comedy, now you see him, now you don’t. He’s there by the oranges – until he isn’t, gone in a puff of laughter and a guffaw. A joke about a spastic here, a gag about a paedophile there – he brings joy wherever he goes. He delivers the set piece, and then retires backstage. Let the audience applaud. They love him, Stav! ‘Stav! He’s soooo brilliant!’

And is he so abandoned?! I do sense this, not only in his bleak comedy; but also in the huge hole where self-worth should be. He is still a little boy, desperate for affirmation – and still telling gags to get it. So he is hurt and angry when the applause isn’t loud enough; small abandonment echoing a larger one in his past. Sometimes he will not talk to me for days, if I’m not appreciative enough. And when he talks of his parents, it’s with respect, certainly, but also with distance – as one who finds himself unable to relate to either. He is keen to honour them – because, I suspect, he cannot love them.

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