Every night, Goldie the Clown’s heart beats just a little bit faster as he steps out onto the sawdust floor under the big top when the spotlight suddenly shines down on his face.
He works the crowd like a musician strums a guitar. This is where he is most at home and entertaining is in his blood.
Backstage at Hudsons Circus, a couple of hours beforehand, he is Mat De Goldi. He applies all of his make up while watching comedy routines on YouTube.
Mr De Goldi has been performing for 27 years and his character is strong.
“As soon as that red nose goes on, I’m gone and Goldie the Clown is there,” he said.
When the circus rolled into Springfield Central a couple of weeks ago, it was a homecoming, of sorts, for Mr De Goldi.
He was 14 years old and had been living in a small Victorian town when arrived home from school to his parents, Judy and Joe De Goldi, announcing they had decided they would all run away and join the circus.
They travelled with the circus for four years until the family felt it was time to put Mr De Goldi’s education first. They were performing in Brisbane at the time when his mother saw an ad in the paper for a turf farm caretaker. They got the job and moved to Wulkuraka.
Mr De Goldi attended night classes and spent valuable time with his family during the day.
“Those years in Ipswich were really nice. I didn’t have too many commitments so I got to spend lots of time with my mum and dad. I used to help out around the place and it’s what I remember most about the years we lived here.
“I was 20 and we had been here for five years when I got the job at Dreamworld as their resident clown,” he said.
“Six months later my father died.
“My memories of Ipswich are getting to spend quality time with my dad in the final years of his life in a peaceful community.”
Mr De Goldi was as at Dreamworld for 16 years before the call of the circus came for him again.
“I am a traditionally dressed clown. I wear all the make-up, bald head, big clothes and shoes. I have mixed that with more modern comedy,” Mr De Goldi said.
“It’s a good mix and compliments what Hudsons Circus is all about. Its traditional acts bought into the modern age. We have a female ring mistress and we offer tours with the animals.”
Through the years there have been times where Mr De Goldi said clowns have been used in movies as a symbols of something to be scared of.
“It’s frustrating to me because the truth is clowns are friendly. There are clown doctors, who help out in hospitals and I like to cure people of their clown misconceptions,” he said.
“People get to meet a real clown at the circus and realise clowns are friendly, funny, innocent and happy. They are your friend.”
Goldie the Clown’s ability to turn a frown upside down is rewarding but he doesn’t see too many frowns.
“People get negative on the world saying society is getting worse, the kids of today are getting worse,” Mr De Goldi said.
“I don’t see that. I find people are ultimately good, ready to laugh and have fun.”