What are the similarities between a Renault 4 and a CliniClown? The simplicity of its concept, its versatility, or simply its funny appearance? Martin Phillippo reports.

Around the entire world CliniClowns put a smile on the faces of seriously ill children. Making them forget the burden of their sickness, even if it’s only for a brief moment. ‘Being a CliniClown is a very grateful job’, says Joscha de Boever, Cliniclown and owner of clown school STUDIO •A•A•P•. Which means she can tell us everything there is to know about clowns. ‘We are all grown up people’, she continues, ‘but to be a good clown, you need to find your inner child. Shake of all the conventions of being an adult and face the world with an open mind. In a way you need to become the child you once were. Being a Clown is so much more than just acting. You can’t just play the clown, you have to be one!’

A clown constantly fails in his quest for success. He accepts his failure, that’s what makes him vulnerable. That’s why the audience’s laughter always starts with a tear. A clown’s clumsiness is funny. Tripping over shoes that are to large, falling of a chair, it is hilarious. People laugh at the sadness of the clown, that is the big paradox in the character. A clown is a genuine anti-hero. That’s exactly why Joscha is so fond of her Renault 4. In a way the quirky little car is just as much the eternal underdog. No chrome, no glamour, no speed nor comfort, but still the a-typical Renault takes people just where the want to be. It did for decades and it did it in a great manner. Even today the Renault 4 and its self willed character and charm put a smile on peoples faces. With childlike ease, but with a remarkably grown up concept. In a way the Renault 4 is a clown itself.

Joscha bought the Renault with the first revenue of her clown school. The car takes her back to her own childhood, when she and her family enjoyed outings in her fathers Renault. Her own car makes her feel like a kid once more. Like a child the Renault isn’t complex, but plain and simple. She is the third owner of the car and on purchasing her little gem she didn’t just receive the vehicle, but a complete history of the car as well. A vast notebook documents every service interval, every single repair made to the car. Even the amount of petrol used is filed. Following an unhappy period in which even the car itself suffered severely, the car was restored to its former glory in just four months time. Joscha wasn’t aiming for showroom condition, people should see the car had a former life. With a broad smile Joscha and her little French tin can enjoy that childhood feeling over and over again.

‘Children are a great source of inspiration to me’, Joscha concludes, ‘they live in the now, don’t worry about tomorrow yet. That is why being a CliniClown is so special. It makes me a better human being and teaches me how to enjoy life more. My job shows me just how precious the quality of life is. Never stop looking for your inner child!’
Martin Phillippo