The Streets of Coyoacan

This evening, once dark had fallen, I wandered aimlessly around the streets of Coyoacan, hunting down young children and offering them sweeties if they’d let me take photos of them indecently dressed. Hmmmm. I could phrase this better. Definitely could.

It’s Day of the Dead, and Mexico is full of children running around with their calabritas asking for sweets. If you ask nicely they’ll let you take a photo of them dressed up in all sorts of grisly, ghouly and sometimes downright grotesque costumes. But more on Day of the Dead in another post.

“Awww, look at that little girl dressed up as Katerina!” said Paola.

“Very nice” I replied.

“Awww, look at that little boy dressed up as Dracula!” said Paola.

“Very nice” I replied.

“Hey, look,” said I. ” It’s a stinky homeless man dressed up as a stinky homeless man!”

“Changoleon!” said Paola!

“He sure does,” said I.

But I recognised the name and moved in swiftly with the camera, the flash armed and ready, my finger on the button. Snap. And I captured a legend of Mexican television in full technicolor, rough and ready, drunken stupor glory. Only recently had I read a blog post about the amazing Changoleon. Anyone remember seeing it to, and know who posted it where?

In many western countries, I suspect the cause of Changoleon’s fame would bring about much frowning, tut tutting and even a lawsuit or two. After all, the US students behind Bumfights, an intolerably cruel yet undeniably entertaining series of films, were on the receiving end of an awful lot of criticism. I have to say I thought the Jackass type stunts and pranks were substantially funnier than the fights…

Changoleon is basically a bum, vagabond, street dweller type person. Residence Casa Cardboard. Almost always blindingly drunk. And that’s why he made such great TV, doing his ‘thing’ for the general entertainment of the population. We are a cruel lot, us humans.

There’s nothing funnier than seeing a wretch humiliate himself publicly. I’m not being sarcastic. I mean it most sincerely. It’s hard not to laugh. I do, most heartily. Human nature, don’t you know.

But I wish Changoleon well. It doesn’t appear his spell in rehab did him much good judging by his state tonight. And I reckon my best wishes will wash over him as quickly as a litre of tequila is washed down. Not a recipe for success usually. But this is Changoleon.

Edit: I’ve been looking through some Bumfights clips. That’s pretty extreme stuff. Not how I remembered the original movie. Maybe I was thinking of something else. Not something I’d laugh heartily at. I was thinking of stuff more along the lines of Jackass, Candid Camera, You’ve Been Framed…

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