As everybody knows, there's an unwritten rule in the world of clowns that one must never copy the face make-up of another, thereby enabling each performer to retain their own unique identity.
In order to help ensure that this unwritten rule is followed and not accidentally infringed, some clowns voluntarily have their likeness painted onto a ceramic egg and registered with Clowns International. New clowns are able to consult the registry and avoid the potential embarrassment of looking like somebody else; one is tempted to say that face on egg thus prevents egg on face.
It's worth noting, however, that the registry is unofficial and Clowns International cannot enforce compliance; indeed, as far as I'm aware, you can't legally copyright a hairstyle, facial feature, or a way of applying make-up, no matter how individual or distinctive it may be. And neither - I believe - can you copyright a stage name, nickname, or any other type of alias.
I thought of this when reading recently about the punk icon, Soo Catwoman, who is desperately fighting a rearguard action to reclaim, protect and market her own extraordinary image - albeit forty years too late and after the young actress Judy Croll showed us all to brilliant effect in The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle just how easy it is to steal and to simulate a look, no matter how original the original may be.
For Soo, like many punks naively committed to notions of authenticity and the Real, it's terribly important that we not mistake Croll for her and she carefully points out the differences in facial bone, hairline and breast size, as if we should care about such anatomical details - we who care only for masks and cosmetics and the free-floating aspect of a persona as something to be performed (not essentialised or trademarked).
Interestingly, Soo also expresses her moral and maternal outrage over the fact that Croll was only fourteen and raises the spectre of child abuse by the filmmakers, thereby demonstrating her poor understanding of the Swindle as a provocative work of cinema, a crucial aspect of which is its brutal exposure of the inherently exploitative nature of the music industry which blithely trades in young flesh and talent.
Despite what she seems to believe, there's nothing degraded or inappropriate about the nudity or sexuality of a minor, nor indeed its representation in art; obscenity begins when this is commodified and prostituted by men in positions of power for their own perverse pleasure or financial gain: Mummy! Mummy! They've killed Bambi!
And so, I'm sorry if Julien Temple's film and Croll's appearance in it have caused Soo and her family great distress over the years, as she claims, but she needs to understand that most viewers either don't know who the fuck she is, or, if they do, don't care that a small role she turned down was eventually given to an actress happy to play the part.
Note: those interested in knowing more about Soo Catwoman might like to visit her official website: click here.