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In the Beginning
Diode Yang
The Wedding
Jonny & Jenny
The Overture
(The Carnie's Lament)
Evil Freak Blues
Vagabond Dreams
The Magician
Dancing Girls
(Jenny Runs)
No Consolation
The Reckoning
The Freak's Lament
Prelude to Redemption
Down in Texas
Always the Same
Standing on a Hillside
Highwire Blues
(Love is Bold)
99 Per Cent
News Flash
Veil on your Eyes
The Epic Song
Rewind Fast Forward
There's No Time
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Born they are. X and Y. Thrust into the middle of a scramble in a state of ignorance they neither asked for nor chose. At the mercy of whomever and whatever it is that unfolds around them.

Hapless heirs to the millennia. Inscribed long before the illusion of “I”. Indelibly imprinted with the sins of the fathers without capacity to object or agency to shape their destinies until it’s far too late.

Banding together for protection, safe within collective cocoons, all the while fearing the madness of ‘the others’. But strive they must to belong. For the fear of excommunication from the herd is unthinkable.

All is good until it’s not.

Thus, they are formed, or malformed – X and Y – as the case may be. Normalised through the blight of happenstance, culture and gene pool. Told a story. Accept a story. Fresh meat for the cosmic chopping block.

And so it begins. X and Y. Young lovers find each other on separate roads to nowhere. Bored shitless, lost for love, longing for connection, looking to belong. Looking for anything.

The need to survive

The need to belong

The pursuit of happiness

The evasion of pain

The need for sense

The craving for security

The need to be wanted

The need to be needed

To be or not to be? What then? They choose to stay. Bacteria on a rock. Locked to the mantle, yet driven by their needs. Bludgeoned under the weight of a million unshakable demands.

They have no option but to take each step and the next step after that. Onwards. Always onwards. Stricken by unceasing necessities they are exiled beyond the walls of Eden to their inevitable day in the arena. 

Yearning for salvation, they are inevitably delivered unto the forge and into the fire they plunge.

Driven to fill the unanswered lament of longing. There in the reflection of another’s eyes they find themselves, real or imagined: the pain, the love, the hurt, the joy —

The Circus.

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Blind to an already loaded gun, they smash against the ever-grinding churn of the organism. Created by the products of the system that produced them and now condemn them to walk the fire.

Expecting something. Expecting anything! Eventually hoping for relief: “We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing”. 

Some are crushed. Others are flattened against the wheel and doomed to rotate through the endless cycles. Some find solace in the inevitably turning cycle in silence. Hoping the grinder will leave them be. Still the wheel turns. 

And so the wound travels within us, to a place that was born long before in the organism. Live on, die off – for sweet is the smell of freshly turned earth and for a while a memory may linger. But for today we will battle.

So X and Y stand before Goliath. Weak, trembling, powerless, unprotected and unprepared to face the organism. Seek asylum, hide from the onslaught. But there is no place to hide. 

Some run. Thus, X and Y take flight, inwards or outwards. Exiled, searching, reviled, alone – some flee from the illusion before them only to find that escape is yet an extension of that very same illusion. 

They seek solace amid the flashing lights, the bells and whistles, the smoke screen gratuitously provided to help them forget they are terrified, lost and alone. And so the circus mutates into a lost oasis and for a brief few minutes or hours they forget.  

But all too soon their seduction of the fanfare and the surface glitter of the carnivale gives way to the darker undercurrents of those massed together in their own lost struggle for survival.

They must accept their crosses to bear for the wheel will favour none except the hand that turns the wheel. But all too soon each hapless soul realises that the barricades have turned into prison walls.

According to their conscience, according to their hearts—they make their decisions and they make their way through survival. X and Y are no exceptions. There are no free lunches in The Circus. 

All are forced to choose. One-by-one. The Circus will not abide the uncommitted. Burdened by choice, each must pay their admission and then take their seats and accept the view they have paid for accordingly. 

Uncertain and unwitting, they must tread the path to their place in ignorance of the show ahead and face all obstacles to their view in a performance they played no part in creating.


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But under great pressure, the alchemy of transformation arises. From the seed of energy, to the seed of matter and to the seed of existence – all of us, transformed from that same energy. That same source. Heirs to the millennia.

In a blast of destructive heat we are reduced to new form. A grain of sand is transformed into a thing of beauty from the host’s irritation. Everywhere, every day, the organism is transforming.

X and Y too are assailed and crushed by the weight of time and a thousand useless constructed obligations. Blind in the night and the ignorance of their own lack of vision, they stumble into no man’s land to the slaughter.  

Hopeful expectations are mutated and dashed against the rocks of the already dead and dying who will not countenance that others climb where they feared to tread lest excuses be laid bare. 

Yet, what matters most is how one walks through the fire. While the heart beats the heart still burns with hope. Illusion may disguise but cannot extinguish the embers that smoulder while the breath remains.

Yes, X and Y will be crushed. Blind to the pieces left behind or never possessed in the first place. But in those cries of the lost lay the grains of sand that may form their own salvation.

Slowly, X and Y crawl from the cocoons of their barricade walls in new form. In new life. Becoming fluid, the caterpillar can grow wings and fly. No longer assailed by the limitations of old forms.

Our new form reshapes all that has come before in an ever-shifting state or rebirth. We are not the same. Insight blooms where no choice stood before. 

In the unknown miles beyond the horizon lay paths previously unseen and therefore unknown. We understand. We gain perception. No longer constrained by the unknown, the fearful becomes familiar.

New lands lay bare for the taking. All the while the new lands seem the same yet different. Each new possibility lies after the first step is taken and not before. Now the real fight begins.

What is their new truth? What is their new path? Locked within the circus but not of the circus will we fight the good fight or retire? Take aim or take alms, will the past become their burden? Peace is angry, Love is bold.

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Old forms dissolve as new visions take hold and not before. The pain of lamentation renders the grinding wheel the catalyst for redemption. The very source of our discontent is the seed of our salvation.

Each day in struggle finds new skills in battling against the wheel. Practice leads to ever-increasing levels of efficiency. 

Experience leads to acceptance that old ways result in nil as the damage of unreconstructed repetition delivers the same mistakes. 

We seek the new with new vision, new understanding, new awareness, new compassion – new eyes. We are no longer the person we were. We are in flux. We are in a new state of becoming and being.

No longer are we propelled down a single compass point of possibility. The very impact blow of the destruction diverts our trajectory. 

The churning rotation of the wheel disgorges us at different points along the compass.

The Strongman finds his heart in Jenny, while Jenny finds the strength she needs in the Strongman’s compassion.

Jonny’s innocent but unexpected compassion for Jenny (after all that has happened) astounds the status quo. But his foray against the grain will bring him into conflict with the powers that want things the way they want things.

Lied to, beguiled and kept from truth—plague, pestilence and fire won’t change the hearts of the comfortable and the co-conspirators. Removed from the battlelines, never believing that their day, too, will come.

But old ways—like old forms—dissolve when new possibility takes root. Ultimate power and extreme control makes ready for those left behind to burst at new points in reinventing the wheel.

Entropy grinds the wheel to a halt and the environment reconvenes around a new consensus—and there is nothing more useless than an idea past its time.


Just another day in Diode Yang.


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Welcome to the circus

A rock opera by Graham McBean


Welcome to the circus

Sam Dunlevie

coloured ink

Website developed by

A special thankyou and acknowledgement to the effort and encouragement to all who have contributed to making this body of work a possibility:

James, Michael, Phil; Ben, Caroline, Damien, D.C., Fiona, Ian, Mick, Nicky, Paul, Peter, Sam and Tania.

A special expression of gratitude to everyone who has joined us and made this music come to life.

All music composed by Graham McBean, except The Freak’s Lament; Michael Dalton/Graham McBean


Copyright Graham McBean 2021

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Diode Yang​

Ian Sharpe

oil on board

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