Friday, November 28, 2014

A Fool's End

On Wednesday, I said I would tell you more about Joachim Foikis and his donkey cart. A report from the Vancouver Sun states:

“Downtown rush-hour motorists Friday were the first to experience coexistence between horse-powered engines and donkey-powered carts when Foikis went out for a test drive, They rested – sometimes after only a few hoof-clops – in bus zones, intersections, and in any lane they happened to be travelling.”

Is it any wonder motorists were getting angry? What a mess that would have been! Foikis tied the donkeys to wherever he could and gave rides to anyone who asked.

The cart's maiden voyage was to the steps of City Hall. A bystander gave the newspaper The Province the following quote:

“Take them up into the council chambers, they wouldn’t know the difference.”  So some people did have a sense of humour about the situation.

The donkeys were impounded four times due to a city by-law, which prohibits the keeping of livestock within city limits. Foikis remembers one such time.

“Sir, your donkey is polluting my city,” the magistrate said. Fokis replied, “Sir, your city is polluting my donkey.”

Around the middle of 1969, Vancouver's town fool began to change. He gave up his fool's attire for street clothes and began to let his hair and beard grow. He depleted his grant and began to live on welfare. His staged events happened less and less as the novelty wore off.

His wife left him, returning to her native England with her two children. Foikis' last recorded interview was in December of 1969. He was tired of urban life, of Vancouver and wanted to try the 'poverty trip'.

For the next fifteen years, Foikis lived in self imposed poverty on Lasqueti Island, living off the land. Sometime after that, he was found working as a clerk for the Ministry of Environment in Victoria. It is rumoured he went to the Vancouver Public Library and demanded his file of clippings be destroyed but, when he reappeared a few months later, was relieved they were still intact.

He was said to be shy of the media yet eager to reappear. The last known media with Joachim Foikis was a 1990 interview with Monday Magazine. Then he seems to have dropped out of sight. In 2007, Joachim Foikis, Vancouver's Town Fool, fell from a wall while dancing to a band playing in Victoria's inner harbour. He was 72.

In a 1968 interview with Weekend Magazine, Foikis said:

 “It was something to get outside myself,”

“I was too introverted. But now I have met so many people. And I have helped quite a few in their folly, I think. The time will soon come when I will no longer be a fool. I would like to go back to my books. Maybe I would study at university again. Maybe there would be someone to take my place. There will always be a need for a fool.”

So that's the story of Vancouver's Town Fool. I want to thank The Dependent Magazine for the information.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

Loved the driver of this vehicle!

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