Shock 1: Kim has had his hair cut & allegedly weighs 4lbs less as a result, this event causes general shock amongst the TWJC membership. I think the cropping is a sneaky ploy to make himself unrecognisable to the younger TWJC members so that they won't pester him into doing up their stilt straps. Shock 2: Jacqui turns up. Shock 3: First rehearsal for our spot in the upcoming charity show takes place, in 6 years we have never rehearsed for anything before. It is not taken overly seriously. Bethan tries to mime riding the ultimate wheel but only manages to walk as if she has lost all tactile sensory feedback from her feet.
Kevin & Steve were certainly perked up by the pretty young Danish girl who paid a visit this week. Bethan demonstrates Mills Mess with Fork catches, not bad. Second rehearsal goes pretty well. It will be a good show, we've got 21 bodies willing to perform, doing everything imaginable. Can we keep it all within a stingy 10 minutes? The way I see it they're not going to be able to pull all 21 of us off the stage. The Daves' passing spot is probably the best bit at the moment. I'll be doing some diabolo stuff & despite distractions from Mark I will always pull off the whip catch when it matters.
Several members turn up for another rehearsal at the Assembly Halls Theatre. The stage is much larger than we thought. The rake is not at 45 degrees as we were led to believe but the incline is steep enough to force young Joe into noticably treading on one side of the walking globe to compensate. He's got the skill & has it all under control though. My diaboloing was good enough to make the stage crew stop work & watch which is a good sign, but now it looks like I will have to be able to do it in pitch darkness with LEDS on my diabolo. Never done that before. In the abscence of Kim & the offworld crew Dave, Dave & I filled in for their spot by pretending to walk around with one buttock missing in a flotation tank. 16 days to go & I'm getting excited!
A girlfriend (probably 'the' actually) of one of the bods from Aerotech dropped in this week prompting a few of us to try & blag some cheap programmable globalls. Apparently so has she, but to no avail. Helen knocked me flat on my posterior whilst riding the snakeboard. In the absence of a Dave I had to stand in for him with Dave for the Daves' passing bit during rehearsals, which are coming along quite well now. Joe is superb on the walking globe & Mark & Pete's suitcase skit is really good to. We are so much more than just a juggling club!
Mark & I have been looking into buying some throwing knives, I've searched the web & found that all knives seem to come from America & there is quite a heavy import tax on them. Mark contacted a Brit juggly store who sold knives. I checked it out & next week I'm going to enjoy explaining the difference between a throwing knife & a juggling knife! We all had fun discussing people's answers to a chain letter that came into circulation this week from our man in Bristol. Cora really is weird. & I suppose someone forced you to put a poster of Leonardo Dicaprio on your wall too eh Beth? I had a booking for a wedding this summer, Topper & Orin are going to ride again! Still rehearsals continue & we're having trouble with the timing. All I've got to listen for is "Swinging sixties here I come Baby, YEAH!"
Cora offered a criticism about this section this week, stating that it is very subjectively written. Of course it is, I write it, that's the whole point. This also proves that Cora is stupid. She would also like it to be known that I too am weird.
Kevin gave me a couple of toy wombles this week! We receive news that we have been successful in our application for a grant to organise some proffessionals to come in & run workshops & was there a mention of a trapeze? Pete's majorette daughter came along & showed us all some spinny stuff which was very good. Pete showed us some moves with her ribbon which was not so good. First show rehearsal of the night went flawlessly...for everyone else. I on the other hand made a big mess of things, getting my string tangled up, missing my whip catch & missing my Q by precisely 1 minute 35 seconds (I got the wrong "YEAH BABY!") leaving everyone standing round for a long period at the end. Everyone loved it. Second time round everything again went flawlessly (except for a dozen or so mistakes). I managed to get it together second time, no errors & I hit my Q perfectly oh but I missed the whip catch again. Everyone loved it. I could say more but I've really got to practise.
On stage in the Spice of Life Variety show
Everyone continued the back patting tonight. We all took the mickey out of Bethan & we'll probably do it again next week to. We got the chance to watch our performance on our video camera & it all looked very good indeed. Apparently Mark & Pete were the most commented on part of our show, I'm obviously working on the wrong stuff. During uni gladiators Beth mercilessly throws several people sprawling face first into the floor, then I rode up & gently wrestled her to the ground & she calls me a psycho! A committee meeting is scheduled for next week.
As promised we had a Committee meeting & it was conducted with the usual level of seriousness. Dave K. rejoined the Committee & managed to bring the room to complete silence by applying existentialism & teleology to the fate of our video camera. I lost the Certificate of Achievement design 'competition' (& there was only one other competitor) so I'm going to sulk for the rest of eternity & never design anything again, ever. We did discuss quite a bit though & I've got lots of stuff to write up for our next newsletter which is due for next week. I'd also like to say that Mark is a wonderful man.
I haven't enjoyed such interesting conversation for ages. I would go into more detail but this is a family site! Excitement is building for the upcoming BJC as we all had our pre-reg details come through this week, it's going to be great & the organisers are going to make a mint out of the TWJC away team. We watched some more footage of our charity performance, videoed by Sukey's Mum this time, it finished with a lovely close up of her little girl, aah! A frighteningly large number of people want to see me wearing a skirt so Beth is going to bring one in next week.
Dave, Dave & I tried to do some passing in time to the Samba rhythm's of Carnival Collective this week & were pretty unsuccessful but we had a good dance. Dave & I also had a go at some balancing stuff & managed to break our 'T' balance record with a marathon 14 seconds (or was it 4?) Letti & Helen had a go & managed to last quite a bit longer though. Jacqui (all 7 stone of her) & I also had a go but she is so light I had no idea that she had even got on. So much innuendo has not been heard at TWJC since, well last week. Beth did indeed bring a skirt for me & I refused to wear it because I am an important & highly reputable committee member. However, Kim & Dave started drawing near & stated, "You can do it the easy way or the hard way". So I chose the easy way, it's not good to let people know that you actually WANT to wear a skirt. If you really must, Here's the photo.
Very bad news this week. We were told that the cost of the hall is going to be put up as from next week from £38 to £54 (cough, splutter!) plus we will have to pay another £10 for storage of our equipment. To make this sort of money we'd need to double our current membership & then we'd need a hall twice as large. If this goes ahead it means no more TWJC at the Camden Centre. A couple of groups have already been priced out of using what is supposed to be a Community Centre & I know that all the other major users are also looking elsewhere. I don't know how much it costs to run the Centre but I do know exactly how much money an empty hall generates, although I wonder if the hall is wanted for something else such as the expansion of the LA Fitness Centre? Everything has been taken over by the Parks & Properties dept. of the council. It seems stupid that one part of the council are awarding us a grant, while the other is trying to kill us off. We are not amused. Kevin is going to see the person behind the price increase this week to find out where we stand.
All this certainly didn't stop us juggling though. Beth showed us all the proper way to do the crab, which is straighten your legs & which is also supremely painful. Dave K. & Beth also showed us the 'sproing' maneouver (lie on your back, roll your legs up then 'sproing' up onto your feet). Very cool & I wish I could do it. They gave me some tips & I got a bit further than I usually do. The 13th British juggling Convention is on next week & it is going to be absolutely amazing. I'm very much looking forward to seeing Feeding the Fish with the new programmable Gloclubs.
Hurrah! TWJC is safe, thanks to the efforts of Kevin who met with the Camden Centre bigwig late last week. The price of the hall has gone up to £40 which we can just about survive on. & the £10 storage charge was nothing to do with company policy, hmm. York is only 2 days away!!! & everyone is very excited. I jumped up & down lots & irritated Jacqui & Bethan but I was nice & helpful to Letti. Dave A. handed out the TWJC on tour posters to be displayed in our cars as we travel north & he has some rather dubious comedy specs for us all too. Kim has dyed his hair blue with a red & green stripe, I guess he doesn't want to get seperated from the group. Cora is discovered to be the mystery thief who stole the newsletter master copy, if I hadn't blamed Mark as a decoy we would never have known.
13-Apr-2000 to 16-Apr-2000
& still the excitement continued. The sound of our newly acquired freestanding ladder crashing down onto the mats rang out several times through the Camden Centre. Beth is learning to walk the wheel with one foot whilst standing fully upright on the corner of the forks. A load of us try to emulate the superb Maniomani without a great deal of success, but a considerable amount of fun/pain. Cora comments on the dodginess of my reference to Jacqui's thighs in my convention write up (See BJC2K entry). What is the problem? I just say it how I see it!! Jacqui & I demonstrated the new siamese game where one partner is held off the ground to those that didn't go & we had a round of gladiators. Which Jacqui & I won quite convincingly I think. Dave demonstrates his new programmable Globalls & I let a few people have a squeeze of my new silis. My god how depressing was it to go back to work though??
Another three new members joined tonight which is good. It was nice to see Alice again after such a long absence (forget homework!), much nicer than her sister Beth who was extremely vicious to me because she thought that I might publish something embarassing about her. I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. At least Helen was very nice. Dave K. actually had some success with our freestanding ladder which was very impressive. But that was nothing compared to our attempts at juggling while spinning a ring around the ankle like Anthony Gatto (or not). We all had a good giggle at Kevin & Dave's York photos.
Several of us turned up to run workshops at the Tonbridge Flower show today. Rain & general marsh type conditions forced us to set up inside one of the marquees. We found an area the size of a postage stamp in front of a papier mache elephant & a giraffe, which I unanimously decided should be named Cora. It was a very tight squeeze & there was very little that we could do, but Dave A. came into his element (not to be confused with the aforementioned elephant) with his close up magic skills. Did my ears deceive me or did he say, "Never perform a trick more than three times."??? Beth spent most of the time chatting up the guys on the Territorial Army stall. The same people gave me a very informative tour of their destructive memorabilia, "This is a green land mine, this is a brown landmine..." They were also kind enough to let me juggle with an extremely heavy (live) cannon ball & balance a mortar on my chin. & they even invited me to join the bomb disposal squad. Which was nice.
Jacqui has learnt to ride a unicycle the length of the hall in just a week which is very impressive, not nearly as impressive as her bunnyhops though. Dave K. is trying his hand at the freestanding ladder quite a bit & was maintaining a fairly consistant balance on the third rung. Only another three to go Dave. We played a couple of rounds of holdy-up-off-the-ground-siamese gladiators, for one round I begrudgingly gave up my usual partner Jacqui to Kevin & he later confirmed my statement that she does indeed have a fantastic pair of thighs on her.
At last summer is here! Kevin & I were as usual the first to get our legs out & Jacqui had her ankles out! Kim has now died his hair bright pink, I am thinking about the logistics of setting up a live webcam so that I don't have to keep manually updating my site. We spent some time out in the market square which was nice, Ditte told us about her laptop which is currently infested with a colony of ants(?) A few of us discussed the levels of attainment that we should use for our new awards scheme which will be first used at our Summer Show. I was not impressed by Cora's comment that there aren't many tricks with the diabolo. I just want my five clubs with three tricks certificate.
Some people might have noticed my tardiness in updating this section which was due to major PC problems. However the number of people who regularly read this section is so few that if you genuinely care you can E-mail me & I will be happy to compose a personal apology to anyone who wants one. A few people who don't genuinely care may try to blag an apology. If these people (& they know who they are) do try to do so they will receive a two word response.
Another hot night in Tunbridge Wells. I think the weather must have been the cause of the cartwheel race that Beth won rather convincingly. My predictions for all the competitors were strangely correct. The club received a letter this week inviting us to join in with the Winter Festival this year which will be good fun. It was good to see my old friend Becky make a welcome return to TWJC, I'll upload some photos of her in leggings soon. There was lots of hands on, get really close & personal acrobalancing stuff going on tonight, we really ought to get some professionals in soon (where has our grant money gone?). There is no denying that Dave K. & I are the supreme masters. Sorry Jacqui. There was a very high level of skill shown during gladiators tonight, I wonder if there are gradings in the sport like there are in martial arts?
A bit quiet tonight as a contingent paid a visit to The Drome (not Dome) in London this week, so did I take advantage of the extra space to experiment with some really wild moves? Err, no I just chatted all night. Jacqui & I experimented with some siamese tricks though & I think that six clubs may just be possible, I may just give it a try next week. I found out that Beth has plans to live in an olde cottage with lots of black cats (9 to be precise) & pretend to be a witch. Cora told me that I am very graceful with the diabolo, her physical discomfiture was very noticable. I also found out that Joe's mum is actually a school teacher & I helped her do some of her marking (no really, I was very helpful), although I was very concerned that someone would bring their work with them to TWJC, what is the world coming to?
We were absolutely packed tonight. In the absence of my two main distractions I actually managed to learn three clubs in one hand tonight which was good. I haven't juggled like that for years. Helen showed off her lovely new home made poi which were very cool. She later belted me with one of her clubs, swinging at Ben, completely missing & taking out my left kneecap instead. We were joined by a representative from Zap productions who showed us a short promo video for the winter festival, we played spot the club member in the audience. We also had a brief chat about what we'd like to do in the procession & maybe a spot on one of the other three days too. We like the idea of making huge costumes & bizarre vehicles for the parade & we may be able to get funding for professional costume makers to come in & give us some tuition.
On Saturday a group will be off to celebrate the marriage of our man in Bristol Danny & his fiance Catherine. Good luck to both of you, I'm sure everything will be perfect for the simple reason that none of us are doing any organising. I think it would be a good idea to say congratulations now because you probably won't want to talk to us after Saturday!
Nine of us went along to Danny & Catherine's wedding, we had a lot of fun & firmly established TWJC as a major force for any party. We did a spot of dancing on unis & a little globall stuff too. My feet are in great pain after a heavy night of Ceilidh, I lost several pints of water & danced with lots of partners, I would have asked the very beautiful Tanya but there are no slow dances in Ceilidh & I didn't want Cora to get jealous :-) Catherine handled the presentation of our pictures from the Danny Colyer York photoshoot very well I think! Thanks guys for a top night.
I have actually done some serious juggling for two weeks in a row now. What is going on? Jacqui & I perfect switching sides whilst holdy up siamese juggling (it's got to have a better name than that). Kevin, Steve, Jacqui & I gave Holly the bumps to celebrate her tenth birthday (she doesn't look a day over eight) but naturally we kept losing count. This may be my last entry because after two whole years Hell hath finally frozen over & I have bought a car so I will indeed be driving to TWJC next week. Where I will end up is a different matter entirely. I figure that if I leave my village at about 3pm I should be able to find my way to Tunbridge Wells just in time to make it to the pub.
I made it & I didn't cause any accidents, but everyone still had to make wise comments didn't they? I completely forgot that we are having a Summer show next week, so far we have two confirmed acts, Steve doing some magic & Jacqui & her mum doing a little dance routine. I've been told to do a three minute run with seven balls, I'll give it a go but I can't promise anything. Cora pointed at Dave & made noises of disapproval because he hasn't sorted out the certificates yet. We all finally met Beth's friend Tasj who has been sending me lots of E-mails which I have completely ignored. Did someone say bowling on the 23rd? Should be fun.
So it was the Summer Show, pity so many people wanted to watch some football match or other. Jacqui & Mum aka Short & Shorter strutted their stuff with a Tiller girl routine choreographed with clinical precision, it was the first time that anyone has seen Jacqui in a skirt. Next up was Mark with the welcome return of Kevin the puppet from his Las Vegas tour, Kevin showed us his latest trick: juggling whilst blindfold! Then the Hat Girls came on & did some stilt walking, diabolo & walking globe stuff. Followed by Steve doing a magical ring & rope piece. Next up was Joe on the walking globe, starting with a jump mount & then squeezing through a juggling ring. All because his pet bird wouldn't. Then somehow I was forced into breaking my tradition of never performing at a summer show & Jacqui & I did our holdy up siamese switch sides trick. Why did I ever agree? Surely not because of the skirt? Next up was little Michael, with a mime act which was far superior to Pete & Mark's Spice of Life effort! Finally Dave A. broke out the Frank Sinatra & performed a bizarre act inspired by the Curious Eyebrows from BJC2K. & we did all get the bit about the ewe Dave! How on earth did I end up with a bag full of teddy bears after the auction?
A group of us went out to play last night at the GX Superbowl complex to celebrate Jacqui's 40th birthday ;-). We started off with a few games of pool, waistcoats are usually worn for snooker though Dave. Why was no one watching when I potted two balls (not the cue ball) with one shot? It was Beth's first experience of the game & she invented a new style called 'airborne pool' which is where the cue ball has to leave the surface of the table for every shot you play. Dave L., Helen, Ditte & Stephen hit the arcades, Dave had a lot of fun on a skateboard simulator, he would have had much more success on a snakeboard though. We then donned the groovy shoes & played a couple of games of skittles. If Cora beat me, I said I'd never go to TWJC again. It was a close run thing, I was not used to the runway lights & glow in the dark pins, there was a slant in the lane (only for me though), a hole in my shoe & things were getting a little bit blurry for some reason. I had a terrible start but staged a remarkable come back with two strikes at the end to win the game over Cora by all of one point! I celebrated with another drink & was convincingly trounced in the next game. Beth won the second game.
In the absence of our leader Kevin who has gone on holiday we were all in disarray, panic & confusion was widespread ("Is someone missing?", "Don't think so.") We were joined by old friend Rory who claimed to have missed a week or two (no I believe you'll find that the correct unit of time is YEARS Rory). Gladiators hasn't been announced so loudly & enthusiastically since the last time he turned up. I'm getting concerned as to the scale of this Pokemon thing, it has been about for ages but it is certainly something the committee should keep an eye on I think. Beth can now actually move a few inches while standing completely upright on the forks of her uni & wheel walking with one foot completely unaided which is very impressive, albeit rather stupid.
Beth, Steve & myself turned up to run workshops at Mark Cross Summer Fete. I brought the case full of equipment & Steve brought along all of Dave's jokes. The weather was fantastic so why Beth was wearing a black polo neck shirt I don't know, oh yeah that was it, her costume was in the wash. We had a great response from everyone there & a large number of people joining in all through the day. A good number of leaflets were handed out to interested parties too. I'm not sure that walking the wheel is ideal material for a beginners unicycling lesson Beth. I know I was juggling seven balls a bit but that is COMPLETELY different.
What went on last night? Erm...a bit of tightrope gladiators, Holly actually getting somewhere with three clubs, lots of jumping around to Blink 182, no hold on, that was just me. Jacqui & I managed a few qualifying runs of 5 ball siamese juggling which was pretty cool, especially considering that Jacqui can't juggle 5 balls (I was doing all the work). Everyone had a laugh at the dodgy photo taken by Kevin with my camera at the Summer show, which unfortunately will not be appearing on this site for legal reasons.
I didn't do much juggling tonight because I have fallen victim to the Ebola virus, Cora thinks that it is just a cold but it is far more serious than that. Dave K. introduced me to book ends tonight which is a confusing passing pattern (pass pass self pass self) which is not great for conversation but was a lot of fun. Beth decided to run a creche tonight & was surprisingly maternal for someone who usually refers to the little sprogs as its, nits or diseases. Dave tried out a new weapon during gladiators tonight (there are no limitations at TWJC when it comes to gladiators), wedging himself in between the middle rungs of the freestanding ladder & using it to keep opponents at bay. A nice idea but sadly ineffectual.
Numbers have been dwindling of late which is worrying, we've had a couple of really prosperous months. A lot of people are away on holiday though, things should pick up again. So it turns out that Mark has been juggling clubs incorrectly for all his juggling life. It's nice to know that my word is taken as gospel! One of Phil's clubs died a death during a passing pattern, snapping clean in half which envoked a minute's silence (there was a bit of respectful laughter in the background too). Kevin attempted five clubs for the first time & realised it's a bit trickier than four. A group of us watched the video of the show late last month but it didn't get any better. Mark drooling through his beard when Jacqui came on was not a pretty sight.
I really do think that Manana's parents should stop giving their child coffee to drink. Well wasn't Kerstin a quick learner last night. She learnt to juggle three balls, spin, throw & catch the diabolo & do the exchange with clubs. I found her abilities of palmistry a little questionable though. Dave doesn't really strike me as a man who would go into that sort of profession, no matter how hard he might try. I did quite well too, I managed to learn how to throw a double & catch it in the crook of my knee. Brilliant fun but what can you do with it after that? Phil & I had a bit of a pass & worked out how to throw a double in pass, pass, self. Why do we practise irregular rhythms? Whatever happened to 3 & 4 count? I can't count strange sequences without a computer.
Now I thought that my performance of the ballet Swan Lake on a snake board was actually quite good, but it seems that the appeal is limited. I guess the public just isn't ready. I think Ditte was once again convinced that gravity does make things come down, first by the carefully controlled tests & then by the rapidly descending diabolo which struck her quite hard. Thanks very much for the directions Mark, I completely ignored them. Guess how many laps of Crowborough I did trying to get out! Well done to Tasj who has now learnt some circus skills despite of her huge ankles! To prevent any nasty repercussions I'd like to point out that Tasj does not have large ankles, merely large flares. Crisis avoided.
Has Mark ever been greeted so enthusiastically as when he turned up tonight with the stereo? I don't think so. Dave & Helen returned from Peru, they mistakenly brought back some jam instead of marmalade. Dave showed off his latest all over body decorations, an allergic reaction to some cat medicine powder stuff. & there was I all impressed with the exotic disease that I thought he had. I learn a new word, harem, amid a torrent of derogatory remarks. Kim's hair is now purple & in reference to Kerstin's palm reading a couple of weeks ago he showed us the pentagram that his palm lines make, I wonder what that signifies? Cora has a triangle & I have a rhombus. I also had two perfect circles from where I was leaning on my clubs. What could it all mean? I think we might have done a little juggling too.
Beth returned from France this week & has a renewed enthusiasm for impressive unicycle mounts. Dave L. taught a group of us some very cool flourishing club swingy stuff which was extremely confusing but looks dead impressive. A form came my way which I had to sign about our grant which could be finding it's way to us soon. An idea came up for a new section for the web site this week, "Dave K's Bad Joke of the Week". Unfortunately I can't remember what the joke was. But it was bad. Dave L. also tried freestanding ladder football & was quickly established as unfeasible at current skill levels. But a lot of things that we attempt are unfeasible at current skill levels.
What a busy night. Three newbies joined us tonight. Beth tried very hard to try & talk me out of selecting her to be the chosen one for the next TWJC Christmas Turkey, but failed miserably. In spite of the vast difference in height I managed to teach Holly to juggle siamese & in return she showed Dave & I her microscooter, which was a little too micro for my enormous feet. Gladiators seemed more like the sort of game you get at a convention, nice to have so many people to attack. After that we all resorted to playing around with crowns, five of us started a race to the end of the hall, but only Dave K & I managed to get near the end but strangely both our crowns collapsed at the same point. We think there is an anomalous gravity well in the Camden centre. Yet again I have forgotten 'Dave K's bad joke of the week'. I remember a lot of talk about crop circles though.
Pembury Hospital Fete today saw lots of Tunbridge Wells Jugglers mucking around in the rain & buying stupid stuff. I found some toy wombles & Kevin bought an old out of tune guitar to use as a devilstick & a 4ft long brass trumpety horn thing! Should be a good Christmas show this year then! Beth showed off her newly modified unicycle which has some footrests welded onto it. I demonstrate that it is much easier to freewheel a uni if you're not actually standing on it. Beth also dressed up for the first time ever & put on nice a spangly shirt for the occasion! Wow!
Another three new faces joined us tonight which is good. Tasj learns how to juggle siamese & now has a new pair of even larger flares. Bryn takes a break from working with Cirque Du Soleil & showed off with his programmable globalls & his gloclubs, but frankly I was far more impressed with his bag that he made from a shirt. Beth got very upset & emotional about the David Blaine Magic Man TV show which was on last night. I was bombarded with theories & questions, but like the opening of the show said, "For those that believe no explanation is necessary. For those that don't none shall suffice." We were all much more interested in her holiday snaps as she called them, or the bikini photos as everyone else called them.
We all wished Beth a happy sixteenth birthday (she nicely shared her chocolates with everyone), we also gave her a few bumps & as Kevin pointed out, she didn't resist much. Our group of newbies are all doing brilliantly well, especially on unicycles, three people managed to cycle the length of the hall with just one night's practise. They'd crack this week's Big Brother challenge no problem. I picked up a form from Kevin about doing a charity firewalk in aid of the Hospice in the Weald. Kevin & Pete did it last year & I think I'll join them this time around. TWJC members don't just walk across the embers, we fire juggle across the embers.
Stuck at home due to the fuel crisis today, not happy at all. Pity because I've really enjoyed driving over the past few days, everyone has been driving very safely & stuck to speed limits. Forget speed cameras & concrete bumps, blockading oil refineries is by far the best traffic calming solution. Strange how the risk of running out of petrol is a greater deterrent against driving like a lunatic than the risk of dying. I'd be interested to see the road accident figures for this week compared to others. Hopefully someone else will provide a paragraph recording what is going on right now at that happy place called TWJC as I sit here typing, all alone...
Ah, thankyou Beth, here follows the complete unedited (which is also a first) notes of last night:
There weren't many people at juggling club this week, due to the fuel crisis (though I believe we did actually have a full complement of Daves). There were quite a few small children practicing for the Christmas show with some tables - this entailed the amazing and magical spontaneous disappearance of Joe's younger brother, random children shrinking and growing, people falling down holes that weren't really there, and, um...and some belly dancing. We more normal, or at least bigger, members were busy pretending to be worms, or seals, or whatever it was we were pretending to be. Basically this consisted of wriggling about on the floor backwards-the-wrong-way (this latter description proffered by Dave K.).
I can't believe it. This week I get stuck at home due to car not wanting to play. In six years of TWJC attendance I have never missed more than a week, I'll have to stay until 1.30am to make up my hours next week. I hear that we have a mime workshop with the talented Mr Richard Vobes booked for 10-10-2000 which is always fun & a few workshops for the Winter Festival with The Gandinis no less. The only other bit of information that has filtered through is Beth sustained an injury of a concussed finger.
It was great to be back after two weeks absence from my second home. So why is it the kids get in the region of 25-30 bumps on their birthday, yet with me they could only manage 9? My back hit the floor on every one too. I had a lovely cake & some wonderful presents from Beth & Tasj thankyou very much. Were the balloons really necessary in the pub though? There is still much excitement & jumping around at the prospects of training under the guidance of the Gandinis, I can't wait. Dave Leech will also be doing the firewalk on the 18th of October which will be great, taking the total of TWJC participants up to 4. I've still got to raise a bit more money yet though.
Steve returned from the Magic Convention in Eastbourne & he allegedly spent over £300 on new props & I think I was treated to most of them over the course of the evening. If only it only happened once a year. The kids have started to wear their shoes on their knees & walk around as extremely short(er) people. I think the reason why may be learnt in the upcoming TWJC Christmas show. We received a letter from the arts director for the upcoming TW Winter festival, doesn't sound like the Winter Festivals of old which I'm not sure is a good thing, workshops with the Gandinis is probably the best thing ever though. I think I'll challenge Sean to a seven ball endurance (sense of humour still intact). Mime workshop with Richard Vobes next week which will be good fun.
Everyone joined in with Richard Vobe's mime workshop & we all enjoyed looking very silly indeed. I don't think any of us will ever make professional mimes but it was a good laugh. Cora had the right idea by practising her mime behind the video camera. Beth's robotics resembled a stop motion camera shot from Chariots of Fire & Dave's wall seemed to resemble something with a D-cup. We did a lot of pushing, lifting & resting on balloons but little Michael had a little difficulty with his prop & he was dragged across the hall screaming, "AY-AY-AY-AY". Richard also showed us how he did his escalator, spiral staircase & elevator bits which he performed in his act at the Royal Tunbrige Wells Juggling Festival, first behind a screen & then in front to reveal how he did it. As he said it was a bit of an anti climax like learning the secret of a magic trick but it certainly looks very impressive. Next week we have the first of a series of ten workshops with Mr Sean Gandini which should be equally as good.
Yet more tuition this week from Sean Gandini, co-founder of the Gandini Juggling Project. Within minutes Sean had everyone doing things that none of us had ever done before which was really impressive. We started off with a simple bit of juggling three balls to rhythm, 1, 2, 3, 4 ,5, 6, wait, wait, wait... Then we moved up to walking & stopping to the same rhythm, then on to walking backwards & forwards & finally to stamping on beats one & four whilst juggling & walking. By the time we got this far no one was managing to fully keep time. It really made me appreciate the Gandinis routine in the Durham '99 public show. Then it was on to one ball & putting in large visual movements, thinking of your body as part of the pattern. Most of us at TWJC tend to find a spot for the night & juggle in it for a while. Juggling using the entire hall was a whole new experience for most of us. Finally we did some multiperson stuff juggling five balls three count between two with carries through each other's pattern, multiperson lines where the Cascade travels down the ever moving queue & also a three person weave. I have never learnt so much in one evening & we have another 9 sessions! Fantastic!
Charity Firewalk for Hospice in the Weald
Still on a high from last week's Firewalk & have just about scraped in all of my sponsorship now. Apparently Dave had a tiny blister, he obviously wasn't doing it right. Quite a few of us were impressed by The Chinese State Circus who were in town & were performing in a mud bath. I find it sickening how the entire cast can perform flips & somersaults so easily. More juggling with Sean this week warming up briefly with balls, before taking hold of the 12 TWJC club passers who were present & putting us all together. We started with some straightforward two person stuff then went into wedding lines, Dave K. kept us all in time with a helping, "AND" (a joke may be obvious but that is no reason for it to go unsaid). Then we did two Y patterns back to back which looked fantastic, but by far the greatest achievement of the night was something called 'Russians' which we managed on the first attempt! Kim & Simon passed 6 2-count, Dave L. & Dave K. passed 7 doubles over that & Sean & I passed 7 4-count-triples over that. So many clubs in the air! Shame my coordination didn't accompany me to the pub.
That's the scary bit over with.
Bit thin on the ground tonight, Sean couldn't make it because of problems with the trains, Kev was working, it was magic night & the kids went trick or treating. Tasj's chattering teeth more than made up for the lack of ambient noise though. Dave K. Simon, Beth, Bob & Laura practised some of the passing patterns & Mark worked on the half pirouettes all learnt last week. Kim showed up in full devil's henchman make up (Here's the pic) after a Hallowe'en job & looked terrifying. Not sure about the squeaky voice though.
After much hassle with applications & getting our accounts audited we finally got a cheque for a grant of £750 through this week which is great. Apparently another £1000 will follow. Sean filled us in on the events of the failed diamond heist at the Dome earlier today which sounded very exciting, apparently the troupe perform about 20 metres from the spot where it all hapened. He wasn't there at the time though. Beth was presented with two of the three objects for the Christmas Turkey: a toilet roll from me & an origami Pikachu from Dave K. Should be an interesting show. We did some more three ball stuff, the juggling was simple, the body movements were simple but together was very difficult. The club's club passing has improved greatly I think over the last few weeks, if only Beth could click her clubs.
Sean gave a mini siteswap workshop today. I've never been a great fan of 'all those numbers' but I've changed my mind now. I always thought that you had to practise these things but apparently you can just write them down then instantly stand up & juggle the pattern, even 534 4 ball Mills Mess. Ginny from Zap Productions came down to see what we had come up with so far. We performed our ball set pieces, technically titled Thing 1 (formerly known as Thing 2) and Thing 2b (formerly not known). Then eight of us demonstrated our club sets, minus the 'Political Girl' (formerly known as Beth). We also practised some new weaving patterns, the five person weave was great. We never used to juggle this much.
Sean was preparing for his new show BIG at The Circus Space in London this weekend which some of us are hoping to attend, so Sam I Am came along in his place. Unfortunatley though he had to cope with some particularly poor form on our part. Despite a complete lack of skill we worked on a funky new way to build up into a wedding line (I'd like the world to know that I was right, we did need to swap the ends over) before switching to the back to back boxes & we just about got the finishing on a self double to work in unison too. It's the singing that helps. Major obstacles still to overcome: Zap's gruelling rehearsal schedule (some of us have to go to work unfortunately) & Simon's devout pessimism. Tom & James nailed Mills Mess & the several person long postal queue looked very good.
I'm only going to mention the shameless non appearance of Sean & Ginny from Zap once. Ahem. Everyone else turned up though & we put in a lot of work, even though we were Seanless the club passing went brilliantly, we can now do it in four different languages (I only understand two of them though). If we get it perfect on the night the audience will certainly be hard pushed to drown out our celebratory cheers. Despite a lack of Sean we also came up with a series of three ball things to do in the parade where we all march in rows & perform tricks in unison. We do simple high throws, alternating post office lines & thing 2b. Very nice. Still needs work though.
Big thanks to Zap for covering the cost of tonight's hall charge.
TWJC two days in a row, I quite like this. Sean & Ginny actually showed up today, apparently there was confusion over two different timetables. Sean was impressed with what we had come up with without him, especially our three ball parade stuff, he helped us refine some rough edges mostly on the postal lines bit, we definitely need to curb our enthusiasm though, our energy levels are far greater than the pattern will allow! But after we've done a couple of run throughs with the added 'sprint & free for all' bit we will be more than adequately curbed I think.
Kevin brought along a big box of spangly new props from Beard purchased with grant money from the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council. 8 sets of nice white Beard European Special clubs with silver handles & loads of nice white beanbags. We worked through all the club passing section & it is pretty much there. We now have hundreds of balls & people flying through the patterns too. It is looking really good. After that we started seriously on clubswinging, there is much more to it than I first thought. Sean showed us some beautiful moves in which each hand does something different to the other, we've always mostly swung symetrical patterns so it was quite a challenge. I'm finding it very difficult to type this at the moment because my thumbs hurt so much. I'll have it solid by next week.
Thankyou once again to Zap Productions for covering tonight's hall charge.
Definitely not solid by tonight though. We spent pretty much all of tonight on clubswinging & there were many cries to the effect of, "What?" Dave K even fell into a coma at one point. We all know what we want to do, making our bodies do it is another matter entirely. Help is at hand though, TWJC members (& anyone else I suppose) can click here (link now defunkt) for details to memorise & stuff to practise in the bath. Hearing the count will be a problem on the night I think, Beth will definitely have to speak up a bit. Not that the audience will notice us being out of time at all. A set of red boiler suits has been ordered for delivery sometime next week & will serve as our uniform for the Festival, with a bit of customisation I think though.
We had a sample boiler suit for people to try on this week, wrong colour & wrong size for almost everyone, I much preferred Kevin's all over suit with hood. What's wrong with club T-shirts? If we're all in red boiler suits during the parade we're going to look like the Red Arrows Ground Display Team. Despite even more flooding we had an almost full cast for rehearsals. We had several faultless run throughs of the club passing & the swinging looks very good too. Apologies to Tom for hitting him round the head even though he was standing way too close.
Did anyone see Sean on TFI Friday? No, I couldn't see past the backing singers either.
Exhausted? I think so. I was there at 9.45am, no one else was so I sat & read my book in the car for a while. No one else turned up. I took a look around, then drove out of Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for BOYS & went off in search of the GIRLS one. We did a little juggling before going through some warm up stuff with Ginny. Then we went through our swinging routine, then we did it again & again & again & again...During our break though we managed to turn the spare gym into a mini juggling festival with the Samba drummers & dancers which was cool. A little later we were called in again to practise the spiral entrance into the performance area, it was later nicknamed the funeral march because it is a little slow. But Sean (who didn't turn up to 1.30pm, ahem) said it looked really 'noice'. I was not overly happy at first that we had to change the club passing sequence that we have been working on all this time but the new stuff is easier & I particularly like the freestyle bit. The attempted rolling of balls into the postal lines during the flag section really didn't work but it was certainly funny to see Steve happily watch his balls roll straight past him. As the day went on we got to practise with the other groups, the Samba drummers are fantastic & it is great to dance along to them, but they certainly hinder our counting. Unfortunately so do the choir who are singing during our clubswinging. We seriously need some way of keeping time without relying on a counter. I wonder if we can get some of those earpieces that spies use?
We had a bit of a show, TWJC really is at the cutting edge of experimental cabaret. First up was Pete's daughter who called on me to help her out, I had to copy her baton swinging moves & I thought I showed her up. No really. Then came Joe who performed as the Mighty Mini Man, he tied his legs up & walked around on his knees & attempted such things as a mini walking globe a micro scooter & a bike. Next up was Beth who was to perform the Christmas Turkey. Her objects were an origami Pikachu, a toilet roll & an egg. She got up on stage & stated that she had lost the Pikachu, broke the egg & had to mop it up with the toilet roll so she did some three ball juggling instead. Cheeky. Then came little Michael who did an act involving a Godzilla puppet, Ginny would say, "How modern!" After that was Steve performing remarkably little magic & quite a bit of juggling, was it just me or were some of Steve's jokes actually funny this year? Lastly one of our newbies, Sean I think his name is, did a bit of ball juggling. I think it's unfair that most people at TWJC put long gruelling minutes of preperation into their acts, whereas Sean writes a list of tricks on a piece of paper asks me to call them out every now & then & he pulls off the best act TWJC has ever seen. Fantastic.
27-Dec-2000 to 30-Dec-2000
Tunbridge Wells Winter Street Festival 2000
Cirque Du Soleil's Quidam
& that's that for this year. We continue though with the Diary for 2001