It was good to get back. First TWJC of the new year & most of us hadn't done any juggling since the 30th of December. We were absolutely packed too, we were joined by a few people who had seen us in the Winter Festival & thought they'd come along as well as some members of the Samba band. Dave K. & I practised drop kick passes with a little success. Kim broke out his old pole stilts & crutches & was practising some bizarre contortions. Kev & Dave A. showed us their holiday snaps from their gig in Qatar, but I still think we had the more fun. Tasj & Beth moped around all night because they were so tired after spending all of one day at school. Pathetic. To round off the evening we came up with lots of fantastic props to make (the train carriage being by far the best) & we have also decided to produce a nude calendar in time for 2002.
Dave K. & I continued with our kick passes & also had a go with far more reliable knee passes. We also got 7 club ultimates going after realising that the person with three has to start with the wrong hand. Bryn returned home & immediately set about making Alec feel inferior by showing off with his programmable globalls. We will be having a structural engineer take a look at the hall sometime to see if it will take a trapeze rig. Beth (didn't she sound sweet!) worked on skipping on the walking globe & almost split herself in two at one point. Another brilliant decision was made up the pub again this week, to cut down on the amount of baggage we will be taking to Cardiff we will all leave our tents behind & camp under Tasj's trouser legs.
Tasj said that camping under her trouser legs would not be an acceptable way to reduce baggage for our trip to Cardiff. Beth managed three skips on the walking globe after Joe did the same last week. Later on Joe managed four but we mustn't tell Beth that. I had a little look at Dave K's first WAP site; soon you will be able to access my Three Ball Tutorials on your WAP phone! Then you'll certainly think to yourself, "How did I live without it?" A lot of people started learning Mills Mess, some people found it less complicated than others, but all got on very well I think (don't give up now Mark!). Kevin brought in a trampette which someone gave him earlier this week, it needs a little bit of work but we'll soon be doing multiple somersaults. I'd like to apologise for the lack of humour in this entry but Dave K. didn't say anything funny this week :-)
I'm beginning to think we need a bigger hall, things were a bit cramped this week. Lots of people & lots of juggling too, apart from Tasj & Beth who went round trying to prise scandalous information out of everyone, but they came up with disappointing results. I must practise my cigar boxing, Mark really showed me up. But at least I've got all my marbles & can remember when the Spice of Life Show was. Tasj & other Mark seemed to be getting on well with some back to front passing. It was announced that we will be having an acrobalance workshop on Tuesday the 13th of February which will be good (must remember to wash my feet). The LA Fitness Centre have kindly said that they will lend us some mats for the session.
If it wasn't for Beth & Tasj I think Mark would easily be on the verge of juggling nine balls. As it is only a bit of progress with Mills Mess was achieved. Kevin went round videoing people trying to get a snippet of every skill seen at TWJC. Nothing causes more drops than a video camera. Kim managed to clear the hall with his contemporary stilt posing (somehow contemporary just doesn't do it justice). Many people have noticed that one small slip would cause Kim a nasty injury, which is probably why we watch with such interest. Kevin, Beth, Tasj, Tom, James, myself & maybe Pete are looking forward to a day out to Hastings this weekend which should be fun.
The First Hastings Community Circus Luvley Juggly Circus Convention
We were joined by the very graceful Janette & the exceptionally springy Mar this week for some acrobatics & acrobalance & very painful it was to. Most of us were worn out after the warm up but we carried on anyway. We went through all sorts of things, rolls (including the Dave Akhurst Unicycle Dismount), cartwheels, head & handstands (at which, incidentally, it was noticed that I was better at than my girlfriend. So I am now officially one of the Noofters). Steve had a go at a backwards walkover but unfortunately didn't quite manage it due to the fact that he kept taking his feet off the floor before his hands touched the ground. As a magician surely he should know that all that levitation lark is just an illusion? After that we had a go at some two person acrobalancy stuff. Despite being scared of heights, poor Tasj did very well on my shoulders, much better than Tom & James' effort at the 'flying thing' (one person lies on the floor with their legs in the air & the other lies on their feet) which ended in a crumpled heap of spiky hair & Hawaiian shirts. We rounded off the evening with a mass human pyramid attempt. Unfortunately I ended up on the bottom in the middle which hurt. I hope the photos were worth it. What a good night.
Many thanks to the LA Fitness Centre for allowing us to use their gym mats for the evening.
I now have a lovely new PC of gargantuan proportions to replace the weak, feeble & downright shoddy collection of microchips which I used to call a computer (Tiny by name...)
Erm.. I can't remember a thing. Dave K. & Catherine got married, if I had a PC at the time I probably would've done a separate page but the novelty has worn off now. Congratulations guys. Dave was also lucky enough to meet Jackie Chan on his honeymoon, how cool is that? I wonder if we could get him in to do a workshop? There is a high possibility we might be able to get Rod Laver, star of the Nottingham & York BJC Public Shows down to show us his stuff one Tuesday. But why do we need big name stars when we have such an amazing array of in house talent? I don't think anyone has got any better over the past three weeks. Dave & I have managed some back to back passing & seven club three count though. Mark has started balancing a pen on his fingers, I think he should keep working on five balls. For the first time since the Winter Festival eight of us had a go at some Gandini passing patterns, we can still do the energetic finish, if nothing else. Beth got all confused over the lightbulb puzzle up the pub one night. It's always fun to watch Beth get confused. I thought I'd make everything up but disappointingly it all seems to be true, I'm not sure if there were quite so many elephants though*.
* A subtle Blackadder reference.
So many people! Nice to see Marcus again after a year off looking after his new kids. Steve celebrated his 25th birthday & brought along a nice cake for us all to share, several of us had a fight for placement in the 'orderly queue'. Gladiators was great, there was so much pent up energy that all came flooding out. Were we actually banging out rhythms in time? How violent was the combat? How many people got hurt in the third game? How did Tom get me out? How did Mark win a game? Lots of fun & it was good to see little Joe go in for the kill & wrestle Beth to the ground during the unis (even if he ended up underneath). Up the pub afterwards we were all a little more subdued, or maybe we were just overshadowed by the aggressive card players (& her knickers). The barman, however, was taunting us into throwing beermats at him, it's good to have a willing target once in a while.
Not happy. I was still at work when the first TWJC members would have been turning up & when I finally got home I was treated to a firework display, which unfortunately turned out to be my house's power supply arcing spectacularly. So after driving into the next town for something to eat & bathing in lukewarm water by candle light TWJC was over for me. I phoned in to report though, apologised for my non appearance & promised to make up my hours next week. From the background noise I could tell that everyone was dropping lots (you lot are just rubbish without me) & that James was either hitting or hitting on my girlfriend, either way you can expect pain during next week's gladiators regardless of whether you play or not. You know you missed me really Dave.
Earth shattering events occurred this week. Everyone seems to think that what I think is the third most important event, is the first most important event (still with me?), but they don't have editorial control over this website. Important Thing One: Tom juggles five balls, when did he learn that? I was well impressed, how long did it take you Mark? Important Thing Two: cheeky American girl can now ride the unicycle around the hall confidently & she's only been coming for a month. Very well done. Important Thing Three: Beth & James got together whilst reading 'Quidditch Through The Ages' by Kennilworthy Whisp, who'd have thought it was so romantic? Far more than the Sound of Music apparently. Tasj commented that James' hair was a little awry. I find the comment a little hard to connect to someone commonly referred to as 'the spiky guy'. Could this be the beginnings of a s table relationship? (Be careful of my wit, you may get cut) Beth was even so flustered that she forgot to take her uni at the end of the day. I think it's sweet. Besides all that, Kev got some more spectacular video footage, Marcus & I tried doing snakeboard jumps without straps, success = 0. Mark still considers a suicide run at me during gladiators which results in both of us dropping a success.
Pre reg details for Cardiff came through today, I'm number 2 !
Kevin brought along a new addition to TWJC's array of kit: a new tight rope rig 8ft long & 6ft high. We didn't assemble it though & won't until we can acquire some proper crashmats. We think Dave K. might be able to knock something up with his arsenal of power tools. We might not even keep it because it may prove a little too tempting to many of our younger members (if we decide to sell I'll announce it on UK_Jugglers). Can't remember much else, probably because I actually did some juggling, I managed to pull off a few repititions of Mike's Mess, on triples, with additional upper AND lower circles. Dead cool, although it usually ended with a hugely misdirected throw which traveled the width of the hall. Beth was the only one not amused by my brilliant pun in last week's entry. Sorry Beth, I must cater for the masses (about 9 people).
A while ago the club was given a trampette which had a damaged bar. Tonight Kevin brought in a replacement (where does he get it all from?) which turns it into a mini trampoline. Many of us had a go at bounce juggling on it which was quite tricky at first but pretty easy once you get used to the false sense of 'zero gravity' when falling. Tasj had a go & seemed to fall at a much slower rate due to the parachute effect caused by her flares. I had a play with my silicone balls for the first time in ages & I had the pleasure of 'pinging' them to a few people who had never seen silis before. Gladiators was again very fierce this week, just how I like it, even if I failed to stop Beth's continued domination on the unis.
Top news: Rod Laver will be popping in on Tuesday the 15th of May for a demonstration & workshops, how cool! There was lots of excitement about the upcoming BJC this Thursday which is going to be fantastic. Everyone seems to be organised, the TWJC on tour posters have been printed & will be displayed in all cars en route, Beth has red hair (probably nothing to do with the convention but..), Kevin has got the Double Vision cider in & I have a tub of vaseline (for my nose). Juggling wise, Dave K. Phil & I had a go at a ten club run around feed, most of the time the feeder's wayward passes negated the need to do any running at all. Dave L. joined us & we did some Y stuff, why does he always make us pass with both hands? Maybe we'll progress to the book ends Y formation next time. Right then time to pack for Cardiff...
19-Apr-2001 to 22-4-2001
BJC 14, Cardiff
We were all still pretty excited about the convention this week. We spent most of the evening recounting the festival to those shameless few who decided not to go (Boo!) Kevin said he was actually on a bit of a low after coming back from Cardiff, but he also said he's got a nice job juggling at a hotel in Barcelona to perk himself up soon. Swine. Dave K. & I broke in his nice new clubs by having a go at being Russian, trying to pass seven on singles as if we wanted to hurt each other. The excuse for throwing too low was invariably, "Sorry I thought you was an 11 year old!" James was practising the behind the back whip catch with the diabolo with some success too, pity it was never spinning whenever he caught it though. I was pleased to see three new faces who found out about us through this fantastic website! Where's my commission? During gladiators everyone was very biased against me, which was the only reason (of course) why I didn't win a game. I'd better mention that Beth managed FIVE skips on the walking globe otherwise I'll be in trouble (Joe'll beat that next week).
Oh Beth, how right I was. In your absence Joe managed 15 (that's fifteen) skips on the walking globe this week. Hope you get better soon (I mean that illness wise, you're rather good at juggling already). We assembled our enormous new tight rope this week for the first time, it's not really designed to be put up & taken down once a week & it takes up quite a lot of space in our hall so I'm not sure we'll keep it. Anyway Kim was the first & only person to step across the wire just to see if it works. I had a go with Tom's Mr Babache aluminium diabolo handsticks which he bought in Cardiff & was most impressed. Almost as impressive as my three (count them Mark) consecutive behind the back whip catches. Dave K. & I got along quite nicely with seven clubs on singles, which was almost as good as when Dave threw two slap overs for Bob & I to simultaneously scissor catch. Dave K., Simon, Laura, Tom & James also had a nice five person star going too. Lots of impressive things, where was the stupidity? Well it turns out Dave A. broke a rib in his bid to win the great balloon hat race in Cardiff. Beware the dangers of balloon modeling.
Today was the Tonbridge Flower Festival & Town Fair. TWJC was booked to run some workshops & Pete, Tom, James, Steve, Mark, Tasj, Beth, Kevin & me all turned up to do so. Quite an impressive turn out. It was quite cold, very windy & the going was very soft (thanks to Tom, James & Steve for pushing my car out of the mud) but we had a few good laughs. It was Kevin's 41st birthday so we all sang to him with the help of the Punch & Judy on stilts which was fun. We were supplied with a load of British Gas sunvisors, after Pete took his off he had a warning label stuck to his head which read, "Warning: This is not a toy. Contains small parts which could be a choking hazard." Hmm. Next to our spot was a pile of plastic garden table legs, which could slot together. We assembled them all together to produce a long pole just over 15 feet long (Click here for the pic) which Kev tried to balance, he managed it for a few seconds before cutting his chin. Tom & James are getting very good with the diabolo now. Tom & I came up with quite a smart piece, throw the diabolo up, flick the string over the back of your head so you've got two parallel strings next two each other, catch & bounce the diabolo from one string to the other, then transfer both sticks into one hand, flick the diabolo off & whip catch it. Noice. Strange how we didn't get many punters to reproduce our success.
Another nice busy night. Joe continues his domination on the walking globe, now he's working on cross skips & such like. Tom's green diabolo which was splitting on Sunday was turned into a one sider. Kevin showed me a nice trick where you balance the devilstick on a handstick in front of you, holding the handstick halfway down its length, flick it up, point your arm up & catch the devilstick in a balance on the opposite end above your head. I managed it on the third attempt :-) Didn't get the one where he flicked it from a stick balance to a forearm balance & back again. Noice. The Daves seemed to be doing rather well passing eight clubs. Lotte was doing some nice contact juggling (after she got over the initial fear of dropping my acrylics!) then Dave L. came along & showed off but he's been doing it a quite a bit longer so he doesn't deserve a SPECIAL mention. There was considerably more stupidity up the pub afterwards. Dave K. embraced his role as The Oracle & enjoyed answering many surreal questions, particularly my question about David Icke & Tina Turner.
A night with Rod Laver
A contingent from TWJC (well just Tasj & me actually) paid a visit to our friends at Hastings Community Circus for the first time since their rather cool Festival. After taking a round about route around the sea and most of Hastings and despite the map which showed the hall to be on the wrong road we finally found the place. It was nice to see, Ann, Caron, Mark, Andy & the rest of the gang again. After impressing Andy with my three club kick ups he impressed me with what he calls, "Anything goes four count", although not altogether reliable, we were doing crossing singles, straight doubles & all sorts of 'illegal' syncopations. I'm not sure exactly how it works & neither was Andy but because it relies heavily on reflexes & you never know what's coming next it was lots of fun. We also did some stuff with little teddy bear bean bags, my favourite was the face catch. One of the group's many kids showed a fantastic but ultimately pointless trick with the new style of drinks bottle. You hold it at a slight angle then let go, if all goes well it does a neat roll & lands on its lid. Infuriatingly tricky. Hopefully some of HCC will pay us at TWJC a visit in the near future too which will be cool.
Kevin was away working in Barcelona, alright for some. You know when summer starts when Beth turns up half naked. Tom & James are getting very good with the diabolo now, they showed me some very nice gyro grinds amongst other stuff. I showed them the two diabolo shuffle, they should have that in a few weeks. I did a lot of passing this week, starting with Bob, I threw in a few of the 'illegal' syncopations I learnt at Hastings last Friday with some success. Bob was far more impressed with the bouncing bunny trick though. Dave K. & I are getting frighteningly good at seven on singles now (not quite to Russian standards yet). Then Bryn & Bob joined us for some four person stuff later on as well. Tasj spent most of her time munching on sweets she keeps being given & Beth just seems to come & pick up her boyfriend & go missing these days. Bryn scolded me for not including some of his movements in my review of the BJC in Cardiff. So here I will make amends. Bryn was the one who accidently but spectacularly hurled his firestaff at the floor during the fire show & did the same in the renegade tent with his Glostaff. That ought to do it.
All I can say is there is only one person who controls the content at www.twjc.co.uk
A little thin on the ground this week, Kevin comes back from Barcelona & everyone else goes away, read into it what you will. When he got there he found out that he had to do more work than expected: 4 hours rather than 3. Swine. We had a visit from a guy in charge of putting on a production of Barnum at a local school who was interested in hiring our large tightrope. I couldn't believe that he'd already spent £5000 on the show, my headmaster would have had a fit. He also brought along some programs from Michael Crawford's two productions of the show which were very interesting. It was a really nice evening so most of us went out into the market square to do our juggling. Unfortunately we were all rubbish.
My poor Tasj had to miss out this week after she had her apendix out on the Thursday before. Poor Mark would have had no one to juggle with, but Beth stepped in to fill the role. Dave A. brought in his new mini bike which he received yesterday, seemed about the right size for Joe & Michael. Bob almost managed to pull a wheelie before collapsing on the floor. I tried to show Dave K. a new pass for a back to back pattern, an Albert & Trebla throw in one, through both pairs of our legs. I would have got it but he only let me try it once. Dave, Kim, Bob & I also tried a new passing pattern where we all stand in a box & juggle four count, on the four we throw a triple straight up in the air & then everyone runs round to the next position. It was funny seeing everyone running around holding two clubs & staring up in the air. Tom has been getting rather good with the diabolo for a while now, he has now crossed the line & I will have to dust my old faithful off & start practising again. This website is updated considerably more than yours Mark.
Little bit thin on the ground this week, so Beth had more room to practise her unicycle bunny hops. There was a lot of passing going on, Pete, Mark & I did some triangle stuff which worked quite nicely. But then Mark thought he'd be cocky. He's seen me make a high throw & pick up a drop like Jay Gilligan & he thought he'd give it a go too. He threw a triple, bent down, picked up, looked up & the triple struck him in the face, knocking the left lens clean out of his glasses. There are easier ways to get a mention in this diary Mark. Dave K. & I got on quite well with 7 club singles & three count & Dave L. helped Bob into the realms of 7 club passing. Up the pub we had little success with fashioning boomerangs from beer mats, maybe Bob will have more success with his trebuchet. I'm off to try & work some of those jokes out...
Kevin returned from holiday with a brand new bright pink wrist support, very nice. He also managed to pick up some new jester boots while on holiday but we didn't get to see them. Our big red tightrope has been taken away to appear in a production of Barnum. James has grown a furry animal under his chin. This could be the end for him & Beth as a couple. Bob manages some very nice multiple crack moves with his whip, Mark has mastered the three ball behind the back start & I manage a few wrong end catches passed behind the back & thrown as self tomahawks, sweet. Dave L. brought down a Bop It, my performance on the thing was shameful, my top score was an embarassing 13. I ought to stick to juggling.
Hot, hot, hot. Nice. I finally manage to pull off a five club back cross when people are watching. Bob is getting better every week with his whip & Kevin does his best ever run with four clubs. Dave K., Bob, Tom, James, Pete & I just about managed a six point star, also known as the nested triangles pattern. The only way to make progress is to keep trying different positions Tom. Later Bob, Dave K., Dave L, had a nice multi level Y feed later on which was much better. Who'd have thought four Russian kids would be more influential than Anthony Gatto? Beth has dyed her hair green to match her dress for the ball tomorrow night, Kim was so proud.
Special mention must go to the fantastic natural pyrotechnics last night. I drove home watching a spectacular display of fork lightening & listening to Pink Floyd's superb 'Wish You Were Here' on the radio (since when has Radio 1 developped good taste in music? Long live John Peel). Probably the most enjoyable drive I've ever had. Pity so many people were driving around with their headlights on. Note to police: Yes I did have mine on too.
Another nice night spent mostly outside, unfortunately I had split my hand on a unit of glass at work earlier in the day so I couldn't do much juggling. Kevin brought in his lovely pink & black jester boots which are very cool. Cora made an appearance for the first time in three weeks. The reason for her absence was an allergic reaction to her washing powder so she hasn't been able to wear any clothes. I suspect her partner might have added a little something extra to the powder. I'm sure that if you just asked nicely Dave... Lots of us had fun on Dave A's minibike. Being the magician that he is Dave managed to turn it into a full size motorbike which was very impressive. Dave K. & Bob had fun getting up speed down the hill into the market square, Tasj had a go but her flares acted as air brakes (copywrite Dave K 2001) so she never quite equalled their speed (nothing to do with bulk then guys?)
I can't really remember what happened. Erm... Tasj didn't turn up until late so I actually did some juggling. I'm getting quite good with a three club trick which has one club going back & forth through the legs as crossing alberts & same side treblas, while the other two clubs are thrown as doubles. Kevin brought along his basketball & practised spinning it on a plate spinning stick & then ballancing it on his chin. He would have had much more success had he listenend to the expert advice from Mark G. Dave L. & Bob introduced me to genetic programming (the development of a computer program by 'selective breeding') which sounds very cool, Bob said if I was interested I should search on the internet for 'A life' & I fell for it. I went around taking some photos, the one of Tom mid-duicide will be pretty cool if it comes out okay. I got a couple of nice shots of Kevin too, all of which I will hopefully get uploaded early next week.
Most people were in a lazy mood last night so not a great deal of juggling was done. We all had a laugh at Kevin's camp photo, I'll upload it as soon as we get it back from the Village People auditions (here it is & I didn't draw the moustache on myself, it is a genuine fake). Dave K. & I did some 7 club 3 count, then Dave L. joined in & we tried a ten club runaround feed. Very tricky. I showed off a bit of foot juggling hopping a ball from foot to foot (proper catches not kicks) & up into the occasional knee & forehead catch. Tasj arrived late & was very tired after working her first ever gruelling four hour shift. Up the pub Dave K. found my horn very disturbing & stuck his hand in my drink. Beth's mum seemed quite disturbed too.
It took me longer to get from Tunbridge Wells to Marden than it did to get from Marden to Whitstable (I only had to phone Kevin three times). Kevin & I were invited to a meeting hosted by Katrina & Stumpy to discuss the upcoming convention. We got there in good time, bought some food & ate it on the beach. In the middle of the sea was a car up to the wheel arches in water & we watched a group of people trying to pull it out with a tractor while the tide was coming in. We left when the water was up to the windows & we think it is still in the sea. The meeting was attended by fifteen interested persons & was very positive. I was very impressed with how much has been done & with all the ideas that were discussed. The site seems really good, after the meeting Kevin & I drove around it & checked it out. Lots of camping space, two large halls, possibly a UV hall, the No Fit State Tent, a chill out tent, beer tent, catering tent & more. The public show will be held in the Marlow theatre in Canterbury. Katrina will be disappearing to America for ten days on a talent spotting & recruiting mission for the show too. I am particularly looking forward to the barbecue on the beach where there will hopefully be what sounds like a very spectacular event. There will be another meeting on Monday 24th September.
James & Beth have made a bet for £5 to see who can learn four club mills mess the soonest, even though at the time the bet was made neither of them could do a fountain. James came in, picked up four clubs & did a qualifying run on what he claims was his first attempt. My money says both of them will get bored & forget about the bet completely. Bob asks me how I make clubs fly, god knows what he was talking about. Mark S. made very good progress with a couple of fork tricks that I showed him. Mark G. asked to see some five ball tricks so I attempted some stuff which I tried to perform (& haven't dared touch since) at Christmas 2 years ago. My performance was no less catastrophic. Simon, one of the four newbies who paid a visit, showed us five ball mills mess, very nice. Almost as nice as James' new hat next to Beth's hair. Just like to finish with a reminder that magic week is next week Dave!
Worryingly only Mark, Kevin & I were present at the off & we thought that might be it, but by the end of the evening it was like a tin of sardines. It was hot to the point of stifling & we cheered everyone in shorts & booed those in trousers as they came in. We thought the heat would stop people juggling but we were very wrong there too. Pretty much everyone seemed to be juggling four clubs last night. I managed to pull off a behind the back & an albert whip catch both on the first attempt with the diabolo in front of Mark G. I also came up with a lovely robotic fork trick which I was well impressed with. I'll write a tutorial on it sometime. Beth, Bryn, Dave L. & Dave K. are looking forward to a trip to the EJC in Rotterdam. Dave K. says he'll phone me up with a review of events every day of the week. Hmm. Up the pub we were interupted by an exciting phone call. Kim's friend had left her handbrake off. The pair rushed off to the scene. Kim came back to report that the car had rolled 100ft down the gentle hill, crossed the road & trashed a phone box. Luckily the only things that got hurt were the car & the phone box.
Right at the start of the evening Doctor Bob flashed five balls, Bryn would not have been pleased if he wasn't in Amsterdam. Dave K. phoned in from the EJC to let us know how they were doing & Tasj tried to phone in from Denmark but I had left my mobile at home. Despite having five of our members away on tour we still managed to fill our hall. Little Joe started to learn to juggle, after mastering the unicycle & walking globe almost instantly I wonder how far he'll get with it within a week. In the absence of his usual passing partner Tasj, Mark S. took to club passing rather than balls & we easily managed 15 passes of four count before the end of the night. We recently received a grant application form so we had a bit of a discussion over what we should apply for. Hats, staffs & cigar boxes were popular suggestions. We will also be having a few more workshops with professionals, good stuff.
Three of the wandering four returned 'fresh' from the EJC. Bryn brought back some new pois & a bizarre wrist contorting move which no one can quite work out. Dave K. showed Bob & I Jim's three count, where two people pass three count but one does straights & the other does crosses so you make two left hand passes then two right. We hope to have a go at Martin's Madness next week. Steve unveiled his new act to which everyone who saw it unanimously gave the same verdict. I was very pleased to have my Tasj back although she wasn't impressed with me for corrupting Mark S. with club passing. Up the pub Dave K. & Bob spent most of the time walking round with spinning rizzlers on their fingers.
Kevin managed to blag an old basketball for free from a school he worked at in the week. Watch out Tom Baker. Dave K. managed to get three rizzlers spinning on three fingers in one hand. I can't believe I'm stating that as an achievement, must have been a poor night for juggling excellence. At least Simon was attempting a worthwhile 8040. I hurt my wrist a couple of days ago so I couldn't do anything too technical. I enjoyed a bit of cigar boxing which I haven't done for a while. More news on the grant front, we are expected to pay £60 to get are accounts checked out to verify that they are genuinely our accounts. Yet we already had our books audited about six months ago, surely little has changed since then? You gotta love red tape. Towards the end of the evening Dave K. & I had a go at some of the tricks performed by Take that out who performed at the BJC & EJC shows. It was not so much 'Take that out' more 'Gimme the damn club' & resulted in lots of bruised knuckles.
Kim gave a beginners clubswinging workshop which seemed popular. Lots of people stared at their hands & tried to swing the clubs by willpower. Dave K. & I discovered that we can now hold a proper conversation when passing seven singles, when did that happen? Then Bob joined in & we had a go at three count feeding, one day we'll get a runaround going. Kevin keeps coming out with bizarre & often disturbing ideas for the club 2002 calender. I live in fear of the day when it all happens. Dave K. & I introduced Simon & Bob to 'Gimme the damn club!', with no visible signs of improvement whatsoever. Today's date will go down in history as the day Tasj bought a round at the bar for the first time ever.
I was disappointed that the Wombles only reached number 18 in the top 100 kids TV shows at the weekend. I'm 21 & the number of programmes I remember is frightening.
Bob brought in one of those annoying jitter rings, Beth & I refused to even touch it. Beth was practising five ball mills mess, don't worry about the cascade or even reverse cascade go straight for the big one. Hmm. Dave L. & Helen announced that they've just bought a flat in London, congratulations peeps. I learnt 642 (it seems I'm the only one who knows how to use the Siteswap Calculator) with balls & managed a few repetitions of the pattern with clubs to. Beth turned 17 on the 5th of September so we gave her the bumps. Bob, the Daves & myself had a go at some passing patterns, Dave L. suggested a four person three count typewriter feed, I said that it wouldn't work for some reason, but I've just had a think & it is actually possible. The feedees all do three count leading with a pass from their right, one on each beat. The feeder does ultimates passing to the left of each feedee in turn then flicks back to the start (ding) & passes to the right of each feedee in turn. Let's call it Dave's Dilemma 2. Damn it & I was going to be really witty & say something about how it scared me that he could be responsible for someone's insurance policy. Thank god I'm only responsible for windows. We did some simple stuff instead & I split my trousers while doing the splits to catch someone's pass. Doh!
Bad times, terrorists have attacked the US flying two hijacked commercial airliners into & destroyed both towers of the World Trade Centre, a third was flown into the Pentagon & a fourth was crashed in Pitsburgh. Viveca Gardiner of the New York City Jugglers has set up the only place worth looking at for news: www.viveca.net/wtc/.
Dave K. & I started with a nice early bit of passing, I wasn't very good because Dave kept staring at me & putting me off. Dave A. brought in his latest addition to his collection of various minibikes, a red mini tandem. Bob & Dave had a go & it looked like a pair of paniers on the back. A group of us had a play with a five point star. I've no idea what Bob was complaining about, I found Tom's passes perfectly catchable. Ginny from Zap Productions dropped in & we had a little bit of discussion about ideas for this year's Winter Festival. Lots of moronic ideas were flying around. Apparently this year's theme is fire & ice, TWJC will be depicting fire & we are to interact with other groups in a way which emphasizes & draws upon the beauty of movements of people en masse rather than individual skill. Sounds like we will be turning up, juggling with fire props a bit & having a laugh. I love art.
Dave K. & I got 8 clubs going which strangely felt quite comfortable in a manic sort of way. We had a couple of (very brief) goes at 9. I'm not sure what Dave's tactic was but I was just aiming to launch my 5 clubs Davewards in time to get myself out the way of his passes. Kevin seems remarkably stable on the freestanding ladder now, I don't yet trust him enough to lie down & let him walk all over me, only Tasj has that privilege. Beth jumped up & down on the floor beside the walking globe for no apparent reason. Bob decided to take part in the gladiators with poi. He thought he was tough but I succeeded in doing my bit for LAP. Me vicious? I don't care.
Dave L. & Helen recently moved in to a new flat in London so we were all invited to the housewarming. If the price for the Camden Centre goes up again their living room will make a nice substitute hall for TWJC. The 22nd was my birthday & I didn't think that anyone knew apart from Tasj, but I was presented with an enormous chocolate cake with candles which was very nice indeed. That made me feel very special, just like to say thanks very much everyone. Bob certainly does know how to snore.
I managed to get to Kevin's house this time all on my own without making a single phone call to ask for directions. I was so proud. Bryn, Kevin & I traveled up to Whitstable for a second meeting with the BJC organisers. Bryn volunteered to do lots of drawings & bits & pieces & I've got to work out how to do some E-postcards for the BJC 2002 website. Lots of progress has been made & lots of interesting bits of info flew around. Michael Moschen wanted $50,000 to do a spot in the show. I don't think so. The world record for a tequilla slammer Mexican wave is a mere 132, an attempt will be made to at least double that I think. One of the caterers had asked if we'd need feeding at 6am. They've obviously never been to a BJC. We had a nose around the site went into the main hall which is looking good. The showers & toilets are in very good condition I can report. Keep checking the official website for more info.
Kevin brought along his skate bike, he rode around & demonstrated what happens when you use a little too much brake. Dave K. & I had a lot of fun trying to throw crossing doubles in seven club singles. It's quite difficult because you have to be so rigidly locked into the rhythm. If the double is slightly out of time or place it is very difficult to save the pattern. After that we both had fun tormenting Bob with some runaround feed variations. Tasj got upset with me for jokingly saying she couldn't do Mills Mess & then again for passing clubs with her ball passing partner. Beth had a go at four in one hand, standing on tip toes does not make you throw higher though.
We were supposed to be doing some filming for ITV on the 3rd of this month but Kevin announced that he received a phone call saying the two people organising the show had been sacked. Hmm. Kevin brought in a new little wooden trunk on wheels for our ever expanding inventory of juggling kit. It was thoroughly tested by Beth who was locked in & pushed & spun around the hall for a bit. Pete has put himself forward for the firewalk in aid of the Hospice in the Weald (read about last year's here). The Grannies that are Kim & Dom made a pilot for Radio Kent this week & then recorded another month worth of material. Nice one. I managed to get some nice cigar box moves going around my legs which felt pretty cool. Dave K. got five balls going for a bit too. Unfortunately though Kevin has gone off pink, disaster! That's it, Christmas is cancelled.
Dave L. & Helen are getting married!!
Dave did all the asking of the parents & down on one knee stuff too. Helen & I did lots of jumping up & down & I came up with all sorts of fantastic ideas for their wedding. Congratulations people. Due to a sprained wrist I practised my foot catches & looked longingly at Beth's five ball cascade while on the walking globe & The Daves' 7 club popcorn pattern. Kevin has managed to get us a club discount to see the Chinese Imperial Circus at the Assembly Halls Theatre on Saturday which many of us are looking forward to. Kim got us all together to start choreographing what we will be doing at this year's Winter Festival. So far we start off in a group huddle which has various different layers (much like an onion) that peel off & do different bits. The first layer's job is simply crowd control at the moment.
The Chinese Imperial Circus
Pretty much all of TWJC turned up on a Sunday for a little juggle. One mention of a TV camera & everyone flocks in. The BBC were in filming for Perfect Partners, a dating show where one person's friends & family pick a prospective partner & send the couple off on a date. Unfortunately the girl of the couple had a broken toe so she was limited in what she could do. She seemed very handy with Bob's bullwhip though. Dave A. brought along his arsenal of mini bikes which the bloke of the couple (I will remember their names somewhen) had a good go on. Kim & Dom turned up as the grannies on their micro scooters & just caused general mayhem. Tom got a nice solo spot caught on camera with his diabolo & so did Tasj juggling three balls. The episode will go out in mid November. Quote of the day from Tasj: "Oh my god I'm going to be on TV, what perfume shall I wear?"
Dave K. & I started having a go at a seven club popcorn pattern which was lots of fun. Most attempts failed because of throwing passes as triples instead of doubles or the self triple as a double. Once I got my triple sorted out I found the pattern to be relatively comfortable & I thik we got up to eight passes each possibly more. Beth, who is well known for her blathering incoherance, informed us that she won a plain English speaking award at college. What do her friends talk like? Kevin did some five ring juggling after seeing the jugglers of the Chinese Imperial Circus, pity no one else likes passing rings. Funniest thing of the evening: James returned after a couple of months & we all laughed at his manly beard.
A slow start to the evening gave me plenty of room to practice. Still can't consistently do a three club flash pirouette. Five clubs feels great though. Beth brought along her firestaff & covered herself (& everyone else) with soot, Kevin said she looked like a tramp causing Beth to go on a sit down strike. Ginny from Zap came down & we did some brainstorming for the Winter Festival. After a bit of a run through of one idea (how do you light firechains off of a raised burning standard?) the set piece was decided against for various reasons. During the discussions Dave K. pulled off thing 2B to much approval from Mark & myself. Kev brought in a small collection of nice photos, here's one of Kim's new Mythical Beasts & here's one of Kev's new Garden Water Feature.
Everyone who walked through the door this evening had cause to take a moment, I'm not sure what received more puzzled looks: Kevin's hair or Brian & Maisy. Kevin has had his hair shaved in the pattern of a Jem'Hadar soldier from Deep Space 9, but with an extra spiky tuft on the top. Apparently he just wants some attention for tomorrow's charity firewalk for Hospice in the Weald. Brian & Maisy are the names of the Loskaos creatures who were grazing in the Camden Centre. I liked Brian best. Ginny from Zap came along & made us do some exercises to demonstrate that we had peripheral vision (hmm) & some bizarre marching to a beat as a group & doing actions together. This was to help us understand the parade's concept which is an emphasis on the beauty of movement en masse (well that's how I took it & hmm again). We all broke out our fire & glowing props & had a juggle outside. I got my diabolo kitted out with LEDS which looks nice, although balancing it so that it doesn't turn is a real pain. Kevin still hasn't learnt to stop fire eating. Out in the square we ran through the fire set piece which I thought was cancelled last week (shows how much I know). Beth painted a beard & moustache on Mark's face with soot from her fire staff & very fetching it looked too. For those having trouble with their swinging check out my tutorial for the Cross & Follow pattern & for Dave K. (& a healthy proportion of the world) here's the League Against Poi!!
Kevin's hair is now back to normal, so everyone stroked his head. Still not as nice as Dave's though. I spent a while trying to teach Tasj, Jenny, James & Andrew how to do the Cross & Follow with limited success. Kim had a go as well with a different method & I think that between the two of us we made sure that none of them will ever learn the pattern. Dave K. discovered a spectacular way to close the coffin during a passing pattern. Kevin was having a go at four clubs on a uni. I had a play with juggling three clubs & two balls (hint - focus on the clubs, the balls can be thrown any old how but a club has to be thrown like a club). Joe is now practising running on the walking globe & managing a respectable speed equal to Bob on the way to the pub.
I was in the mood for juggling tonight so I started by learning tossing a triple then a split multiplex on singles behind the back before landing the triple. Which was nice. Then I did several of my longest runs of five clubs. Then I finished off with my first real serious bash at juggling six clubs & with about 50 odd attempts I managed a very self satisfying ten throws (sounds so much better than four catches). Then for the rest of the evening I was too tired to do anything else. Watching everyone else I saw Dave K. & Bryn getting on nicely with five balls. Andrew can wheel walk his unicycle for about four or five metres. Kevin had a comical death defying moment on the freestanding ladder which Buster Keaton would have been proud of. Everyone was amazed to see Tasj comfortably juggling a three club cascade. Daves L & K had a seven club popcorn pattern going very nicely & Helen was wearing fantastic red trousers.
Tonight we were joined by several blind & partially sighted children from Dorton House. I was very impressed with everyone's enthusiasm & perserverance. I had a go at teaching one lad to juggle, in my tutorials I always stress the importance of feeling what you are doing, but of course I could see what I was doing while learning. These guys have to start the hard way. First with one ball we practised throwing from hand to hand & up to chest height. At first he was reluctant to throw much higher than the reach of his fingers but with practise he gradually became confident enough to throw the ball completely out of his hand. I asked him to hold out his hand where he wanted to catch the ball & then with the other hand throw the ball to where the hand was. This seemed to greatly improve his success rate for catching the ball & by the end he was managing the two ball exchange. I also had a young partially sighted girl learn to spin a diabolo in record quick time, with a little more time she would have been throwing & catching too I think. Beth was helping some of the other kids on the walking globe & with contact juggling, Dave A. & Kevin helped holding hands across the tightrope & Martin taught a bit of clubswinging. I thought it was a very worthwhile evening. Amongst all that Dave K. & I achieved our best ever run of a seven club popcorn pattern. Tasj received a pink umbrella from Mark for the Christmas Turkey, I think she is going to say that every object she is given is ugly. Finally a bit of advice for Bob: Telling someone that they are going to take their own eye out by incorrect bullwhip technique is good, but sneaking up behind them to do so is not the best way to do it.
Lots of nice things on bits of paper this week, firstly the people from Dorton House who paid us a visit last week had sent us thankyou letters typed in braille. They hope to come again sometime as well. Secondly we received a cheque for £1000 as part of the Awards for all grant scheme, thankyou very much. We spent most of the evening rehearsing a fireswinging piece for the upcoming Winter Festival. It's a start in a huddle in the middle, then split in to two concentric circles which rotate around in opposite directions, then change directions, then return to the huddle affair. We had a couple of run throughs in doors all to the sounds of Smoke on the Water (not sure why exactly) before going out into the market square for a practise with fire. In one of the breaks, Bob & I had a quick go at fire passing which was quite scary. Next week we hope to welcome a few members of Hastings Community Circus who will be travelling up for the evening.
So the first thing the Hastings lot did when they got in was berate me for the quality of my directions, to which I can only say it was your fault for asking me in the first place. It was good to hear that there is a second Hastings Juggling Festival in the pipeline for next year. Dave K. & I yet again increased our personal best run of seven club popcorn & didn't do too badly at the three count pattern with seven either. Tasj's friend Kerstin paid a visit to us all the way from Germany & told Bob & I that we were the most exciting thing she had done so far. Mark S. found the feeling mutual (less a brick more a component of Stone Henge). Mark also initiated a bit of a Gandini rennaisance by starting a postal line pattern which Sean showed us last year. It started with a queue of four but the pattern attracted more & more jugglers. It then evolved of its own accord into a game where we all stood in a circle & passed the ball in whatever way we wanted to whoever we wanted whenever we wanted. Kerstin totally cheated.
Most people caught the showing of Perfect Partners on Monday which featured the Tunbridge Wells Circus School (I think that was us), Tom got in with his diaboloing & Tasj was there juggling, the shadows of Dave K. & I were featured doing some passing & the rest of our stint featured Dave A. Or so I'm told anyway I thought I missed it last week so didn't bother looking this time around. Dave K. yet again forgot to bring in a third object for the Christmas Turkey which will be performed next week. So in an inspired flash of improvisation Dave rummaged through the club coffin & pulled out a knee pad. Well recovered Dave. A few of us were discussing Christmas (shudder) presents & Cora said the in thing to buy for girls are dress rings. It turns out that Cora works part time at a jewellers & really enjoys convincing people to pay much more than they set out to do. I won't name the store but if you walk out thinking, "What happened?" you may have fallen victim. Mark S. & Andrew were discussing the errors in the green symbol for an exit & how putting a great big arrow in the way was not a good idea. I hope next week's Christmas show helps to encourage us to start juggling again on Tuesdays.
Tasj & I were in town at the weekend & had the opportunity to stick our heads in to the Whalley Range Allstars' 'Headcases'. A range of boxes on stilts which you climb under & insert your head into from below. You get to see your head on a plate, in a birdcage, in a bird's nest with wings & all sorts of other strange places. Totally stupid but lots of fun.
This week saw the TWJC Christmas Party! In keeping with tradition it was a fancy dress party, for Kevin who dressed in a neon pink & yellow Super Juggler outfit. Just before the show we had a quick game of pass the parcel, which not only included little prizes but forfeits too. Beth had to get up & sing a song (she squeaked the first line of something which I didn't actually catch & sat down again), Little Tara had to spin a plate & little Michael had to show us a juggling trick. Mark S. was the winner & won some toy which I can't remember. The main event of the Christmas Party is always the variety show...
The rabble was compered by Mr Dave A. who throughout the evening bombarded us with a constant stream of jokes, it was a war of attrition, who'd be the first to break? Dave or the audience? I personally think it was a draw. First up was Pete (at last!) & his girl Taz as the Booze Brothers, playing along with keyboard & inflatable guitar. I never knew Pete was so talented a musician. Well worth the ten year wait I thought. After that I did some five ball juggling which was as equally spectacular as what I tried a few years ago. Following that was Tasj with the Turkey, she came on, abused the people who picked her objects, told me not to take photos, juggled for a bit, then stomped off. Scary stuff. Then on came Steve, who did some water juggling & created the Pacific Ocean on the stage in the process (all will become clear in a moment) before juggling three balls while balancing a glass of water on his forehead. This was followed by Dave K. & Dr Bob & their brilliant presentation of the history of aviation. From the start it was clear that the act had been well thought out & rehearsed. We were treated to reenactments of the first flight of the Wright brothers, the dambusters from World War 2 (I was plucked out to play the part of the dam), The flight of Amelia Aeaeaearheart over the Pacific Ocean (now you understand) & the first flight of Frank Whittle's jet engine. Dave's impression of the radar was for me the highlight of the show & Bob looking like Noel Edmonds with that wig on comes a close second. Joe came on & performed a magic trick & made three clubs disappear. They were in full view of the audience at all times, even after they disappeared! Finally Bryn performed the only quality act of the show, deftly swinging his lovely Aerotech Gloclubs with some smart release moves too, very nice indeed. Well done to everyone who took part.
After the show we had a raffle, with a very high quality selection of prizes. Yet again I won the big jar of Quality Street (& very nice they are too). Then a bit later I was presented with the most fantastic trophy I have ever seen for services to TWJC. A golden juggling club mounted on a plinth beautifully crafted by Dave A. Thanks very much everyone. Just who is responsible for the contents of the Box of Shite?
The Tunbridge Wells Winter Festival 2001
& that's it for another year. Onwards ever upwards into 2002