TWJC Diary 2003


Kevin brought in a set of novelty juggling breasts that he received for Christmas, most people found them amusing but a few didn't! John paid us a visit for the first time to get a few pointers on how to ride his new unicycle. After spending 3 hours hovering on the machine in his kitchen this was his first opportunity to ride in an open space. Kevin & I gave a few tips & some encouragement. By the end of the evening he had ridden the length of the hall a couple of times. Excellent stuff! Nick, Booj & Stuart all had a play on the snakeboard & although none of them broke any speed records they all managed to get themselves moving. This year I have decided to get good at 2 diabolos, no one was particularly impressed by my backwraps I learnt on Sunday so I had my first bash at the two diabolo rocket start. On my first attempt I carefully laid my props out, then yanked the sticks & watched one of the diabolos fly away over Kim's head & land a third of the way down the hall. Second attempt, I laid everything out again, yanked at a slightly different angle & watched the same diabolo sail away & bounce off the wall at the end of the hall. Then I asked Nick to show me how it was done & he did a nice gentle pull & the 2nd diabolo rose neatly into the air & then back onto the string. How novel this thing called subtlety. I successfully managed my first rocket start on the 5th attempt. No one was particularly impressed with that either.


So far it is looking to be a healthy year for TWJC, 2 packed halls in a row. Then there are the tentative rumours & exciting ideas for a follow up to the Tunbridge Wells Juggling Festival. There were 3 of us slinging 2 diabolos around trying to consistently do 2 in the air. Nick seemed to have the most success with a run of 12 throws finishing with an (unintentional) behind the back catch. Bryn's short term memory has started to deteriorate to the point where he can't remember who he has said hello to. I showed Booj how to do a handfeast which made her run around in circles every time she miscounted. Then with Bob we did a dropback line & some 3 count feeding. Rory, one of the original TWJC old boys & general motormouth finally remembered which day the club meets & joined us for a juggle. Gladiators was announced in true Rory style & all the newbies said, "Who's the loud guy?" then I won all three rounds, ahem.


Andrew brought in his giraffe for the first time in a very long while (he had had to scrape part of Bremen off the tyre before setting out for TWJC) & spent the first part of the evening trying to remember how to clamber up it. Nick was playing around with a hat & cane for a bit, balancing the cane on his chin then throwing the hat up to hook on the top. I particularly liked the idea of tucking the cane under the arm then throwing the hat over the head to be caught on the end. Tasj & Andrew played around with throwing consecutive doubles in 3 count. There were diabolos flying through the air again this week, I believe that single diabolo tricks under high throws should be possible next week as Nick & I both came close a couple of times. While up the pub Andrew, Bryn & myself tried to recruit some willing volunteers to recreate the video for Queen's 'Bicycle Race' using unicycles. So far only Jenny is interested. The original video had 50 girls but I think we should still go ahead with 1.


As predicted last week I managed to pull off an Around the world under a high throw with two diabolos, as usual no one else saw it happen. Dave K. & I did a bit of 3 count passing putting in the occasional headspin on the self throws amongst the usual tricks, then we moved up to 7 singles, doubles & popcorn. Bryn managed to successfully throw & catch three shaker cups in one hand which was pretty impressive. It was good to see that Jenny has become confident enough in her juggling to try a bit of passing with Anna. Bryn & I also had a play with the club hats, Bryn was throwing his hat behind the back over the opposite shoulder onto his head which inspired me to try throwing over the same shoulder. It seemed more tricky at first as all new tricks tend to do, but after a bit of practise it was working quite nicely. Tasj decided to claim Andrew's chocolate cake as her own by icing her name all over it (but was good enough to share her newly acquired confectionary with the rest of TWJC).


The still life art class going on next door provided a talking point. Apparently the models are paid £20 an hour, which several people thought was worthy of consideration. Kevin was showing off his latest creations, a set of homemade jangling juggling batons. They were sticks with bells & pink & black ribbons to match his jester outfit. They were really well weighted but were a little hard on the hands. I did a little hat juggling & managed to astound Dave, Cora & Kevin with the 'Levitation' trick. At one point I could have swore I saw Tasj do a 5 ball steal from Andrew, was I hallucinating? Tim & I argued over the lyrics for livin' on a prayer by Bon Jovi but a quick internet search proves me right. Kim rode a unicycle round the hall while being chased by his dog, Molly eventually managed to get him off! John was also unicycling free from the confines of his kitchen, but unless he learns to turn soon he'll have outgrown the hall too!


Cirque Du Soleil's Saltimbanco.


I flashed 8 balls! Before this evening my only efforts towards eight had been flashing four in each hand a few times. So I was very pleased with myself when I managed to flash eight in a neat asynchronous fountain with a clean finish within 20 minutes & after less than 50 attempts. It was a great feeling, I was so focussed, every attempt was better than the last. Never once did I not think I'd be able to do it before the end of the night. Other than that there was a brief pirouette workshop which saw lots of people getting very dizzy & getting hit on the head by flying juggling balls. Holly was sporting an afro for no apparent reason. Andrew, Dave A, Kevin & myself got together for a little hat manipulation, I showed everyone a crown head roll (hold the hat with the crown pointing up & with the brim level with your ear, roll it over the top of your head & catch it in the mirror position on the other side) which they all had a play with. There was also a strangely alien paper plane gliding around the hall which was the result of Bob's physics degree.


At the start of the evening I managed to flash 8 within 20 minutes again, so I tried 9 & managed a best of 6 catches before I had to give up because my fingers were hurting from trying to hold so many balls. Dave A tried to help me roll a hat up my back but I still can't do it very consistently. Anna & Jenny seem to have reached a higher stage of 3 ball trickery beyond the basics which is good to see. Dave K & I did lots of club flinging mostly with 7 on singles & a bit of 3 count, then we did a bit of 8 which was not altogether successful. We were also introduced to a concrete board, which is a large skateboard variant with 2 lines of several wheels laid out at different angles along a curved axle. This allows you to lean the board over at a really tight angle for fast cornering. The board is designed for downhill racing, but a few people just had a play with it around the hall. Tasj & Andrew were pleased with flashing 9 balls between them a few times so I jumped up & down on Andrew's behalf. Afterwards we walked into the pub halfway through someone's birthday celebrations & were quickly collared by a drunkard who tried to fleece us for £5 a head for a band we hadn't heard play. He seemed a little miffed when he found out we didn't feel the need to pay up. That need was reinforced when the band started up again. I don't know much about music but Kim commented that the drum machine kept good time.


I had a little chat with newbie Sarah who had been looking for performing arts info around Tunbridge Wells on the internet & decided to pay a visit to "that juggling club that wouldn't stop coming up." Fantastic! For Tunbridge Wells is as ubiquitous as Coca Cola! TWJC was rather on the quiet side this evening due to the lack of kids who are out for half term. I started off with a bit of 8 balls then tried 9 until my left hand little finger gave out & I couldn't release the fourth throw. Then I went back to the normal sized bean bags (which felt absolutely huge) for a bit of 7 ball juggling. I appear to have become a boring numbers juggler. Bob had to make a club announcement about how he acquired the road rash up his arm after everyone kept asking about the nasty scars. Recumbents are not really designed for horizontal cornering. Nick & Booj were playing around with various carrying & placing variations for a new routine for their show. I can understand why Booj would need the aid of a chair but Nick certainly isn't what I'd class as short. Tasj hurt her neck & couldn't turn her head to face anyone so was nicknamed Batman for the evening. Naturally she didn't approve & was similarly unimpressed with being called Batgirl. How anyone can consider a girl who wears PVC & a cape & can land somersaults in high heels a loser is beyond me.


Tasj & Bob started passing 9 balls & got as far as a flash. I had my first practise session with clubs since my wrist problem last year, my clubs are so much heavier than I remember, my upper arms were really tired afterwards. I seem to have gotten better with 5 though which is good. Carolyn & Tasj laid back on the club's crashmat to learn how to juggle Overhead Cascade, allowing Kevin the opportunity to freak them out as he faked running them over on his unicycle. I thought it was only punters who fell for that gag. Bob & I also had a play with making pretty coloured patterns. Using 4 white clubs & 2 purple we juggled 3 count one passing straights & one crossing which causes the 2 purple clubs to chase each other round the pattern. Another pattern was to switch who does straights & who crosses after every third pass which sees the clubs bounce back & forth from side to side. Very pretty. While eating cake we played with some optical illusions. I showed a few people how to see through your own hand using the tube that the kitchen roll came on, then Andrew showed us how to make your fingers turn into a magical floating sausage which was far more impressive.


Kevin showed me some pictures of his latest walkabout character, a 9ft gnome. Rummaging through all the boxes of stuff the club has collected over the years I found issue 2 of 'The Drop' - the South East's first circus magazine created by a handful of people from Whitstable including BJC 2002 organisers Tina & Stumpy. I read articles about a trip to Romania, how to fire breathe custard powder & why people juggle. Kev said The Drop didn't go beyond issue 3 which is a great shame. Anna, Jenny & Carolyn were all practising juggling clubs, I struggled to explain the difference between throwing a ball & throwing a club. I had a play with my diabolo & came so unbelievably close to pulling off a double pirouette under a double duicide. A beautifully smooth duicide, probably the most accurate double pirouette I have ever spun, I had an enormously long fraction of a second to spot the sticks as they fell into my hands but the right stick slipped through my grip. Denied! Jenny showed Kevin & I a few tap dancing steps, then we showed her our shuffle, hop, step but apparently we're not very good. There was excitement about the BJC 2003 (only 4 more TWJCs to go!), Dave K taught us a few DIY terms & Andrew supplied everyone with another impressive chequered sponge cake.


We started off the evening with a letter informing us that the hall hire charge will be increasing in the near future, not a good start. I was suffering a severe dip in form, it seemed as if I couldn't do a thing. Although Dave K & I weren't too bad at 7 club singles & Andrew was pretty impressed with our 'high club passing' (popcorn). Dom's silver moonboots were very nice, wearing those I think he'd be able to walk onto the Buck Roger's set without being asked for ID. I enjoyed watching Nick & Booj's ball routine, a very neat series of carrying & placing tricks which they are using to sell the idea of composting to reduce waste to school kids. I've been told that Kim did a very good impression of his dog apparently but unfortunately I missed it.


I bought a new fire devilstick off of Julien, as if I don't have enough juggling kit already. Some of us compared BJC prereg numbers, Kev seems to have won with number 13. Kevin has also landed a gig performing a Harrods, but even this was topped by Kim's gig in Canada with Cirque Du Soleil. Bob & I passed clubs through Beth & Julien's ring passing pattern, then got bored & tried throwing clubs javelin style through the rings themselves. I had the pleasure of trying to ride a snakeboard with a couple of partners. Jenny & I gave it a go standing front to back with both pairs of feet on the pads, then Tasj & I tried it while facing each other with Tasj standing on the centre bar. I thoroughly recommend this form of transport.


Dave L & Helen returned to TWJC from their trek around the world. Dave settled back into the juggling routine after spending most of the past year without any juggling equipment. I had a go on Andrew's mostly Nimbus 2 unicycle with a view to buying something similar at the BJC. I was encouraged to try idling with one foot while parking the other on the frame. I only succeeded in learning how to use my 'spare' foot as a wheel break - the perils of big feet. While passing Dave K & I stopped to have a brief bash at throwing 2 clubs to bounce off of each other. Back to passing we tried throwing wild & random left handed tomahawks in 3 count. Well we were trying to throw sensible tomahawks, wild & random was just how they came out. Nick has dyed his hair green to become Captain Compost & Jenny wanted me to take off my trousers. The Daves & I finished off the evening with a very nice stint of 3 count feeding with runarounds, which were surprisingly simpler than I had first thought.


Another busy night, the hall was full of people & most of us were very excited about the BJC which is now within sniffing distance. Everyone except me seems to have very long 'to do' lists, which I find a little confusing, I will be simply turning up & if I have forgotten anything I will probably go home & get it. Tasj had a practise run at erecting the tent, but didn't want to do it outside because it was cold & she didn't want to get dirty, so she put it up in the kitchen instead. I joined both Tasj & Anna for a bit of introductory passing & both are coming along very well despite treating each pass like an incoming plutonium rod. Dave L, Dave K & myself did a bit of ten club feeding then Helen came along & instigated a mass bouncing session. Few people understood what was going on.


If Tasj could see how much snow is falling at the moment she probably wouldn't be laughing as much as I am. I'm now thinking about packing a shovel.

9-Apr-2003 12.15

All melted now.

10-Apr-2003 to 13-Apr-2003

BJC2003, Brighton


Pretty much everyone had recovered from the weekend's excellent festivities. I played around on my unicycle until the new tyre stopped squeaking. I used to be so much fitter, but then again it was far too hot to be doing anything energetic. I caught a glimpse of Tasj juggling 5 balls, then she proceeded to juggle for some 20 throws, then more people turned to watch & she went all shy. Jenny did very well with her best ever run with three clubs as well. Dave K & Bryn introduced me to some of the things they picked up in one of the passing workshops at BJC2003 including switching from a feed into a dropback line. We all got to meet Tasj's cousin Amalia, who is visiting from Denmark. I was asked to help her with some diaboloing & within 15 minutes she had landed a pirouette under a high throw. More impressive though was how she managed to understand my galloping speech & my even worse collection of Danish phrases.


Straight away Bob sold me on what he called a 'trivial' passing pattern for 12 balls that he had thought up. The idea is that the 2 passers maintain 4 separate 3 ball cascades on 4 sides of a square. The siteswap is the deceptively simple (6x,6p)* where p is a tramline pass & in theory anyone who can juggle 6 balls in synch should be able to do this patttern. It helps to have at least 2 different sets of coloured balls to distinguish between passes & selves. For example, say you have 6 red & 6 blue balls. Assuming that you hold balls 1, 2 & 3 in each hand (where the numbers represent the order in which each ball is thrown from that hand) & that you will start with a pass from the right. To maintain reds for the passes & blues for the selves, the right hand would hold 1 red, 2 blue, 3 red & the left would hold 1 blue, 2 red, 3 blue. Bob & I never really got anywhere with this pattern, maybe because neither of us have ever passed any more than 9 before. We did get far enough to see how cool the pattern would look if we could do it. In other news I was very surprised at how consistently I could throw a double/single multiplex with clubs & snag the double with a leg catch. Andrew brought in his modified Rocky Raccoon which has a magnet concealed behind the nose. The idea behind this was to enable Rocky to pick things up but the girls thought it was more fun to use it to stick the poor raccoon in unusual places. Up the pub afterwards Marcus showed us his powerball gyroscope toy thing that he bought from the Gadgetshop. I remember something similar being touted at BJC2K in York, but this one included more advanced bits such as a digital tachometer & 'high score' system. All very nice except that after you had reached a good speed you couldn't hold the thing still enough to read it.


Following on from last week where Bob introduced the idea for the 12 ball passing pattern (6x,6p)*. I caught Andrew practising his synch 6 ball fountain, "shall we give it a go?" I said. Our first attempt was at the whole thing resulting in a messy tangled web of trajectories, so we took a step back & tried (6x,6p) which is basically half of the full pattern. It took us probably less than 15 minutes to get a very satisfying flash of the pattern, then within another 2 attempts an even more satisfying flash in front of witnesses. I still have not tried passing 10 or 11 balls. I figured out that when passing lots of objects it helps to think of the pattern in straight lines. A single throw consists of 2 lines an up & a down. In (6x,6p) there are 4 lines: Incoming pass, outgoing self, incoming self & outgoing pass. Once both you & your partner can throw accurately enough so that the lines are perfectly clear you don't need to look at every object just the one or two that come next. Obviously the more lines in the pattern the harder it becomes. For example in (6x,6p)* there are a rather nightmarish 8: incoming left pass, outgoing left pass, incoming right pass, outgoing right pass, incoming left self, outgoing left self, incoming right self & outgoing right self! Other than that Dave L & Bryn were doing some nice smooth stuff in 3 count, working towards throwing double wait pass continuously which will look very nice (especially if done with Flourishes). Izzy was striding around on stilts & crutches - obviously refining her skills for the part of Maisy, Beth was throwing backcrosses & other club tricks on the walking globe & I tried a Newton's cradle type trick rolling clubs arond the floor in a circle. Unfortunately the energy transfer between clubs is too small for the trick to work, maybe someone could make me a set of solid stainless steel ones? I enjoyed a nice long drink up the pub up until we started talking about antibiotics. I was about to say something about the pills I took for acne when I was a teenager, I suffered with spots quite a bit but managed to not let it get me down because I was convinced that it never looked that bad to anyone else. Unfortunately Dave K said, "Yeah, you were really spotty weren't you!"


Tasj, Pete, Steve, Andrew, Anna, Jenny, Beth & myself all went along for a juggling workshop in the baking sun at the Tonbridge Garden Festival. Mingling in the crowds was also our man Kevin as Norris the Gnome. There I was juggling five & six balls, performing duicides & whip catches with the diabolo, yet I was still upstaged by a plastic duck on the end of a fishing rod. At first we were the lunchtime entertainment, as is usual with these type of events. People sat around us & watched us juggle, but as the afternoon went on we managed to convince more & people to give a few circus skills a go. We had a very notable young gymnast who became very adept on the walking globe very quickly indeed in spite of the slightly bumpy ground. We had a couple of people come up asking for help with their 4 ball juggling which I thought was great too. At the start of the day Tasj (who "never burns") laughed at my rather sensible use of factor 60 sun cream. At the end of the day I had to chuckle at her sunburnt shoulders.


Several TWJC members have impersonated a superhero at some point in their lives & quite a few of us went to a mask party a couple of weeks a go. Sadly, no one seems to know anything about the identity of the masked vigilante running round Tunbridge Wells this week. There was an insight into how deep the obsession with Buffy the Vampire Slayer runs within TWJC as the girls sang along to the soundtrack to "Once more, with feeling" (the famous musical episode) & argued over which is the best song. Tasj was doing very well on the tightrope, walking forwards & backwards comfortably while juggling. Bryn & I had a very energetic practice session with 3 count, for the most part I tried some new stuff & Bryn suffered the consequences! I also did a bit of passing with Dave K & we worked on throwing 2 consecutive crossing doubles in 6 club asynch ultimates. It was Kevin's birthday today & Andrew baked a chocolate cake decorated with lovely pink icing for the event.


A very quiet week in terms of turnout this week but good news, Derby is confirmed as the host of BJC 2004! Bob was teaching Jenny some tricks with juggling rings, then Tasj & Jenny started showing off how easily they could squeeze their bodies through them. LP would have been impressed. I taught Carolyn how to pass clubs, after quite a short session we were regularly stringing together up to a dozen passes in 4 count. I still don't know why all the TWJC girls start off with a look of terror in response to an incoming pass. Maybe it's just my incoming passes? Andrew was trying to get Tasj to flash 4 in one hand but lack of height was a bit of a problem. Couple of interesting insights into Izzy this week, one, she wears a single toe sock & one normal sock & two, she can flare her nostrils downwards like a rabbit.


Andrew & I took on the Brighton one way system again to find Preston Park for the Brighton Circus Festival. We arrived at around 11am & there wasn't a lot going on. A little later we found out that the event didn't start until 1pm & Andrew stopped thinking that I was an idiot. We juggled for a bit, it was too windy for clubs but a little work on some 5 ball siteswaps cancelled out the cold quite nicely. Just before lunch we watched a stage show performed by Bongo Bolero who we saw in the BJC2003 public show, up close the penny dropped & I realised that the duo also played the parts of Electra & Mr Mullet in the Sci2002 show which we saw at the Lakes convention. Small world. They did a little too much comedy mucking around with the tape player before doing some of the same great comedy acrobalance that we saw at the Dome theatre in April. Lots of different two person balances along with some very funny 'misplaced' (yeah right!) hands & head-stuck-up-her-dress moments that we have all experienced while practising similar moves. While 'Penny' (these two have so many different character names) stood on 'Bernie's' shoulders then stood on various other body parts while he went from standing up to lying down then did a backward roll & then back to standing upright again. For their finale Penny juggled 3 knives while standing on top of Bernie's head, which was certainly impressive especially given the high level of wind. Then it was off for some paella before coming back to watch a portrayal of the Dying Swan done with hula hoops which was quite amusing. After that we went for a cup of tea (again) & then we decided to go home. I don't know if it was the weather but we were 2 of only half a dozen or so jugglers that were there. This year seemed to be geared more towards the general public, there was much more for them to do & watch. There were many shows scheduled for the afternoon, there was a well equipped have-a-go area & there was the added bonus of a bar! Sadly though a handful of jugglers does not a juggling festival make & I'm afraid I went home disappointed. Maybe more people went on Saturday? I don't know. Mind you being in a mini during a mini rally will always be fun!


What a fantastic night, it was just like being at a BJC. Dave K & I started doing a little passing then we showed the rest of the club why we are jugglers & not footballers as we tried passing a ball between our feet while doing 4 count. Our first few attempts saw comical miskicks, I was trapping the ball further than Dave was kicking it. After a while we found our rhythm, worked out that the best time to pass the ball is at the same time as you pass a club & managed to pass the ball several times in a row. A little later Bryn joined us for a bit of feeding (we lost the ball, one of us kicked it too hard). We practised our runarounds for a bit then we worked out a move where instead of throwing a pass after running the runner places a club on the shoulder of the other feedee before moving position. The other feedee grips the club between the shoulder & chin, throws self, pass (to the runner) grabs the club from their shoulder & resumes the feed. The trick is difficult because the feedees need to stand close together. It isn't all that clear when the runner is running either because the timing is slightly different, which is why I threw a club into the back of Bryn's head on more than one occasion. Again after lots of comical failures all three of us could pull the move off. The pub was fun too, we were joined by some of Tasj's drunken friends & we played games to test coordination. One of which was to touch your nose with one hand & your opposite ear with the other, then uncross your arms & do it the other way round as quick as you can. There was another game where everyone places their hands on the table so that one of their hands is inside those of the person next to them. Then a tap on the table is sent round the circle like a Mexican wave. This was fun too but you can't beat the 'throw the beermat into the box' game.


I will probably miss out loads of happenings from this entry as I spent most of the night in my own little self obsessed world & was not paying attention to what was happening around me. Most of the night I was juggling five clubs trying to go from doubles to triples, the most I managed was about 7 triples which wasn't bad I thought. Dave L & I had a bit of a pass, I was very impressed with how we managed to run 7 singles left handed on our second attempt. Dave also encouraged me to try 7 club 3 count on singles too, it didn't work very well & I'm not all that sure that it is possible, but Dave just reminded me of what Bibi & Bichu did on singles at Brighton earlier this year. Bob joined in for some 3 count runaround feeding before stopping for some very yummy Andrew cake (baked by, not made from). Tasj managed to keep Molly the dog occupied for a while by hiding her ball underneath a unicycle.


I missed TWJC this week but I phoned in to report & asked Tasj to sort out an entry for the journal. I suggested taking a pen & a piece of paper round to people & asking them to write a short sentence. I wasn't quite sure what to expect but sitting in my inbox is this email:

i don't know how you want to do this - i got everyone to write a sentence about more or less anything at all, and every sentence followed on from the previous one, so it reads like some psychiatrist's notes of a most disturbed patient.....

She's not wrong...what follows captures a little bit of the true surreality that is TWJC

Everyone loves my fluffy bear!! But Andrew said it looked like a sheep. Dice are nice & so are mice (Anna's previous bears or sugar ones). I like chips, with vinegar, LOTS OF VINEGAR!! This is relevant, because i can juggle them xx. I like juggling with balls! So then the green leprachaun said: 'Tabby, solar power is a renewable source'. And then he gave me a lighter. Thinking is silly, so i forgot Buffy again :-) The infamous Julien came! What fat legs that fairy has! Must be some mystical disease... If all the world was jelly & all the seas were custard what would the cherries be? Red things with stones & no toes... unlike me, which has 10 toes & no stones or anything red except my belly button fluff. You have red belly button fluff? How odd, I thought it was always blue. Strange, but in Jon's absence we all juggle much better. I guess most of the time we are trying to avoid showing him up. Ow, ow, owtasjisbitingmeowmakeherstop. Yes, he did come. And I wore the belt I bought at the EJC in Rotterdam. Pete is just the greatest at ball spinning. I'm moving away so I might stop coming to the juggling club (Kevin) [eek!! - Orin]. Premier sortie au club et je connais deja la technique pour jongler avec 3 balles. Impressionant! Je dois vraiment avoir un bon 'good at juggling'! (grace a Anna mon professeur) Cheese can go a bit funny in hot weather. A new species of jellyfish 4 foot across was discovered last year. None of this is relevant, but it goes to show what weird things go through your mind when you're trying to think of something to write [I'm like this after every club night never have I come up with anything remotely close to this. - Orin]. And the last word goes to Tasj. In case anyone was wondering, I don't remember much of what really happened, except that Kim was balancing tins of baked beans & a loaf of bread on his forehead (something about students I think), Andrew brought in fluffy dice, so there were a few people juggling two dice & one tin of beans. Kevin shocked us all by saying that he might be moving - I think we all agree that Tunbridge Wells is much nicer than Hawkhurst, plus he wants to move into a house that has wonky floors. Sign up for the "Keep Kevin at TWJC" petition by dropping us a line. Tim came along & confused/insulted me as usual & the small children were doing some very weird exercise routine involving 3 balls out in the courtyard. There was some semi-serious juggling as well - Dave K, Bryn & Bob (I think) were passing & Anna was teaching her French student to juggle (he flashed 3 on his first attempt).


Tasj thought it would be a good idea to steal my Ka keys (no Carolyn, not car) so I held her makeup bag hostage until she gave them back. Andrew was flashing 7 balls, Beth was creeping along with her one foot wheel walking (while standing upright of course) & everyone else was being really lazy. A group of us sat down & chatted for a bit & Bob showed us how good he is at swinging a juggling ring from one ear to the other (I'm handicapped for this trick as I have tiny ears). Dave K & I did a bit of 7 club 3 count which we usually open with the statements that signify what we intend to do, "I shall do straights" & "I shall do crossings." After a while though we began stating what we really intended, "I shall throw all of my passes rather short" & "I shall make sure no two of my passes will have the same amount of spin." We also performed some of the most inconsistent 7 club popcorn passing ever seen at TWJC. Several people commented on the fact that Kevin & myself were sporting our bright yellow on black BJC 2003 T-shirts, however the consensus was that the most attention drawing of all the BJC shirts has to be those from BJC 2001 in Cardiff. Must be the pink knickers.


Kevin had a very positive meeting with the Arts Council earlier this week, our hopes of getting a grant for another Tunbridge Wells Juggling Festival are still alive. We are keeping our fingers crossed & hope to make an announcement soon. Holly brought in a pink lightweight football which she was practising her keep-ups with, I had a go at heading the ball like Anthony Gatto but managed to knock off a unicyclist during one particular lunge. Mr Pink dropped in for the first time with partner Katherine, who learnt to juggle just that day & was making some wonderfully wild Over the top throws. Her boyfriend made very quick progress with Mills Mess too. Dave L handed out some invites for his wedding with Helen in August which will be great fun. Tim walked in halfway through the evening which reminded me to give The Fast & the Furious to Carolyn. Nothing could be more bizarre. Bryn announced that he will be off to Dorset for 9 weeks acting the fool as a court jester for a medieval festival. Becky dropped in to see if she could remember how it was done, I caught up with Becky on Saturday at the Bowlplex, considering her inebriated state I was impressed that she managed to remember which day TWJC is held on. James also turned up for the first time in ages still wearing the same tattered trainers, but at least he has trimmed the beard. He spent much of his time chasing & running down Tasj on the snakeboard.


Kevin had a very positive meeting with the Arts Council earlier this week, our hopes of getting a grant for another Tunbridge Wells Juggling Festival are still alive. We are keeping our fingers crossed & hope to make an announcement soon. Holly brought in a pink lightweight football which she was practising her keep-ups with, I had a go at heading the ball like Anthony Gatto but managed to knock off a unicyclist during one particular lunge. Mr Pink dropped in for the first time with partner Katherine, who learnt to juggle just that day & was making some wonderfully wild Over the top throws. Her boyfriend made very quick progress with Mills Mess too. Dave L handed out some invites for his wedding with Helen in August which will be great fun. Tim walked in halfway through the evening which reminded me to give The Fast & the Furious to Carolyn. Nothing could be more bizarre. Bryn announced that he will be off to Dorset for 9 weeks acting the fool as a court jester for a medieval festival. Becky dropped in to see if she could remember how it was done, I caught up with Becky on Saturday at the Bowlplex, considering her inebriated state I was impressed that she managed to remember which day TWJC is held on. James also turned up for the first time in ages still wearing the same tattered trainers, but at least he has trimmed the beard. He spent much of his time chasing & running down Tasj on the snakeboard.


Sorry, I haven't got time to write a proper diary entry, I'm reading Harry Potter. Which is just as well for young Claire otherwise I would have said something about her relationships with quadragenarians. I'd also like it to be known that I managed 5 penguin catches with 5 balls & managed to carry on the cascade. Woo!


Oh dear, 2 shoddy diary entries in a row. To be fair I wasn't actually at TWJC as I was accompanying Tasj to her college leaver's ball. I had been told that there was going to be a nice meal involved so imagine my sheer panic when I found out that there was only a limited buffet on offer. At least the DJ played 'Can't Touch This' by MC Hammer.


All present & correct this week, after last week's shrunken attendance figures the hall was stuffed full of jugglers. Tom has returned from his round the world escapades during which he has amassed a healthy debt BEFORE going to university. Bob managed to complete a 70 mile charity bike ride at the weekend. He completed the course in 4 hours 5 minutes on his recumbent & this time he didn't use any trains (or so he says). Getting back to a sensible number of wheels Beth was one foot wheel walking her uni while standing upright on the forks & reaching as far as 5 metres at a time. I told her how impressed I was & she told me how 'easy' it feels - of course it is. I was juggling 5 balls for a bit when Carolyn shouted at me to turn round & show her that thing I just did. I went through pretty much every trick I knew, without repeating the trick she saw. I asked what the pattern looked like to which Carolyn replied, "It looked sort of like..." then she took both her hands & drew in the air what looked like a 4 dimensional hypercube. Now that would be a cool pattern...


Apparently England is enjoying temperatures higher than Barbados at the moment, so there was a high number of people flaking out around the sides of the hall. Some of us made an effort though, Bryn had lots of space to practise his staff spinning, he did lots of nice behind the back & round the neck stuff. I especially liked the move where he swings the staff behind the back to the front then lets go to let it spin on top of his knee. Very smooth indeed. I did quite a bit with 5, 6, 7 & 8 balls. I still can't run 744. Rosie & John popped in for the first time to see what we're about. John has been juggling for a few months now at a club at the Imperial College, Rosie obviously resisted for as long as she could & has only been juggling for a week. Bob & I identified a huge gap in the recreational sports market & hope to start up a microlite paintball company. We are currently blackmailing Claire over a certain photo to raise the necessary startup funds.


I was like the mythical Klingon leader this evening but thankfully my Dad stepped in to save me from missing out on TWJC. Kevin & Pete also enjoyed the Moscow State Circus that most of us caught late last week but I still haven't written anything about. Apparently the acrobats have been told to wear hard hats for future performances of some of their stunts. I have yet to find confirmation of this story but if it is true it is bureaucracy gone mad I tell you! Dave K & I did lots of passing out in the courtyard mostly with 7 - 3 count & popcorn then we did quite a bit of work on 8 clubs with which we made a huge improvement over the course of the session. After that we joined Bob & Bryn for a bit of the Urban Terror Feed or whatever it is called (one person feeds ultimates to 3 others juggling 3 count). Given the manicness of the pattern it was not surprising that we never really managed to get any further than 3 times down the line. Mark G showed his beard for the first time since last time & seems much happier now in his new job which is good to see. Bryn was very pleased with himself as he showed me his very solid Rubenstein's Revenge. Beth was taking out jugglers 2 at a time while practising her one footed wheelwalking. We will hopefully be placing a large order with Butterfingers soon where I will at last get myself a Nils Poll hat which I've been wanting for ages. After which I will be spending a great deal of time at


Welcome to the first diary entry written entirely on my new PDA! (It has taken me most of the evening to get my toy back after everyone has been drawing silly pictures on it) Kevin has ordered my Nils Poll hat in the style of Orinoco the Womble, which should hopefully be with me in a few weeks. I did lots of 5 club juggling, managing several successful backcrosses. When Dave K arrived we tried to improve our seven club passing patterns, during which Dave managed an impressive back heel to armpit catch. Bryn caught up with us a little later & showed us that he has become a 3 count feeding master. Bryn showed a few of us some photos from his last party, which included some tasteful pics (thank the stars) of Bryn doing some naked fire spinning as part of a bet. After knocking over another drink up the pub I think I hold the accolade for the clumsiest TWJC member. This will be the last TWJC diary entry for a while as Tasj & I will be flying out to Denmark for the EJC on Friday.

5-Aug-2003 to 13-Aug-2003

EJC2003, Svendborg


Congratulations to Dave L & Helen who did a little ring passing pattern (or they may have got married). It was a lovely day, particularly entertaining was Danny Harrison's best man speech which revealed the true nature of Dave's juggling ability.


Kevin told us that TWJC had been pretty empty over the past couple of weeks, everyone has been pretty busy. Dave L & Helen were preparing for their wedding, Dave K has been to Spain & a lot of us were at the EJC (yes some sort of write up is on its way honest). I did quite a bit of club juggling, spending time on lots of basic things that I never bothered with before. Over the course of the evening I learnt 4 clubs on triples, 3 club outside throws on singles & 3 clubs while swinging each club in the opposite direction of the spin before throwing it. Tasj, Anna & Carolyn were all (still) celebrating an excellent set of A-level results, each scoring very highly & meeting their university placement requirements. Anna gave Tasj & Carolyn a really neat set of knitted juggling balls as a well done present. I'll ask Anna for the pattern in case anyone else wants to have a go at knitting some balls for themselves. Dave K & I passed 7 singles at highly impractical speeds before resorting to the far more silly passing a ball between our feet while passing 6 club 4 count. Later still we got rid of the clubs altogether & tried heading the ball to eachother. However, a basketball is not the best type of ball to use for this trick. Tasj & Carolyn were playing around with their new diabolos that they picked up in Svendborg. Carolyn was swinging Around the worlds & if Tasj can apply the same amount of enthusiasm that she puts into whipping up spin to other tricks she'll be a very good diaboloist indeed.


Strange happenings down in the Pantiles on Saturday, must have been the Tunbridge Wells Flashmob.


Only 12 people this week, how can people bear to be away on holiday from TWJC for so long? There were a couple of cries of SHARK! this evening, I was of course happy to oblige people with a reenactment of the weekend's event. Continuing on my quest to learn a lot of the basic stuff that I just haven't bothered with I learnt how to kick up from 3 to 4 clubs. After working out when to do the kick up (kick up & make a cascade throw on the same side at the same time) I was amazed by how easy it was. Unfortunately everyone else either thought it was uninteresting or accused me of learning the trick only because 8 year old Ofek from the EJC could do it. They may even be right. Raphael was doing some nice takeouts with Bryn, which were considerably more successful when Bryn knealt down. I also went to work on using up the rest of the film in the camera Tasj & I bought on Saturday with lots of action shots, unusual points of view & other candid pictures. What did Tasj take a picture of? The big pink walking globe at close range.


Aah! More people. That's more like it. Kevin, Andrew & myself were really rather enjoying the cultured sound of Classic FM, before Tasj came along & put on her yoof music. Dave K, Bob, Bryn & myself tried doing a box formation with various different counts. I still can't explain the high number of observed centre of pattern smashes given the low 'plastic to free airspace' ratio. I think it is fair to say that Dave & I 'won' with a nice bit of hard & fast ultimate passing. Pete asked me about the Commotion in the Pantiles a short while ago which was nothing to do with me (your honour). Later on Bob made enormous progress with his 7 club passing. We were all impressed with Bryn's psychadelic photos taken at Dave L & Helen's wedding using a prism lense. It seems a bit of a hit & miss approach to taking funky photos but the ones that did come out well came out absolutely fantastic. Most notably the confetti throwing scene & the one of Helen looking rather gorgeous 5 times. It was Anna's birthday & the hall was plunged into darkness for the lighting of the candles on Anna's cake. "Give her the bumps!" someone cried, so for comedy effect I grabbed Bob in the darkness. We managed one bump before dropping him, but managed all 19 with Anna. Quote of the night from Anna: "I don't want to resist!"


I started off going through a few hat trick moves with Ray. Andrew was doing very nicely with 7, & I could have sworn I saw him doing some strange crossed arm synchronous pattern with 5 but he denied he could do anything of the sort. Kevin suggested a few more questions for the Juggling lifestyle quiz, which will be appearing in the next revision next year sometime. Bryn & I tried to put each other off by mixing crossing singles & straight doubles in 3 count. Dave K. started Bob off with a bit of 7 club popcorn. Afterwards we went up the pub where the owners kindly put on Jump London for us, a program about 4 guys from France who jump around cityscapes in truly amazing ways. Just how did he run round that wall between the balconies? Lookout for an increase in broken legs over the next few days.


Kevin was off on holiday to Euro Disney this week, so I was in charge of the money box. I thought I was there early enough but Andrew beat me to it & was playing the piano in the hall. Knowing that Andrew is strangely embarassed about his piano playing I waited out in the corridoor for a bit. He is really amazing, I thought Dave Ls guitar playing was good but sorry Dave you are now in second place when it comes to music. I know what I will be badgering Andrew to do in the Christmas show this year. Only Bryn & myself seemed to have any energy this evening, I was doing some wonderfully solid & clean runs with 5 clubs. I also introduced Bryn to 7 club passing & was amazed at getting well over 20 passes on just his second attempt! We also did some hectic 3 count stuff with the usual crossing singles & straight doubles. I also worked out a neat behind the back feed into scissor catch & behind the back catch move. Marie was visiting from France & Andrew tried to kill her by making her ride his unicycle, she'll never visit England again.


Kevin returned from his holiday with tales of a great Wild West show at the Euro Disney theme park. I played around with doing a 3 club flash pirouette on singles, but the best I could manage was a two up. I also stumbled upon a nice move where I do a 2 club multiplex throw, grab the first club & then Penguin catch the second. Dave K went round gathering sponsorship for completing the Great North Run in under 2 hours, very well done Mr K. Andrew & I played around with juggling 5 balls siamese style, strangely the more people that stood in between us the better we seemed to do. It was my birthday the day before this evening & I am approaching the sort of age where you should expect not to be given the bumps, however there were a lot of people at TWJC this evening & they all seemed quite keen to continue the tradition. I fought them all off quite well I thought & I would have succeeded had it not been for Bryn who was the only one who managed to keep a grip on me. Sadly this was the last club night before Tasj, Jenny, Carolyn, Beth & Anna all leave to start higher education. Good luck to you all, we shall miss you & expect to see you all during the holidays.


Hmm, only 5 people this evening, we may have to recall everyone from university. It did seem very lonely without the girls. Still the New Girls have been ordered & should be with us in a couple of weeks. We were joined by a small group of students who are making a film to show that there is more to juggling than just the 3 ball cascade. "Could you show us all of the juggling tricks?" one of the crew asked, looks like it could be a long film. I somehow knocked the wind out of myself while jumping on the crashmat, for some reason Bob thinks that that is a very important point to note in this diary entry. Andrew was doing very well with 7. We had a go at throwing a suitcase as a club which was painful on the fingers. Bob was crowned master after making 3 catches in a row straight away.


Andrew brought along his entire family of unicycles. Despite not having ridden his Giraffe since Bremen he still managed a successful freemount. Dave A complained that the new design of this site isn't colourful enough. He informed me of a page with lots of animated gifs that I could use to make things more exciting. Hmm. Andrew, Tim & I reworked the dialogue from the Princess Bride to suit the Star Wars universe. The film crew were doing their stuff again this week (although we did find out that we were their second choice of subject after the local hospital radio). Aside form lots of filming in the main hall a few of us were taken away for a small interview. I was asked questions about how long I had been juggling, how I came to join TWJC etc which went quite well. Then I was asked to demonstrate the various types of 3 ball juggling patterns & I did some diabolo moves too. After that we shot a bit where I taught Sophie how to juggle a 3 ball cascade. Finally Sophie was asked "Was Jon's instruction helpful?" & the delivery of her answer was worthy of an Oscar.


Andrew & I did lots of ball passing, mostly with 9 which felt very good. We never managed to equal our 12 ball passing successes earlier this year. Matt showed up for the first time this week, staying in England for a while from his native France. He joined Bob & I for some passing & picked up 3 count feeding remarkably quickly. Bryn & I discussed pirouette technique. Kevin & Pete are still busy gathering sponsorship for their firewalk in aid of the Hospice in the Weald at the end of this month. After watching Bryn lifting himself from the floor with his legs stretched out in front of him most of the club came over to have a go. Beth tried to balance on her head & fell over which was quite amusing. I tried to walk like a tripod between my hands & head which was quite painful. Dave K showed us all how he can spring back onto his feet. Most other people have to put loads of effort in, but Dave spookily floats up from the floor.

Sorry no diary entry from me this week, I didn't go to TWJC because the world came to an end. The world will recomence after the next big bang. Luckily though Bryn has come up with the goods:


"Where's Jon?" Was the call that rang out several times over the evening, mainly to poor Andrew who had about as much idea as the rest of us. Well we managed to juggle without him with a fair amount of style too. It started off with hardly anyone there so I (Bryn) threw my staff around with glee & ended trying to hit the ceiling with it, (not easy as it's a sports hall & has a very high ceiling) after coming close a few times I finally hit the tiles & Bob's face on the way down. Did some 3 count passing with Bob & was struggling to deal with Bob throwing double self double to me, then Dave K arrived & said it does work & then I got it... Other things: Andrew rode his 2-wheeled unicycle thing (no, it's not a bicycle) & managed to do a bit of wheel walking, Jenny practiced her clubs, Topper regaled us with stories from the baby show at Olympia including the fact that he was told not to ride a unicycle because they had not done the risk assessment on it!!! (what is this country like?? Performers having to provide risk assessment & method statements.... "I throw a ball in the air & before it reaches it apex, I throw another one from the other hand & then with the aid of gravity the first one falls to now empty right hand...etc...) Bah humbug. Tammy turned up with her 3 year old son Chaleb who somehow managed to run around like a loony between people passing & not get hit once! Myself, Tam & Jen (not Jenny) tried unsuccessfully to spin a plate... how hard can it be. One other thing was missing apart from Jon... There was no cake! Had Jon run off with it?



Kevin was working in Birmingham, Bryn was working at Thorpe Park, it was magic week & none of the kids turned up, so it was pretty quiet at TWJC this week. Up until 8.30 there were only 5 of us. Still it gave John plenty of room to maneouvre his unicycle, John can now happily steer in both directions & is now learning to freemount. I on the other hand used the extra space to sit down & gorge myself on pizza, strangely only Bob took me up on a plea to help me eat it. Also learning to freemount was Andrew although he was using his biverticycle, & managed two successful mounts in the evening. Dave K strolled in later & joined Bob & I for some 3 count runaround feeding. Then later still Dave & I practised some takeouts, first we did the usual take one out & stick another one in. Then I showed Dave the move where the taker catches the bulb of one club after it has completed 3/4 of a spin & then places it in the juggler's hand as normal. Dave picked this up really quickly & was able to catch & place every one of my throws. He was immensely pleased with himself, so much so that he started running round the hall while waving his arms & giggling after every successful run. We were even able to do a short run where I was juggling with my eyes closed. The next logical step was to do the same trick with a 4 club fountain. Dave's hand waving was very distracting but we still managed to string several catch & places together. Dave K & I also managed our most amazing run of 7 club popcorn yet, there wasn't a single throw that was out of place or mis-spun, I even had plenty of time to nice & calmly ask, "shall we stop?". Later the evening degenerated into throwing the juggling hats at Jenny & comparing MP3 players.


I was late again this week prompting many people to think I had skipped the country with the money box. When I finally made it in Andrew was clambering up his biverticycle, Dave K, Bryn & Matt were throwing loads of tomahawks in a feeding pattern. Kevin told me how he enjoyed the firewalk held in aid of the Hospice in the Weald late last week, now all he has to do is collect all his sponsorship money. We were also joined by a Mr Pearse Halpenny, who was heartily welcomed by several old friends from TWJC. He popped along to "get some exercise", & showed off with some very nice 3 ball trickery & diabolo work. Dave & I approached a passing session with a fair amount of aggression & a cavalier attitude, & managed some pretty fantastic runs of various patterns. Proving that we are right, everyone else is wrong & consequences be damned. Later we were joined by Matt for a 3 count runaround which was great fun. (Hmm, quite a short entry, I'll make sure I'm on time next week).


Andrew is getting frighteningly good at 7 balls. In retaliation I 8 balled him. I also picked up 2 diabolos for the first time in a few months, I think at the start of the year I said something along the lines of "I shall learn 10 2 diabolo tricks this year", hmm only 4 so far & we're in November. Ah well best get practising... I spoke to Andrew about the London Juggling Convention held at the weekend, he summed it up as "Sean Gandini is exceptionally cool." Can't disagree there. Dave K & I started doing some more takeout stuff & Bryn joined in as well. Then Dave & Bryn started doing takeouts on both sides at the same time so that the same club is continually taken out & put in all the time. We also added in a few other moves as well to create a really mindboggling pattern. As the juggler, the desire to catch clubs being snatched from your grasp is really difficult to resist. During all this I found out that Dave K. is also a fan of The Princess Bride, when we get this trick solid we'll have to call it Bonetti's defence.


Kevin made a bet with Polly for a fiver that she couldn't learn to ride the impossible wheel the length of the hall by the end of the evening. Polly had never even seen an impossible wheel before. Within 20 minutes she managed to ride the thing with a high level of control from wall to wall, & she received a well earned ovation from the entire juggling club. It is quite scary what the girls can do when they apply themselves. I don't think Kevin will be making any more bets for a while. Beth, who has recently returned from Italy, was riding around on the snakeboard, every now & then she'd jump up off the board turn 180° & carry on facing the other way. Many of us thought that this was also worthy of a round of applause. Dave L popped in for the first time in a good few weeks & joined Dave K & I for some passing. After applying his calming nature to our agressive cavalierness we managed our smoothest 3 count runaround session yet. Bob joined us a little later & we finally managed the 4 person pattern where everyone does pass pass self to the 2 people opposite them. It took us a few attempts just to wave it all the way through but it didn't take long for the juggling to follow. Matt & Bryn were also throwing lots of nice tricks together I'm told but I must have been doing something else at the time. Andrew is now able to cleanly finish 7 balls considerably more consistantly than I can. It is really nice to see the overall skill level of the TWJC rising, the last few weeks have been really good for everyone. That's probably jinxed it.


When I walked into the hall Matt asked how I can walk around in a T-shirt in such cold weather to which I could only answer, "because I am English." Kevin has informed me that my juggling hat should be with me soon. It was ordered in July; it's a good job jugglers are patient people. I started off playing around with three balls, trying out a few moves generated by Juggle Juggle Revolution, in particular "throw a duplex behind the back under the opposite arm, catch both balls behind the head." Noice. After that I had a wonderfully productive session with 7 balls. Dave K & I had enormous amounts of fun trying drop kick passes into 4 count. We also threw wild triples & quads in 3 count before going through our usual 7 club repertoire & finishing with some very nice runs with 8. Andrew was throwing lots of nice stuff with 5, Polly was riding round on the impossible wheel in a skirt (surely not the most practical attire for wheel riding) & Tim has shaved off his beard & now looks like Meatloaf.


I've got my hat! It is a red short topper with black trim & very beautiful it is to. I spent the early part of the evening throwing a few simple tricks with it. TWJC old boy Danny Harrison (inventor of Harrison's Hang) popped in for the first time in about 3 years, claimed he hadn't juggled at all but still managed to run 7 balls considerably better than everyone else. I stood between Daves K & L & did a some carrying & placing moves with their club passing. Kim brought along his latest project, which took the form of a baby creature which features the kangaroo leg stilts for lots of frollicking. Jenny & Mitch juggled a siamese pattern, without the juggling. Dave K & I spent a lot of time kicking clubs at each other & worked out a nice little sequence: throw a pass with the right, catch the left self with your empty right hand - place it in between the legs, throw a left self, catch the pass, catch the left self, drop the club caught from the incoming pass onto the right foot, take out the club between your legs with your left hand & then kick pass the falling club. It all got a little silly when I started kicking doubles. Bob tried to enter the three club gladiators using poi, one of which ended up wrapping itself around my right wrist so I just juggled two in one hand & kept tugging until he let go. Pointless.


Tonight there were a few indications of what may happen at our Christmas party next week. Kevin now has all of his objects for the Christmas Turkey, a carton of orange juice (open), a toy fairy wand that makes a 'bling!' sound when you wave it & an inhaler(?!?). Andrew has obviously thought about his performance in last year's show where he was juggling Marks & Spencer's extra large Y-fronts (also as part of the Turkey). This week he brought in 6 of the under garments & was juggling 5 of the things. I had a go as well & they are really hard to juggle. You have to use your whole arm to throw them to any decent height so it gets pretty energetic. We had a bit of a passing session with them as well & managed to throw a few doubles & the like. The best trick by far though was holding a pair open in front of you & jumping into them. Look out for soon. Dave A & I showed each other our entire repertoires of hat tricks. The best trick that Dave showed me was a straight, hard & fast throw of the hat with no spin onto the foot. I've never seen that before & it looks really good when he does it. I on the other hand can only seem to throw the hat straight past my foot onto the floor. A very interesting insight into the mind of Dave K was heard up the pub this evening during a conversation about 'you know you've been coding too long when...'. He said "Sometimes I will get up from my desk at work & walk somewhere, I'll stop & wonder where I was going to. Then I'll realise that I actually just wanted to go somewhere else in my code!"


Christmas party time again. I arrived a bit late & spent my time before the show preparing the various bits of paper required for my act. Dave A took the role of compere & once again showed his ability to instill peace & quiet in an audience! First onstage was Rocky, who showed us a card trick involving various spots & holes appearing & disappearing on playing cards. Then he did a bit of a cup & ball routine with loads of tangerines - but what was with the hand cuffs? This year's performance was most notable for the absence of the 'I rest my case' gag. After that I took on the audience... & won! Ahem. Basically, last week I said I'd come up with an act using these wooden fork toys that Dave A brought along. at around 5pm at work I realised that I hadn't come up with an act or indeed taken the forks out of my prop bag since last week. So I wrote down a list of tricks I thought I could do. & made 2 posters - one saying, "The audience is Jon's" & the other, "Jon is the Audience's". The idea was tricks would be randomly drawn from a hat then I got three attempts to pull it off. Depending on my level of success a letter of the word 'bitch' was added to the relevant poster. I managed to get most of the tricks mostly on the second attempt (apart from the few times when Dave K decided I was doing the tricks the 'wrong' way & I had to change accordingly) but I was totally upstaged by my volunteers & their 'artwork'. Thirdly Kevin performed a daft magic piece using his three turkey objects. After mucking around with the inhaler which turned into an electric shaver (how exactly can you cut yourself on an electric shaver?) then with his magic fairy wand he managed to make the contents of his orange juice carton disappear. But to be honest I thought Dave's technique with performing the same trick was better.

The person given the Herculean task of rescuing the show was Michael Pearse, aka Pearse Halpenny. His act was a show in itself. He started off with the classic cigar box balancing trick, first arranging them into a chevron arrangement then placing the stack on one of the boxes & then balancing the whole lot on his chin. Then he performed some baffling disappearing knots around a couple of steel rings, It was really hard to keep up with all the different winds, loops & twists. I've seen the odd one or two disappearing knots & know one or two with the diabolo myself, but this guy did absolutely loads of them. His best trick for me was the one where he balanced a tray on a tripod on his chin. On top of the tray was a teaset laid out on a table cloth. The table cloth had a small ring attached to one corner. With one of his free hands he took a pole, reached up & inserted the end into the ring then whipped the table cloth away leaving the teaset in place. The best thing about the act though was the presentation, the whole thing was backed by a continuous comic patter. I don't think I've ever heard so many gags in one go before, stuff like, "I performed this at a gynecologist convention. What a knees up that was!" There was constant laughing & giggling throughout his whole act. He left the stage with the biggest round of applause of the evening.

The second biggest round of applause went to Cora for telling Dave to shut up.

27-Dec-2003 to 28-Dec-2003

Tunbridge Wells Winter Festival 2003

& so 2003 comes to a close. More TWJC happenings will of course continue in 2004.