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14-June-2002 to 16-June-2002
At the start of the day I was run over by a London taxi. Then I spent 10 hours on a coach next to a woman who insisted on making everyone smell her hiking feet. On the coach I had to explain a comment made by the driver about tomatoes to some merkins. After negotiating through some floods along roads, which were supposed to be quicker than the non-moving M6 we finally made it to Ambleside. We made Andrew pick us up in his mini from the coach stop to save us a two minute walk. I love travelling in Britain.
The site was Rothay Park football ground which had onsite toilets, consistently cold showers & a small cafe serving tea, coffee & snacks throughout the day. We managed to pitch our tent during a brief dry period before joining in with the Ceilidh with Striding Edge in the main tent. Andrew flatly refused every invite to participate no matter how much pressure was applied, me I just need to hear a violin playing. Tasj & I had great fun. Roger Davies danced on his unicycle of course.
Saturday morning I bumped into Dave Barnes & in reference to the rain he welcomed me to the North. We were among the first jugglers into the main tent for a juggle. I had to use all my kit just to dry it out a bit. Andrew managed to ride his giraffe around the centre of the tent, if he got too near the edges he scraped his head on the canvas. Dave showed me a few close attempts at a three diabolo rocket start under the low tent ceiling, some nice combos with one diabolo & then lots of tricks with two on his loop of string which I find fascinating to watch. Correcting two diabolos using sticks is tricky enough, but I am really impressed with the way Dave can align the bells with such delicate touches with his fingertips.
Three - Nil
Hunger soon took a hold & we went into town for a wander & a bite to eat. Ambleside is a lovely town, all the buildings are built in stone & there is a little river running through the centre & a water mill at one end which has been converted into a restaurant & guesthouse. Being with Tasj we of course ended up eating pizza, the waiter announced that England had scored their first goal & Tasj's negative reaction gave away her true nationality & the two following goals were announced & received with equal enjoyment.
When we got back we watched & played a few of the games & juggled for a couple of hours before going into...
A new show by No Fit State Circus. On first going into the tent you get the chance to play with all sorts of exhibits all based around some scientific experiment, there was a hall of mirrors, a dizzy tent (which had no effect on Tasj whatsoever), an air cannon & all sorts of other things. The most popular of which was the spinning chair, which you sit in with your arms & legs out while someone starts you moving around, once spinning you pull your limbs in & you spin faster. That was what the kids were doing anyway. I got in & was set moving by a very large man who I had never met before, always a good sign, then I curled up & was thrown from the chair, fantastic fun.
After a short while the characters who had been mingling among us congregated & began the circus show, which I think was mostly about Buster trying to win the heart of Electra, while the bald headed Mr Mullet tried to put Buster off. All the while the ringmaster introduced the acts & characters with bizarre speeches that put my abstract GCSE physics answers to shame. I wasn't altogether sure what was going on but it was entertaining to watch as we were ushered around to different parts of the top to watch each act. There was a nice corde lisse act by Buster, neat & fluid & didn't drag on like most aerial acts. The guy with the quiff rode a counterbalanced unicycle along a tight wire, as well as performing a very nice hat routine. In the middle of the show there was a great skit where the performers sat down for tea & biscuits. The water was stored in a tall tube with pegged holes at differing heights, which explained a bit about water pressure to the cast & various parts of the audience as well.
The star of the show for me was Mr Mullet, he tried to sell us his 'Brush-o-matic' (patent pending) tooth care device & demonstrated a set of invisibility goggles that rendered the wearer "completely inwisible" so that he & Electra performed a very smart acrobalance routine. Mr Mullet also performed a pole routine which was easily the best act of the show. He climbed up, down & round the pole in a way that made the multimillion dollar Spiderman movie look tame & there wasn't a computer generated effect in sight. Aside from the climbing there was some very impressive sideways handstand stuff & one leg holds. Excellent stuff.
The show finished with Buster doing a bizarre bit of DIY heart surgery, before being resurrected by Electra. Then the whole cast celebrated by flying around on a grand carousel. A very different & a very enjoyable show.
Long Distance Renegade
Can't remember what happened between then & the evening, but we made the mistake of walking in through the wrong entrance to the main tent where an impromptu renegade was being hosted by Ewano who immediately threw some balls at me & told me to juggle. Barnsey Bags (tm) are very nice. I don't even juggle for myself anymore let alone other people so I just threw a few tricks around until I was rescued by Tasj & Andrew who dished out slices of chocolate cake wrapped in fliers for The Royal Tunbridge Wells Juggling Festival, what a superb marketing ploy.
Next victim was Dave who showed us a 3 diabolo rocket start, after a few goes we had a brief but impressive glimpse of four diabolos on two strings, one held in each hand. Then after a bit of artistic diabolo poi of which he is such a fan, the act finished with an experimental 5 diabolo rocket start. I think it was Josh (apologies if I get some names wrong, anything I can't remember I am just making up) who showed us some neat staff swinging & then had a few goes at kicking his staff into the audience. He got the move on the third attempt where the staff rolled over his hand over the knee before being kicked back up with the foot.
Ben Beever & a guy called Hairy joined up to make the passing duo Hairy Beever & flashed, 11,13,15 & 17 balls almost in succession. Then they did some very smart side by side shower patterns. On his own, Ben did some more 5 ball siteswap stuff & also some isolation tricks with 5, 6 & 7 balls all with scientific commentary in the style of NoFit.
Also on show was Jamie Fletcher who battled against a snakeboarder & a diaboloist, while doing a running kickup & a half contortionist flash with five balls. With three he played with lots of yo-yo variations before doing some more serious tricks such as a box type pattern with under the arm catches that I couldn't quite figure out & a nice behind the head catch with the arm wrapped all the way around the head. Note to self: I must learn this thing called style. Jaygo was forced to perform by the sudden appearance of the audience in his practise space. Very graceful control of large acrylics. I'm ashamed to say that I can't actually remember what he did but I know it was very good.
We were marched outside on a couple of occasions, Tony (false name to avoid association with prop) swung some glow poi for us. One guy dressed up in flame retardant overalls & crash helmet & held three torches while his partner lit them by breathing fire at him. Two other guys performed a self-flagellation act with fire rope whilst wearing only a pair of boxer shorts (there is more to this North/South divide than is being said). There was some globall & fire juggling but I can't remember much of that either.
Back inside Mandy juggled four clubs with over the shoulder throws, five clubs on triples & had a bash at 6 clubs as well before doing some 8 club pass pass self & some popcorn patterns with Ewano. Wow. There were loads of other things going on too, some very nice devilstick work, a 'Belch off' between Tall Paul & Claire, finger ballet featuring whoever ran up to do something. A girl doing a cartwheel with a pint of beer, some other beer swinging tricks & more than that too.
It was probably one of the best renegade shows I have seen, because acts were selected & then bullied into performing every act was either impressive or made me laugh out loud. The continual shifting of the audience to accommodate each act was fun too. Well done Ewan, top job.
Sunday morning it was up early & ring everything out & on the coach back to the South. Andrew managed to get to the M40 before breaking down. Despite the rain it was a really enjoyable festival, I had a great time if little sleep. well done to Jak from Jesters for organising the whole thing.