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JonPeat -

The Sheffield Circus Convention 2017 – Review (UK)

My review of the Sheffield Circus Convention is now available for your perusal:

Thank you once again to the organising team for putting on the event. :-)

Cheers, Jon


Orinoco - - Parent

I think fire ukulele would be good. No particular reason, I just always wish they were on fire.

It's Him - - Parent

Fire drums!

Same reasoning. Thankfully there isn't the same amount of drumming happening at BJCs at the start of the millennium it was almost constant.


Cedric Lackpot - - Parent

> Thankfully there isn't the same amount of drumming happening at BJCs at the start of the millennium it was almost constant.

Still there, just drowned out by middle-aged whining ;-)

Cedric Lackpot -

Today is World Juggling/Apathy Day.

Therefore I urge you to do do something/nothing.

John R - - Parent

Thanks for reminding me! I turned the compost heap.

Little Paul - - Parent

Thanks for reminding me, I need to turn my heap.

Not a job I enjoy, but it does need doing!

7b_wizard - - Parent

Is it okay to turn some soil in the fields if you don't own a compost heap? I mean, it's the gesture that counts, isn't it?

Little Paul - - Parent

Well, I'm headed towards running no-dig in my garden, which would make the answer "no"

John R - - Parent

Has it been a good experience so far? I'm thinking about making my allotment no-dig - I started in 2014 and still haven't quite finalised the layout though, so maybe one or two more beds to be deep dug first.

Little Paul - - Parent

Well I haven't done double-digging in about 10 years, the most I've done has been forking the beds over to break up the compaction and get the larger weeds out.

Last year however I had a crap year and basically just let everything go, then at the end of last summer I blitzed the lot with a fork and weeded the lot - then immediately dumped a load of compost/manure on it. This spring, I weeded it by hand again, but didn't fork it over. The soil already feels like it's got a better texture, and a light hoeing every-so-often seems to be enough to keep down what little weeds are coming up.

So I think I'll do the same again with the muck at the end of the season this year, then re-mulch in the spring and see where it goes from there (then expand the same plan to the borders)

My veg patch has had an established layout to it for over a decade, so I didn't have to build any new beds - but it's really nice not having to spend 3 days forking it over.

John R - - Parent

Thanks, that was interesting. The allotment plot had been out of use for some years so there were lots of brambles, docks, oriental poppies for some reason... sadly I was not allowed to use the cleansing power of fire, just a sickle, fork and spade. It's doing well now, it's a lovely south-east slightly sloping site with no frost pockets and warms up early for Yorkshire, but the soil condition can certainly be improved.

Have you read the Sellars & Yeatman book "Garden Rubbish"? It's got a good bit on double digging...

Cedric Lackpot -

Teeterboard in the French countryside.

Good clean quirky fun, Gallic style. If you look closely you can see they are chain-smoking Gauloises.

7b_wizard - - Parent

Cool. Haven't seen ``consecutives´´ before (seen it only as jumptool in circus).

Daniel Simu - - Parent

If you're into Korean style teeterboard (different from Hungarian style, which you descriped as a jumptool), be sure to follow Aaron Hakala

7b_wizard - - Parent

Cool. Instantly lifts my spirits when something or someone flies. ;o])

IsaacDraper -

Does anyone know where I can get Beard DX balls from? I've got four but need five!

Little Paul - - Parent

I was about to cheerily point you at the beard website and say that you could order direct from the manufacturer - but the site seems to have vanished from where I was looking for it.

Anyone know what happened to it?

The only place I can find non-powerball DXs appears to be on amazon - which seems odd (so I'm sure there will be an affiliate link along in a minute)

I guess the Play MX ball is probably the closest modern equivalent, but how close they are in size/weight I don't know.

Orinoco - - Parent


Some of the pages on the old Eclipse domain are still up but appears to be no more. Doesn't seem to be much of their range available from other retailers other than the horrible DX power balls that everyone is still trying to shift that no one should buy anyway. They haven't gone bust have they?

Cedric Lackpot - - Parent

For some reason I was under the impression they had ceased trading, or at least left the circus props side of things, but on reflection I have no idea where I got that notion from.

Mïark - - Parent

I think I heard Jac Products had bought up Beard - they have DX balls under their name now on the Jac Products website

With Butterfingers ceasing trading last year, Yorkshire is now lacking in juggling wholesalers/manufacturers

Little Paul - - Parent

Are anti-gravity still trading in York?

We were having quite an interesting game of "which traders advertising in the catch are still in business" at Bungay the other week.

York Jugglers - - Parent

Yes, Anti-Gravity are still trading, but the size of their juggling section gets smaller and smaller. Shop seems to be mostly full of scooters and drones at the moment.

unigamer - - Parent

I have 8 green (what I think are) DX balls. They feel kind of rubbery, are quite small and feel very solid. I was never a huge fan because they were just a bit too hard. If you are based in the UK send me an email and I am sure we can come to some sort of arrangement.

I bought these at least 5 or 6 years ago so if the design has changed they will be different but they are barely used.

It's Him - - Parent

Try Barbara at JazzPhab hula hoops. She used to sell Beard kit at conventions at may have something left. She's on Facebook if you can't find her somewhere else.


IsaacDraper - - Parent

Thanks guys, I haven't been able to get in the Beard site for a while now. It'd be a shame if they've gone under, I bought so much stuff from them in the past. I can't get on the Butterfingers site anymore either, have they gone too?

unigamer - - Parent

The Butterfingers site must have gone down in the last week or two but they sold most of their stock around October time last year when they started winding up the juggling equipment side of the business. I believe the family warehouse play centre thing has shut now too.

I got you email, will reply today!

Orinoco -

I just got back from Bungay 18. On the journey up, the A12 was closed for resurfacing. After a slow single lane stretch myself & the six cars between me & a very distinctive lorry all followed the diversion signs which led us in a neat circle back into the slow single lane stretch which was somewhat irritating. Then I arrived on site, stress immediately dissipated & it all went a bit Bungay.

In no particular order then…

We enjoyed glorious sunshine for the whole week aside from a brief ~20 minute rainy spell. 4 of us stood just inside the entrance of the main tent looking out at the rain. Then in silence & led by Avril we all just stepped outside to enjoy the cooling effect which was a lovely moment. Some people get wet, others feel the rain.

On my first night I broke into a bottle of Becherovka that I acquired over Christmas & enjoyed sharing it with others. It's an interesting drink; I describe it as a liquid mince pie. I think slightly more people enjoyed it than didn't. This may have been a contributing factor to Richard, Ewan, Sam & I rigorously debating the precise nature of Kelis' milkshake & her yard well into the next day.

I woke up the next morning almost as drunk as I was when I went to bed.

Bungay is all about the board games for me. This year I added a copy of Kingdomino to my games collection. A very simple domino themed deck building game that I heartily recommend to everyone.

I played several 3+ hour games over the week: Caverna with Kat, Susannah, Adam & Andy, Castles of Mad King Ludvig with Andy, Ron & Richard, Small Worlds with Dom, Ernest, Jude & Anna (which saw some poor decisions based on some very suspect counting I thought), & Say Goodbye to the Villains; a card game that simulates a battle in feudal Japan, after which I felt I had genuinely been in a physical fight. Shockingly the annual Power Grid session was not one of them which we managed to race through in an unprecedented 2 hours.

All this was nothing to the game of croquet featuring myself, Ewan, Mandy, Ash & Greg. I wisely kitted myself out with my tea-towel headgear to protect my neck from the relentless sun. I would not have been able to survive the game without it. This earned me the nickname Orinoco of Arabia from spectators. Earlier in the week Kat was chatting to a friend who plays croquet competitively. It turns out that at Bungay we play a mixture of American rules & English rules, & our posting rule that sends a player back to the beginning is something we have just made up & is not played anywhere else. Apparently the friend was horrified when they found out about our rule, "That would make a game last for hours!" Yes, yes it does. All 5 of the players were posted twice, Mandy was posted 3 times. I was agonisingly one hoop away from invincibility just before both of my postings. For the long range posting attempts we employed the 'post or buttercups' technique, which is where you line up the shot to send your opponent into the post, but take a golf swing so that if you miss the force of the shot sends them out of bounds & deep into the field. When I posted Greg I was momentarily worried that I cracked the post. Incidentally in non-Bungay croquet if your ball is sent out of bounds you are supposed to bring your ball back & drop it just inside the boundary. We circumvent this rule by not having any boundaries. This allowed Ewan to tie up Ash for 3 turns by sending his ball into someone's tiny popup tent. 5 hours into the game concentration, stamina & will to live were all waning severely. The only thing that held in all players was sheer bloody-mindedness. When Ash made it through the last gate it looked like it was going to be all over, but he missed a shot allowing Greg to get through the last gate too, then he pulled off a splendidly executed 8 shot sequence to clinch the game. Not bad for only his 2nd ever match.

I discovered one of the caterers, Greg, was Romanian which allowed me to try out some of my Romanian language skills. Unfortunately for him my Romanian is entirely focused on flirting with a beautiful lady friend who I go dancing with, but I think he handled it pretty well.

Heckmeck Barbecue is a game involving gambling on the rolls of 8 die. I was pretty good at quickly calculating the odds, but the thing about probabilities is even the unlikely outcomes happen occasionally. Kat rolling 4 1s when almost anything except a 1 would do was amusing, me rolling 4 worms, then 2 5s, then another 2 5s to bust less so. Void's yes/no game complete with the oh so satisfying reception bell turned very rowdy very quickly. Farmer Paul's attempt at the game was hilarious. Only he could ramble for 3 minutes on the simple question, "Do you have a favourite actress?"

Dominique particularly enjoyed Andy & I relentlessly spit roasting Richard during Robo Rally. This was another long gaming session that was interrupted for a brief argument involving everyone in the cafe over the correct pronunciation of 'scone'.

I had a look at Dee's notebook that included detailed analysis of the copious amount of gin flowing on site. I thought my notes were hard to follow but at least I don't jump my sentences back & forth over several lines. The joyously incoherent Chilli had quite clearly been involved in the tasting process.

I enjoyed talking to Dr Helen, I find the life of a working doctor incredible & fascinating.

On the far side of the camping area there was a minor campfire incident, fortunately I had a saucepan of washing up water in my hand when I heard the call. I don't think it would have turned into anything serious.

Eddy Bacon's contact juggling was superb in the show. I also very much enjoyed Karen's belly dance, Avril's song describing Bungay from the point of view of an alien & Duncan's juggling bird impressions.

I did a couple of short handstand sessions & about 5 minutes of club juggling over the course of the week. I think my transition to social juggler is complete.

#BBU2017 #conventionreview

lukeburrage - - Parent

" It turns out that at Bungay we play a mixture of American rules & English rules, & our posting rule that sends a player back to the beginning is something we have just made up & is not played anywhere else."

This explains a lot.

charlieh - - Parent

The Bungay rules of croquet are based on my hazy recollections of how I played at home as a kid. Since I first introduced the current set to Bungay (and large parts of it survive even though I've replaced quite a lot via eBay) I think it's perfectly fitting that we stick to them...even introduce them to others in an attempt to shake up the croquet world!

The Void - - Parent

I thought they were based on how Simon taught me, and others, when we played at his house. Anyway, Bungay rules rock. And 4 hour games are just fine. (But 5+ is pushing it.)

charlieh - - Parent

OK. Maybe it's a any case, our rules is right and their rules is wrong.

Orinoco - - Parent

Absolutely, I think I'd find anything other than Bungay rules croquet to be boring.

Funny thing is I've been having conversations about croquet with muggles for years about what a savage & vindictive game croquet is. Now I know that they've only played croquet lite.

I think the Bungay rules need to be written up for the Bungay website.

The Void - - Parent

I think you might need to ask a Squirrel whether the correct spelling of "Greg" might, in some circumstances, be "Bogdan".
Oh, and it's definitely pronounced "scone".

Orinoco - - Parent

It might indeed, I just took the first syllable from the first of his somewhat excessive amount of names from the full name on his FB profile!

& don't you go trying to provoke another pronunciation war. We are a tolerant & peaceful community here on the Edge where all 3 possible pronunciations are acceptable.

Cedric Lackpot - - Parent

'Twas my first one for about six years, so I made up for it by attending twice ... and it would've been three times had I stopped over on Monday night as well.

Bungay tings :-

  1. The weather.
  2. The weather.
  3. The weather.
  4. Being back in the laid-back convention loop after waaaay too long a hiatus.
  5. Ewan, Becky, Greig, Karen, Mandy, Leo, Freya, Ron, Rob, Cathy, Tarim, Guy, Susannah, and all the rest. Old friends the lot of you (even the ones I haven't known very long) and I am very grateful for your company.
  6. The truly humungous hare in the road just before I arrived the second time. Up close wildlife infallibly raises my spirits and leaves me agog with wonder.
  7. Andy's improbably crap Kubb shot. I'm still chuckling about it now.
  8. Although it still hurts me deeply, I must not forget our dear and absent friend Gary, whom I miss every day.

Anyhow, it'll probably be back again next year, but you really shouldn't come, you wouldn't like it.

charlieh - - Parent

8...for those of you who couldn't make it: There was an informal gathering in the tent on Sunday afternoon over tea & cake, where we shared memories of Gary (some were written down for posterity) and some people made woven paracord shapes, which was a favourite of his.

We will not forget. It is a testament to the strength of our community - and of some particular members of it - that after such a terrible shock last year we continue to come together and share such joy.

Dee - - Parent

My Bungay

Arrived Saturday lunchtime with Sam, having caught the train from London Liverpool St together. Met by Void at Halesworth Station. Some confusion as to if we needed to wait for Sarah, but she was arriving into Bungay so no need. Stopped off in the co-op before making our way to site.

Erected tent just to the edge of the family camping area and then went for a wander. This didn't prove to be the potential disaster that it could have been. It turns out that while most noises wake me up at night, apparently I can sleep right through children crying!

Off site adventures during my stay included: 1 trip to Co-op with Andy; 1 trip to Southwold (Tuesday); 1 trip to river swimming (Thursday); 1 walk to the brewery and back (Sunday - but I was back onsite before the brewery opened).

Mostly I was very lazy, in particular on the second Saturday, when my silk sleeping bag liner saw some good use on the couch [I was completely done in by the heat and sinus medication]. I read lots of books, juggled some on Sunday morning, encouraged Ash more (well done on the progression from 10 to over 100 catches of three clubs in a week and hence winning £5) and generally took the chance to catch up with people. Watched the Monaco Grand Prix in Monte's van.

Some cunning plans formed for EJC2019, including introducing "Bungay rules" croquet to the masses and a mini-golf course. Of course only time, resources and space on the Newark site will see if these can actually come into fruition (so no holding breath on these).

Gin tasting notes to follow. Participants in this gin tasting session were me, LP, Ewan, Becky, Helen and later joined by Robbie. So, Orin, I'm afraid that your speculation about Chilli being involved were wide of the mark. My notes were hampered by my resolution to keep all the notes about each gin on a different page - one gin in particular had rather extensive comments.

Left site at midday on Monday, dropped by David to Halesworth Station to begin my rather epic public transport journey back to Bristol, the first stage (to Ipswich) accompanied by Greg and Karen.

Orinoco - - Parent

Your sleeping bag liner made for a very effective camouflage against the sofa you were sleeping on. A couple of people took a detour to an alternative seat when they got close enough to realise.

Don't forget the Blankety blank theme tune for your playlist!

charlieh - - Parent

Wow, that was a wonderful 10 days.

Notwithstanding our house being demolished around us, so we have no idea where anything is, and our car needing replacement the day before the festival (I bought another car, which initially had no MOT, faster than I've ever bought one before), we weren't going to miss this year at any price.

Highlights included some of the warmest and sunniest weather for years, meaning we spent a lot of time at the seaside and the river. Smoked mackerel bought directly from the fisherman at Aldeburgh eaten on the beach with our fingers. Brave women swimming in the North Sea at Southwold while all the men except equally brave Russell looked on, followed by a hilarious group effort to preserve Anna's modesty with a tent of towels as she changed (Europeans you probably won't understand this bit). What seemed like endless lazy days in the buttercup field watching kites fly, children run about and croquet played. Later sat in a wood-fired hot tub at 2 in the morning watching the International Space Station cross the sky.

The Bungay show was well....the most Bungay ever. We had a novice and friendly compere, belly dancing, two songs, a group kids act (which my daughter punctuated with a sudden spectacular nosebleed), 3-ball bird impressions, that trick again, pole spinning and Eddy Bacon's flawless contact. It felt like a village talent show, in a good way. Afterwards a few people wanted to learn 'that trick' and I spent some time teaching ball spinning. We also played a lot of volleyclub with quite a few beginners learning the ropes (and the Bungay rules, which can best be described as 'don't be *too* evil'). We even had a Fight Night - I finished fourth after folding in the final stages, partly due to being intimidated by those who take it seriously.

Cafe Chameleon cooked tasty grub (seriously, if you're involved in a UK event you should book them, they're lovely) all week including a couple of Sunday roasts using meat from the farm itself. St Peters Brewery had its annual spike in sales of Badly Labelled Beer. In between jugglers' generosity manifested itself as crisps, chocolate, cake and beverages were shared. Lots of games were played apparently, including the ones which cover an entire table with cardboard bits and take far too long to complete. Endless conversations about subjects both serious and silly (I remember: Victorian rainwater collection systems, boat welding and 'beating the boundary').

There were some new additions to the family: first-timer adults declaring they were *definitely* coming back again next time and tiny kids discovering how to stay up late and run around in the buttercups. Our two raided Bungay's extensive charity shops for slightly battered toys & books and the youngest became slightly obsessed with origami (when he wasn't involved in the ongoing Nerf Ninja war fought valiantly between tents and from behind old sofas and chairs).

The world's shortest and most relaxed 'business meeting' concluded that a) wasn't it good b) let's do it again c) let's not change much at all. Bungay will be back next year.

The Void - - Parent

Poker data updated:

The Void - - Parent

My pics are up (Some IG repetition) at No re-uploads, please.

The Void - - Parent

The epic splendour of BBU Fight Night can be seen here:

The Void - - Parent

Set-up slogging.
Completing my collection of The Catch.
Cubing Rubiks.
Lost Cities, Chess, Chessss And Ladders, The Game, The Yes-No game, Spyfall, The Oxford Word game, Robots both ricochet and Micro, boiled head Kuub, Table Tennis. That 5-in-a-row tile game I don't know the name of.
Charity shopping.
The BBU backcross challenge, and other silliness at the top of the field.
New people!
Nut roasts and halloumi at Chameleon Cafe.
The horrible weather.
Charlie taking the quiz win, after 2nd place last year. Monte & Nat in the final too.
Being rubbish at the BBU trick in the show. I'm blaming borrowed equipment.
Undefeated at Scrabble, Croquet and Chessss And Ladders.
The sky full of stars, kites, satellites, and planets.
Filming kendama tricks.
Forgetting the grudge match and substitute poker trophies.
Finally getting to hold the poker trophy, a year after winning it... But only by making a new one.
Handing out ice creams, and getting the karma back a few days later.
Charging phone and ipod exclusively from solar all week.
Observing the progress of Monte's van.
Wood pigeons nesting above the sink.
No cats.
Supercool people being nonetheless cancer-seeking stench-ridden junkies.
Getting Paul's missing 50th answer in his bird quiz.
Dave's plaintiff "But I've already come second!" a couple of hands before condemning Andy into his 4th runner-up spot.
Post-show diabolo session with Sean_ and Susannah.
Fight Night turning out to be quite fun, even though beforehand I was very unenthused about running it. Plus... points!
- "I've had enough of feeling stupid for tonight."
- "See you in the morning!"
Avril's BBU song.
No trebuchet! (It was a fallow year.)

Monte - - Parent

Turning £2 into £25.50 over 4 cash games. (only 4! I was starting to think Bungay might be broken).
Building my new kitchen instead of repairing last years Trebuchet.....mixed feelings about this.
Being persecuted by Charlie in the 15 to 1 final because he saw me as the greatest threat.....
Having some great games of whiff waff with the riff raff (having a winning total against everyone except Mandy)
Actually spending some time juggling (well you have to do something while you wait for the ping pong table to become free)
New faces this year was a great thing.
Helping Clare and Chilli in the cafe with contributions such as venison pie, spinach and cream cheese crepes and pineapple upside down cake.
Winning the grudge match trophy off Ewan with a str8 on the flop.

All this and some great weather made for one of the best Bungays yet.
If you haven't been to BBU yet, why the hell not it's great.......

charlieh - - Parent

sorry to persecute but I had to win after last year's Mastermind second place. Would have preferred to face Void again this year but I suppose someone had to run the least that was his excuse!

The Void - - Parent

Ron has offered to run the quiz next year, so you'll get your rematch. Frances Farmer shall have her revenge on Seattle.

Orinoco -

I've been doing a lot of BJC research recently. Risky in Pink were a trio of club jugglers/table divers from NoFit State Circus who performed at the BJC in 1991. You can see a bit of their act in this old video which amused me greatly.

Daniel Simu - - Parent


Cedric Lackpot - - Parent

Saw that routine live at NFS HQ in Splott :)

Did you know it was choreographed/devised/consulted on by Johnny Hutch?

charlieh - - Parent

Ah there's a name to conjure with - an acrobat of the old school who was apparently spotted by a passing troupe doing a handstand on a chimney where he was working as a builder...could still do backflips at the age of 70 I believe.

7b_wizard - - Parent

Great acts. Very very lively, enjoyable & entertaining.

The Void -

BJC 2018 will be in....

Canterbury, after Easter.

There is an additional event planned for the summer in Cumbria - which is *not* a BJC, but *is* a juggly event, tied in to celebrating the 250th anniversary of "circus" (Astley, etc).

Daniel Simu - - Parent

Crikey, will it be THAT year next year? :o

lukeburrage - - Parent

*sigh* Just do the BJC in the summer! Just do the BJC in the summer!

The Void - - Parent

Come to the business meeting if you want a say in it! Come to the business meeting if you want a say in it! :-P

lukeburrage - - Parent

I would, but the BJC is waaay to expensive for a camping convention where the weather is such a coin flip that I've not camped at one since 2001. It's the reason I don't go, and also the reason why I recommend anyone from Europe who asks about it not to go.

Little Paul - - Parent

We get it Luke, you say this over and over whenever anyone so much as mentions BJC.

Give it a rest for a bit?

(And come to Cumbria in the summer)

lukeburrage - - Parent

Sure sure. I'd be happy to come to Cumbria in the summer, of course. Who wouldn't be?

^Tom_ - - Parent

My best memory of the Canterbury presentation:

The venue:

The Langton
Langton Lane

The team is led by "Spyro" Mike

We were given detailed pictures and maps of the site, with 1 main hall (~1085m^2 based on my googlemaps-fu), and smaller "show hall" and "aerial hall" (so named as they will be able to rig from it). There are additional classrooms and seating areas.
A whole metric boatload of hard standing area (assuming that one boatload is about 0.4 hectares), Roughly 150 by 250m of camping space (which should be enough 2 or 3 times over).
There is a swimming pool on site, which should be available. And possibly also the observatory.

The show venue is a theatre in town where Mike works, although the name escapes me.
There is a vintage bus organization in Canterbury, which should hopefully provide the transportation to the show.

(Would any squirrels fix any obvious blunders).

Orinoco - - Parent

A certain person from TWJC who is not familiar with theatre terminology spent a great deal of time searching for a theatre in Canterbury named 'The Round'. Oh how we laughed!

Scott Seltzer - - Parent

Do you know the exact dates for BJC 2018? Easter is April 1 and that's also the day IJC starts.

Cedric Lackpot - - Parent

I forgot where I heard it but I was advised "after Easter".

It's Him - - Parent

The simple answer is no.

The slightly more complicated answer is starting in the week after Easter and continuing to the following week.

Mike didn't have specific dates attached to his bid and had some degree of flexibility. I imagine the dates will firm up rather quickly now that he knows that he is running the convention.


Cedric Lackpot -

BJC thread? BJC thread!

Although my stay was brief it was really nice to greet some old faces for the first time in one or two years as I've been out of the loop for so long. And it was also rather wistful and nostalgic for me. Age encroaches.

I only stayed one night, was exhausted when I arrived, and even deader when I left, but I enjoyed myself in the glorious spring sunshine. Not gonna do a HLSGCBUTCAA because they're daft. But I have a few obsevations/questions :-

  • Was it just me, or were numbers really rather down this year? It seemed sparse, but good weather getting lots of people outdoors can do that to conventions. It also felt like it was organised on a bit of a shoestring compared to previous Team Randall editions, but since I was only there for the weekend that could be a spurious impression.
  • Am I the only one who didn't like the Gala Show? (Hint: No, but I shan't spill the beans.) I liked the hat act, and Guillaume was mildly interesting, but the rest of it left me cold, and wondering when the real show would start.
  • Did anyone go to the business meeting? What transpired?
  • Did David Langston actually survive? He seemed to be chugging neat deathwish on Saturday night, hard to believe he could still stand!
  • Any drama I would want to know about?
  • Is it time for me to retire The Old Skool? I think so, but it might be nice if it were handed over to someone fresh, or if it morphed into something else.

And finally ...

  • Anyone coming to Lestival? It has an all new org team and should therefore be überbrillig!

Al_Bee - - Parent

Oh the show. Was a bit odd initially as we were sat near a guy who clearly had learning disabilities and was occasionally loud and/or inappropriate - that wasn't a problem but the annoying kid who thought this guy was HILARIOUS was certainly an issue.

So the acts then - it seems I liked more of it than Jay. The "Paganini" act I thought was a highlight - funny and interesting and well done. Guillaume was fantastic - brilliantly choreographed and technical and I loved it. Cyr wheel was good too I thought. To give the hat duo credit they did actually have a sense of fun about them. Having said that the guy moving curvy sticks around awkwardly was a little weak - and there was to be a workshop the following day where you too could learn to move curvy sticks around awkwardly. There was a moment during this act that reminded me of watching modern jazz live - people just started applauding at seemingly nothing - I just didn't get it.

Actually after the first half I was wondering if this was one of those inspirational shows where people in the audience could see the acts on stage and definitely think "One day I'll have an act good enough to grace the BJC Gala Show stage." But the second half saved it imo (and Guillame absolutely hit the spot).

Orinoco - - Parent

Just got home!

I am aiming to have my full report on your desk by Saturday evening. Jon Peat was also taking extensive notes so we should have at least two long form accounts of the festival. I have unanimously decided that Jon Peat's will be the official review though.

To quickly address your points though:

  • Not sure about the total attendance, I've got 700ish in my head from somewhere but numbers were certainly up on last year :)
  • I liked the gala show.
  • I went to both business meetings. Lots of things.
  • I heard he ascended to a higher plane of consciousness.
  • Some people acted like dicks during the first business meeting. So no, nothing new.
  • I very much enjoyed the Old Skool, our two overseas visitors especially. Although I felt Pink Nigel dominated too much & Rhonda was given short shrift or talked over on many questions which I wasn't happy about.

& finally...

You mean #Lestivalx on Saturday 29th April at Brockington College? Alas no, but I can highly recommend it to everyone who wouldn't have to spend more time travelling than attending.

Cedric Lackpot - - Parent

> Some people acted like dicks during the first business meeting. So no, nothing new.

But ... but ... Ewan wasn't even there!

Cedric Lackpot - - Parent

Well that looked just fine in the preview. Fuck knows where those tags-not-tags sprung from.

Cedric Lackpot - - Parent

Haha, The Edge is being a dick. First it showed my message with extraneous FONT tags, now it's rendering correctly. Either way, I'm pretty sure it would be better if it would stick to just one method of rendering.

Orinoco - - Parent

I removed them before your second post. I really don't know what you are doing that everyone else using the WYSIWYG editor is not!

Stop posting bugs for a couple of days I'm trying to write a review!1

1 Actually at the moment I'm trying to decipher my notes, but as soon as I've done that I'll start writing.

Al_Bee - - Parent

And is there a reason why it's now "The Gala Show" and not "The Public Show"?

Little Paul - - Parent

Someone explained the difference to me as "a gala show is pitched at festival attendees, a public show should be pitched to attract the general public"

I'm not entirely sure I agree with the distinction

^Tom_ - - Parent

My take on it...

For jugglers, "the public show" makes perfect sense. But if you're then describing it as "the public show" to "the public", then it sounds a bit silly. "The gala show" sounds more like a celebration than simply a description.

I know I'd be more likely to fall for a show called "gala show" than "public show".

John Shearing - - Parent


H The pool party.

I know it's not juggling.

However, it was fun which is what a BJC should be all about.

L I can't really think of anything.

Having to return to the real world is always a shock to the system.

G To run a workshop at the BJC for the first time.

Tick and goaaal!

I was happy with how walking football was received. It was mutually agreed after half an hour that we were all cream crackered so the workshop was terminated ahead of schedule.

B Again I can't really think of anything.

C Not telling you!

Orinoco - - Parent

Another thing from Rebecca Lyon, this one really captures the atmosphere well.

It's Him - - Parent

To answer some of the questions you posed:

The numbers did seem on the low side for a Nottingham convention but I'm wondering if that was due to having a BJC in Perth and people not being good at attending things after they have had a break. The next one will be in Canterbury which I have never visited so am looking forward to.

I thought the gala show was somewhat monotone and wasn't helped by having two slow acts at the start. I found the bound girl with the single club had a very interesting act and that the diabolo act was extremely controlled and slick but left me a little cold. I have seen duelling hats a number of times (including at MKJC where they stole the show) and thoroughly enjoyed them every time but thought the energy had gone from the audience by the time they performed. I have been told that the cyr wheel girl was extremely good but there were a lot of normal cyr wheel tricks that weren't performed (e.g. cartwheels, penny drops) which made me suspect that she was weaker than others have suggested she was. I think the hula hoop act would have fitted better into a more diverse show.

The business meeting was actually two business meetings. In the first two bids emerged, the Kent one which I mentioned previously and one from Rosie Kelly in Cumbria. at the end of the first meeting (which ran out of time) I thought that Rosie would be running the convention in Appleby next year and that Canterbury would run 2019. By the start of the second meeting it appeared like a lot of conversations had happened in the background and Rosie was not offering a BJC but rather a BJC extra to be held in the summer and the Kent bid was the only option. This greatly disappointed me. Not only because I thought that a lot of what Rosie was bringing to the table was coming from a completely different direction to the normal bids, which would have led to a different and interesting convention; but also because we would have had two years sorted and now we have only one. Whether I will be able to attend her BJC extra in the summer will depend on work and dates which would not be an issue at Easter.

The BYJOTY became BYCPOTY or ?bick potty? and included circus people (which meant aerial acts). There was an extremely good silk act and two other aerial acts. Most of the audience were wowed by a 13 year old doing some two diabolo tricks finishing with three diabolos. His act was slick but wouldn't have been considered if most of the other acts hadn't lacked something. The technical acts were highly technical and highly droppy (nothing new there) and most of the other acts weren't acts. I voted for a 3 ball juggler who had an act but could easily have voted for a staff manipulator with a well choreographed routine and believable character. I missed out on the drop count by 1 grrr.

I think the other panellists on the Old Skool were all much better than myself and interesting to listen to. I would happily have sat in the audience and listened to them but I had the offer of beer :-) I don't think that the Old Skool has run its course but I would like to see a panel which had a different make up at some point e.g. Jane Randall, Mamph, Amanda Drabble and Jay Linn as the panellists with Emily Winch as chair.

Alas I will miss Lestival again.


Cedric Lackpot - - Parent

> Jane Randall, Mamph, Amanda Drabble and Jay Linn as the panellists with Emily Winch as chair.

I am deeply flattered, thank you Nigel. And I suspect Emily would be chortling at the idea of me - me! - being on board as the token man.

Slightly more seriously, I love the idea of a mostly women panel but it's bastard hard getting women to join in, at least in the current format. Rhonda quite rightly made a tart remark about her reason for being there, but the alternative is to let the panel pick itself, and that's pretty much a 100% guarantee of blokishness. It's a really tough square to circle, and personally I don't know a better way than deciding that you're going to find a woman regardless, long before you get all meritocratic about it.

Little Paul - - Parent

Getting panellists isn't easy, and I saw first hand how hard you had to work to pull a panel together on the day.

I think Rhonda being overlooked at times was probably less to do with her being female and more to do with you being less familiar with her history than the others on the panel. The same thing happened 2 years ago, with the chap whose name escapes me (he had a goatee, and his wife had been involved in organising a bjc?) and I heard similar comments about that years panel bring uneven.

It's a shame, as her childhood sounded fascinating!

I talked to a few people who had never seen an old Skool panel before, and they seemed to think the idea still had legs. I think, if anything I'd like to see the idea extended - perhaps spun as a "new Skool panel" where the hot young things of today face questions about what inspires/drives them, where they get ideas, where they see juggling going etc.

Also, several people suggested to me that (at least one of) the bells should be under the direct control of the audience - something I definitely agree with!

The Void - - Parent

Pulling it together on the day is the problem. That's why I said no when you asked me.
If you can't get (haven't prepared) a quiet space where panelists can be heard by the audience more than 6 feet away, then get some microphones.
The latter is why I left after half an hour.
Greg was hilarious.

The Void - - Parent

LP, you mean Steve Bridge.

Little Paul - - Parent

That's the chap!

Cedric Lackpot - - Parent

> Also, several people suggested to me that (at least one of) the bells should be under the direct control of the audience - something I definitely agree with!

I already have a deeply stupid idea about this ...

Orinoco - - Parent

Just come straight out with it LP: you want to squeeze the Pig of Derision.

^Tom_ - - Parent

On the subject of morphing...

Some years ago, I had a bit of an idea about a HIGNIFY-type panel quiz show to take place at a BJC. In essence it would probably have to be primarily Old Skool-ish to be entertaining. Although a new school team vs an old skool team would also work pretty nicely (or mixed old/young teams, and mixed modern/historical questions).

Anyway, I have several ideas, and if anyone is interesting in making something happen one day, or if the old skool wants a year off, then I'd be happy to discuss possible ideas.

^Tom_ - - Parent

Of course I meant more "Never mind the Buzzcocks" than "Have I got new for you".

Al_Bee - - Parent

I still reckon a "Would Jugglers Lie to You?" for met would be great. Lots of potential for showing off and great stories from the past being discussed.

Al_Bee - - Parent

That's "format" of course. Bloody finger sausages.

Rosie - - Parent

attended the Old Skool talk for the first time, despite always wanting to go see what it was all about I've never managed
(usually because renegade..or just juggling, not like a major avoiding reason)

short answer; loved it.

long answer...
didn't realise exactly what it as, had in my mind it was like a game show style, panel thing...dont ask why.
But basically I think if it was "advertised" more before BJC or at the event, more people would attend and know what it was. I felt liek you had to know in advance (oh god dont reply on someone shouting in the hall to announce any show or event)

I loved hearing stories and details that are more gossip than much else. I loved peoples back stories. Only being involved in "convention world" for few years you feel like you've a lot to catch up on, so thats why I think The Old Skool is needed!

I do have some things that I didnt like about it... some questions were super interesting, and obviously asked because of the reaction they would get. it was great! (jason/ija/etc.) and I liked crowd questions, circomedia clearly was a hot topic and would have been nice to hear either of the internationals thoughts on it.
Some questions were major i think they got asked whats the worst show youve ever seen..then...whats the it was super boring. its liek someone telling you about their dream they just had. you're super into it. but no one else really is. (ok dont get me wrong there was the odd moment, but general those questions had a terrible word count verses funny ratio)

It was super annoying the bell wasnt used effectively. I think the host gotta learn to read a crowd better. every time you did press the bell people clapped..i think that means you wait to long and dont press it enough, because clearly people are so relieved when you do press it you get applause.
I'd also like to suggest the bell is put into the audience, or entrusted to a table of people. they can feel the crowd better maybe? Or they have one and you have one?? It just ruined it how someone can go on and on and on....
I do think Rhonda was almost cut out of a lot of questions, twice she began to speak, and once the other guest greg was about to tell a story and they were interrupted. I dont see how a host should let that happen. Theres a skill to allowing a conversation to flow naturally between people and controlling it enough to allow the laid-back or quieter guests moments to shine through.

thanks for reading the long answer when the short one would have sufficed

Orinoco - - Parent

Thank you Rosie, long answers are always welcome here!

It has always been intended to be a panel show of sorts as can be seen from Emily's announcement of the first Old Skool in 2012.

For me part of the Old Skool's appeal has been that it is an intimate affair. If the audience was much bigger I think it would lose some of that charm.

Interesting that you didn't feel it was advertised beforehand. It was also in the info booklet & on the workshop board :P This probably highlights two different ends of the spectrum of how people plan their time at a BJC. I generally look at all the events going on & then go juggling if there is nothing I fancy going to. Whereas I think your default position is to hang out in the main hall & it takes something special to pull you away from it, does that sound correct? What would be the best way to let you know about events happening at the BJC?

Also for your info Cedric Lackpot here is the Old Skool host guy!

^Tom_ - - Parent

I will also add that there was a sandwich board placed just outside the entrance to the main hall throughout the evening to advertise it.

As it happened, the venue for the old skool this year was not great, and I think most people struggled to hear what was going on. Particularly whenever oblivious people noisily wondered past, or whenever the mop-on-wheels frequently rattled past.

My favourite* Old Skool was in Pickering, where I think Steven and Andre had some particularly interesting stories which fed well of each other (Disney & alligators spring to mind, as does the story of a fire juggler somewhere).

*The number that I've actually managed to watch is not a particularly large number.

Little Paul - - Parent

The Pickering one benefited from being in an appropriately sized room without being on the way to/from anywhere or in a space being used for anything else.

The cafe area was the least worst place we could have held it this year, I'd have favoured one of the dance studios, but we were told they weren't available for some reason?

I do agree it could be advertised better, some of the descriptions I heard in advance of the show this year made it sound more like a juggling show than a panel show.

^Tom_ - - Parent

Oh, I agree that it was one of the least worst places.
Some venues are just more suited to talky events than others.

Was it originally called "Grumpy old jugglers", or was "Old Skool" the name from the start?

Cedric Lackpot - - Parent

A little TOS history :-

The original idea was conceived by Ben Cornish and Dave Jellybean, and IIRC was going to be a more or less straight lift of BBC2's Grumpy Old Men called, predictably, Grumpy Old Jugglers. For reasons I wasn't told or do not remember, Ben and Dave chose not to develop the idea for BJC Southend 2012, despite them both attending.

Subsequently, sometime in late '11 or early '12 Emily Winch approached me to enquire whether I might be interested in taking the thing on. I listened to the proposal as it then stood, but was a bit concerned about making anything too derivative of an existing format, so went away and ruminated about it for a bit, after which I came to realise that getting jugglers with long experience to share their stories was a great idea, but simply copying another format was probably too restrictive. Consequently I came up with a loose panel format, and a name that did not suggest anything much in particular, other than punning lightly on Old Skool/Old's Kool, with the hope that we could just get interesting people squiffy and letting them babble. It seemed to work.

So, in brief, the conception was indeed Grumpy Old Jugglers and the germ of the idea was not mine, but once it fell into my lap I tried to knock it into something workable.

The Void - - Parent

Which reminds me.... is still available!

Mike Moore - - Parent

If Old Skool ever recorded and posted? I'm interested to see what it's all about.

Mike Moore - - Parent


(minor jetlag)

The Void - - Parent

So far, no. I image that if panelists knew they were being recorded, we would get far fewer stories full of potentially slanderously entertaining dullskuggery.

Little Paul - - Parent

After the Steve mills one, I wished I had recorded the pre-show prep chats as although the show was interesting, the pre-show prep was more interesting.

I forgot all about my plan to (audio) record the pre-work this year until it was too late - but I'd love to do that and put it out as a carefully edited (to avoid too much scandal) audio release.

Perhaps next year...

It's Him - - Parent

pre-show prep chats?

Unless you were talking about us introducing ourselves at the start of the panel then this didn't happen for me. It may be because I have known Jay a long while and he probably thinks he knows quite a bit about me. However as I totally failed to mention that I was a performing juggler in my self-introduction or explain why I am called It's Him when he mentioned it in introducing me, it was a fairly poor example of talking about myself.


Why are you called It's Him! ? Partly because of the anagram. Partly because I was in a double act called Him and Me.

Cedric Lackpot - - Parent

Nigel, for various boring reasons I elected to be pretty slack about The Old Skool prep this year, so did very little of the homework I have previously done. Usually I have spent half a day doing informal individual interviews/chats with the panellists as a way of a) gleaning useful information and background; and b) giving them the opportunity to ramble on and talk freely, by way of acclimatisation. It has usually been a wonderful experience.

Mike Moore - - Parent

Ah, that makes perfect sense. I'll have to rely on Greg's memory, then!

Little Paul - - Parent

Thanks for a long answer, I don't think a shorter one would have done :)

Mike Moore -

Devilstick Balance

This video came out today and I found it bizarre. The beginning somewhat reminiscent of the old (and long) act where the performer balances what look like bones on top of each other.

The end...I'm not convinced by. I think I would've found it more interesting, more powerful without it. It seemed like he was blazing new ground, then relapsed. My feelings went from, "this is slow and unexciting" to "oh, this is building into something interesting" to "of course, he does what every devilsticker would do."

I'm interested to hear what the Edgians (do we have a name?) think.

Orinoco - - Parent

Yeah, the ending doesn't have the same impact as Miyoko Shida Rigolo's act. Miyoko's balance is obviously much bigger & spectacular, but it also collapses in a very pleasing chain reaction. This construction just falls apart in a very unsatisfying way.

I've always gone with Edgenaughts.

Cedric Lackpot - - Parent

> I've always gone with Edgenaughts.

Edgenauts surely?

Orinoco - - Parent

That's the one I should be using yes, but a search says that I yo-yo between the two!

The Void - - Parent

Since you just correctly hyphenated yo-yo, I'll forgive you.

Llama_Bill - - Parent

I saw her perform this during a Cirque show and I've never heard such a quiet crowd, in a good way. Everyone was so anxious the whole time. Everything wiggled just a little more than you thought it should.

Daniel Simu - - Parent

I'm an Edgy, and I liked this videos conclusion :)

lukeburrage - - Parent

I quite enjoyed it. He foreshadowed the ending by dropping the sticks out of his hand one by one, and then the whole thing collapsing paid that off. One final drop, and the routine was done. Cool.

I worked on an act which involved a sculpture made out of many clubs, rings, balls and two diabolos. Pretty much all the main props in my show. I think I juggled three balls when it was balance on my chin. I only ever performed it once because there was no non-messy but still dramatic way out of the end of it. It's fine if that's the entire act, and you have stage hands to clear up after you, but I felt stupid collapsing the thing and then having to pick everything up again. Maybe I should work on it again, and work out a better ending.

The Void - - Parent

I've got a vague feeling that I may have seen that. Do you remember where you performed it?

Little Paul - - Parent

It sounds familiar to me too, and something is nagging me saying renegade at the Scottish juggling convention?

My memory is terrifically easy to confuse though, especially when it comes to late night shows I saw after drinking with Ewano & Matt hall...

lukeburrage - - Parent

No, the only time I performed it was during a cruise ship contract which, to be honest, isn't the best place to be trying new material. The tricks were good, but the presentation just didn't work out. There was too much swapping between different sets of mixed props, and nothing I could do made it look elegant.

However, as my own memory of what I've performed on stage is often less reliably than other peoples' memories of what I've done on stage, especially in Renegade shows, the distance roots of this act may very easily have began in material I tried back in 2003 or 2004. I know a lot of other things in my current show come from random ideas that worked better than I thought at 2am in a tent when half the audience was drunk and rowdy.

Little Paul - - Parent

Fair enough!

The Void -

Dinardi. There was an old music hall act whose tag line was "He fills the stage with flags!". Dinardi doesn't use flags.

Daniel Simu - - Parent

Haha, that's a weird act!

Cedric Lackpot - - Parent

I'd suggest the flags in question are don't really look like irises.

Cedric Lackpot - - Parent

Note to Orinoco: This post is b0rked. Preview wouldn't render it correctly, even when I edited it, and I have no access to the full editor since the reply page only gives a link to causal diagram help.

Example screencap.

#meta #orinoco

Orinoco - - Parent

Not sure exactly what the problem is here. Did the preview render for you but not as expected or did it not render at all as per that screenshot? If that is not the 'full editor' in that screenshot what precisely is missing from it?

Cedric Lackpot - - Parent

It should've read :-

"I'd suggest the flags in question are irises, but they don't really look like irises."

... with a link to Wiktionary on the first 'irises'.

I was going to check the source, but without the means to reach the full editor I couldn't do that either. I note that I still do not have access to the full editor in comment replies.

Orinoco - - Parent

What do you mean by 'full editor'?

Orinoco - - Parent

That was rubbish, he didn't catch a single thing!

I did like the orange stripey suit at 1:58 though.

Little Paul - - Parent

I love that, you just don't see production acts any more.

Also, those spring flowers are gorgeous! i haven't seen any that well made in a long time, most I've seen available commercially look more like feather dusters.

Which is of course, more or less what they are

Daniel Simu - - Parent

No more production acts? There are still some people performing with loads of bottles and umbrellas, right?

bad1dobby - - Parent

I love that you just don't see production acts any more.

I saw a production at the start - in the basket. After that, all I saw was some people unpacking some boxes on stage (albeit with great enthusiasm).

lukeburrage - - Parent

I'm so glad that I've never had to sit through an act like this live. It's interesting to see the video, from a historical perspective, but I found myself using the "skip forward 10 seconds" function over and over, waiting for something to happen.

mtb - - Parent

Prepping for this act must have sucked. Packing all of those things into boxes....

Dee - - Parent

Whereas I was thinking of the poor stage-hands having to quickly clear all that stuff off the stage. Hope the compare has lots of filler material.

The Void - - Parent

"End of first half? Right-oh!"

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