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The Roundhouse Theatre in London appears to be in the middle of their CircusFest 2014. The fest has an impressive jam packed line up.

It looked like Ian was running a hula hoop workshop but after a double take alas no.

# by Orinoco, 2014-03-30 14:32 BST

Splendid stuff. I note that Circus Geeks are performing Beta Testing there, whose cast includes Jon "Motherfucking!" Udry.

I attended a contemporary circus conference there a few years ago - '08 I'd guess - where Brett Jackson from Swamp Circus Theatre had brought a busload of spotty Kernow Yoof Circus types up to do some tricks by way of dressing the place up a bit. Six years later and he's a paid performer in a show he's helped devise. Go Jon, I am really thrilled for your career trajectory.

# by Cedric Lackpot, 2014-03-30 21:28 BST Parent

Question for past organisers. Can you name one thing that you wish you'd known before organising your event? Is that information easily available now? Was it a question you asked but couldn't get an answer for or something that took you by surprise?

# by Orinoco, 2014-03-29 13:07 GMT

How many people would turn up. How many people would buy a t-shirt. How much does promotion affect turn up. How will people respond to this years caterer, how many people will buy extra food from them. What will the weather be like.

Our estimates based on other years were quite precisely met.
I was in charge of promotion and thought I made a bigger effort and reached more people/more conventions with higher quality material than in other years, yet this did not seem to improve the turn up. We did sell more t-shirts than other years though, which depends of course a lot on the design.

# by Hapiel, 2014-03-29 14:18 GMT Parent

Did you have any particular method to come up with your estimates that perhaps could be applied to other festivals?

# by Orinoco, 2014-03-30 14:56 BST Parent

We did know how many people came to the last 4 editions of this festival, with one of them at the same location as ours. From this we created an estimate by our gut feelings. We assumed that there would be an equal amount of extra visitors as there would be pre-regged if we had good weather. I can not remember the exact numbers, but we closed the pre-reg about 2 weeks before the event and we had indeed around as much spontaneous visitors as preregged (though prereg was only for full festival, so possibly some would have preregged if we gave them the option to register for a single day - three days only)

Ah, I just found it again, our stats (only paying visitors, artists & orga make up for another 15 visitors):

170 Complete prereg (Prereg closed 24 days before event)
60 complete (no prereg)
30 2 nights
30 1 night
220 day visits
This and some more data about the NJF can be found here: http://danielsiegmund.nl/981/hoe-organiseer-je-een-jongleer-festival/
In Dutch, but google trans will probably give you the relevant material at the bottom of the page.

I wish we had more information on pre-reg information from previous years: What time did you open, what was the initial amount of registrations and how quickly did this grow and when did you close etc etc..
For this I can recommend people to use prereg.eu, Christoph is working actively on this system which gives you all the statistical data you could wish and makes it easy to share with others.

# by Hapiel, 2014-03-30 15:10 BST Parent

Ooh, I'd be interested in Christoph's system as I'm playing with one myself...

# by Orinoco, 2014-03-30 15:15 BST Parent

I believe he originally build it for the EJC in Munich, for which he was in the orga team. I don't remember if Lublin and Toulouse used it as well, but it will very likely be used for Karlsruhe 2015 and has been used for the past Berlin conventions..

The Edge is missing a PM system, I'd rather share addresses & stuff trough pms... but you can probably reach Christoph here: *snip*
He is usually enthusiastic to talk about this kind of stuff :)

# by Hapiel, 2014-03-30 17:34 BST Parent

It wasn't used for EJC Lublin or Toulouse as the EJA weren't prepared Christoph 3% of the convention's gross income.
It has some good features, but with an event that changes it's geographical location each year as well as pre-reg discount and how early pre-reg closes and how good the publicity is there are many variables to working out how many people might come.
It is always hard to calculate how many will come to a convention, BJC in Pickering suffered as there was heavy snow two weeks before which put many people off coming.

# by Mïark, 2014-03-30 20:14 BST Parent

A PM system has been requested & I'm still thinking about it. The contact page already works well as a PM system if you want to send me something :)

Ah yes, I remember xchaos talking about a system that he was writing a while ago, but I can see how a 3% cut which is a pretty reasonable for professional software is a very large slice of the pie to a juggling convention.

# by Orinoco, 2014-03-31 12:36 BST Parent

3% of gross income is 15k on a half million turnover even if the convention makes a loss (which they regularly do). From the organiser perspective that spells OUCH.

# by emilyw, 2014-03-31 13:54 BST Parent

3% of gross income spent on a system which may bring in less than 50% of that income seems a bit ambitious to me.

"3% of the gross pre-reg income" would be a rather different proposition. It's still a hefty chunk of cash though to an event which is targeted at "a little over breakeven"

# by Little Paul, 2014-03-31 14:06 BST Parent

I was speaking to someone who went to the French National Convention in Toulouse (which used the Munich system) who told me from the point of view as a customer it seems surprising at first when everything else is done by volunteers, but when compared to buying a concert or theatre ticket where there is (annoyingly) no way round having to pay a booking fee it is just a few euros.

I would think it is almost total income as the system is also used as an on-site till for selling tickets, t-shirts and show tickets. Obviously income from grants/sponsorship/advertising/concessions-fees (or kickbacks) would not be included.

# by Mïark, 2014-03-31 15:16 BST Parent

Seriously, the numbers are the big unknown.  I know that Play sells out - so then doesn't sell any tickets on the door.  They then know their budget and can work to it. 

I've had discussions with people who actually avoid preregistering so that they can "help out" by spending slightly more on the door at EJCs [this is when they don't pre-reg just before it shuts down].  I have tried to explain that this adds to the unknowns - in terms of how many showers and toilets are needed [do you have to hire in more?], also it affects how much space is needed for camping (and hence how much fencing is needed).  If you are trying to cover these at the last minute, costs rapidly escalate; but if you over order then you don't have the money to cover the excess cost.

At recent EJCs it has become particularly difficult to predict how many people will arrive without having pre-registered.  Back in the mid 2000s, it used to be about a 50/50 split; with an increased proportion preregistering for "peripheral" events - where you had to preplan your travel rather than driving overnight.  This has changed in recent years without stabilising, making estimation of numbers extremely difficult, even given pre-registration figures.

BJCs are slightly more predictable, but can be affected by timing [how well do school and university holidays sync], adverse weather [especially last year with the snow just before the event] and moving around.

It would be really interesting if, one year, the EJC announced that there were xx number of tickets available for sale and once they were sold that that's it!  The budget could be a lot more realistic.  The first time it would have to be near an actual campsite, so that stragglers could be directed there [i.e. you aren't providing them with showers or camping facilities].

Other things that you would like to get from past organisers:

  • What to do if your site isn't up to scratch when you arrive or if you are given the "run round" by site management.
  • How many live-in vehicles to expect
  • How much space and time to devote to "non juggling" activities
  • Should the traders be in the main hall [they prefer it, but can be a security hassle and also it means that "high" space is unnecessarily occupied - standard room heights would be better used in this way!]
  • What was "more hassle than it was worth"?
  • Who would they work with again and who do they never want to see/hear from again.
  • Any ideas that really paid off
  • How much should you get in writing and at what stage?

I probably would ask them for a detailed version of their income and expediture accounts... for example, what should the stationery budget be like? How much did getting artists to/from the site cost (so that this can be appropriately modified for your site) - were artists onsite or in other accommodation? 

In terms of informal things, it probably would be many of the bullet points (more hassle, not worth it).  One of my tasks for volunteers at #BJC2014 is to count the number of live-in vehicles onsite on Sunday.  Seems a bit daft, but this year we were going by guessimates based on the size of the car park used in Southend.

# by Dee, 2014-03-31 18:13 BST Parent

Regarding live-in vehicle numbers, counting them should be a reasonably small job, is it worth doing daily (incase the peak isn't where you think it is) I'd be interested in seeing how the numbers change over time.

As I'll be in amongst them (BOV passed its MOT! Yay!) I'm happy to help out with counting duties :)

# by Little Paul, 2014-03-31 18:57 BST Parent

You're it. It can count towards your "tea drinker" badge.  That's my favourite superpower badge this year. I'll make a little tally sheet for you to keep a record on.

We are also interested in actual density of tents, so I'll be looking for others to count tents!

I've remembered a question that I'd ask previous organisers.
Who did you comp in? (Free entry).  And why?  Were these full week / weekend  / day entry complementary tickets?

This doesn't have to name names if people are uncomfortable about it.  It could be along the lines of xx circus group was given 2 free tickets for their supervising adults as they were bringing 20 "youths" (so paid entry) to the convention - it was felt that this was a net earner for the convention, so a decision was made by the team to do this.
People were given complementary tickets for doing/providing x y z as it would have cost us a lot more to hire in the equivalent.

A few of these are legacy issues that no-one is really certain why they were getting the form of ticket that they are.  This can create confusion / unrealistic expectations and cause unnecessary hassle for organising teams when they try to change things.

# by Dee, 2014-03-31 19:10 BST Parent

I've tried counting tents before, jugglers' inability to camp in nice straight lines & the number of small green Eurohike tents make this really difficult! Plus marking people's tents with a paint as you count them makes people really unhappy.

I have met a guy though who has a rig on his car that extends a camera on a pole some 20ft up in the air to take aerial photographs which he charges quite a bit for. I'm sure the same result could be achieved by sending a small child up a nearby tree/building/telegraph pole/electricity pylon (how sturdy is BOV's roof LP?!) with a photo stitching enabled smartphone. Then counting is just a case of marking dots on the image after the fact.

# by Orinoco, 2014-03-31 19:26 BST Parent

I remember one convention where people were required to ask for a tag to put on their tent when they collected their pass with big warning that any un-tagged tents would be removed.
I don't know if anyone went round to check for un-tagged tents, but they knew how many tents they should have on sites based on the numbers of tags given out. You could try something similar for live in vehicles (if you asked for the drivers mobile number (and licence plate no) when you gave the live-in vehicle tag, reg desk would be have a list of who to phone when someone found a live in vehicle blocking a fire route.
Possibly at bigger conventions like BJC the arrival desk might be busy enough without yet another thing to give out.

# by Mïark, 2014-04-01 02:23 BST Parent

I think Crawley last year were handing out three classes of pass, one for people, one for tents, and one for live in vehicles.

I'm not sure if anyone went round checking them, or even counted them.

# by Little Paul, 2014-04-01 07:50 BST Parent

We had our tents audited in the TWJC camp. Not sure if this was special treatment for us or not.

# by Orinoco, 2014-04-01 12:31 BST Parent

Perhaps someone might have one of those remote control mini quad-copters, we could fly it over the campsite with a small child attached. It would save having to chase them up a pole or if there wasn't a pole close enough to the campsite.

# by Mïark, 2014-04-01 02:26 BST Parent

Wasn't Mark T building a quad-copter?

# by Little Paul, 2014-04-01 07:46 BST Parent

Juggling conventions nowadays are crawling with extendible sticks (for the Bungay Entrance Exam trick) and small, high-quality cameras that could easily be gaffer-taped to one end, and triggered by remote control or self-timer.

# by Cedric Lackpot, 2014-04-01 09:30 BST Parent

I've made a note to pack my clipboard :)

# by Little Paul, 2014-03-31 21:41 BST Parent

Doesn't seem daft at all.

I vaguely recall one BJC that required live in vehicles to preregister (Cardiff 2001?) or am I making that up? Doing this would obviously help with planning a site layout.

# by Orinoco, 2014-03-31 19:15 BST Parent

Old America's Got Talent act, in which Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne, and The Hoff cringe uncontrollably - you will too!!


# by Cedric Lackpot, 2014-03-28 09:10 GMT

This thread is LEET!

# by Hapiel, 2014-03-31 22:34 BST Parent

Teaching juggling / circus skills to 6-8 year olds

I've been volunteered by my kids to help out on what is called a "Spread Your Wings And Try" day. This is a school day where kids get to try out all kinds of crafts, activities and games. I'll be there to allow kids to try out juggling and circus skills.

I was wondering whether anyone has any tips for teaching kids of this age?

I think I will be getting groups of around 10 kids for an hour at a time. My plan is to split them into 3 or 4 groups, with each group trying out diabolo, plate spinning, basic juggling (potentially scarf). I would then rotate the groups every 15 mins, and do a bit of a show at the end.

I really want the kids to feel like the have achieved something, for people who have taught young children before, what have you found works well? I am opting for diabolo and plate spinning because I thinks kids can feel like they have made progress in a short space of time. But what other skills do you think it would be worth trying?

I know that some people teach balancing with peacock feathers - how much success would a 6 year old have with this?

Any other tips would be greatly appreciated. It's been about 15 years since I last did something like this!

Colin E.

# by Colin E., 2014-03-26 22:36 GMT

i would opt scarf, it took me half an hour to do basic balls and i was 15, also balancing peacock feathers is very simple and the kids competitive spirit would drive them to do good (this may cause some to feel bad if there not good at it though) just keep it light and they should enjoy it

# by Robotic juggle, 2014-03-26 22:45 GMT Parent

I agree, unless you find an exceptionally talented kid, most 6-8 year olds struggle with just thawing and catching one ball in a regular cascade pattern. I'll see how they go with scarf and the other skills and if any look ready I'll give them a go.

# by Colin E., 2014-03-27 06:19 GMT Parent

I made a post some time ago at the edge giving many many examples of tricks you can do with young kids.. Is there any easy way to search the edge?

# by Hapiel, 2014-03-26 23:35 GMT Parent

Nevermind I found it, copy & paste:

There are many many many one ball tricks which are fun, easy to learn and hopefully increase hand coordination!

Easy ones are:
Normal throws
Under the hand
Arms crossed, throw a ball straight from the top hand and catch it with the same hand underneath the other arm (can be done with 2 balls of course)
Rolling along the back, placing a ball in the neck and catching it above your bum (make sure the kids open their hands, place the thumb in their back). Can be done with one hand too!
'reverse' throws over the head
Kneeling and passing a ball under the leg (can also be done with 2 ball shower)
'monkey cascade', placing a ball crossed under your armpit and dropping it staight into your hand again. Can be done with 3 balls, also you can squeeze a ball between head and shoulder instead of armpit
Floor juggling, throwing 3 balls on the floor in a cascade pattern (cross throw, straight pickup)
One ball pirouette (practise one ball high throws first: Use both hands and keep poining at the ball as it is in the air, do not allow the kids to walk after it!)

All these tricks can be done while balancing a beanbag or a book on your head, or while standing on a chair


Rotating kids is fine. Make sure you tell them to put their stuff down before they rotate (ideally you make them sit down next to all the stuff before you give the commando that they can rotate).
With plates, teach them to hold the stick in one hand, put the base on the floor and then spin the plate by hand. Then once it is spinning it can balance on finger, pass under the leg or behind the back, throw it, put it on your finger nail.

Diabolo is hard and strings always get knotted, but for some reasons kids always have fun with it. Make up some rolling & running games, lift up the diabolo and step over the string, throw it up drop sticks and catch with 2 hands

I have no experience with teaching kids peacock balance...

My favorite skill is ring juggling. Make sure it is very obvious to them that frisbeeing is dangerous ("once it sticks in your forehead it is hard to pull it out"). Spin around arms & fingers, have them carefully throw them over their buddies arms or even head, 2 at a time is easy. Put over neck and try to flip it off by pulling up the shoulders really fast.
If you manage to teach the kids to flick a ring so it rolls back, this is brilliant. When you demonstrate, pretend you have control over it by snapping your fingers when it returns. You can also spin a ring in another ring.
Rings combine very nicely with balls, you can drop/throw the ball trough in many easy fun ways.

You need even more? Every kid knows what to do with a hoola hoop. Some get really carried away with poi, or even better (and more knots for you) a stick with a long ribbon. Unlimited budget? Skippy balls, wire walking/globe walking (have somebody hold them!!!) and pedalos (google them) come to mind.

# by Hapiel, 2014-03-26 23:49 GMT Parent

Some great ideas there - thanks!

I've taught diabolo to quite young kids a few times and it works quite well. Most of them can understand the very basics of getting started, rolling it along the floor, ten picking it up and continuing the spin by driving with one hand. They struggle to 'steer' it, but having it spin on the string for 10 seconds is enough to make them smile :-)

Thanks for the one-ball ideas, I'd not considered that - I might give them a go.

Rings - that's a very good idea. I am sure I could teach them to spin a ring on their arms. I'll certainly add them to my list. I don't own any poi, but could probably make some simple ones this weekend.

Regarding rotating, and keeping them under control, I have four kids of my own, so am quite used to crowd control ;-)

Thanks very much for the ideas, you've certainly expanded my list.

# by Colin E., 2014-03-27 06:18 GMT Parent

Gymnastics ribbon is so much fun!!


# by Little Paul, 2014-03-27 07:42 GMT Parent

Erm ... yes. I can see that he is beaming from ear-to-ear.

# by Colin E., 2014-03-27 10:00 GMT Parent

You could teach younger kids poi (especially good for even younger kids because the gross motor skills taught help with hand writing). I teach a lot of balance skills to that age group but that requires you to have the equipment (strap-on stilts, walking globe, tightrope etc.) Devil sticks are easier than diabolo initially.


# by It's Him, 2014-03-27 07:27 GMT Parent

I'm surprised about that - I always thought devil stick was quite hard to get started. With devil sticks you are constantly having to correct the motion. It takes a lot of precious. Whereas once a diabolo is spinning, it just keeps going.

Anyhow, I do have devil sticks, so I will add that to the collection of activities.

I'll certainly look into making some poi using a few tennis balls.

Thanks :-)

# by Colin E., 2014-03-27 09:59 GMT Parent

Tennis balls in socks are easier to untangle/unknot than strings. As a bonus you could get the kids to make them.

# by Little Paul, 2014-03-27 12:09 GMT Parent

Good point about sock poi, I am not a poi aficionado, so am not up to speed on the best construction methods!

# by Colin E., 2014-03-27 15:29 GMT Parent

Long story short, get some knee length socks from your local market stall. They'll be three of four pairs for a fiver, come in a range of eye-catching teenager-friendly patterns and colours, and utterly indestructible. Insert a tennis ball and knot at both ends so they are reversible. If you look hard enough you can make them for less than a pound each.

# by Cedric Lackpot, 2014-03-28 08:23 GMT Parent

I would rather use something a bit heavier than tennis balls. 100g or so of dried beans work quite well.

# by mtb, 2014-03-30 20:40 BST Parent

I wouldn't give a 6-8yr old kid anything heavier than a tennisball, given that the *very* first thing they'll do is smack another kid round the back of the head with it.

# by Little Paul, 2014-03-30 20:49 BST Parent

Good point, actually. I was more talking from personal preference. :)

# by mtb, 2014-03-30 20:59 BST Parent

The secret of teaching devil sticks is not to start with tick tock. There are at least 10 tricks you can learn before that which are easier and quicker to learn. Another thing when teaching tick tock is not to start from the ground. I can (and have in the past) run a whole workshop in how to teach devil stick to beginners and will probably be doing a basic devil stick workshop at BJC this year.

Sock poi are much better than kite poi for teaching small kids. Many kids spin poi too fast and therefore are a danger to themselves and others. They also tend to bash the poi on the ground and thus wear through them. Hence I now have a whole set of sock poi that are short enough to prevent that.I start with one hand poi moves (in front butterfly style, side, other side, behind, over head and in front horizontal spins), then the other hand and then both doing the same thing or different things. Then move on to 'roller coaster' and 'corkscrew' before attempting a weave.

With spinning plates it is generally better to focus on the tricks they can do after they have the plate spinning rather than which method they use to spin the plate. So spinning on the finger, throw and catch, under the leg, behind the back, curl, passing between two sticks or throwing between two sticks, multiple plates, passing between two people etc.


# by It's Him, 2014-03-27 12:38 GMT Parent

Thanks Nigel - lots of great info there.

Regarding devil stick " ... at least 10 tricks you can learn before that which are easier and quicker to learn" what sort of tricks did you have in mind there?

For plate spinning, I'm with you on that one, they can have a lot of fun throwing, catching, transferring etc with a plate that is already spinning. I personally find getting a splate spinning using the stick quite tricky ;-)

Colin E.

# by Colin E., 2014-03-27 15:32 GMT Parent

Putting the devilstick horizontal on both hand sticks and then:
Tossing straight
Tossing half turn
Tossing helicopter
Tossing and catching above the head (sticks point backwards, stick out index finger to stop devilstick from rolling down)
Roll towards your shoulders over the arm, or towards a buddy
Drop down one handstick and catch the top end of the devilstick squeezing it between the two sticks, then swing back up
Etc etc

# by Hapiel, 2014-03-27 17:14 GMT Parent

Are you going to be at BJC Colin because I can run through it there? Otherwise there are a bunch of throws starting from a static position, rolling along arms, over head and down back, starting with crossed arms and bringing up over head, pushing the devil stick around one hand stick, a single tick, traps etc. I once wrote an article on teaching devil stick to beginners I wonder if it is still on the web?

Couldn't find it on web but I did find a copy of it on my computer. It is nine years old and I haven't read it so there may well be changes in the way I teach devil stick now. I've copied it below:

For years in the juggling world there havebeen zillions of jugglers, trillions of diabolists and a few sad devil-stickersstood alone in the corner of a convention. Why should this be? My theory isthat people try the devil stick, struggle to learn a few beginners’ tricks,decide that juggling or the diabolo is more rewarding and give up.


Following from this I decided to teachdevil stick in a less traditional manner. I wasn’t going to start with Tic-Toc.Instead I would demonstrate a lot of easy to learn tricks based on movementsfrom the rest position. The tricks would be simple enough that seven year oldswould be able to accomplish at least a few of them and with enough variety andvariation that the whole group would both succeed and be challenged.


I generally teach groups of 30 and wantedto be able to help individuals who were struggling, whilst giving the quickstudies enough to do. For this reason I demonstrated tricks in groups of fiveor six at a time and followed with more tricks after five or so minutes.


The success of this policy is that often atthe end of a workshop the students are clamouring to know where they can getdevil sticks where before they all wanted diabolos. Will this increase thenumber of devil-stickers at conventions? Probably not. But it does mean that mystudents and I have a more enjoyable workshop session and enthusiasm is the keyto the growth of juggling around the world.


Below I give an example of a 20 – 30 minutesession suitable for teenagers. The tricks are developed in each group of five.The tricks listed are only a selection of the possible ones available to astructured process such as this. For more ideas on tricks for the devil stickrefer to the ‘Stix Guru’ video or the book ‘Mastering the Devil Stick’ by ChrisDore. Also out there are ‘The Devil Stick Book’ by Todd Strong and a section of‘The Complete Juggler’ by Dave Finnigan both of which are somewhat limited.Further information with demonstration video can be found at www.devilstick.org

The Rest (or starting position):

Handsticks are held in the middle. Devil stick rests horizontally upon the twohandsticks. Each handstick is approximately 1 inch (3cm) from an end of thedevil stick.

The first five tricks:

1) Throw and catch: Devil stick is thrown vertically with no spin and is caughtin rest position.
2) Half turn: Devil stick is thrown vertically with one hand pushing more thanthe other so that devil stick flips through 180 before returning to restposition.
3) Crossed arms: Devil stick is thrown vertically, arms are crossed, devilstick returns to rest position. (Note: don't say cross hands, emphasise howwide arms are crossed).
4) Leg bounce: bring arms down and leg up so that centre of devil stick bounceson thigh before returning to rest position. (Emphasise thigh not knee).
5) Roll: Bring arms up and duck head down, allowing devil stick to roll alongboth arms and over head until it rests on back of neck. Then bring head andarms back so that devil stick drops onto back of handsticks.

The fifth trick is visually impressive but do-able by 7 years plus. Concentrateon keeping centre of devil stick in centre of roll.

The next five tricks extend some of the previous ideas and introduce new ideas.

6) Throw over head with turn: Throw devil stick so that it goes over the headand then turn to catch it in rest position.
7) Catch under leg: Stand on one leg with other leg pointing to side. Throwdevil stick vertically and bring one hand under raised leg to catch devil stickin rest position.
8) Crossed arms to crossed arms: From crossed arm position throw devil stickvertically and then uncross arms and cross the other way. Catch devil stick inrest position.
9) Trap to rest: Start with stick held vertically between the two handstickswith devil stick approx. 1-2 inches from top end. Swing devil stick completelyaround one hand stick (at some point of the swing you have to move the otherhand stick out of the way) and catch devil stick in rest position.
10) Half flip return: From rest perform half flip but catch with one stick andpush upwards so that devil stick does reverse half flip before returning torest position.

Trick 10 is a beginning stage of Tic-Toc, which can be introduced here or leftuntil later. If you do introduce Tic-Toc please do not start it from the groundthis tends to encourage poor technique rather than reduce it.

The next five tricks are again either extensions or introduce new ideas.

11) Cross Arm-Above Head-Cross Arm: From cross arm bring handsticks around sothat hand sticks are held horizontally above head with devil stick stillresting upon them continue rotation so that arms are crossed the other way.
12) Rest-trap-rest: From rest position push devil stick upwards slightly at oneend to allow time to move handstick so it can move to trap devil stick thenproceed as trick 9. Then make this one single flowing move.
13) Half flip to wrist trap (and return): Half flip as trick 10 but instead ofpushing back catch the devil stick between wrist and back of handstick. Thesecond (harder) half of this trick is to then rotate the wrist whilst releasingthe trap so that devil stick is flipped (or half flipped to rest position.
14) Double wrist trap (Scoop): Vertically throw devil stick from rest, bringboth arms up so that elbows are level with shoulders and hand sticks arehorizontal. Then bring handsticks over the top of devil stick before trappingwith both handsticks and wrists.
15) Buzzsaw: See Todd Strong book (The Devil Stick book) for description.

And another five tricks to keep things going:

16) Buzzsaw to reverse: Do buzzsaw, stop and reverse direction of spin.
17) RTR Loops: This is the motion of rest-trap-rest without stopping to rest.That is the devil stick does continue circles with the hand sticks trapping andun-trapping to keep the circles going.
18) Wrist trap to wrist trap: From one wrist trap, devil stick is thrown acrossinto a wrist trap with the other hand.
19) RTR around leg: Devil stick rests on one hand stick and one raised foot. Itis thrown exactly as in rest-trap-rest to finish in rest position.
20) Nigel's Nasty Trick: Hand sticks held vertically devil stick resting onextended index fingers. Handsticks are thrown over the top of devil stick whilsthands pass underneath before catching hand sticks again. Devil stick
ends up resting on fore arms.

All these tricks have the advantage that they can be stopped after one attempt.This means the student can correct any mounting errors quickly and easily.Devil Stick has the advantage over diabolo in that there are no strings to getknotted and over juggling in that there are fewer objects to pick up.


Other avenues to pursue with the devilstick grow naturally from these workshops. I find that students interacttogether with the prop. This can be as simplistic as two people throwing thestick between them and lead from there. I have yet to find the limits of two ormore person devil stick even with inexperienced practitioners.


There is also a greater opportunity forinvention with this prop than with most others. Many times in workshops astudent has developed an idea that I have never seen performed before. Jugglingand diabolo have had much greater exposure and so the opportunity to bedifferent is much smaller. Even whilst writing this article I have conceived anew trick which I could never do with a more popular prop. (For the record thetrick is: Hold devil stick in rest position behind back, drop devil stick andjump up so that both legs hit devil stick at same time propelling it over thehead to be caught in front).


The devil stick is also open toexperimentation in size and shape of prop. In performance I have seen tennisrackets, mops, brooms, umbrellas and clubs used in its place. There must bemany more objects that can be adapted, many of which will also have uniqueproperties to be exploited.

To conclude, the philosophy of teachingshould be to encourage the student to develop quickly early on. The enthusiasmgenerated will help to overcome the difficulties when the tricks start to comemore slowly. Encouraging interaction and experimentation amongst the studentsmakes them feel that they are adding more to the learning process rather thanjust being forced to go along a particular line. Steady progression withsmaller steps mean that many hurdles are overcome in a much less painful way,leading to greater achievement faster. This philosophy works with any object.


Nigel Roder



# by It's Him, 2014-03-28 10:21 GMT Parent

I am one of those who has never gotten the hang of devilsticks. I am saving this for when I do find a set.

# by mtb, 2014-03-30 20:42 BST Parent

I will be running a basic devil stick workshop at 11am on one day of the bjc. There will be basic workshops on lots of skills at 11am over the course of the convention. By basic I mean never having done it before and not beginner which appears to mean everything from basic to I have learnt loads of stuff and want to show off to the newbies.


# by It's Him, 2014-03-31 08:14 BST Parent

""By basic I mean never having done it before and not beginner which appears to mean everything from basic to I have learnt loads of stuff and want to show off to the newbies."

Hahaha. Monday morning much?

# by Cedric Lackpot, 2014-03-31 12:27 BST Parent

IMO Beginner means beginner, but is often done by people who aren't very experienced at teaching, and find they run out of beginner material in three minutes.

Do you have a Workshop Workshop on your schedule?

# by emilyw, 2014-04-01 16:51 BST Parent

Not yet!

There is always room for more workshops.


# by It's Him, 2014-04-02 11:29 BST Parent

Wasn't volunteering, just sort of trailing the idea in case any more enthusiastic or experienced people felt like picking it up.

# by emilyw, 2014-04-02 15:41 BST Parent

Thanks for the highly detailed suggestions :-)

# by Colin E., 2014-04-02 05:42 BST Parent

Balancing bean bags on one's head is a skill that some three year olds can do. It gets harder as the number of bags increases. It looks silly so they get a laugh out of it.

# by david, 2014-03-27 22:41 GMT Parent

Hi Colin,

I could quite literally write an entire book about this, but here's just a handful of ideas :-

Don't try too hard to teach. They are kids, they don't all want to do the same thing, they would rather play. Let them, it's an excellent way of learning, and give them guidance when they need or want it.

Don't get hung up about what they can or can't do. It doesn't matter what they achieve, it just matters that they get to try, ideally in their own way and at their own speed.

DO THE SHOW AT THE BEGINNING!!! Seriously, it's the way to do it, you'll get to introduce yourself and show them that you are charming and charismatic and definitely not a two-headed ogre; by demonstrating each of the props you will show them what they're for, before they go off and try something else anyway; you will enjoy yourself immensely and thereby convince the kids that this day is going to be special! The show totally sets up the rest of the day.

Peacock feathers are great, especially for young children. Every now and then I get a class of reception kids balancing feathers, and it's just as magical for me as it is for them. You need teach them only one rule : Look at the top. If you can get them to grasp that you'll be amazed by what six year olds can do.

Diabolos and plates are popular too, they find them fun but difficult. Likewise any and all toss juggling props, sock poi, ribbons, etc. And it's always nice to add some larger props too, if you have them, such and hand-held stilts, bucket stilts, and unicycles.

If you're going to split them into groups you had better make sure each group has an adult to keep them focussed. But even then you must remember that only one of the groups will have the expert on hand.

Above all, think about how you will present yourself. If you can be happy, funny, excited, and passionate about your subject it will rub off on the kids.

HTH. Break a leg.

# by Cedric Lackpot, 2014-03-28 08:17 GMT Parent

Thanks for all the tips - much appreciated. I think you are right about doing the show at the start, I'll definitely do that.

# by Colin E., 2014-04-02 05:40 BST Parent

Some of these tips might be possible: http://robzencat.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/3-balls-the-non-traditional-way/

# by mtb, 2014-03-30 20:46 BST Parent

Festival Cooking.

As somewhat as a novice at festival cooking, and with BJC just around the corner, I would be interested in hearing your favourite festival recipes. I recently bought a camp stove, so I'm hoping to get the most out of it this BJC (and beyond).

# by Chris, 2014-03-22 10:32 GMT

And I've instantly noticed the glaring grammar error in that post...

# by Chris, 2014-03-22 10:33 GMT Parent

Still on my to do list at some point is to compile a festival cook book. Containing quick & easy recipes that can be cooked on a single burner, can easily scale if friends get together & cook a part of the meal each. Or foods that can be cooked beforehand & keep well in a tupperware box.

I mostly just cook tinned foods or pasta with something to stir in while camping for convenience, but I will also often chop & cook up a load of veggies then mix in an unholy amount of pesto.

Another quick an easy meal I like is to boil some rice, then a few minutes before the end tip in a tin of peas & a tin of sweet corn & boil the whole lot up together.

This Chickpea & Chorizo Curry is good too.

If you are just getting your camping kit together, may I also recommend a Kuhn Rikon Colori paring knife. It's a really sharp good quality knife that comes with an excellent blade guard so you don't slice your fingers off when scrabbling around trying to find it.

# by Orinoco, 2014-03-22 11:02 GMT Parent

Talking of cooking gear for camping, I'm still looking for a decent container for cooking oil that is bullet proof, open/closeable with one hand & has a mess free pour. Anyone know of something that fits the bill?

# by Orinoco, 2014-03-22 11:08 GMT Parent

Cous cous is very camping friendly and you can put nuts and raisins or dried fruit in it, and lemon zest if you can be bothered.

If you've just been to the supermarket then grab a rotisserie chicken and some tasty bread and salad and some napkins, and um this is not really a recipe. But it tastes nice.

Those straight to wok noodles can also be used in soup. Thus: fry an onion (if you can be bothered). Add coconut powder (if you have some) and thai curry paste (this is essential). Add plenty of water. Tip in some tofu or chopped up hot dogs from a jar, or whatever other protein stuff you fancy that won't give you food poisoning just because you kept it in a tent. Add some greens if you want. Break up the noodles in the packet and chuck them in. Add fish sauce if you brought any and lime juice ditto.

If you are not fussy then you can make spaghetti sauce of any kind and then stick those noodles in it.

# by emilyw, 2014-03-22 17:18 GMT Parent

This seems a good opportunity for my cous cous recipe:

1. Toss chunks of vegetables (include red onion & garlic) in oil and balsamic vinegar and then roast.

2. Bring to boil :

400ml stock,
1/2 tsp turmeric,
large piece of cinnamon,
juice of one lemon,
juice of 1/2 or one orange,
1 tbsp olive oil,
bay leaf.

When simmering add 250g of cous cous. Take off heat and cover for a few minutes.

Separate cous cous with a fork and add :

Freshly chopped parsley,
chopped dried apricot,
chopped lemon zest,
chopped orange zest,
the roasted vegetables.

Tasty and lasts for days!

# by pumpkineater23, 2014-03-22 17:54 GMT Parent

Sounds pretty impressive, but I imagine roasting some veg on a campfire or camp stove would be tricky.

# by Chris, 2014-03-22 18:06 GMT Parent

It would be tricky but I was thinking of making it beforehand, hence the 'it lasts for days' bit.

It's also a good opportunity to use one of my clip-down tupperware boxes. I love those boxes, saddo that I am. Sometimes I pop into Robert Dyas especially to browse the tupperware section and see if they have any new ones for my collection.

# by pumpkineater23, 2014-03-22 18:17 GMT Parent

in boy scouts we put some burgers in tin foil and threw em by the fire till they were cooked (not elegant but if spiced correctly very tasty and juicy)

# by Robotic juggle, 2014-03-24 15:31 GMT Parent

Certainly not a bad call for early on in the week

# by Chris, 2014-03-24 16:47 GMT Parent

yah but a few of those will have ur heart in a greasy grogg so you may not want to eat it more than once a day

# by Robotic juggle, 2014-03-24 17:52 GMT Parent

Would be a better call if open fires were allowed at bjc, but they're not ;)

Burgers can be done in a nonstick frying pan though if you're desperate for a burger

# by Little Paul, 2014-03-24 19:10 GMT Parent

I feel qualified to talk about this as I've done it before. My methods range from the laborious and lavish to the lazy but good enough.

If you can be bothered:

Make things beforehand, freeze them and put them as insulated as you can. These will last a few days in English weather so you'll be fine. I recommend chilli or other forms of meat and sauce that you can easily heat up. Rice is easy to cook in a field, so eat lots of it.

At BJC southend we made a great sandwich beforehand filled with meat, onion, cheese, mushrooms and more, it was great, but very difficult to eat.

If you can't be quite as bothered but still want hot food:

Get microwaveable ready meal type things that come in plastic pouches. You can get pasta sauces and other filling type stuff which go great with pasta, or better - rice!
Pot noodle (or ethnic equivalents which tend to be far better but have names I can't read) is easy and cheap as you just need boiling water.

However my current favourites which require the least cooking:
Hummus, avocado, and anything that you like eating hummus with. You can get bread, carrots, tomato, crisps, a spoon etc.
Tinned mackerel and sardines are also both delicious and if you have them with loads of lemon you get a meal with a lot more flavour than most festival food. You can also get mackerel in a bunch of different flavoured sauces if you like. Tinned fish can (as I'm sure you've witnessed) be cooked in the tin on an open fire and is delicious.

Supplement everything with fairly stale bread, crisps and chocolate.

# by oxford, 2014-03-22 18:45 GMT Parent

"anything that you like eating hummus with"

I've yet to make nice falafels. I've tried various different ingredients but they're never as nice as the packet ones. Should be so simple. What's the secret?

# by pumpkineater23, 2014-03-22 18:54 GMT Parent

I suspect you are making the common mistake of cooking your fava beans or chick peas first or even worse using tinned ones.If you do this the mix will be hard to form into balls and stodgy to eat because of the high moisture content.If you soak your beans/peas over night,rinse well and put them raw into a food processor with your other ingredients(onions,garlic,chilli,cumin,coriander,salt pepper etc)and pulse till a paste it will form balls and fry into nice light falafel.

# by Monte, 2014-03-22 19:27 GMT Parent

forgot to say that you need to leave the mix for a couple of hours before frying this helps with the texture and marinades the flavours.Also if the mix is too wet to fry add a little gram flour.

# by Monte, 2014-03-22 19:52 GMT Parent

Brilliant, thanks that's exactly the problem! Stodgy and damp, so I add too much flour to dry them out. I have used tinned chick peas before and I also tried the bagged ones - soaking over night then boiling for a few hours. So I still soak them but don't boil them at all, is that right?

# by pumpkineater23, 2014-03-22 20:56 GMT Parent

Apologies, you answered that already - raw in the food processor. Thanks again.

# by pumpkineater23, 2014-03-22 20:59 GMT Parent

Monte speaks sense! Tinned chickpeas in general are bad. That said there are a lot of foods where I think making your own is a waste of time. I rarely eat falafel but Hummus is definitely one of those. I've made my own once or twice and it just wasn't that great and it was a lot of effort. Tesco in my opinion do the best hummus money can buy (especially since they started putting less tahini in it).

# by oxford, 2014-03-23 09:56 GMT Parent

If your hummus ain't that good, then you're doing it wrong. Homemade hummus is the dog's fucking bollocks, a country mile better than almost anything you can buy, and light years better than the insipid shite the supermarkets slap their own labels on. And it's a tiny fraction of the cost to boot.

For me the key to great hummus was partly getting the proportions right, but probably mostly down to reserving the chick pea boiling water to dilute the finished product to the correct consistency.

# by Cedric Lackpot, 2014-03-23 19:44 GMT Parent

Give me what you think is the ideal hummus recipe then and I'll follow it and see whether or not your opinion is valid. I think you're being way too harsh on supermarket bought stuff though. Sainsburys have recently changed theirs and it's gotten a bit better, Waitrose is poor but I'm fairly confident of the fact that Tesco has some of the finest chick pea chefs in the world.

# by oxford, 2014-03-24 11:27 GMT Parent

Gah, hung by me own petard.

This is my recipe, but I confess the quantities are vague because I just know how much to use from experience.

Ingredients :-

1 cup dried chick peas, picked over to remove any duds.
Extra virgin olive oil.
A lemon or two.
Bay leaves.

Method :-

There are numerous methods to hydrate dried pulses. Mine is a quick one. Chuck the chick peas and three or four bay leaves in a pan and cover well with cold water. Put a lid on the pan, bring it to a rolling boil for a minute and then let it simmer for a few more minutes. Turn off the heat and let it stand for an hour. Strain off the liquid and discard it, along with the bay leaves. Put the peas in a pressure cooker, cover well, and bring to the boil at high pressure for 45-60 mins. Allow the pressure cooker to cool, strain the peas but reserve the boiling liquid!!

Peel four cloves of garlic and put them and the strained peas in a blender until reduced to a fairly fine paste, but a bit of texture is nice. You might need to do this in batches if your blender isn't big enough.

Put it all in a large mixing bowl, and add a really generous glug of olive oil, perhaps 100ml or more. Squeeze the lemon(s) and add their juice to taste (it will also help preserve the hummus). Add the zest too if you can be arsed. Add salt if that's your thing, but in truth we're making hummus, not tequila slammers.

Now get your tahini and make sure it is thoroughly mixed. This can be a tedious job if it has been standing a long time. Add, I dunno, 200ml tahini (quite a bit).

Mix everything together, to form a horrible stodgy paste that smells of sesame oil.

Now comes the magic : You're going to use more olive oil, and the pea boiling liquid you reserved, to make the perfect hummus. You add oil to make it more unctuous, until it begins to glisten. And you add boiling water to transform the consistency from aforementioned horrible paste, to gloriously goopy and smooth paste, with the consistency of a very soft cream cheese.

It's that last bit that really makes the difference, and a little trial and error will teach you how much of each far quicker than I can. You can make your basic horrible stodgy paste, then divide into several smaller batches and play around with the quantities of oil and water until you get your perfect hummus, just the way you like it.

Consume with good pitta from a decent Turkish grocer, crudités, crostini, and an awful lot of cheap red wine, or even Retsina if you can get it.

Store the leftovers in the fridge in a covered container, with an thin layer of olive oil on top to help preserve it.

Bon appetit!

# by Cedric Lackpot, 2014-03-24 21:24 GMT Parent

Spotted a mistake : The bay leaves go in the pressure cooker, not the initial boiling water.

As you were chaps!

# by Cedric Lackpot, 2014-03-24 21:26 GMT Parent

ok this may seem rude, but i love that your typing has an accent. makes me read it in an accent in my brain.

# by Robotic juggle, 2014-03-24 23:20 GMT Parent

You may be hoisted by a petard, but to be hung by one would be a peculiar turn of events. I'll give this hummus a go within the next 6 months and let you know what I think

# by oxford, 2014-03-27 09:40 GMT Parent

Again if you use tinned chick peas your hummus will be inferior. It is worth soaking and boiling dried ones as they have a lower moisture content and better flavour. If you are fussy about not having too much tahini then it must be better to make your own. I like a lot of lemon not too much garlic in mine.The supermarket ones are too finely processed and bland in flavour in my opinion.

# by Monte, 2014-03-24 17:32 GMT Parent

J and I tend to eat at the catering stands most of the time these days (especially if Monte is cooking) but we do cook from time to time when there's nothing on the menu J fancies (he can be a fussy bugger)

As we generally don't know the menus in advance, anything we take with us has to be easy to store (as well as easy to cook, quick, hot, filling, one pan, minimum washing up etc)

This one isn't especially classy, and it makes wilful use of convenience food, but it's hot, filling, cheap, quick, easy to wash up and (most of) the ingredients store easily in a tent for up to a week. Serves 2, takes about 10 minutes.

- 1 packet Uncle Bens "spicy mexican" express rice
- 1 packet tortillas
- half a red pepper, sliced.
- half a red onion, sliced.
- cheese (more about cheese storage in a minute)
- harissa paste to perk it up a bit

Fry off the pepper and onion for a couple of minutes to soften them. Add the packet rice to the pan along with some water (as per the instructions) - while that's cooking spread some harissa and cheese on a couple of tortillas. Add the cooked rice, roll up and scoff.

The other half of the pepper/onions keep well in a tupperware container. For cheese, only buy in small amounts.

We never have a grater with us (and the pre-grated packet cheese is a step too far for me) so we tend to avoid hard cheese and make a lot of use of soft blue cheese or those sausages of smoked cheese.

We don't have a fridge in the van, but a washing up bowl full of water left under the van (in the shade) keeps the container with the cheese in it fairly cool (handy place to store a pint of milk as well) - at Bungay, before we got the van that bowl of water used to live in the hedge.

Cheese doesn't present much of a storage problem anyway as we tend to snack on it with biscuits/bread throughout the day - so it's never around for much more than 2 days anyway.

Other favourite standby foods - soup is great for lunch on a cold day. Don't like tinned soup? The "carrot/potato/stock cube" approach works fine in a field (and stores just as well) - overcook the potato slightly and use a fork to mash it up a bit.

Orin's famous courgette + lemon linguini also works well, but really needs 2 burners. Perhaps join forces with a friend, one of you cook the pasta the other cooks the courgettes.


# by Little Paul, 2014-03-23 17:46 GMT Parent

Oh, and this works better than you might expect: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/nigella-lawson/rice-and-tomato-soup-recipe.html

# by Little Paul, 2014-03-23 17:51 GMT Parent

My courgette & lemon linguine is famous?!

I've yet to come up with a decent way to juice a lemon using my minimal equipment in the field though. Best I've come up with so far is squeezing the halves then just fishing the seeds out of the pan. Although come to think of it I've got some muslin cloth now (& have overcome my fear of using it) that I use for ginger beer production that wouldn't take up any extra space in my kit...

# by Orinoco, 2014-03-23 18:23 GMT Parent

I juice lemons with a teaspoon (even at home) and strain the pips out by running the juice through my fingers.

I'll see if I can find a video of someone doing it.

# by Little Paul, 2014-03-23 18:38 GMT Parent

What I do, is sort of a combination of these two ideas, but rearranged so I can do them both at once. The juice is trained through the same hand as the lemon.


# by Little Paul, 2014-03-23 18:43 GMT Parent

I've used the fork technique for years now.  If I'm worried about pips, I use a separate bowl first and fish out the pips.  It's an amazingly efficient technique.

# by Dee, 2014-03-23 18:47 GMT Parent

You've got a sink in your BOV haven't you! Not sure about using my hand as a strainer in the field (especially with cut & bruised hands after a night of gladiatorial combat, I'm with Miracle Max on that front) but will give it a try though.

# by Orinoco, 2014-03-23 20:17 GMT Parent

lemon juice and cuts is erm "interesting" - I think in those situations I'd probably go with Dee's suggestion of juicing into a cup or bowl and then picking the pips out with the fork/spoon whatever.

# by Little Paul, 2014-03-23 20:22 GMT Parent

Can't believe this isn't on here yet, as every juggler on Facebook has posted the link on his or her page. It's long, but it's worth the read.
David Cain

# by DavidCain, 2014-03-19 03:33 GMT

Thanks for posting that, I genuinely laughed out loud when I read the "Barry Bakalor, a juggling fan and Internet archivist" line. That's certainly one way to look at the JIS ;)

# by Little Paul, 2014-03-19 07:40 GMT Parent

I just read it because it popped up on reddit. That's a pretty good read, considering the author failed to get an interview with either Nick or Anthony, and evidently only got a terse phone call and no performance for all his trouble.

And Anthony doesn't seem to change does he? Always a bit spiky and not quite able to connect with the people who presume to know him or to expect an answer. Whether that's actually the case, I don't know, but it seems somehow familiar. Here's hoping the world of concrete appreciates his talent.

# by Cedric Lackpot, 2014-03-19 08:58 GMT Parent

Thanks for posting! The author did some serious research on this, which is really cool!

I agree with him that it is weird that he left so 'silently'.....

Is Anthony training his son?

# by Hapiel, 2014-03-19 10:13 GMT Parent

A good read, thanks for the link. Quite a sad story I think. He never seemed to know how to make juggling fun or interesting for himself.

# by pumpkineater23, 2014-03-19 17:31 GMT Parent

Hey, lighten up. Anthony is the greatest. He showed us what could be done by doing all those record feats. It seems unlikely that there will be another juggler to do as much in that department in our lifetimes. Why be sad if someone retires at his peak, if he did actually retire and is not just on leave. It may be sad for the reporter when someone leaves the public stage but there's no reason to conclude that his friends and family are disappointed.

# by david, 2014-03-19 23:18 GMT Parent

I didn't feel I needed to mention all the 'record feats' as I think we all know that already. Of course it's an incredible skill level he reached. What I meant when I said I thought it was a sad story was that he didn't seem to like juggling very much, he was juggling for others rather than for himself. I always got the impression that it annoyed him that other jugglers do it for fun, perhaps he felt himself that he had sold his passion and killed the fun.

# by pumpkineater23, 2014-03-20 18:55 GMT Parent

He's had the same job for 25+ years, I think he's allowed to see it as something other than "fun" and want a change

Hell, my job used to be a fun pass time and now I've been doing it for 15 years the gloss has worn off, I do it for money not for fun, because I'm good at it not because I want to do it 24/7, and yes the gloss has worn off. I sometimes like the idea of doing something completely different.

# by Little Paul, 2014-03-20 01:05 GMT Parent

I thought that was a really well written piece, I felt it captured the changes in the juggling community over the past few decades quite nicely.

I'd forgotten what an uncomfortable place the Gatto Forum was, that strange mix between Gatto's real friends like Dick Franco and Michael Chirrick, and his fawning fans. I never really understood what he wanted to get out of creating that forum, it certainly didn't look like he enjoyed it much.

It's a shame the author didn't get a review with Anthony, I would be interested to know if his conclusions were correct - that he changed from being a technical juggler to being a performer and an entertainer with some reluctance.

# by Colin E., 2014-03-20 06:38 GMT Parent

Just got round to reading this. I thought it was very well written & an excellent piece especially considering how many dead ends the author came up against. Also pleasing that an 'outsider' felt that the story needed to be written.

I didn't really notice that Anthony had retired from juggling. I don't really think of him as 'gone', but then I don't think Francis Brunn has gone either, it is still very easy to enjoy both of their juggling.

# by Orinoco, 2014-03-20 20:36 GMT Parent

Actually, it wasn't entirely clear whether he had retired or not. He still seems to be managed by a Cirque Du Soliel agent who mentioned that he was on leave due to injury. Sounds like he is building up a business for when he does eventually retire, but that might not be now.

# by Colin E., 2014-03-20 20:48 GMT Parent

Rubik's cube/Lego/geek porn (SFW, natch).

It's a very dull video of a record-breaking piece of super cool Lego machinery controlled by a smartphone. Which I suspect some here might like!!

For those of you thinking you know what to expect, this is the whizz-bang faster version, yay!

# by Cedric Lackpot, 2014-03-16 22:20 GMT

Impressive, but I'd be much more interested in seeing an average of 5. I would also have liked to see the scrambling and inspection in the video.

# by peterbone, 2014-03-17 09:00 GMT Parent

Same here Peter, which is why I described the video as very dull - it just fails to address a number of questions, and even manages to make a really interesting marriage of hardware and software a bit dull. Hopefully a more edifying piece will arrive in good time.

What really caught my imagination was just how fast would such a device go if it were made of proper industrial automation components, instead of mere Lego?

# by Cedric Lackpot, 2014-03-17 10:48 GMT Parent

Human solvers such as Felix can do 10 turns per second. So if the robot could do that with an optimal solver then it could get under 2s.

# by peterbone, 2014-03-17 11:00 GMT Parent

For some reason i remembered this post today. Looking around the internet i found some stuff from older versions of the cubestormer ( http://youtu.be/staapsj3eRQ and http://youtu.be/PXiRToQgRhg ). It looks like they include the inspection time in the solve time. The device only has 4 hands so has to perform a puzzle rotation to do turns on the other two faces. So they cant always use the least turns solution (17 moves max).
As for their solve times it seems to be down to how fast the servos can move to perform the moves. As the inspection and calculations are really just how fast they can rotate the cube to take the pics. Perhaps using 6 cameras to do the inspection without having to perform rotations would save half a second.
I also found this video (http://youtu.be/laPVTrzGDpA) of a device made from industrial components. though they haven't included inspection and they modifyed the cube for the machine to hold it easier. i think it shows approximately how has the ultimate machine solve would be. From there its just faster servos/cubes.

# by ShiftyGuy, 2014-04-14 10:35 BST Parent


List here the next props, items, or toys that you plan on owning next. 4 items (quantity of said items no counting i.e. 3 mouth sticks is counted as one item) in order of importance to you. I always like hearing others interests in props. I'll start:

1. 5 white delphins
2. 5 yellow(?) mmx plus
3. 24 or 29 inch unicycle
4. a mouthstick

# by Roflcopter, 2014-03-10 19:55 GMT

colour (like the British spelling?) or other small details are also nice.

# by Roflcopter, 2014-03-10 19:56 GMT Parent


# by thegoheads, 2014-03-10 20:08 GMT Parent

I'd quite like

a Kendama

a yoyo that I can get along with (this item may not exist)

Some jumping stilts (pro-jumps, powerizers, etc) although I'm not really sure, considering how much I hurt myself using them last time and they take up much space.

More unicycles, although I think I'd prefer more space to put them first.

# by RegularJugular, 2014-03-10 20:38 GMT Parent

A bounceclub.

# by Julius, 2014-03-10 23:06 GMT Parent

A decent training space.
I'm moving and will lose my 12m high (but very cold) garage.

decent cigar boxes

a decent stick for the trick at 2:22 in http://youtu.be/UZm94ou4FOM
I bet at least one person on the juggling edge can tell me what Jon Peat used.
I've used a wooden stick with a audioplug screwed into the end.
It works great but breaks easily if it drops on the wrong end.
Alternatively I've just used a ...machine tool to create an oval shape at the end of a wooden stick.
More friction but you can drop this a few times without breaking it.

# by Marlon, 2014-03-11 00:05 GMT Parent

I don't know what Jon is using (looks like it's possibly some variant of the carbon fibre tent/fishing pole approach?) but I used to use a 6ft garden cane with a pop rivet pushed into the end and held in place with a bit of tape.

I say "used to" because I've since swapped the pop rivet for the end off a cheap plastic spinning plate stick. It's a bit smoother so I find it's a little kinder on the ball. Although attacking the pop rivet with a piece of sandpaper would probably have done the same job!

If I'm travelling any distance to a fest and for some reason I'm not taking the car/van (so don't have space for the cane) I just take the tip with me and stop off at a local garden centre near the fest to buy a replacement cane.

Whatever you use, I've found it better for the pole to be slightly flexible rather than stiff as it takes some of the wobble out of the balance introduced by precession of the ball.

# by Little Paul, 2014-03-11 06:58 GMT Parent

I've tried using tent poles from a tent I had lying around.
The cheaper versions aren't strong enough for me. I use regular footballs for ball spinning and they were too heavy.
Luckily the broken pole could still sort of hold the tent upright and my dog enjoys having her own little home.

I think what I'm using could be a garden cane as well. It seems like a fitting name for it.
Google image search only returns bamboo sticks which mine isn't. The size is similar though and I like that it is a little heavier as bamboo.

I've always considered buying spinning plates just to toy with them for a while but I couldn't imagine getting into plate spinning*. Maybe I'll buy them and use the stick as a better tip for my pole as soon as I tire of them.

* Isn't padiddling much cooler?

# by Marlon, 2014-03-11 22:35 GMT Parent

For the Bungay Trick (for that is the official name) I use a bamboo cane, available very cheaply from any garden centre. So does Monte who I first saw do the trick (at Bungay, naturally). I also use a pop-rivet (blind rivet). I make sure the cane is reasonably straight - there's always some bend in them, but I make sure when balancing it that the bend is in line with the centre of my body, so it doesn't really affect the balance. The rivet has to be a smooth one (some are a bit ragged) to avoid damaging the ball. Pros: this is all very cheap, Cons: it doesn't pack down neatly. My ball is particularly light compared to standard footballs.

I've also tried tent poles and extending fishing rods (too flexible for me) although I know others are happy with them (Rob Fiery, Ste3void for example). Depends where you'll be working on it I suppose: I used to keep a spare pole at our local workshop.

# by charlieh, 2014-03-12 12:55 GMT Parent

I'm still using my original stick which I have had since the last Taunton convention which I'm guessing was about 18 or 19 years ago.My pole has quite a big bend in it but as I look at the ball not the stick it doesn't seem to affect the balance.
I thought the trick was called the "Bungay entrance exam" after a throw away comment during one of my early Bungay performances.
I heard this week that I have been accepted to do a food stall at EJC Millstreet.I am very exited about this as I have wanted to do one since attending my first EJC in Grenoble 1999.When I have my menu's finalised I will give juggling edge a sneak preview.

# by Monte, 2014-03-14 22:13 GMT Parent

I've pretty much fallen out of the "must buy new toys!" cycle, although I'm looking forward to seeing Dan The Hat's new manipulation caps at BJC. Although if I had to list some, the following have been on my shopping list for quite some time:

1 - A vent puppet. I keep myself amused on long car journeys by practising ventriloquism, but I don't have a suitable puppet yet.
2 - 30 years after I was first given a set, it's high time I splashed out on some good quality cups and balls. I want a nicely weighted set which are a joy to use, in the hope that then I'll enjoy playing with them. There's a lot of research needed before I spend any money though, as I'm looking to spend a fair amount.
3 - I might eventually buy some Albatross clubs (5 of, in a solid colour, probably either white or orange) but as I only juggle clubs twice a year (and when I do, there are always plenty of spares around to borrow) it doesn't seem worth the effort
4 - A nicely tailored suit jacket, with a topit installed.

None of the above are ever likely to be used for performance, although No 4 might well be used for a wedding.

# by Little Paul, 2014-03-11 13:44 GMT Parent

A vent puppet.

That sounds fun! Ventriloquism is one of the many variety acts that has all but died out.

A few years ago we hired a local ventriloquist for one of our kids parties, a guy called Karl Jeffery (http://www.themagicalventriloquist.co.uk). His acts was fantastic, full of humour and slapstick.

You can find some really good performers doing the rounds at kids parties. One of my favourites is the (rather generically titled) Mr. Merlin (http://www.mrmerlin.co.uk/), I've booked him about three times so far! Another local favourite of mind is Captain Raggy Beard - who is primarily a storyteller, there are very few of them around these days.

Anyhow, you keep yourself amused on long car journeys. Are you the driver?! I can imagine you with a large bird on one arm, holding the steering wheel in its beak ;-)

Colin E.

# by Colin E., 2014-03-11 20:14 GMT Parent

I managed to lose most of the evening last night clicking around youtube watching videos of children's entertainers. It's been a long time since I last did a show for a kids birthday party so I've been a bit out of the loop - but the amount of respect I've got for a good kids entertainer is immense.

Birthday party magicians come in for a lot of stick from other magicians (and a lot of the poor quality ones deserve it!) but to do it well is a real skill that takes a fair bit of effort to perfect. It's not something I've had cause to look into since I quit performing myself and got a real job - so it was an evening well spent.

Anyway, long car journeys - yes it's me driving (and generally the only one in the car, or I wouldn't be talking to myself) - your suggestion of driving with the puppet reminds me. I used to keep a set of ping pong balls and a shell in the car. If I was stuck in a traffic jam, I would amuse myself by waiting until there was a car full of kids next to me, and then producing an endless stream of ping pong balls from my mouth.

Lots of fun to be had when they inevitably jump up and down until their parents turn to look at which point I would stop and go back to watching the road... until the parents turn away again.

# by Little Paul, 2014-03-12 11:58 GMT Parent

I once did the food ay a story telling convention in St Donats in Wales. There were a large number of story tellers there, perhaps into 3 figures. It was a really nice event which had been going for years and is probably still happening now.

# by Monte, 2014-03-14 22:21 GMT Parent

I have been playing with doing some vent stuff, but not really sure what I want to do with it. Just been doing some basic practicing, still having trouble with plosives, but otherwise getting the hang of it. There is a guy in town who would be a fantastic character, and another who, if caricatured, would make an excellent puppet.

Otherwise, I pretty much have what I want/will be allowed to get for the time being.

# by mtb, 2014-03-18 15:28 GMT Parent

I will buy some replacement Henry's pirouettes at the BJC.

I might buy any unusual prop the grabs my interest as long as not many people do it.

I wish for a large and high space where I can run a circus (in particular it needs to have storage and I need to be able to hang aerial stuff in it) the minimum cost of this is something like £25k so I can't see it happening soon.


# by It's Him, 2014-03-11 16:43 GMT Parent

I think I've just about managed to kick the new props habit. I love new toys as much as the next person but I've come to realise that I will always come back to balls & clubs, anything else is just going to be a fad with me. A couple of years ago I had a big sale of loads of kit that I got rid of to a new home where they would see a bit more attention. The ~£300 I made selling off unused props was very useful too.

That said I am very impatiently waiting for some new skates...

# by Orinoco, 2014-03-11 18:49 GMT Parent

On my wish list is a couple of acres of land with a massive barn and a big top so I could hold another Kevention.

# by Topper, 2014-03-11 19:48 GMT Parent

1. A bigger garage to keep my existing crap in.
2. A second hand juggling store to flog all my vast quantity of unloved and unused juggling kit in.
3. A bonfire for all the other crap.
4. A pair of matched Victor Tella 16-plait 8-foot bullwhips, for a mere $1,000.

Also, make your own mouthstick. Start with a wooden spoon from the kitchen and get whittling. Seriously, do it.

# by Cedric Lackpot, 2014-03-11 21:19 GMT Parent

What am I whittling off it, and where?

# by mtb, 2014-03-18 19:13 GMT Parent

1 3 Silicon bouncing balls 76mm. White or yellow depending on how much the yellow looks like my current balls
2 Renegade spinning rings!
3 Mirages! They are so much cooler than my pirouettes! Too bad that I never juggle clubs anyway and if I do I borrow from other people, I never bring my own.
4 White sil-x light 78mm to replace my yellow ones in case of a performance

I need some other props which I'll more likely get before any of these listed above, but I probably need to build them myself...

# by Hapiel, 2014-03-14 16:58 GMT Parent

Does anyone know where I might obtain audible props, some things that would appeal to the visually impaired? Or something that would help blind people play catch, an audible bean-bag or frisbee? Googling shows objects that beep but I hope there are cooler solutions. They have to make sound while they are in the air, not just on impact.

# by david, 2014-02-19 16:30 GMT

Not sure if it's much help but I found these: http://www.petqwerks.com/babbleballs.php# (You can click to hear the sounds). There are some for sale on ebay too.

# by pumpkineater23, 2014-02-19 17:30 GMT Parent

The 2 3/4 inch Animal ball at the bottom of the page looks ok.. smooth and has the least annoying sounds. I quite fancy one myself!

# by pumpkineater23, 2014-02-19 17:37 GMT Parent

Many thanks, we'll check it out. I see they are available at many retailers.

# by david, 2014-02-20 11:30 GMT Parent

Hey my post

# by Roflcopter, 2014-02-20 22:12 GMT Parent

I have no idea of where you might get any, you might have to have some made specially, but what you need are audiballs (I have a set of three).

These consist of two hemispherical shells with bits of metal inside welded in a few points but with gaps wide enough to magnify the sound but not wide enough for the metal inside to fall out.


# by It's Him, 2014-02-20 11:28 GMT Parent

Interesting lead. Googling audiballs finds a 2004 r.j discussion amongst several edge people. The name has been hijacked for an Xbox guitar exercise and also, probably naively, for a student project here j

# by david, 2014-02-20 11:52 GMT Parent

They've come up in conversation several times over the last few months, so I think the internet could do with some video of audiballs in action. Any chance you could film some so I can remind myself how awful they sound pass it on to people who have asked about them?

# by Little Paul, 2014-02-20 17:03 GMT Parent

I'm quite sure I can Paul. I will also throw in some Guy Heathcote Ball Sticks into the mix in case the audiballs are too quiet.


# by It's Him, 2014-02-20 23:14 GMT Parent

If you could arrange for someone to accidentally knock a selection of shaker cups off a table with a jitter ring in the background, that would complete the mid 90's cacophony.

Even better if you can find someone with one of those chiming metal devilsticks...

# by Little Paul, 2014-02-21 08:15 GMT Parent

I can find the shaker cups and jitter ring. The chime devilstick is much rarer. Know anyone who has one?


# by It's Him, 2014-02-21 08:39 GMT Parent

Nick from London (I don't know his surname, and he's not fully credited) uses one about 3 minutes in to completing the circle:


But that was shot 10 years ago, and I don't know if he's still around or still has it.

I say that, but having just watched it (to see if his full name is mentioned) I think it might just be a length of pipe. I seem to remember the chime devilsticks being tapered?

# by Little Paul, 2014-02-21 10:09 GMT Parent

Nick's still about and he's still performing with that devilstick, but it is something he picked up from a skip! It does make for an excellent prop.

# by Aidan, 2014-02-21 13:05 GMT Parent

Having nothing better to do, I watched the whole thing, was quite interesting.

Is his name not Nick Putz? He is the only Nick in the credits at the end, and he seemed to have enough talking that he would be credited....

btw: Nice cameo from you LP.

# by mtb, 2014-02-21 22:44 GMT Parent

That is indeed Nick Putz.

# by Cedric Lackpot, 2014-02-25 21:59 GMT Parent

that would complete the mid 90's cacophony
How about a backing group of Chinese whistling diaboloists?

# by Orinoco, 2014-02-21 17:43 GMT Parent

I have one of those as well. Let me see if I can bring them all to Upchuck and do a small video.


That should guarantee LP not showing

# by It's Him, 2014-02-21 17:49 GMT Parent

I think you're looking for something like this:


I guess similar props could be made reasonably cheap, provided you have the know-how - which I don't :)
Hope this helped!


# by Aymeric, 2014-02-23 21:36 GMT Parent

Oh, and if you're interested in how it works, here are some detailed explanations:



# by Aymeric, 2014-02-23 21:42 GMT Parent

New manipulation Hat!
Hi People, I am just about to launch a triple layer ,100% wool Cap for manipulation. Designed by me, Dan the Hat (www.danthehat.co.uk) and tailored by Anderson & Berner (the lovely chaps in Denmark who brought us The Manipulator ,designed by Nils Pol).
In these early stages I am seeking out peoples interest in such a product. Having played around for the last couple of months with the prototypes I can see that these caps open up a whole bag of worms as far as new moves and manipulations go! We have all seen cap tricks being performed with the classic 59fifty caps but these A&B caps make it easier to learn tricks because of the extra weight and sturdy build.
A short promo for the caps will be released soon as well as various shots of the hats,so watch this space.
If you are interested as to what they look like etc then drop me an email.I am hoping to get them in the juggling shops and on associated websites pretty soon. You will be able to pre-order the hats in various colours and sizes before the official launch day. Thanks for reading and do get in touch.Dan the Hat

# by Dan the Hat, 2014-02-11 19:48 GMT

Interesting! I've not really played with a hat in years, but I like the sound of this.

Will you have some at BJC?

# by Little Paul, 2014-02-11 21:01 GMT Parent

Hi Paul, Yes I will. Thinking I may try and run a workshop with them. :)

# by Dan the Hat, 2014-02-11 21:25 GMT Parent

Brill, I'm looking forward to it

# by Mike Armstrong, 2014-02-12 09:15 GMT Parent

You might want to let the workshop coordinator of the bjc know. I gather he is a helpful chap. Ahem


# by It's Him, 2014-02-13 14:19 GMT Parent

Ignore that, you have. Thanks.


# by It's Him, 2014-02-13 14:39 GMT Parent

Hi Nigel, Is that going to be ok? The only thing is ,I will only be able to get to the BJC for the Sunday as I have gigs on all the other days..Will be going up and down from Exeter for the day. Would like to run a workshop with both Manipulators & The Caps...maybe 2 workshops?

# by Dan the Hat, 2014-02-13 17:05 GMT Parent

There won't be many workshops on Sunday as it is the day of the public show. Some workshops possible in the morning and hopefully there will be quite a bit of interest in a different style hat.



# by It's Him, 2014-02-13 18:07 GMT Parent

I would definitely buy a manipulation hat with a 59FIFTY form factor, though I'd prefer snapback. My only concern is that it would be too thick and wouldn't look/fit correctly. I think with hats aesthetic is super important because you want the audience to believe you are using a normal hat.

# by CamS, 2014-02-12 11:21 GMT Parent

I don't think I could carry off wearing a 59fifty without looking rediculous[1], but this thread has started me wondering about flat cap manipulation - and a flatcap rather suits me at the moment.


[1] truth be told I think that whole wide flat brim looks rediculous on most people

# by Little Paul, 2014-02-12 13:32 GMT Parent

I like flat caps. I should find one, but the bloody things never fit.

Actually, hats in general never seem to fit. I seem to have an overly large head.

Stop laughing at the back there!

# by mtb, 2014-02-12 23:52 GMT Parent

The key to finding hats that fit, is to measure your head and work out your hat size - and then buy a hat from a shop that sells them in proper sizes rather than "small,medium,large" - even with a size buying mail order is a risk because some milliners are a little erm "flexible" with their sizing.

Metric is the easiest size to work out. Measure round the fattest bit of your head, just above the ears. The circumference in cm is your metric hat size. Make the same measurement in inches, divide it by pi (3.14 is close enough) and round up to the nearest 1/8 inch.

At 7 3/8" (imperial) or 58cm (metric) my head is on the large size, but I don't have too many problems finding the right size.

# by Little Paul, 2014-02-13 07:31 GMT Parent

I know. I seem to have a long head, since it is usually too tight at the front and back. But, at some point I will have to get to a proper milliner. Not many in .za though.

# by mtb, 2014-02-13 11:34 GMT Parent

True LP , I too look ridiculous in a 59fifty !These hats have a slightly different look than the snap back caps.. they are far more aesthetic than the manipulators, and have a couple of different ways of being worn, normally or think fresh prince in the 90's! Because they are heavier and more solid and normal cap trick is far easier. In a range of colours too these caps are not too far off the mark. On stage they would like real caps, we had this discussion last week at a convention funnily enough. Anyway photos in a week .

# by Dan the Hat, 2014-02-12 17:16 GMT Parent

Awesome, they sound cool, looking forward to seeing what they look like and then possibly buying one! Different styles of manipulation hats are the future, not everyone wants to wear a bowler or tophat!

# by CamS, 2014-02-14 14:43 GMT Parent

yeah where are all the lady hats?

I suppose first you'd have to answer the question what in hell is a lady hat.

# by emilyw, 2014-02-14 16:10 GMT Parent

Fascinator juggling probably wouldn't work so well.

# by Chris, 2014-02-14 16:15 GMT Parent

Oh go on, I'll have a go

Fascinators - look rediculous, and are usually pinned on so no good for manipulation
Wide brimmed sun hats - too floppy, but would work for a boomerang act
Old lady Sunday best hats - I've got a blue felt wide brimmed hat which I used to use for hat spinning, but you're about 40 years too young to get away with wearing it
Straw boater, 50s private school, st trinians sort of thing. Probably a reasonable amount of potential
Retro 1920s style flapper hat, far too floppy and shapeless
Youngsters don't seem to wear hats these days, apart from baseball caps or beanies

If I were to play "Emily's stylist"[1] I think a brightly coloured traditional shaped bowler would suit you best for a character act, or a small brimmed, pillbox style hat. Actually, scrap that. A beanie is probably more "you"

[1] an exercise I don't think either of us would enjoy

# by Little Paul, 2014-02-14 17:41 GMT Parent

I wrote all that on the train, got off and saw a woman, late 20s early 30s wearing a hat which would be perfect. Like a bowler with a high crown, small brim, and a great big red flower on one side.

If it wasn't dark, raining and windy I'd have taken a photo :)

# by Little Paul, 2014-02-14 17:47 GMT Parent

you're about 40 years too young to get away with wearing it

My hypothetical stage character might not be so young, though...

A cloche hat is probably closest to a hat I might actually wear. It might require some reinforcement but there's no inherent reason the thing needs to be floppy. I don't know how you go about reinforcing a hat... hm....

Next I suppose I should establish what kind of handbag lends itself to silly tricks. Either that or learn zimmer frame manipulation.

A beanie is probably more "you"

I am amused to realise that many of my friends have only seen my "I got dressed in a tent" look which in my mind is distinctly not me at all. But I suppose it's probably the only version of me that would go juggling hats.

(You can play my stylist any time, so long as we don't invoke the demons of that fucked up lady-gets-gay-shopping-friend thing with the shrieking. we might explode into antimatter. we would have to discuss linux or something afterwards to redress the balance).

# by emilyw, 2014-02-14 19:11 GMT Parent

I don't know how you go about reinforcing a hat...

I'd start by building another hat out of felt and stitching it to the inside. As for handbags, I'd have thought anything with a single stiff, tubular handle would have some obvious possibilities. Just don't go down the Kris Kremo route - those bags looked awful!

As for the beanie comment, I guess you're right about the "got dressed in a tent" thing - but that's not really the look I had in mind. I'm finding it hard to prod google into giving me image search results which match the mix of stylish, practical, quirky, feminine but not overly girly. I guess Sue Perkins probably comes close.

If I *do* ever play stylist, can I skip the shrieking... and preferably most of the shopping, and skip straight to the tea, cake and gossip? :)

# by Little Paul, 2014-02-14 19:41 GMT Parent

single stiff, tubular handle

hmm possibilities.... and one could rig the bag with a dent in the bottom for head balancing purposes.

It would be interesting to make an act with a character that wasn't either tarty or gentleman drag.

Sue Perkins

I googled to see what kind of a hat Sue Perkins would wear and the only thing I came up with was this which made me laugh.

tea, cake and gossip

Now you're talking.

# by emilyw, 2014-02-14 20:12 GMT Parent

Please let it look like, you know, an actual hat.
Please let it look like, you know, an actual hat.
Please let it look like, you know, an actual hat.
Please let it look like, you know, an actual hat.
Please let it look like, you know, an actual hat.
Please let it look like, you know, an actual hat.
Please let it look like, you know, an actual hat.
Please let it look like, you know, an actual hat.
Please let it look like, you know, an actual hat.
Please let it look like, you know, an actual hat.
Please let it look like, you know, an actual hat.
Please let it look like, you know, an actual hat.

# by Cedric Lackpot, 2014-02-12 18:01 GMT Parent

Reminds me of Bart Simpson...

# by Mats1, 2014-02-14 20:31 GMT Parent

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