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It's Him -

BJC2018 – A review

This review is my personal thoughts of the last few days and may be idiosyncratic.


We arrived in two cars as my car had two walking globes init as well as part of an aerial rig and therefore only the front two seats were useable. By the time we had set up the caravan and oldest sons tent (which he pitched about as far from us as was possible), it was time to eat. Then I played the yearly game of find the water point (why is it never marked on the maps?). Eventually we were all sorted and we looked around the site, chatting to friends as we went. At some point we went to the gym and Peter did an hours practice (added a time waster move with two globes) which like many of the practices at BJC had Peter struggle with the 1 up 180 with 3 balls, whilst stood on two globes. He could run it fine when not running the whole act. As soon as the music started and he tried it two minutes in to the routine it became much harder. After that we did a bit more chatting before an early night.


After breakfast we did another hour practice with Peter(changed 4 ball on one globe with an under the leg throw to 3 ball, 2 globe and under the leg throw). After that I went to add a workshop to the board (walking globe, naturally) and the fire alarm went off. No idea what set that off but at least it was a one off. At some point during the day Jamie Fletcher appeared with my new toy, a red and yellow Salerno ring. I haven’t had a lot of success with it as yet but should have plenty of practice time and space in the near future to improve. Spoke briefly to Clare about BYJOTY to learn that only 3 had entered to that point. Spoke shortly afterwards to Christopher and suggest that he practice the act that he had performed the month before and then enter BYJOTY. He is one of the students at Concrete Circus and whilst it is an act in development, the experience and feedback from BYJOTY would be good for him.Various chatting and food happened until the start of the Spinning@ show.

For me the first half was basically filler. Whilst there was some good technical skill most of the acts were too long or too repetitive. The best of them was the rope dart but that act could have been shortened and maybe some of the tricks could have gone above the audiences head. Of the other acts,the only comment I’m going to make is since when has clearing up after yourself been an act?

Our friends the Kelsalls arrived during the interval which pleased my daughter particularly (and us as well as we then didn’t have to explain the compere to her) and they got to see a really good second half. Starting with Ben Cornish. Ben was having a bad time with one trick but his performing experience showed through. We also had a really nice Bar Flair routine by Sam, a pleasing, smooth and aesthetic hoop routine by Alice, a very competent (and much improved since I last saw it) hulahoop act from Lisa and Callum and for me the stand out act in the show the cigar box routine by Luke? Cigar box routines are rare anyway but to show great skills with 3, 4 and 5 boxes made it much better. The final part of the act was a standard made better by music that worked well (even though the music was for the next act, which didn’t help them I’m sure).

After the show chatting happened and then I retrieved my juggling case from the sports hall, where it had sat for a day. I did some passing with my sons, including some feeding and switching who was feeding.Considering that Peter hadn’t done two count club passing before that evening,that was a great improvement.


Again we started with an hour practice with Peter (changed the skipping part to have two jumps rather than one). After that some more chatting happened before I attended Euaun’s combat workshop. That was good fun and the only workshop I attended other than the walking globe workshop that happened immediately afterwards. I was impressed with the turn out to the workshop as there must have been about 25 who attended. I worked with the beginners, many of whom learnt to walk on the globe, whilst Peter worked with those who were more advanced. Nobody was killed or seriously injured which counts as a result in my books and actually quite a few people came up to thank me afterwards and it wouldn’t surprise me if Lancaster University juggling group buys a globe.

At some point in the afternoon I played the one game I played all convention. I don’t remember its name.

The show in the evening was the Open Stage. Devil Stick Peet compered and did a small act between each act which meant he now dominates the show in my head. Other acts that impressed were (in no particular order) Antonia and Keith with their passing poi (I liked the characterisation), The odd ball juggling person (Daniel?), the professional looking poi double act and the duo acrobalance. There were other acts and none of them were bad, I just can’t remember them at this time.

I did a bit more juggling and passing afterwards and thus this became the convention I have done most juggling at for a few years.


Up early again for another practice session with Peter(added 5 ball multiplex on 2 globes). After that I generally chatted although I did meet up with Barbara at some point to discuss aerial rig bags. We had the debate of going on the bus or driving to Margate and went for the bus. Arriving at Dreamland (so called because that is where dreams go to die?) we hung around and watched some of the games. I took part in the balloon dog making one although felt hampered because I felt obliged to pick up the pump and then it got in the way when I was blowing up the balloon with my mouth. David did creditably well in the unicycle gladiators before being taken off his unicycle by someone hugging him and then suiciding. Shortly after that we left Dreamland(with its hall with more hole than roof) and went across the road to the beach and promenade. We stopped for a while at a large set of steps where David proved that he can bunny hop and Olivia Kelsall showed that she is an up and coming artist. We chatted to one of the local families and tried to convince them to watch the show later. Our evening meal was pizza at a sea front restaurant. The door to the place was particularly difficult to open and as we sat outside the restaurant eating we gained much amusement as other people(including staff) struggled to get in and out. After eating and walking closer to the show venue we also had an ice cream and eventually reached the venue before the vast majority of jugglers but only just. This did allow us to have seats in the centre of the theatre.

For me the show felt very safe. By which I mean that most of the acts were well known and had appeared in the BJC gala show before. Jon Udry was slick and his dry humour works for me. Ben had an interesting and novel act, perhaps not quite enough juggling for me but still enough to keep it interesting. Jan Himself was very professional in an almost predictably weird way. Paul Zenon’s magic routine had a lot of standard tricks which were all well presented. The end of his routine I thought was a somewhat bizarre staged event at first but apparently that wasn’t the case and one of the stage hands took it upon herself to interrupt his act. I hope someone apologised to Paul afterwards. The second half was equally skilled. Loz because performed a routine which was both well choreographed and well programmed, I always think that glow props take a little bit away from the performer and their skills but Loz was visible enough that we could see much of her tricks. Helena Berry has an act that isn’t very forgiving and the drops grew more towards the end but this didn’t take away from the act which was original and skilful. The Berlin Passing Girls did a great choreographed act and probably inspired the girls in the audience into believing they should juggle more. Steve Rawlings has been in at least 3 other BJC gala shows and is always a crowd favourite. For me the highlight of his act was the bit that I haven’t seen before with the mouth stick bottle and balloon. Matthew Tiffany as compere did a great job as compere and introduced a song that is fairly hard to sing if you have all the words written out in front of you.

On the way back from the show I learned that if Steve Rawlings does his knife gag in a show and you are 3 then you will still remember it 9.5 years later.


Guess what, we started the day with another practice session(changed the skipping so there was a slick turn before the second jump). After that I had a long conversation with Jonathan the Jester and probably chatted with others. After lunch I visited the traders with my daughter who needed anew peddle for her unicycle. Roger managed to sell her an upgraded set of peddles (pink) but not a new tyre (also pink) just because she had a pink unicycle stem and was wearing a pink cardigan doesn’t mean that she is obsessed with the colour. 2pm was tech rehearsal for BYJOTY so we all went over there. Originally there were going to be 8 acts but one of them was clearly not ready and will probably do a better job next year. After watching the tech run I thought that it would be very close indeed between 3 acts, the two twenty year olds and my 14 year old son. It turned out that I was correct. If you congratulated Peter and he didn’t say anything back to you it wasn’t because of you. For someone who is happy to stand up in front of people performing he isn’t great at conversation. After that we treated Peter to a meal of his choice, so we ended up going to Pizza Hut.


It's Him - - Parent


We didn’t do an hour of walking globe practice. Instead we slowly packed away and said our goodbyes. Peter bought some balls from Oddballs with his voucher forgetting a silver medal. Eventually we left for the journey home. Around about J30 my car engine started making funny noises and got gradually worse so I pulled over just before J28. Fortunately one of the Milton Keynes jugglers saw us and took Peter home (the other 3 were in the other car). I got to play the very slow game of waiting for Mr AA Man and eventually got home some 9.5 hours later. A sad end to an otherwise great BJC.

It's Him - - Parent

I noticed that in this review I forgot to thank all the people who made BJC happen. You are all wonderful people and I enjoy spending time with you each year.


Daniel Simu - - Parent

Yes, the odd ball juggling person on the open stage was me :)

It's Him - - Parent

I enjoyed the act. I generally enjoy acts that have characterisation and have been thought through and yours met both those criteria.


Daniel Simu - - Parent

Thank you, I'm glad to hear that :D

The Void - - Parent


Jonathan The Jester - - Parent

I have to say how Impressed I was with BYJOTY, esp the astounding walking globe. I have not been that gobsmacked since Sam Goodburn wheel walked his uni. Very very good stuff. As always it was great to catch up with Nigel.

JonPeat - - Parent

Nice review Nigel!

Pssssst Orinoco... you aren't waiting for me really, are you? Mine is going to be a good few days yet at least...

Orinoco - - Parent

Nope, I am working on it but I've only got up to Thursday so far...

Monte - - Parent

Cold showers, cold bed but great new Bristol backdrop mug.

JonPeat - - Parent

Hi Everyone,

I also went to the BJC in Canterbury and wrote about my experiences!

Check out all of the action here:


Cheers, Jon

p.s I enjoy reading other peoples reviews and experiences, add to the discussion with your own mini reviews!

peterbone - - Parent

Interesting that you tried to attend the preventing injury workshop. Frederique and myself were the only ones there unfortunately. Ben did it anyway and we found it useful and informative.

JonPeat - - Parent

I am very surprised that so few people went along.

Fortunately (or unfortunately...) any injuries I recieve which prevent me from juggling are normally due to things outside of juggling (cycling accidents, mis-handling of tools etc...) or avoidable impacts from juggling combat.

I was very interested to hear what Ben said and would definately go if the chance came up again. It just didn't work out for me this time.

Orinoco - - Parent

Ejuggle appears to be down at the moment :(

I'm hoping to finish my effort this evening (probably late evening).

Mïark - - Parent

I did wonder if was just not working for me, or if Jon had broken it.

jamesfrancis - - Parent

Thanks Jon, as always I really enjoyed that.

Very interesting to see how you always have a completely different juggling experience to me: a rare attendant to shows or workshops and a frequent attendant at the lazy juggler bar!

My main thoughts / feedback / witty or non witty repartee in no particular order or coherency are as follows:
- Margate had excellent fish and chips away from the main strip. We skipped dreamland and the games completely and played adventure golf (curse you Andy Fraser for taking my title) and really enjoyed our day out and nearby Fish.
- I really enjoyed the gala show but thought too many of the acts were a little similar. It was probably the least balanced gala show I had seen for a while. I love Tiff, Jon and Steve, but all in one show with a talking magician and a talking Ben was a lot of wordy performances. Helena was really quite good though.
- Was the stage hand who interrupted Paul Zenon really not a poor acting planned part of the act? we couldn't tell
- Monte food = excellent. Much better when he has a full kitchen and helpers to work with. Rarely needed to leave site for sustenance other than drinkable water
- Lack of flushable one point I think there were only 2 working on site. Thank goodness the portaloos turned up
- Waffles are not an acceptable breakfast. Why can we not get decent coffee anywhere ever at a BJC?
- Played two long games of Suburbia and Stone age with Brook, Cameron and Danny. Stone age seemed to be more popular. Also played a bit of seven wonders duel with various people. This is my latest favorite two player game of choice. Also Danny needs banning from all board games on account of being too good.
- Generally the organisation was a little lax. The volunteer board didn't seem to exist and on inquiring how I could help I was told 'go and see if anyone is on badge control now and you can fill in'. Well I did and a couple of hours later I was lucky to be replaced as the person after me had no relief after 2 hours. A simple printed schedule people can sign up to is so much easier.
- Sebs workshop on 3 in one hand scissor manipulations was great
- I felt really sorry for the unicycle hockey guys for pushing my patience. The Scheduling as you mentioned was awful but it wasn't their fault and I was temporarily very angry until I thought about this
- Love being able to drive to BJCs and bring my double duvet to camp with. Feel like a big southern pansy, but no regrets!
- I need to pass more with different people. I did no > 2 person passing other than 'Spider' and mostly passed with the same people. Made some progress on Funky 9 though. Also amazed at the number of people who can now acceptably run Holy Grail. A few years back this was a pipe dream and now it seems almost common. Need to regress a few years, quit my job and move to Cambridge to keep up.


The Void - - Parent

"- Waffles are not an acceptable breakfast. Why can we not get decent coffee anywhere ever at a BJC?"
From which conjunction I conclude that you think decent coffee is an acceptable breakfast. I agree, but enjoyed a couple of veggie Full Montes in the week too. Seeing Bob Fromcanada around made me miss his great coffee stall that was at EJC.

Monte - - Parent

I have never understood why people for whom coffee is so important cannot bring along the means to provide their own. SMH

jamesfrancis - - Parent

I could... but given my campsite was at least 5 minutes walk from the main communal / juggling area, and that I would have to whip out a camp stove, boil my own water and bring my own fancy cafetiere in the first place this seems a rather extravagant means to an end.

Much easier to rant on the internet than self provide a simple practical solution. That being said I am sure there is a commercial opportunity there given the success of EJC ventures.

John R - - Parent

I could being the Leeds convention filter machine along, but it’s not PATed so insurance mght be an issue...

John R - - Parent

I do, thanks! Aeropress and hand grinder. But there is a bootstrap problem in that some people - not me, cough cough - need a coffee before they can be organised enough to make coffee.

JonPeat - - Parent

Nice mini review, I think I spotted you juggling in the hall a couple of times during the week...

I would be up for a game of Duel sometime, great game!

Orinoco -

Should young Circomedia/NCCA/other circus schools are available graduates be allowed to compete in BYJOTY?

This was an interesting question raised in the BJC business meeting. Are they discouraging younger, less experienced performers from getting involved? This came about because this year's BYJOTY competition featured Circomedia graduate Eilidh Sela who picked up the Judge's Choice Award (although not the BYJOTY title decided by popular vote) with a very high quality, very slick & very professional hoop act.

Various suggestions were made to deal with this: excluding graduates, dividing entrants up into categories etc. none of which felt right to me. If it's just about making a fair competition I feel I'm quite capable of deciding who is good for their age/for their length of time juggling/for their level of training so long as I'm given that information.

The main reason I don't want to see young graduates or soon to be graduates excluded is because I think it is a great benefit for young kids to see accomplished performers closer to their own age. I think it is more motivating & exciting to see what they could be like in a couple of years rather than what they could be in 15-20 years. I think young kids are more likely to relate to & interact with another teenager/early 20-something than they are with someone much older. It would be a great shame to take that opportunity away from them.

unigamer - - Parent

I was at the meeting when this came up because it was obvious everyone had a strong opinion and a debate would take up the rest of the day so I kept my mouth shut.

Personally, I believe the format is right as it is. There are nowhere near enough entrants to start splitting into categories and you would still end up wanting to award a "british young juggler of the year title" so the problem wouldn't go away. A younger competitor, say 11 or 12 has ten years to keep trying and learning from previous attempts. That should be more than enough time for a keen (very) young juggler to improve there skills.

It sounds a bit harsh but I don't like the idea of BYJOTY turning into "cutest kid" competition because that takes away any serious prestige of the title. I vote on the merit of the act, last year that was Max (?) the young diabolist because his was the combination of the most entertaining and skillful act in my opinion. His age didn't come into the equation and it didn't need to.

A "most improved" award would encourage entrants to keep entering each year but judging it would be a nightmare.

I don't have a problem with graduates participating, if they have dedicated a portion of their life to be better performers then good for them. They will have sacrificed other education paths so an improved chance of winning BYJOTY seems like a reasonable reward.

It's Him - - Parent

In my opinion thinking that someone should be excluded through training would be bad. Yes Eilidh had a very nice hoop routine that showed the polish you would expect from someone going through Circomedia training but other Circomedia students have entered in previous years and I don't think that any have yet won. (I could be wrong but my list of previous winners in my head doesn't bring one to mind).

You then have to start asking where do you join the line? Eilidh is 20 and is a 2nd year Circomedia student. She has presumably had some training before that but was it as part of a group or ad hoc? Both Peter who won and Christopher (who did S-Staff) have been part of Concrete Circus for a number of years. As such they are experienced in performing in front of a large audience (they performed at MKJC last year for example). They also have had encouragement from seasoned performers and others and advice on how to improve their acts. In the case of Peter, he has been working on that skill (amongst others) for roughly 7 years.


7b_wizard - - Parent

(2cts:) On many chess tournaments, there's rating prizes, so that many, also not so good players have a chance to win a prize (even though it remains hard). Or also, after a few rounds played in a qualification part, new groups are formed (like group A level and group B level) to seperately play out for the top A level prize and for the lower B level prize; with the same intention of not only the very best winning prizes. So maybe categories of participants for different prize values or different kinds of prizes could help to sort such asymmetry in skills out. (roughly: let there be something for everyone, be it prizes, groups, categories, chances on sth, anything, many consolation prizes \second prizes for girls, for youngest or best among youngest, for furthest journey to the event location, for most original, most skilled, most appealing performance - the top prize and holy grail remaining the BYJOTY) [but I feel highly incompetent on this, just hope to maybe deliver a little mosaique stone to the discussion]

Richard Loxley - - Parent

I have no problem with people who've had extensive training entering the competition.

There might be an argument for excluding professional performers and keeping it as an amateur competition, if the goal is to produce new talent?

Perhaps saying that if you make your living from performance, you shouldn't be entering? But I'm not sure if any full-time performers have entered in the past anyway?

As said, if the competition isn't broken, don't fix it. If it looks like it's not achieving its aims, then perhaps tweak it then.

^Tom_ - - Parent

Should young Circomedia/NCCA/other circus schools are available graduates be allowed to compete in BYJOTY?


^Tom_ - - Parent

By which I mean yes.
I just can't read.

Or alternatively, in answer to the question, should they be excluded, please see my previous answer.

lukeburrage - - Parent

Yes they should be allowed to compete. It's what the competition is for!

Little Paul - - Parent

I’ve been saying for years that I want to see more training for byjoty entrants, not less.

I want to see acts that have had development, direction, advice from outside the performers head. I want to see acts that have had the cruft cut, I want to see acts that have been practiced, thought about, and refined.

Ok so some people get that st a formal training school, some may get that from people at their local club. There may be more that we as a community can do to help young jugglers be the best that they can be!

At one point, the IJA had a mentoring program for young jugglers preparing an act for the juniors, and that isn’t a terrible idea!

More training less making it up on your own please!

peterbone - - Parent

What were the arguments for not allowing them to compete? I've not heard any here. I'm amazed that it was even brought up.

Orinoco - - Parent

I don't know the guy who raised the issue so I can't be certain of his intention but my understanding was he felt that it wasn't a fair competition because a young kid who hasn't had any formal training doesn't stand a chance against someone who has (although as pretty much everyone has pointed out, this is not the case).

I've never set foot in a boxing ring, I don't think I have any right to think I have a shot at a title belt.

Everyone has the option to put the work in. I think the idea that more training/work/thought/preparation = success is something that needs to be reinforced.

^Tom_ - - Parent

The person who raised it at the BJC meeting was under the impression that BYJotY is a kid's event. Therefore they thought it was not right that those who are not kids/overly trained should take part. Either he or someone else made that point that as a trained engineer, he would feel that it was inappropriate to enter a kid's engineering competition.
Then the discussion went on for far too long into a back and forth between "I don't really think it's very fair to single out Circomedia students" to "Well, maybe we generally could consider dropping the age limit" whereas I would have preferred a swift "You are entitled to your opinion, but many disagree, and it's up to the organiser of the event[1]"

[1] my personal opinion (above that what I tried to write above) is that whoever organises such an event should be allowed to run it however they want until such a point as they lose the support of the community (which, for example, would be a reasonable consequence of announcing that noone named David is allowed to compete). It's then up to the previous organiser and the convention organiser to decide if the event will take place, and who/how should organise it/it should be organised.

Cedric Lackpot - - Parent

Seriously? People are questioning whether being young and British is not a satisfactory qualification? Fucking bonkers. If you're gonna run a competition based on excellence in a given field, you should be gleefully embracing that excellence. And if it's really a problem and the poor lickle beggars are being intimidated by the slightly bigger, slightly less younger buggers, then split the competition into British young jugglers and British younger amateur jugglers who haven't been to circus school, although BYAJWHBTCSotY is a bit of a gobfull I'll admit.

The thing about competition is that it is fundamentally elitist, about ranking people on some scale or other, which is why you typically have one winner and many losers. If there is a worry that potential entrants may be frightened off by, you know, talent, then why not just ban talent and start dishing out a plastic gold medal to everyone and be done with it?

Somebody needs to decide whether it's a competition or a parade.

Little Paul - - Parent

*smashes imaginary like button*

Orinoco -

Parsnips & Pancetta

We haven't had a good simple camping recipe for a while. I've been enjoying this quick & easy recipe at home for a while but hadn't had a chance to do it 'in the field' so to speak. It was a little bit fiddly peeling the parsnip with my small knife but nothing too taxing, I might have to add a proper peeler to my camping kit. If you want to keep it a one pan meal swapping out the pasta & adding chopped onion when you fry the pancetta also works well.


olive oil
parsnip (finely sliced)
butter (optional (not optional))

Boil the pasta in salted water, set aside.

Fry the pancetta with the rosemary in a splash of olive oil for 2 minutes.

Add the sliced parsnip, cook for 3 minutes or so until it has softened, stirring regularly.

Add the pasta & mix well. Stir in a knob of butter at this stage until melted if you've got it.

#recipe #camping

Little Paul - - Parent

Mmm... sounds nice. Might have to give that one a go not-in-a-field.

Seems like it could take a nice robust cheese on top as well... but then so do most things!

Squibly - - Parent

I don't know if it counts as a #recipe - but more people need to know about Toilet Paper Mackerel.

Get a tin of mackerel in oil
This can scorch the grass. Think about where you're putting the tin down.
Remove lid.
Take two pieces of *clean* toilet paper and fold over.
Place on top of the mackerel so that the oil soaks into the paper.
Light the corners.
About 15 minutes later the oil will all have been used up. Carefully peel the ashen wick off. Your Toilet Paper Mackerel is ready.

I eat it with red onion, avocado and bread.

david - - Parent

Great idea - thanks for sharing. I searched for a video and found several for tinned tuna. Here is one that used the fire to heat a can of beans. Onion and avocado sounds great too.

Orinoco - - Parent

That is amazing!

Now that you've posted this I feel we suddenly need to put more effort into fire breaks at convention campsites!

Simeon -

Hi my name is Simeon I am 9 years old. Last week I attended the circusworks youth festival with no fit state circus.I got to perform in the gala show juggling 5 balls.I didn't feel nervous at all there was about 100 people in the audience.I've done 750 catches with 5 balls, with 6 balls I can do half shower, async and sync fountain I am also learning a 9,3 half shower I can do a 7,5 with inside 7s I am learning a 4 ball mills mess and also 5,3,4,mills mess. One time I did 7 balls for 35 catches and I'm learning a 7 ball half shower I've also tried to do site swaps with 7 such as 9,6,6 and 8,6,7, and (8x6)* with 5 balls I'm learning how to do (8x4)(44). I have performed at the NEC in Birmingham, in my school Assembly and at my Circus school.
I am a self taught juggler, been juggling for 3 years now This past year I have had juggling lessons at the Circus school.
I love all this juggling.
Bye for now

Orinoco - - Parent

Hello! Are you Tracey posting on behalf of Simeon, or are you Simeon posting with the account that Tracey asked to set up for you? I can change your username to Simeon if you'd like? that would be less confusing for everyone!

That's an impressive list of achievements there, how much of that progress was made before you started circus school?

Simeon - - Parent

Hi I am Simeon posting on my mum Tracey's account.
Could you change the name to Simeon Please.
I taught myself to juggle up to 5 balls but could only do a few tricks that I made up myself. I had no idea of site swaps before I started my juggling lessons. In my juggling lessons I was helped with my timing, posture and to understand site swaps.

Orinoco - - Parent

Done. You'll need to use Simeon as your username the next time you log on.

What were the tricks you made up yourself?

Danny Colyer - - Parent

"You'll need to use Simeon as your username the next time you log on."

How's he going to know that without logging on to see the message? Which he won't be able to do if he doesn't know that his username has changed because he hasn't seen the message...

I expect you've considered that and informed him by some other means as well, though, Orin.

Simeon - - Parent

I could only do tricks with up to four balls. Like half shower, sync and Asynchronous but I didn't know the names of the patterns before I started having lessons at Circus school.

7b_wizard - - Parent

hi there, .. and yeh, nice impressing repertoire!

Simeon - - Parent

Thanks very much. Sorry for late reply.

It's Him - - Parent

Hi Simeon,

I would have liked to see you at the Circusworks festival but unfortunately whilst my youth circus were there (Concrete Circus), I was at the British Juggling Convention instead. Which circus school do you attend? It might be good for you to attend juggling conventions if you don't already as that can provide a lot of positive stimulation.


Simeon - - Parent

Hi Nigel I remember seeing concrete circus last week. I attend Circus Mash in Birmingham for my lessons.
My mum is going to take me to lestival this year and the EJC next year. I can't wait.

It's Him - - Parent

Hi Simeon,

If you are at Circus Mash then hopefully Tom can teach you lots of great skills. If you are looking at close juggling conventions then Milton Keynes Juggling Convention in November is just as good as Lestival (I'd say better but Jay would want to pick a fight). You get to see Concrete Circus performing in the show there as well.


Simeon - - Parent

Hi Nigel
Thanks for letting me know about the Milton Keynes festival. It would be nice to see Jay again I remember him.
I go to Toms juggling club but only in the school holidays at it starts and finishes to late on a school night. We talk about our new juggling balls and use each other's to juggle with. We like to talk and try out new tricks together.
I am teaching my mum how to juggle, she can do about 12 throws and catches 3 ball cascade. My Dad is not as good as my mum yet.

Cedric Lackpot - - Parent

Hi Simeon,

I'm flattered that you claim to remember me ... but alas I may have to see you in person before I can recall where we've met, apologies.

Anyway, that dreadful old #MKJC won't happen again for about a billion years, you'll be long dead before it comes around, whereas Lestival! is in just three weeks' time! I'm pretty sure it's on the 5th May this year and I shall be there all day, so come along and re-introduce yourself to me.

Whatever you do, make it your business to immerse yourself in as many conventions and events as you possibly can, so that you can nurture and grow that fantastic talent you have whilst you are still ​annoyingly​ precociously young ;-)



Mats1 -

After 10 years of juggling, I just got my first clubs! Can anyone recommend some videos with nice 3 club tricks in? What are some nice 4 club tricks to get started with?

Thanks for any suggestions! :)

Cedric Lackpot - - Parent

Mats, you've come out from the dark side at last! How are you? I haven't seen you in so long.

Anyway, as you now doubtless realise, clubs are great and balls suck. Congratulations on grasping this fundamental and self-evident truth.

I don't care for videos so I can't recommend any, but 4c tricks that are great include 7771, 6532 with a flourish on the 2, and circus-style 71 where you throw the 7s vertically and walk around in a small circle to bring your catching hand under the 7s. Also 3c+head balance, to a drop into 4c, or the fancy version where you drop the club back behind you and blind kick it back into the pattern with the sole of your foot.

Come to Lestival! Mats.

^Tom_ - - Parent

I guess the first one you mean is 7441?

Cedric Lackpot - - Parent

Gah, I should juggle more. What I was actually thinking of was 7333, no idea where 7771 came from. But there's a crisp tenner for anyone who can do it ;-)

^Tom_ - - Parent

While we're at it, 5623 ?

Little Paul - - Parent

If anyone wants to validate any of these siteswaps, the Siteswaphone is back online after being offline for about 3 months due to a hardware failure ‭(+44)117 9115202‬

Daniel Simu - - Parent

Whoa, is that thing for real? How does that work? I am so going to ring that when I'm back in the UK next week!!!

Richard Loxley - - Parent

It is indeed real, I have called it in the past :-)

Google indicates that at least one version of the source code is available here:

Paul can confirm if that is the most recent version.

The code seems well documented. It appears to be a series of macros for the Asterisk IP telephony platform.

Little Paul - - Parent

Now also on github if anyone wants to improve it

I’m hosting it on a Sipgate number, so calls are free for other Sipgate users around the world.

And yes, the design goal was to do it purely as asterisk macros with no cheating by calling out to external utilities. It’s quite good fun too.

I’m happy for people to play with it, share the number, host their own version etc - although if you do then I’d really appreciate it if you could let me know so I get the warm fuzzy feeling

Mats1 - - Parent

After some time this week juggling outside in cold, humid conditions, I can confirm that beanbags are great and clubs suck.

And I'm doing well, circusing the summer and vanishing into the mountains for winter. I won't be making Lestival due to work. Quite a shame as it is a great convention. Might see you at Bungay if you are in attendence? Hope all is well with you in Leicester?

The Void - - Parent

Oldie but goodie:

Mats1 - - Parent

Thanks Void!

It's Him -

For several years now I have been suggesting a juggling competition for older jugglers (my working name was BODGE-oty). If the BJC doesn't happen next year (or even if it does) then it might be good to have it at EJC. I'm working on the rules and would like some input from the civilized (and possibly older) community of JugglingEdge. Here are my starting ideas, please comment on them.


1) The juggler entering must be in at least their 50th year.

2) The act must use equipment that is intrinsic to the performance rather than distracting from the performance e.g. glow props that obscure skill or lack thereof.

3) The act may not have been part of a professional performance or a juggling convention show within the last year.

4) The act must be suitable for a cabaret spot or juggling show.

5) Speaking acts may be no longer than 8 minutes and non-speaking acts 5 minutes.

Marking Structure:

The maximum score is 100 with marks being awarded in the following categories:

Presentation of artist (15): Does the costume suit the act? Are the props giving a professional image etc.

Characterisation (25): Does the performer maintain their character throughout the performance? Does the character fit with the rest of the act (music, props, clothing etc.)?

Technique (25): Is the performer technically proficient in their chosen skill? Is the routine clean? Do they handle drops well? Are any of the skills presented innovative?

Performance (35): Does the show fit together? Are the audience engaged?

If the performer over runs their allotted time they lose 1 mark every 3 seconds.

None of this is set in stone but all arguments against a particular rule or inclusion of a different rule should be supported with a relevant and coherent reasoned statement.

Some of the reasoning for the above:

Age limit. This had to be set at some point and I wanted it to be restrictive but not too restrictive. 50 seemed like an appropriate cut off as there are quite a few above that age at BJC.

Equipment. Circus is all about spectacle but juggling is not just about that and so I want the acts to demonstrate their skills.

Not performed recently. I want to see act development but from the perspective of experience. A regularly performed act is not a challenge but developing something different requires much more.

Suitability. I don't want to just see technical skill. Anyone who has been juggling long enough will have developed a whole set of technical skills but it is how they are applied that is more important.

Time Limit. A comedy or character act takes longer to develop than a straight performance to music but talking acts have a tendency to push the talking at the expense of the skills. The longer time than BYJOTY but with the penalty imposed for going over seems to me to help with both these aspects.

Marking. I want to see good, well thought out acts and pitched the scoring roughly in the area of how I look at an act and decide whether I would book them. These numbers can be tweaked.


pumpkineater23 - - Parent

Not sure about your rules. All seems a bit old fashioned/out of touch. Why not just have an over 50s do-what-you-like?

Daniel Simu - - Parent

I'm also confused by the rules. I do not understand what 2) means, and why do talking acts get more time? Can one do a non talking act, say a word, and thereby extend his time for 3 minutes? What are the requirements to meet 4)? Isn't any act that is shorter than 8 minutes suitable for a juggling/cabaret show?

The things you don't want to see you can discourage with your scoring/judging, boring acts get less points. But it is hard to turn them away beforehand

The best way to find out if this is a good idea is to talk to 50+ jugglers until you have 3-5 willing participants!

It's Him - - Parent

2) Means that I don't want the act to be all about the technology rather than the skill. Whilst acts can incorporate technology (e.g. Eugenius Nil) I don't want the audience to be thinking about how well the programming matches the music or what pretty pictures the prop makes instead of what the performer is doing.

A talking act is one where the artist talks for a significant part of the act in a way that is consistent with the character portrayed in the act. I am aware that this takes longer to establish a rapport with the audience and therefore thought that the act needed more time. It should be the call of the judges whether the act is a talking act and the penalty clause is there if they think someone is just taking advantage.

4) Whilst an act that is under 8 minutes might be suitable for a cabaret show I know that many of the segments of my show that are under 8 minutes are not suitable because the are constructed for a different purpose (entertaining kids, re-enactment audiences etc). The act should be designed with the possibility of being performed on a stage with size and height restrictions.


It's Him - - Parent

One of the things that has inspired me to start this competition is that I want more acts for Milton Keynes Juggling Convention. In general the type of act that is suitable for a convention isn't the same as what the majority of professional performers do. (which in my experience tends towards the 45 minute show, walkabout, workshop rather than cabaret).

In what way are the rules out of touch? (especially when we are talking about older jugglers) Is it because they are slightly prescriptive? Actually having some rules makes a show easier to construct.


7b_wizard - - Parent

dunno ( I know little to nothing about performing, but am +50yo, so just my 2cts: ) .. why exclude the pros? ( rule "3)" ) .. sounds a bit rigid at first read, but on the other hand thought through rating-criteria. Or simply have a jury rate, at each jury-member's own criteria? .. age limit could maybe also be 45yo? ..

The idea sounds good, though, (why not also have that for e.g. minor 14-15yo?) but what would keep a senior, who meets all those rules and criteria, from taking part in any regular (``normal´´, non-senior) contests (too)?

7b_wizard - - Parent

.. and yet, .. as a counter example, .. what if a 60yo fellow shows up on stage and, in an open stage manner, just flashes 11 balls or qualifies 10, bends and walks offstage again getting tons of applause, .. would he be ``offending´´ that cabaret-or-juggling-show rule and not get any rating points after those criteria?

It's Him - - Parent

My original age criteria was 40 and then when I thought about it a bit more and when looking at the people who attended the BJC this year I thought that there may be too many entries if the bar was set that low. The number isn't that rigid just needs to be there.

The concept originated after watching British Young Juggler of the Year a few times and seeing many young acts put technical skills before performance. For those who don't attend the BYJOTY competition this is held annually at the British Juggling Convention and is open to anyone under 21 who is British. It has had falling numbers for the last two - three years but that is a reflection on the total number of people attending the convention.

I'm not trying to exclude the pros. I'm trying to get new acts from people or old acts that would need to be practised again. There has been a tendency at one day conventions in the UK to have the same few acts appear at most conventions (often with the same act at each show). I'd like to see a wider range available to convention show bookers (ok me but it will help others).


lukeburrage - - Parent

If it is a judged competition with ten acts and three judges, the only people happy at the end are the people who won and the two judges who out-voted the third.

It's Him - - Parent

A very good point.

With BYJOTY you obviously have the audience award that rewards the most popular act and the judges awards that reward the acts that fit the judges criteria. From what I can determine from what my son received from entering the competition this year the judges award was more important in an immediate way (voucher for Oddballs, T-shirt) the other silver winner getting the same size voucher and a bag that might have contained something. Peter along with the title received a cuddly toy dragon and a gold BJC pass as BYJOTY winner.

You could argue that the title is more important than anything else and that should be awarded by a populist vote and I would like to hear opinions on this. I believe that the IJA awards are judged and no-one seems particularly upset about this (I could be wrong I have never been to the IJA and my knowledge is based on what I have read on forums over the years). I disagree that the only people who will be happy when entering are the judges and winner. As a convention booker I am looking to book acts. I don't want to book the same act as everyone else and so I often ask someone other than the winner of BYJOTY to be in MKJC show (e.g. last year I asked two acts from BYJOTY, neither were the winner, one appeared in the show). This year I have also asked an act that wasn't the winner.


lukeburrage - - Parent

"I believe that the IJA awards are judged and no-one seems particularly upset about this (I could be wrong I have never been to the IJA and my knowledge is based on what I have read on forums over the years)."

At Derby BJC in 2004 I had the idea for the BYJOTY show. That summer I went to the IJA convention and took part in the stage competition. I was so upset with the judging process and the outcome that I specifically designed the rules of the first BYJOTY to avoid the same thing happening in Perth the next year.

My point being: you are 100% wrong on this subject, and the main BYJOTY title being decided by audience vote is the evidence of this!

david - - Parent

Luke is correct in saying tthat some people have been upset about the results of IJA judging. You are correct in saying some peope are not upset. As a spectator I have not always agreed with the judges decisions and also not agreed with other disgruntled spectators. I think upsetness is inevitable in any judging process, including the populist vote. The IJA also has a "People's Choice" award which may or may not be awarded to one of the judges selections.

Watching over the years I can see that the IJA responds by tweaking the process.

IMHO if you don't have a good reason to judge don't engage in the hastle. You can still have the rules and let the interested spectators decide.

lukeburrage - - Parent

To be clear, you are saying he was correct about something he didn't write. He said "no-one is upset" not "some people are not upset". My first point was that, yes, of course some people are not upset... but in designing the rules for BYJOTY I tried to reduce the number of people who are upset.

In the case of those taking part in the show, it's a lot more easy to take it personally when three judges decide you aren't going to win. It's a lot easier to take when the audience collectively decides. Yo might not be the favourite of any of the judges, but you're probably going to get some percentage of the audience votes.

It isn't the perfect solution, but everyone is involved, not just the five people in the show and the three judges. It allows everyone to express what they like about the show. Nobody is passive.

The IJA People's Choice is not for the an act in the stage championships. It's open for any juggler at the convention who people liked for whatever reason. In 2004 I voted for Komei Aoki, who only took part in the juniors competition.

Little Paul - - Parent

I would say the fewer rules the better (for the first year at least) if you’re overwhelmed by entrants you can refine it in future years.

I agree that 50 feels about right as a lower bound (40 is too low) and I agree about the “must not have been performed for an audience in the last year” (to stop Steve Rawlings turning up and storming it with the routine he’s been doing for 30years) and I agree that there should be some form of time limit, although any complexity around what types of act get what length of time seems unnecessary - “no longer than 8mins” should be enough for anyone.

I don’t care about any of the other rules, or judging criteria, I think “popular vote” is both easier than judging and more satisfying, and if your selfish aim is to find someone to book for MK then it’s probably more relevant than what the judges think anyway.

It's Him - - Parent

To say that it is just my selfish aim to get acts is perhaps a little misleading on my part. Something that encourages 'proper acts' may percolate outside of the competition itself. For example BYJOTY if it doesn't fade may get more acts rather than just people who do tricks. Maybe older jugglers who generally sit around and chat will be more motivated to practice something. Who knows?

With limited input so far it seems like public vote is preferred to judges. What about feedback? What about prizes?

I have the feeling that most older jugglers wouldn't care much about vouchers to buy new props as they probably rooms full of the stuff. On the other hand would something like a bottle of good whisky be appropriate?


Terix -

Please please any advices for passing clubs back to back? (1:23 - 1:46)
Is there anything special to do - like looking to the sides, special kind of throw or the point is just in a lot of practising (probably helmet required :D)?

7b_wizard - - Parent

no idea .. "know where to aim"? (somewhere above yourself) .. ( is how I do my 5b all ups 180° ) .. check where your throws come down where there's a mirror (or window front of a gym)?

david - - Parent

Talk to your partner.

A simpler set up is a line of three with the middle juggler facing the first juggler and doing back drops to the third juggler. The third juggler makes a long pass to the first juggler. The first makes a short pass to the middle juggler and the middle one does the back drops. The third juggler provides feedback to the middle juggler.

When two can throw reliable back drops and have experience scatching them, they can try back-to-back.


Scott Seltzer - - Parent

I always felt that 7 clubs back to back was easier than with 6 clubs. 6 club doubles has a lame rhythm with awkward pauses between the passes. 7 clubs just feels better.

Maria -

Swedish Juggling Convention 2018!

Well, JugglingEdge asked what it was like for me, so here we go...

Me and the Swedish Juggling Convention:
This was my 6th time going to the SJC, every year since 2013, and the second time it was held in Tranemo.

The venue:
Tranemo is a small town, and a little bit cumbersome to get to if you are not driving. At least 3 buses from the closest airport, or two buses from a somewhat large train station, or one bus from a small train station.

Other than that, the venue is great!
In the same building, there is:
Gym 1, 24h juggling space
Gym 2, extra juggling space during the day, sleeping hall during the night.
Small dining area
Small kitchen (mostly used by organisers for breakfast, coffee and tea for the participants)
Plenty of (hot) showers and toilets
...even a swimming pool, that was open for the jugglers during a few hours on one of the days.

The show was held in an adjacent building, and there is a grocery store right across the street.

While the sleeping hall was a bit cold the first night, it got better for the second and third... At least I think so, I was wearing some extra clothes for those nights though. My sleeping bag is for summer camping, I'm sure it was not an issue for anyone with a warmer sleeping bag.

The jugglers:
About 45 people participated in the convention this year. Many of them were the Swedish jugglers that I am used to meeting at SJC, but there were also some new faces. As usual, all of them really nice people, and I didn't feel the slightest bit worried about leaving wallet and phone in the gym when going to eat in the dining area.

Included in the ticket price was simple breakfast (corn flakes with milk/yoghurt/vegan options, sandwiches with ham/cheese/hummus, orange juice, coffee, tea),
and a hot meal a day! (Choice between "meat" or "vegan" meal.) The food was good, but the best thing about food included in the ticket, in my opinion, is that everyone eats together. A good opportunity to chat with someone you don't know yet!

The show:
The gala show was held in a school building next to the gym. The performers were good, but there were too many "slow" acts. I got a bit bored, actually. I did enjoy the last acts, though, a ring act by Filip Zahradnický and a somewhat more "traditional" circus juggling act by Lauri Koskinen.
All five acts were solo acts. Some kind of duo or group act would have been nice.

There were workshops. I'm not that good at attending workshops if they are not about club passing... But I went to Speed Passing (of course), "Juggling technique" (with Lauri Koskinen) and part of the "Add movement to your juggling". I also tried a few throws from the ring juggling workshop.

The Club Passing:
Well, here is my main reason for going to juggling conventions! Most of the jugglers participated in the Speed Passing, which was great, but we didn't have enough time to actually let everyone pass with each other.
I passed a lot with O (often with 1-3 more jugglers), with V and with S. Mostly patterns that I have done before (if you want to know which ones they are in my log). I also passed a little bit with beginners.

The Games:
Pretty much the usual games. I participated in "Simon Says", "Jugglers Long Jump", "Gandini Crown Gladiators" and "Combat", but without any chance of winning any of them. No club passing, unfortunately.

Open stage/Renegade:
A combined Open Stage and Renegade was held in the main gym on the last evening. The open stage acts were nice. The renegade was OK but a bit too long, in the end it was just the same people coming up on stage over and over again to show a new trick. Nice tricks for sure, but after spending part of the afternoon watching games I wanted to juggle. It felt a little bit rude to walk away when most people stayed to watch, but eventually me and S did that anyway, and took our clubs to the second gym for some passing. S was only there over the day and had also spent time watching games, so we were happy when the renegade ended so we could find some more passers. Not that I don't enjoy 2-people passing with S, but we pass together every week anyway.

Great organising team that wants to keep organising the Swedish Juggling Convention, in the same place, for at least a few years. We are hoping for the convention to grow! Thank you!

A bit surprised that I didn't see anyone playing board games this year. There are usually at least a few people doing that in the evenings. I think most people spent the late evenings either juggling or in the sauna.

Great jugglers doing awesome tricks! Happy that a few of them also posted videos on Facebook after the convention.

Sometimes when people do awesome tricks I can't help feeling a little bit like it's useless for me to juggle, I'll never be close to their level anyway... At other times, it is inspiring and I just want to juggle more. Well. At least it is fun, and I think I am a decent club passer by now, though not a very good solo juggler.

#SJC2018 #ConventionReview

david - - Parent

Great review. You had me at sauna and the food included sounds good too. Please alert the Edge about next years registration, even though it's not too likely I'll be able to get there.

Maria - - Parent

Thank you!

Yes, sauna is very nice after a day of juggling.

Sure, I'll let the Edge know, if the organisers don't. :) The convention is always during Easter, so usually it's possible to combine it with BJC (I did that last year).

Orinoco -

Right, that's it, I'm off to the BJC!

James -

Hi all, I'm James. I am London based double staffer, currently working on the second convention of the distracted arts. A half day flow and juggling event out in Egham. The event will be followed by the M25 fire night, which to celebrate the convention will have some performances before the general fire spin.

The Void - - Parent

Hi James,
Welcome to The Edge. Here's the tag for your event:
(That means people can now find this thread from the event page, and vice-versa.)

(Who remembers double-staff fire sessions in Preston Park a million years ago. When my car was stolen, I was more annoyed about losing my 2 Barnes staves that were in the back, than about the car. Hey ho, life goes on, as Cougar sang....)

The Void - - Parent

PS I like "21sh April". Does that mean "21st-ish"? :-D

Mïark - - Parent

Did you choose to hold your event on World Circus Day or is that just coincidence?

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