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JonPeat -

Chocfest 2016 – Convention Review (UK)

This Saturday was the 21st annual juggling convention held in York (UK).

Me and Jenni rose early and left without breakfast with the intention of getting our Chocfest tradition of breakfast in the ‘Red Bus Café’ on the A64. We were very upset to find the Café has closed and is for sale! :-( Called in at the next pub on the road but it was all locked up. We pressed on to York and went straight to the Beefeater near to the convention site.
I’m tempted to make that a tradition now. Superb all you can breakfast, I totally pigged out which meant that there was no need to stop for lunch, bonus! Pleasantly surprised to see Barnsey, Suzanne and little baby Bella who were also in for breakfast.

We headed over to the convention, agonised over which pass to choose and went to the main hall. I was surprised how empty it was but it soon filed up. Chocfest does have a lovely great big hall, a nice atrium area where there is usually a lot of game playing taking place and a nice show venue with raked seating.

I used the quiet morning time to work on some solo balls, headbouce and some club juggling. Lewis arrived so we did some club passing. We did some good stuff with lower numbers, when we got up to 9 and 10 we were slightly fatigued so called it a stop. Good passing session though.

I spent some time working on 5 club tricks and finished off with some 6 club half shower. Managed a couple of qualifies, once it is in the air it is not too bad, it is just getting it there!

2pm was combat tournament time. We struggled slightly for numbers but finally rustled up an 8th player meaning a full tournament could take place. It was quite a strong field, many of the players had made it through to the Semis at the BJC so it was quite tough going. Brook seeded first after winning all qualification matches, I secured second seed based on points as me and Dan had the same number of wins vrs losses. I met Brook in the final again and we had a good battle. I found a good tactic which seemed to work for a while which involved a lot of running around and making Brook chase me. I won that set, then Brook got wise to my scheme and destroyed me. The final point of the game was won by the ‘Brook classic downward sweep’ (which I really need to learn to avoid) which disarmed me completely. Well played Brook, very consistent performance again! Everyone enjoyed the tournament and there were some very good points and matches so it was a good success. Also kudos to slow motion guy who filmed some of mine and Dan’s match, I am looking forward to seeing that footage.

I decided to have a little lie down for a bit in a sweaty puddle on the floor before it was 4pm and time for the games.

Lots of traditional convention games took place. I lost my balance trying to maintain the club balance endurance. Basically crashed straight into Jenni (which was good otherwise it might have been awkward!) and ended up in a pile on the floor (I’m hoping that Alan did not film it). Me and Chaz exchanged some wordless communication and teamed up to win the stredging game. Awesome technique on the kick ups from Chaz and the best high fiving action ever seen. I managed to win the 5 ball endurance, I knew all that left handed half shower practise would pay off! Also managed to come second in the 7 ball endurance to Dan Wood. No shame there. The games rounded off with some 3 club gladiators. It was good fun to play in general convention melee.

I then abandoned the hall and went on to the show venue for teching for the show. I enjoyed watching the tech runs. Highlights of the show included Little Mouse, pretty hoops, robotic techno cigar box contact and ring balances.
I spent most of the actual show in the studio backstage where there was lovely lighting and high ceiling (York crew – get this room as the backstage green room for the show every year. It is an awesome place for the acts to prepare during the show!) I watched the cake eating bedlam but did not partake this year, I was a little bit full of fish and chips by this point. Had a nice chat with Alice in the interval and saw Jenni. I really enjoyed performing my club routine, I always enjoy performing in shows where Dr Ed is in the audience as I know exactly when I have done something he finds amusing. Gutted I missed the last catch of my finale trick, but to be fair that was quite fitting and I don’t think it detracted from the routine. It seemed very well received and I got lots of really positive comments afterwards which makes all the practise and hard work worth it, I was very pleased with how it went. :-)

That was the end of the day. Everybody packed up and went home. I wish that I’d had more time during the day. I didn't manage to pass rings with Mark, clubs with Brook or do any manipulator patterns.
There was a really nice crowd at Chocfest again this year plus a lot of faces which I don’t normally get to see at conventions (mainly because they hide out at Bristol and Bungay) so I would have liked to have chatted with more people.

Thank you to the Chocfest team for putting together another great convention. See you there next year!

Cheers, Jon


Dee - - Parent

Most important question: who won the cake competition?

York Jugglers - - Parent

The Chocfest Chocolate Cake Challenge was won (not at all suspiciously) by people from York. Em, Jake, Max, Tom & Elliot made a 24kg chocolate cake in the shape of a Rubik's cube, with stats like:
17.5kg of chocolate.
65 combined man hours of work.
24.1kg total weight.
112,000 kcal
4 tier chocolate fudge cake in the middle.

York Jugglers - - Parent

oh hashtag, #chocfest21

Orinoco - - Parent

This description alone makes me proud to be a juggler.

Brook Roberts - - Parent

My highlight was probably actually the combat after the games - I must have played for an hour (or more? didn't really keep track) and burned off all of the calories. Good fun, and we kept playing some games with just four of us for a while, including a bit of team combat, which I always forget to suggest but actually really enjoy. Different things to think about and makes it a bit more interesting. I also managed to achieve by goal with only four of us of finishing the round with one club from each of the opponents, although I think after a while they realised I was repeatedly trying to steal clubs and made it a lot harder!

That point at the end counters the first point, where you knocked away my clubs before my brain had actually decided it was time to start playing combat...I always get punished if I'm not instantly alert against you!

That Rubik's cube cake was ridiculous. Does anyone know how much of it actually got eaten in the end?

Brook Roberts - - Parent

Actually, my highlight may have actually been beating Dan in a knockout game of combat. For the first time. (he's beaten me in two previous tournaments in the knockout stages) I think the trick to playing against his weird style is just to run away for twice as long as you think you need to when he does crazy high throws...

Little Paul - - Parent

I saw them carrying out at least half of it at the end of the evening.

Little Paul - - Parent

It was my first chocfest in about 6 years or so, but as far as I can work out I think it was 20 years since the first chocfest I went to - although I remember more about chocfest 1997 than I do that first one.

I drove up from Bristol on Saturday morning, managing to get to the venue after only a 4 hour drive, the satnav telling me to turn left off a bride onto the road below, sriving through a section of york the satnav thought was a field - and then having to guess where the venue was because "you have reached your destination" was nowhere near a school. Turns out it wasn't even on the same road.

It's probably time I bought a new satnav, this one hasn't had any map updates in quite some time.

I made it to the venue for about 11am, and immediately bumped into loads of people I've not seen in ages. Having chosen a pass, I decided my priority was tea (as I hadn't had a cup in over 4 hours and that's Not Acceptable) - more chatting, greeting old faces, meeting a couple of new ones etc.

Eventually I managed to make it into the gym, where I met more people, did more chatting, and eventually yes - I managed to spend some time working on my list of stupid tricks with impractical props. Some times I wish I was an enthusiastic ball juggler, that would be much more portable than the salerno ring and golf clubs I seem to cart about.

Time was spent swapping construction ideas for props with various people, discussing how we're all learning the wrong trick with the salerno ring, catching up with yet more people, swapping anecdotes about second hand sewing machines etc.

All in all, not much juggling and a lot of chatting later, the hall became very noisy/hot/sweaty just in time for us to pop off to the pub for lunch.

Despite being warned in advance that we were coming, I don't think the pub were really set up for handling a table of 20 jugglers so service was slow and a little patchy, but still - we managed to get fed.

I think I'd happily go back there as my pie and chips was really tasty. Unlike a lot of pub pies, it actually was a pie being surrounded completely complete with hot water crust pastry. None of this "bowl of stew with a puff pastry lid" nonsense. Many thanks to Charlie for herding the cats on that one!

After lunch there was a bit more chatting, a bit more attempting to work on stuff I really should practice more than once a year, more chatting... and then Mamph suggested a trip to the chipshop for dinner. Which seemed like a reasonable plan, so another round of chips later...

It was then time for the show. I don't have much to say about the first half to be honest. I liked some of the compere's material, even if he does fall rather too easily into the magicians trap of "perform the trick as described in the instructions, patter included" which is a bit of a pet hate for me) - his magic square handling was impressively slick though, I tried to learn it once and gave up on it.

During the interval I watched people shovelling cake into their mouths, avoiding taking part myself. Partly because I was full of chips, but mostly because I have an alergy which makes eating "cakes where I don't know full the ingredient list" a bit like playing russian roulette.

That and chocolate cake is probably my least favourite type of cake.

The second half of the show was rescued by the last two acts, who really outclassed the rest of the show.

The venue closes shortly after the show ends, so it was time to disperse. I went back to sweavo/ami/jack's where ewano and I were crashing for the night - via a chinese because I hadn't had enough junk food for one day - and found Duncan, Lorri and Mikey sat around discussing lucid dreaming, slug sex, and all the usual post-fest conversation topics. I got to bed around midnight, which is probably fairly early as these things go.

In the morning, we were treated to a very welcome full fry-up by Ami (and an entertaining discussion about kitchen-aid mixers) Exactly what the doctor ordered, even if it was my 4th incredibly unhealthy meal of the weekend.

I headed back to Bristol around mid-day. The journey home was significantly quicker, despite the traffic being about the same. I'm not sure how that works, I can only assume that north->south is downhill or something.

I got home just in time to pop to screwfix and pick up the PVC sleeving that I'd ordered in, which was a prerequisite for getting my phone exchange back online.

High - seeing lots of faces I don't see very often
Low - probably having to drive all that way home
Crush - probably sweavo/amy for their hospitality, and jack for being one of the less annoying toddlers.
Bane - lack of ventilation in the gym
Goal - didn't really have one beyond "get to chocfest"
Surprise - seeing people I hadn't expected to see there, and catching up with some friends I've not seen in far too long

All in all, I enjoyed myself, even if I didn't do all that much actual juggling.

charlieh - - Parent

It was great to see everyone - which is mainly why we came, although I got a chance to play with the Dapostar a bit (everything's beginning to come together, very very slowly) and join in the club gladiators at the end of the games. Came 2nd a couple of times which was nice considering the other participants clearly take it more seriously than I do. Still working on a strategy to beat Brooke and his Inspector Gadget arms. The show was a little underwhelming for me but we enjoyed Little Mouse, the pretty light-up hoops and Jon being Jon.

Other things I particularly enjoyed were two evenings in the hotel that could have been rather lonely but were enlivened by chatting to Barnesy about babies; the pub lunch working out so well even with the unexpected increase in numbers; the kids enjoying a space where they could wang about their very bouncy balls without adults complaining for once; and the next day's visit to the Railway Museum, sadly lacking a Flying Scotsman although I hear it's on the way back next month.

See some of you at Bungay, no BJC for us this year.

charlieh - - Parent

You know, one day I'll also remember how to spell Brook(e)'s name.

emilyw -


I had a lovely time at Leeds. Coffee, doughnuts, friends, juggling (I still can, just about).

Highlights were new and incipient infants; the acro act being very lucky that they asked me to start their music before they appeared, because I was possibly too busy admiring their costuming to have correctly handled a sound cue; Mark's compering and pineapple professionalism; Jon Peat's excellent first go of stage management; and Tiff, whose act was entirely mind boggling, and who is one of the few people on the planet who could even come close to living up to his own high standards. Finally of course, Alice's breakfast.

Low: No Lorri :-(

Alice - - Parent

Thankyou to everyone who came to Leeds. Special thanks to Ron,Lazy Juggler who donated a BJC pass as raffle prize( we set a record for tickets sold) and Butterfingers for trading and donating prizes as well.

We have more people this year than previously so, sorry we ran out of doughnuts.

Thanks to Jon for the show, Jenni for passes and flyers, Alastair ,Tim and Rebecca for running everything and tidying up.

Highs , number of tickets sold, the show(Tiff especially) and having good friends to stay over who did not complain about the lack of pillows or incessant coughing!

Hoping to do it next year ,same time, if the school will have us.


JonPeat - - Parent

The Leeds Juggling Convention 2015 Review

Last Saturday was the Leeds Juggling Convention 2015 (UK) held once again in St Marys School, Menston.

First of all, thank you everyone who came to the convention this year! We had bumper numbers and will need to make more passes next year and order even more doughnuts!

Having a house full of family and friends who made the whole weekend excellent fun.
I had a really nice custard doughnut, obviously fresh baked that morning. I did do the thing where you check the dates on the packets to see which to open first, then I realised that there wouldn’t be any left anyway!
Ross did a great job organising our workshop timetable and it was nice to see so many varied and good quality workshops. Some took place a little early in the day for most people, we will perhaps look at this for next year.
Enjoyed a lovely fish and chips sit down meal with Jenni and Mark at midday.
Got back in time to run my wrist traps workshop with clubs. I pretty much made the workshop up as I went along (and I think it showed a bit) but I did expose a good number of people to various wrist traps and other miscellanious club tricks. I was pleased when we got onto some of the more interesting variations that a number of people saw what we were doing and came to join the workshop. Overall I think it went down quite well, the problem is that it takes a fair bit of practice to make those sort of tricks look smooth so there were no immediate rewards for the workshop goers but I hope I got some people excited about the possibilities.
I bought a nice selection of games from Lazy Juggler.
The Show! All of the acts were excellent and Mark did a wonderful job holding the whole thing together. (We will forget the small mishap I had with the lighting desk!)
Emily touched upon the subject of some costuming during the show. I missed most of the act in question as I was holding my head in my hands…
Congratulations to Dan Wood for winning the first ever Leeds Juggling Convention Combat Tournament.

My Heroes of the day
Alastair - Directed all of us in the building of the stage, was an excellent games master, did a fine job of getting the raffle done as quickly as possible, helped all the acts by being stage hand and packed everything up at the end of the day.

Emily - So easy to work with and a nice calming influence during the whole show.

Jenni - Supporting me and being my little gofer when setting up the show. All the hours she spent designing and making the passes as well as setting up Mark with his own quote!

Mark - Great company for the entire weekend as well as some excellent compering and a magic performance to boot. We also had a late night magic performance that night and we are still eating up all the Oranges and Melons!

Lows (or things to improve)
Arriving later than planned, turns out Menston is further round the ring road than I thought it was. I did want to help set up everything but Alice and Alastair had everything sorted by the time I arrived.
I’d like to make a bigger fuss about the workshops next year. Perhaps printed timetables of the day would help highlight the workshops which are on offer and also highlight when the show starts.
It would be good if we could find some more toilets somewhere near the show hall that we could make available during the interval as there was a bit of a queue.

I had an absolutely fantastic time at Leeds Juggling Convention this year!
I have always enjoyed LJC as an attendee but this was my first year as part of the organising team.
It was a delight and a pleasure, I hope to be involved again next year and I really look forward to seeing you all there!

Cheers, Jon


Dee - - Parent

This read like a good (and more interesting than most) reflective log that those of us who have been through any form of teacher training (primary, secondary or tertiary) will be familiar with.

Perhaps this is something to be encouraged for convention organisers. I may need to route out some of my old ones to figure out a good structure. ... something like a records section.

I must get to Leeds juggling convention some year: I only need a compatible teaching timetable to make it feasible.

Orinoco - - Parent

^ This with knobs on. Goes hand in hand with the recent discussion about articles for the IJA ezine. More personal experiences please!

Regarding workshop timetables Jon, I've put some work into a timetable system on the Edge (go to an event for which you a member of High Command the click create new timetable), I think it should make handling timetables easier & provides a number of formats to play with but I've not had anyone do anything other than play with it yet. I don't know if that is because it is too hard to use or that it doesn't do the job it needs to do. Here's a mock up showing what you can do, & there's lots of discussion about timetables that might be useful too.

Dee - - Parent

"root out" not "route out".. the perils of auto-complete on a phone.

Mïark - - Parent

Leeds was good as always but at the end of a 60 hour week with a 4-5 hour commute I was perhaps too fatigued to make the best of it. Most of the usual suspects were there and it was wonderful to see them again as well as a few from further afield. The attendance was higher than usual, but there was still plenty of space we just ran out of free doughnuts earlier.

I misremembered a conversation with Alice about bringing extra spare mugs, but thank you to Alan for bringing them.

There were plenty of workshops but they needed to be better highlighted, there was a whiteboard beyond the boardgames area with the timetable, but I didn't find this till the afternoon. With all the distractions at a juggling convention it is nice to have announcements for workshops as it is easy to lose to lose track of time. Luckily we noticed when we were about to start passing a lot of people facing Jon trying wrist-traps and realised his workshop was on (I had seen on the facebook event he was giving a workshop and had been looking forward to it) and it was a really enjoyable workshop.

The show was good, Tiff's act was amazing, the venue penalises you for accepting a lift to the pub before the show from a driver who goes in the wrong direction - by giving you a seat near the back with limited view of anything below the performer waist. So any rola-bola'ing, etc., might as well be mimed. Jon's trick with the stage lights was very entertaining.

The maze through the school to get to the sports hall was well signed except for the one junction where there was a 50% chance of going the wrong way and I accepted those odds and took it.

Much to Alastair's disbelief I won a raffle prize; with nothing I wanted to win available, I picked up something to give to the local juggling club, but managed to sell it before I left the show venue to someone who wanted a hoop more than me.

The toilets are a bit dire at the school, but I suppose it is oop north so we should be grateful they are indoors.

Mïark - - Parent

oops! forgot the #ing hastags #conventionreview #LJC2015

Brook Roberts -

Durham review:

I made the long trip up to Durham for the juggling convention. Made the decision this year to camp for the first time, and was pleased by the fact that I was in fact somwewhere between lukewark and warm in my tent setup. Quite a lot nicer having your own space, that's not right adjacent to the toilets, or in the shared sports hall! The convention seemed reasonably attended, although I do remember there being more people the last couple of years.

Getting 50% on my passing spreadsheet! A while back, I decided to try and do every passing siteswap on James' spreadsheet, and I could only tick them off after a certain number of rounds, with a clean finish, and a couple of other things. - has my progress, and the rules, on various tabs. I started about two years ago, although I had a period of about 12 months up until a month ago where I had basically stopped doing it. I look forward to the next 50%! (sort of, the difficulty of the patterns, and of finding people able to do these, is increasing).
Combat tournament - only 8 of us, but still lots of fun. Danny took me to 5-3 in the semi-final, and then I lost to Jon 5-4 in the final. Unclear if I will qualify for this European Masters, but I should be in reasonable contention when these points are counted.
Charles' workshop. I really don't remember the last time I went to a solo juggling workshop rather than a passing one. I really enjoyed this one! It was about spin control, and lots of the patterns were confusing ones, which is exactly what I like, and we rattled through at quite a pace. I had expected a few more with more than 3 clubs though. We did one, which he got off of Luke Wilson, doing 3 club cascade, with spins in a pattern of 1 12 123 23 3 31 312 12 2 23 231 31, which I think I will use as my new backcross warm up - really good for getting very comfortable with throwing good spins out of other tricks.

Lack of space at points due to part of the venue being closed for asbestos removal. I presume this will be fixed by next year though! Meant during show prep, and youth show, there wasn't really much space to juggle.
Not doing as much passing as I would like. Which is lots.


jamesfrancis - - Parent

This seems like a perfect time to tell you I recently updated my Spreadsheet to contain:
- 437 period 7 zap patterns with 5-7 clubs
- 37 period 8 club period 7s (2 sections; 1 with triple selfs and one with triple passes)
- 16 rather ambitious 9 club patterns with triple passes

By my count that puts you back to 26%

I also corrected a few of the invalid tricks.



Brook Roberts - - Parent

I do not recognize the validity of that sheet for my purposes. There is only one true sheet in all its glory.

Also, how can I trust anyone who thinks b88 is ambitious? ;)

Brook Roberts - - Parent

You are also still missing some obscure patterns.

Like whynot.

JonPeat - - Parent

My review of Durham 2015!

The workshop board was great, such a good selection of workshops! I did a quick warm up and headed over to Charle’s spin variation workshop. Learnt some new patterns and thought about some which I already do in a different way. Also enjoyed the Luke Wilson warm up which Brook mentioned.
Went to Jorgelina’s club swinging workshop which was very good indeed. It is rather difficult to make it look smooth and I felt a bit like I was fighting of a swarm of bees at some points. But it was a very good workshop and I intend to practise the moves. My arms and wrists really ached afterwards (even now they feel a bit sore).

The combat tournament. Once we managed to rope a few players in last minute (only 8 players taking part this year) we did manage to hold an enjoyable tournament. I was delighted to beat Brook in the final after another close battle (your qualification sheets were very good Orin!).

I also enjoyed trying a walking 4person popcorn passing pattern fed by Ed, with Brook and Andy. I don’t remember how many clubs and can’t write it down (que Brook!) but it was good fun although pretty hard to get your self-triples to the right place.

A really nice meal and card game with Jenni and Ed. The food, company and game playing was all just right.

The Show. I enjoyed the show very much, a great variety of acts which were all pretty polished. Stand out for me was Charles Brockbank's ring routine (already booked for Leeds convention 2015) and the tightrope act. I really enjoyed Mike's ball spinning act again and I am enjoying seeing the character developments (again, come to Leeds if you missed it!).

I had an epic solo club juggling session on the Sunday morning. Everything felt very clean and slow and I managed some good runs of patterns which I might normally struggle with. Felt really pleased as most of my practise time is spent passing these days and my solo juggling has taken a bit of a hit recently. Feels great to be back in the saddle!

Attendance. It felt very quiet. I don't know if this was a normal attendance but somehow it felt very quiet this year, where was everyone! Shame on you!

My poor siteswap passing ability. Need to spend some more time on these patterns, we just never get round to practising them.

Overall I really enjoyed Durham Convention this year. The venue is nice, the workshops are good, the show was great, it's well organised. I look forward to seeing more of you there next year!

Brook Roberts - - Parent

4 people, 14 clubs. Feeder does 7 club 2 count. Feedees do 6-count popcorn, so trelf,self,double,self,self,self.

Nicked from the rather unbelievably excellent Carpool Lane, at 5:41 - Feels eminently runnable, but my few attempts at it have struggled to get over a round (our attempts got close). I think with 4 people, all very comfortable with walking while juggling, 7 club popcorn, and weaving, it would work, but it's hard to get 4 people who are solid on all these things! Really enjoyable pattern.

^Tom_ - - Parent

That's excellent - last night I was trying to work out a pattern which is probably this one.

^Tom_ - - Parent

That'll teach me to post before thinking, or looking --- excellent pattern, but not the one I was after.

I'm after an N-shaped feed line with 4 people, 2 feeders, 13 and 14 clubs. Feeders throwing 2-count.
Suggestions on a postcard please.

Brook Roberts - - Parent

14 clubs, feeders to 8 club doubles, feedees do 6 club 4-count, catching doubles, throwing singles? Start with feeders start with the two feedees at the same time, feedees wait a bit before responding with pass.

Never done it, but seems like it would match your requirements?

^Tom_ - - Parent

That would fit, but ideally I was hoping for something with a more equal distribution of difficulty between feeders and feeders.

And if there's anything with a similar 13 and 14 club version, then that's a bonus.

... I think I hear pen, paper, and causal diagrams calling.

Maria - - Parent

Now you got me working out passing patterns too... Not a very equal distribution of difficulty in the 13-club pattern I guess, but at least it is quite similar to the 14-club pattern for the feeders.

Ah, I don't know if the causal diagrams are going to work, because I don't see them in the preview so maybe I did something wrong but I'm sure you can read it anyway.

13 clubs, feedees in 4-count on double passes and feeders 2-count with double passes to the feedees and singles to the other feeder

4b 3 3 3 4b 3 3 3
3 3c 3 4a 3 3c 3 4a
3 4d 3 3b 3 4d 3 3b
3 3 4c 3 3 3 4c 3

14 clubs, feedees doing a 4-count popcorn pattern with double passes and feeders 2-count with double passes to the feedees and singles to the other feeder

5 3 4b 3 5 3 4b 3
3 3c 3 4a 3 3c 3 4a
3 3b 3 4d 3 3b 3 4d
5 3 4c 3 5 3 4c 3

Maria - - Parent

Oh, it worked, I should have specified the hand order then... No reason to have crossing passes and feedees passing left-handed. :)

Orinoco - - Parent

Diagrams corrected - No need to add 'A:' at the start of each line. I've not made that very clear in the instructions & will clear that up.

Maria - - Parent

Great, now my previous comment doesn't make sense anymore becase you changed it so that the feeders are the ones doing lefthanded passes. ;) Thanks, but what I meant was that I would have liked the feedees starting righthanded and feeders starting lefthanded so all the passes are straight and righthanded. I knew that what I wrote would not look like that, but didn't feel like making things too complicated when I could not see the result and wasn't sure if there would be any causal diagrams at all. Would it be possible to get the diagrams to be shown in the preview of the messages? (Can anyone else see causal diagrams in the preview?)

I realized that the letters are not needed when I saw the result.

Maria - - Parent

"didn't feel like making things too complicated" sounds really lazy, what I meant was that I thought it was better to keep it as simple as possible to reduce the risk of errors.

Orinoco - - Parent

After investigating the labyrinth of possible user options turns out that no, no one could preview causal diagrams! I've just copied a change live though, so if you clear your cache1 (specifically in your case of the /js/Small-11111010.js file), causal diagrams should now show up in preview.

1 Coo, I haven't had to say that for ages!

Maria - - Parent

Am I supposed to know how to find a specific file to delete from the cache? Nevermind, I just cleared all cache.

Yes, preview of causal diagrams works now. Thank you! That will simplify things next time I want to post one. :)

^Tom_ - - Parent

Thanks for the causal diagrams! The 2nd one is pretty much exactly one of the ideas that I had half in my head on Monday night, and the 1st one is what I was trying to get clearly into my head :)

For future reference, you should normally be able to load the page in question: and then force a reload (Ctrl+R or F5 work in most browsers) to update the cache.

Of course if you delete your cache, and then it has no choice but to update the file in cache.

Maria - - Parent

You are welcome, hope you can use them. I have not tried the patterns myself but I might... Though I think the popcorn part might still be a bit too difficult for me.

Oh, so that's how it works! Thanks!

Orinoco - - Parent

So is 'trelf' a common word amongst jugglers?

Maria - - Parent

I have never heard it before, but neither have I tried passing patterns with triple-selfs yet. (When I do 6-count popcorn I do it with heffs.)

Mïark - - Parent

It's a Yorkshire word for the person who mends the website.

Orinoco - - Parent

Arf! It has taken me over 27 hours but I just got that!

Brook Roberts - - Parent

I am attempt to make it seem common by using it without explanation.

Either I or Danny came up with it, mostly because having to clarify between 'triple-self' and 'triple, self' got irritating. See also delf.

I have heard other people using it in conversation though!

Brook Roberts - - Parent

Goes with things like heff, zap and interception - I hope it becomes popular among passers, but I doubt it will outside that group!

Orinoco -

I had a great time at Camvention yesterday. Despite missing the turning, then being given some wrong directions by someone in town I managed to find the new venue pretty early, & what a lovely venue it is. I'm liking all these new modern purpose built facilities that are finally popping up around this country. Yay for water coolers.

Having a basic timetable printed on the back of the convention pass is a great idea!

Despite not feeling very juggly first thing I quickly ended up doing some feeding with Nicola & Michael. I also did some passing with Kiwi Jo, although I'm not sure she really is a Kiwi anymore because she does seem to spend a lot of time in this country. I was very amused by her request to, "Try some germs stuff".

Me: "Germs? I have no idea what that is sorry."
Jo "You know. Germs. I've seen you do it before."
Me: "Nope, never heard of it."
Jo: "Course you do. You must have heard of germs 3 count!"

Lots of people in the hall seemed to be doing long runs of 9(?) club ultimates which was looking good. I had a go on Isabelle's unicycle joined to a set of handlebars which I mistakenly thought would be relatively easy, but apparently it is very different to ride than a standard unicycle. I spent everyone of my attempts fighting to keep the front wheel on the ground. Isabelle & brother Matt showed great proficiency managing to both ride the thing at the same time.

Jon Peat was in charge of this year's combat tournament which drew 20 players. I managed to get through qualifying with 15 wins & 4 losses. I lost to Brook Roberts, Jon Peat, Dan Wood & Ashley Harris, but I was pleased to get points against all of them which is better than usual. The final point in my qualifying match against Dan Wood was interesting. The first 4 points involved a lot of stalking, tactical blocking & picking out targets. I was just getting used to Dan's subtle & precise style, when suddenly on the last point the world faded to black, apocalyptic octobass music started playing leaving a demonic Dan sprinting towards me, he's not looking at my clubs he's staring right into my soul with burning red eyes, I back pedaled as fast as I could trying to avoid a barrage of vicious strikes slashing at the very core of my being but ultimately I had nowhere to go. The world returned & I was left thinking, what the hell was that? I then managed to get through the quarter final beating Ashley 5-2 before getting steam rollered by Brook 5-0 in the semi. I was still too traumatised to offer any opposition to Dan in the 3rd place play off, but I was still very pleased with my performance. Even if the only thing anyone will remember is me crashing into a bench & falling arse over tit. Brook & Jon took things to the wire in a hard fought final which Brook won 5-4.

Before the show I got pulled into a game by Sadie & Sam & half a dozen others that they simply called chuck club which no one was particularly clear on the rules for but to me it seemed to be a load of people standing in a circle playing volleyclub without a net. It was very silly & a lot of fun, & like volleyclub is a good way to get non-passers used to dealing with bad passes!

The convenience of having the show on site coupled with comfy tiered seating was a definite win over previous years for me. Ashley & Michael opened with some glitzy Las Vegas style passing with 6 to 9 clubs. Despite the unnecessary glow it was a good routine but it does need a lot of tightening up, I don't think I would really change anything, they just need to be faster, smoother & snappier in between the juggling. I very much enjoyed Nik Robson-King's 8-rings again. Mime artist Dan Cossette who really impressed me last year with an excellent routine full of character work & variety returned with another piece called The Cave which in terms of mime I'm sure was very good but to me it seemed to be 90% feeling his way around a wall which did not interest me. The contact staff routine by the stage hand who we never did find out the name of was good but a little too close to Treuan's act that I saw in the Open Stage at BJC 2013 for my liking. Jon Peat did another superb Jon Peat routine (which began with possibly the greatest bit of stage hand work I've ever seen). I could only follow about half of it. It was awesome. Pascal performed a simple but very charming 3 ball routine then later closed the show with a fantastic high energy cyr wheel routine.

How could anyone feel awkward about having a candle lit dinner with Jon?

#Camvention2015 #conventionreview

Orinoco - - Parent

Oh & I think gezellig will be a great addition to the English language. James' Numberphile channel really is quite good too.

Daniel Simu - - Parent

GEZELLIG! See you at the EJC :D

Brook Roberts - - Parent

I had a surprisingly good time at Camvention, where I got to do much more juggling and taking part than expected. Running the show actually meant that I didn't really have to do much until 5.

As a result I did some passing with Pascal, Lewis, James, Michael and (Mark/Cameron/Ben). Highlights being 6789a and 89a feeling increasingly comfortable, teaching Michael (of Michael and Ashley, the club passing pair in the show) lots of things that weren't two count. Remarkably, he wasn't sure if he'd ever done 6 club 1 count before! Unsurprisingly, since I stuck to short period/moderately standard stuff he was a very fast learner, including not a bad run of 9 club 1 count. Really glad that him and Ashley were so keen and interested about 4 handed siteswap patterns etc (although I hope that doesn't stop them doing good shows! not sure period 15 siteswaps work great for audiences...).

Also did a cool shooting star pattern, except with 13 clubs - basically 8-count, passing straight triples, and on the selves you move to the gap (like in the normal shooting star). Good fun, and felt runnable - a very active pattern!

Very much enjoyed the combat and glad I entered - it's the first combat tournament I've entered since BJC, due to missing EJC and starting to feel like entering was a bit of something I 'should do' rather doing it because I was excited about it. Turns out my lack of practice in tournaments didn't really matter - was very on form, and although I felt a bit bad about, was also in a bit of a ruthless, lets try not to drop any points mode. Only dropped 3 in the 19 qualifiying matches (!), including one to Phil and two to Orinoco, and none in the quarter or semi. Didn't manage to repeat the trick in the final where Jon evidently remembered how to play and had a fun, challenging, even and good to watch match - which I won 5-4 in the end, although at 4-4 he didn't claim a point which was pretty close, so it was as close as can be.

Some people seem to think that I may have put Jon in a headlock during one of the points. This sounds highly exaggerated and I encourage everyone not to watch the video footage since I'm sure it's not interesting.

The show went very smoothly and I was very happy with how it went - far better than I would have imagined two weeks before when I was panicking a bit about not yet having a finalised line-up...

I'm glad the stage hand work was appreciated - especially given we actually practised in the tech run :P

Ethan - - Parent

ooooo!!! Is there a video of orin tripping over the bench? ;)

Orinoco - - Parent

Sadly, I think there will be...

JonPeat - - Parent

My convention review for Camvention 2015!

Me and Jenni travelled down with a Lewis and Dan. We managed to find the venue with a last minute sat nav intervention with Lewis's phone.

The venue was superb! Nice and new and full of water coolers. A vast hall, café on site and another a short (and pleasant) walk away. Very high ceilings, light and airy, clean floor and comfy show seating in the same venue. 10 stars all around for the venue.
There was a good spread of workshops planned for the day, though I never managed to make it up to see the studios (although I heard they were lovely).

Having missed the EJC this year I haven’t been to a convention for a little while so it was good to catch up with a few people. Did some passing with Ed before playing scrambled B with Ed, Becky and Michael in a warm up for Michael’s workshop later that morning. I (re)learnt the pattern and helped to demonstrate it. I was then given a group to look after and I was woeful. I felt very bad for my group as I wasn’t familiar enough with the pattern to help teach it very well. I ended up collaring the other demonstrators to help my group and they did make progress in the end. Awkward!

Got some nice food from the hot food serving place which was affordable and pleasant, with comfy armchairs.

The combat tournament ran very smoothly, although we did overrun by 30mins. Thank you to the organisers for taking it in good part and allowing the tournament to take place. 
I had some upsets during qualifications, including being steamrollered by Brook and Jack but overall was pretty happy. Someone gave me a black eye (might have been Brook when he got me in that headlock ;-)). Anyway, I got lucky and scraped through to the final before having the hard fought match with Brook which ended with my demise. Fair game.
It is great to see so many people taking part and the level improving all the time.

The games were taking place at this point so we headed over in time for 5ball endurance, 5 club endurance (win) and 7 ball endurance.
I then headed straight to the show area and ate some food before doing my tech run. The teching for the show was really smooth and well organised again, for me the lighting was very inoffensive which is always good.

The show was excellent! I enjoyed all the acts during the tech run and saw only a couple during the actual show (I was hiding round the back keeping warm and tweaking some tricks). Thank you for everyone who has given me positive feedback from my routine. I always only remember the errors so it was great to hear people enjoyed it. Thank you!
Oh … And thank you Mark for enlightening the general juggling population about some of our more embarrassing moments…

I then ate my own body weight of pizza with the other acts before rounding up Lewis and Dan for the long journey home.

Thank you to the Camvention organising team for putting on another fantastic event. I look forward to seeing you next year, hopefully in the same venue!

Brook Roberts - - Parent

I swear I never seem to injure anyone else! Evidently there is something in our combination of styles that doesn't seem to work out too well...

One comment I do have about the way the fight night was run, is that having the qualifications run such that you play a match, and then just self pair looking for the next person you haven't played was much better than what I've previously been part of (don't know if other recent tournaments have done this, or if this was the first).
a) Got games much faster, since didn't have to wait for the slowest pair each time
b) Could just take a quick break mid qualifying - either for water, rest, or helpfully for me, to go and deal with show stuff mid tournament
c) More space, since people were matching up and writing scores down whilst others were playing
d) All the wait time was at the end. Despite my breaks I still managed to be first to finish. However, rather than getting 18 short breaks, it meant at the end I just had one long break where again, I could actually go and eat something/do something helpful...

Are there any reasons not to always run it like this?

Orinoco - - Parent

I agree with all Brook's points, the format was a definite improvement. & well done Jon for bringing a big bag of pens which made the handful I managed to collect in my house look pitiful!

One minor tweak that I think would improve things further (if space allows) is setting out everyone's score sheets in a line in numerical order (sheets could also be prenumbered). This would've helped with finding the opponents you needed to play, as you can just find their sheet & see who marks their score on it.

Orinoco - - Parent

& because I'm going to stop being lazy & expect someone else to do it here's a pdf scoresheet using Jon's format for 30 players all prenumbered & with the self row blanked out:

Might be worth including this or something similar under the 'rules & resources' section on the FNC website Luke?

How exactly did EJC 2015 cope with 70 players in qualifying? 2+ groups?

Orinoco - - Parent

oh, & original sheet if anyone wants to tweak:

JonPeat - - Parent

I much prefer this method of qualifications for all of the points you have mentionned which is why I did it this way. There often is a long wait at the end with several people all waiting to play one final person, but that can provide extra time for organising the seedings and having them ready.
I don't really like the seperate groups method of qualifications as you can end up with a weak group and a stronger group. I think it much fairer for everyone to play everyone else.
Your qualification sheets are great Orin, I will use them at Durham next weekend. I will also get everyone arranged in a line as you suggest as that will make it easier to find your next opponent.
When you get more than 20 odd players it would perhaps make more sense to do seperate groups etc, but less than 20 I would always prefer to run qualifications this way.
Thank you for the feedback and I await Luke's comments!

Brook Roberts - - Parent

I was a bit worried it would be slow with 20 people, but it didn't feel that way to me.

For separate groups, although that is a problem, one benefit of the ranking system is that you can mitigate this quite a bit, by splitting people up, which I think is usually done. Does this not work well enough for you? It's never super accurate, but reduces the problem a lot, and any tournament that big normally has a knockout of more than 8 people, meaning it's pretty likely the 8 best get through.
I will be at Durham so look forward to it :)

Brook Roberts - - Parent

Also, I presume you are submitting the results? Are you using his new online form thing? Looks quite handy.

JonPeat - - Parent

We did the groups thing for the Netherlands Convention this year.
The groups in the Netherlands were miss matched. One 'side/line' of our group got completely pounded by the other side of the line of our group. For me personally this was super depressing and probably affected my performance in some matches which I perhaps should have won.

I also think you get problems when you try and work out the seedings from two seperate groups. If everyone has played everyone then it is black and white who goes in which position. With the groups I think some of it falls to the organiser to judge who should go through to the next stage, especially if the groups are slightly miss matched due to previously unknown (but possibly) kick ass combat players.

I would always prefer for everyone to play everyone. I understand that the other method does work fine for larger groups, but it is not something which I (personally) would like to try and organise and try to make fair because I fear I might be unsuccessful. And as the organiser of the event, I want it to be super obviously black and white fair, especially as I am taking part!

I didn't notice the online submission form so I sent it to Luke as a spreadsheet. I plan to use it for Durham, but can't yet work out how to fill it in :-/

Orinoco - - Parent

Of the many many ideas that I've not made much headway on is an opponent ranking service base on the ELO system used in chess. I think it would be good for people who can't get to/feel too intimidated to enter tournaments & would be useful in this situation for setting up qualification groups.

^Tom_ - - Parent

The next combat competition will be done using the swiss-system (apropos chess), with optional top 4/top 8 fighting for redistribution* of their points if the event demands a "finals" for entertainment purposes.

*I'm thoroughly convinced that a system where the swiss-system is just used for qualification - and the points are allocated based on knockout only (for those who qualified) is broken.

^Tom_ - - Parent

*Oops, 'The next combat competition *that I run* ...'

lukeburrage - - Parent

A swiss system for qualification has been tried twice now, and while it might be good to use as the entire tournament (though I'm not convinced), it doesn't work well for qualifying into a main draw.

In an everyone-vs-everyone system, the distribution of wins/losses is generally a nice line. There are a few people with 1 win and 14 losses, all the way up to 15 wins and no losses.

With a swiss system, there is only one person at either end, and huge bunching of people in the middle. If you have 16 people in the qualifications, and want 8 in the knockout, there is almost nothing between players 7 to 10. The have all won the same number of matches, and then because the matchups are different, it can come down to if you won or lost your first match if you are at 7 rather than 10, in the knockout or out the knockout.

This is what happened at Hamburg last year, and I wasn't very satisfied. It worked better when we tried it again at Tropical Islands this year, but that was because we played more qualification matches compared to the number of people in the tournament. In the end, everyone playing everyone is the fairest way to do it, but if that can't happen, reducing the number of matches using a swiss system isn't helpful at all. Experimenting is good though, so if you can make it work, go for it!

Orinoco - - Parent

Personally I have no problem with how qualification groups are set out. If I was in a position to win a tournament I would need to beat my opponents at some point so it would make little difference to me whether I do that in qualification or in the knockout stage. Having all the 'right' players progress to the finals is only really important for the big national & continental conventions where there is a big audience watching the spectacle.

I'll always prefer round robin qualification. Not just because it is the fairest system, but from a social point of view. I want to have a chance to meet & play everyone. However, I appreciate that time constraints & the need to present a high quality final are more important.

^Tom_ - - Parent

I agree entirely that the swiss system isn't aappropriate as a qualifying system for a main event. Ideally it should be the entire event.

In the interest of creating entertainment, where people want to watch a "finals", I would create a hybrid -- in which the swiss system is used as the tournament, points are then allocated based on finishing positions, and then the top4/8 go through to the knockout phase, seeded by place, where some proportion of the already awarded points can be "reallocated", the details of which need to be worked out, but suffice to say that it's important that place 8 can't drop enough points to go below place 9 -- I think that a modified Elo system might work for the points in the knockout phase. If the event is particularly prestigious, or comes with a swanky enough trophy, then the points don't need to be changed in the knockout, so long as people are motivated to try and are sufficiently rewarded by a good performance.

The important factor fir the hybrid method is to be able to allocate the points directly for the event, and not just report the positions.

lukeburrage - - Parent

I love this line:

"the details of which need to be worked out"

You know that "the details" are the only thing that matters, right? That's where all the hard work is. It's the details that take sports leagues and tours decades to get right, and are constantly refining to make better. Without firm details, you have literally nothing.

Tiny, tiny details can make the difference in who wants to take part in tournaments, and who is rewarded for doing so. By changing a little mechanism here and there, whole systems can implode.

For example, to make a Elo/swiss system work as a way to take players rating or ranking, someone will have to enter every score of every match of every qualification session ever. That is not a small job! If you are expecting me to do it, you have to understand that you want me to do between 15 to 20 times more data entry per tournament. If you expect the tournament organizers to enter that data, are they going to sign themselves up for so much work? Probably not! Organizing a tournament has to be as simple as possible, and it's already on the edge of being too complicated.

Also there must NEVER be an incentive for a player to not take part in a tournament. And never an incentive to do badly at a match. At every point you have to design the system that when trolls and idiots do their best to fuck other people over and only care about their own best interest, it benefits the system overall.

Again, I'm not saying don't experiment, as I always want to find new ideas and ways to make the FNC tournaments and rankings work better. Just know that the details is where everything interesting happens, they aren't just an afterthought.

^Tom_ - - Parent

Yes, I am completely guilty of saying "the details of which need to be worked out", and then going on to propose the exact details of it, and of two alternative systems -- which could be freely chosen from depending on the will of the organizer.

I guess the appropriate line would have been, "the exact details of which need
to be checked and tested", or "the exact details of which need to be neatly formulated and typesetted".

As for the incentive to not take part or to try to lose a match -- I understand that you're in part talking about the problem with alternate systems in general, but I'm rather of the opinion that my suggestion betters the current system.

And as for the extra work involved in bookkeeping -- I'm not sure if you're just using it as an example, and I know that's a reason against using an Elo system as a replacement for the tournament/ranking structure, but (depending on how your backend system works), it shouldn't be a showstopper for an alternative tournament structure (as I said, the only problem with my proposed system is if the tournament organizer doesn't have the right to allocate the points instead of the positions).

In summary, if I were wanting to arange a tournament, then, even if it were slightly more work for me to organize, I would want to do it with some alternative system such as the one I proposed if I had the right to allocate the points (within the limitations of the total points, and maximum points for the winner), and I would want to deliver a list of {players, points}, as well as the following pieces of information: {winner, 2nd place, third position}.

lukeburrage - - Parent

Yes, the extra bookkeeping for and Elo ranking system is just an example. An Elo ranking is what people ask about over and over again, and I just can't see a way to make it work without it taking loads more work than I'm willing to do!

As for letting the tournament organizer apportion rankings points for everyone who takes part in the tournament, that could be implemented without too much trouble. But without seeing the details, the exact formulas involved, and having them tested at a few dozen events at the very least, I wouldn't want to mix it in with the current system.

If you could find an equivalent tournament system with another sport, that would be the best way to show what you mean, and see what issues come up with it, and what mistakes they've made in the past and have now fixed... all that kind of thing.

Brook Roberts - - Parent

It has been mooted before having "challenger" events that excluded people who had a high ranking/were strong/whatever. And Luke has a 125 point category in his system for which your event doesn't really have to conform to much and you still get points (but only one 125 point event will count towards your ranking). Possibly this would be an option at a bigger event?

I've wondered about just running a little tournament at our club and making it count as one of these.

This wouldn't take away from ELO ratings though. If Luke included qualifying data online (and people submitted it) you'd have a very large base of head to head matches.

lukeburrage - - Parent

I'll put better instructions at the top for you and others. The Gydnia tournament used it, and it worked great. The idea is to tick all the names of people who took part, and put in how many unregistered players too part, then hit "update form". Then enter all the information, hit update again, then copy and paste the link into and email and send it to me.

Hitting update doesn't submit the data to the database, as I don't feel comfortable allowing anyone access to that kind of thing! It does, however, allow you to send the link to someone else for them to check the results, then send the new link back, or on to someone else.

lukeburrage - - Parent

For smaller tournaments, where everyone plays everyone, letting people play whoever is available works well. It's true that at the end you're always waiting for one or two people to finish their matches, and as far as I can tell it doesn't actually save much time. Maybe a few minutes over an hour.

It's also much more handy to do this when most people have taken part in a Fight Night qualifications before, and knows what's going on. With lots of new people, it can take a while for everyone to get started without completely fucking up their papers.

When playing in two groups, where everyone only plays half the other people, keeping people in lines is way easier, even if one person has to take charge a bit more. As long as the groups are roughly equal it remains fair enough, and can cut the time of the qualifications down by a lot of time.

To save time at small tournaments, I think playing two round of 8 matches at the same time is the better than cutting down on the number of qualification matches.

lukeburrage - - Parent

After the groups at the NJF were clearly unfair, I made a tool on the FNC website that could calculate much fairer qualification groups. I had this ready for the EJC, as it worked like a charm, and everyone was amazed (including me) at how smoothly the qualification ran.

See here for an example:

It ranks all players, based on a number of factors. First it puts all top 25 players in order. Then it adds anyone who has been in the top 10 since 2013. Then it adds in anyone who was in the top 4 before 2013. Then it adds everyone else currently ranked, in order. Then it adds everyone else randomly.

Next, with two groups, it puts every other player into one or other of the groups randomly. It just runs down the list, picking A or B for odd numbered players, then putting the following even numbered player into the opposite group. With four groups, it does something similar.

It repopulates the groups on refresh, so if even if the groups look a bit lopsided with the first try, keep hitting refresh until it looks good. Or keep hitting refresh until you are in a group that doesn't have to play Jochen.

At the EJC we split into 4 groups, and each group played everyone within that group. Then we took the top four players from each group. It was as fair as I could make it! There weren't any complaints.

The good thing with that system is that due to being able to get rankings points for qualifications, those who did well but didn't qualify could still get about 90 points, just from qualification. The wasn't a huge benefit from reaching the knockout and losing in the round of 16, or not in terms of points.

I like that score sheet. I'm going to steal it, because I'm going to write up the eternally empty round robin qualification guide next month:

Orinoco - - Parent

(Just added 5 spare unnumbered score sheets to the file, because someone will spill a drink over their sheet at somepoint)

ChrisD - - Parent

I greatly enjoyed Camvention too. A terrific venue, as others have already said. Masses of space so plenty of room for everyone, but a good attendance so the hall hummed. Inspiring as always to see so many fantastic jugglers doing their things. And good to catch up with old friends.

I really enjoyed the Scrambled B workshop. It was great to get to try, and begin to understand, one of these intriguing but extraordinarily complicated looking manipulator patterns. I was lucky to be paired with three more than competent passers, who I suspect were carrying my less accomplished attempts – thank you for that! Jon, far from being ‘woeful’ in assisting our group during that workshop, you were extremely helpful – thank you (and the other workshop leaders) too.

Two things that were extremely helpful from the workshop format were firstly the ‘wind back in time’ approach, where each group worked on a few beats of the pattern until they had some success, then started at a point a few beats *before* that, so as to lead into a familiar section. And secondly the instruction to ‘follow a certain juggler’ from the four demonstrating. I was assigned to follow Jon so, Jon, with that being the closest I’m ever likely to get to ‘juggling like Jon Peat’, plus your organising the combat *and* performing that fiendishly inventive and accomplished spot in the show, I would make you my review ‘crush’ had Mark not arguably overdone that bit already as show compere, as you alluded to. I’ll just have to go for all the graceful hula-hoopers as usual…

Jed and Ben, from our Norwich club were at Camvention too and were also at the Scrambled B workshop – we, plus Matt, had fun trying to build on what we learnt yesterday evening. If anyone can point me to a video of the variation taught in the workshop, please do. We are getting there, but not yet sure about everything.

I also got my Diabolo out for the first time in years, and enjoyed attending a workshop. I really must practice Diabolo this time (as opposed to my usual balls and clubs) rather than leave it aside until a convention months or years later as usual. And I enjoyed a couple of games of Battle Sheep, courtesy of Lazy Juggler – taking a copy home for the family.

The show was excellent – 8 very varied acts, all highly accomplished in their own ways, and very ably compered by Mark Watson. I had brought along a friend’s son, Seb, who I taught to juggle clubs recently. He was well impressed by Ashley and Michael (from who’s club-passing act I enjoyed the popcorns particularly). The high points for me were Pascal’s Cyr wheel and Nik’s mesmerising ‘8-ring’ isolations. But there were no lows in a consistently good show, and indeed a consistently good convention – thank you Camvention organisers.

Brook Roberts - - Parent and are videos of Unscrambled B (note it is canonically referred to as Unscrambled B. Main reason being that everyone just walks round in a circle with no overlapping, so it is less scrambled than the others).

"How to Steal from your Friends", Aidan's intro book to scrambled patterns, is available at and describes Unscrambled B, although it is rather outdated now in terms of being not very comprehensive nor using modern notation.

I believe the Aidan notation for the pattern is:

A: B S | C S | B S -> B
B: A S | S S | A S -> C
C: S S | A S | S S -> A
M: IAB | CBB | SBA -> M

Notation for other manipulator patterns (although only showing the 'to' subscript, not the 'from' superscript, links to videos and a basic explanation can be found at (note this is a copy that probably won't get updated).

There is yet to be a good document/book explaining Aidan notation - I would like to change that/get something out, but probably no time soon.

ChrisD - - Parent

Many thanks Brook, that's just what I was looking for. It will take a bit of study! At the moment, the videos and Aiden's description of the substitution on Unscrambled B look simpler than it felt to me at the time - specifically I think the manipulator and the other person involved were exchanging extra clubs each time. But that might just be how it felt to my scrambled brain at the time.

Orinoco -

Crawley Circus Festival 2015

A good turnout from TWJC this year: myself, Kevin, Simon, Archie, Paul, Louisa (not Laura), Jenny, Simon, Cat, Karina, Ulysses, Other Paul, John/Bruce, Laurence, Robin, Other Simon, Laura, George & Jerry. A few mum's, wives, friends & even the long time MIA Dave L, Helen & their 3 kids put in a welcome appearance for the show as well.

The weather was perfect for the whole weekend. Scheduling the event to coincide with a beautiful full moon was a nice touch which made my late night, "who's still up?" walks very pleasant. Wasps seemed to outnumber humans 8 to 1 this year so it was interesting checking out people's anti-wasp measures which included distracting honey pots, defensive smoking candles & offensive fly swats that doubled up as spanking paddles once the wasps had gone to sleep.

Paul & Louisa (not Laura) brought along a double & single inflatable sofa that inspired most of the tiny amount of juggling I did over the course of the festival. The single was very good for paddidling if you could get it started. With the double I had fun sitting back & juggling 3 over head, throwing one high then throwing one as hard as I could into the seat next to me to bounce back up into my hand before catching the first high ball.

This year saw our most successful pizza run ever. From commencing the order to having the pizza in my hand only took an astonishing 1 hour 19 minutes. This included determining what everyone wanted & placing the order in a truly remarkable 31 minutes. This was easily half the time of our previous best effort & all it took was applying the pressure of having a stopwatch running & me barking at everyone. I even managed to get a hefty discount by smiling sweetly over the phone too! After eating so early I was initially at a loss for what to do with the rest of the evening. Next year I believe we can shave a few more minutes off the time by getting Karina to drive forwards rather than reversing to the pizza place to pick them up.

I sadly failed to get anyone lost in the woods this year due to a lack of adventurous spirit on their part. Why worry? It's only dark & the only person who is likely to leap out at you is me. Maybe one day they will learn that you can see better if you turn your torch off.


Saturday morning Richard did the toast fairy thing in a set of splendid steampunk themed shoulder pads which tended to slip into a splendid steampunk themed bra as he walked.

Stephen asked me to stand in for Amie in the annual club stealing workshop while she looked after Lucas & newborn Jake. Being the consummate professional that I am I turned up late & not entirely sober. Our early demonstrations went well & the later ones got the point across! I'm sure Stephen changes the names of the tricks just to confuse me though. I had a lot of fun & surprised myself with the amount of tips I was able to give on the subject as I went round the participants (no idea if any of them were useful or not but that's beside the point).

In the afternoon I had a brief juggle on the lawn & had a go with LP's Salerno ring. I was quite pleased to still be able to do it having not touched one since Bungay. Kev, Simon & Archie all had a go with mixed results. Archie did particularly well considering he hadn't learnt to balance a club on his chin yet. Some bloke called Tiff wandered through & showed us how it should be done.

The Show

Guiding us through the evening as compère was magician & comedian Christian Lee who did a great job of keeping the show going at a good pace with lots of enjoyable silly skits. His puns were so wonderfully awful that they made you hate yourself for enjoying them so much which is everything a pun should be.

Marky Jay did a quite frankly ridiculous spot where he span one diabolo with 13 sets of handsticks. I enjoyed the silly banter & the over the top dramatic music. Kellie Sky did two spots on silks, neither of which appealed to me. She did lots of impressive demanding stuff but I couldn't find anything to get excited about. Helen Orford also did two hula hoop spots, both were good & I particularly liked the quick change performed while spinning many many hoops which was a lovely surprise finish to her first set. I preferred her second spot though primarily because of the very sexy outfit but also because of the moody dubstep violin music (Crystallize by Lindsay Sterling) which fit the piece & the moves she performed very well.

The Void performed his Seriously routine which I have watched a few times on jtv, so it was lovely to finally see live. Later in the evening Jenny commented that, "he looked like the fit teacher in a school talent contest". Make of that what you will.

Also doing two spots was Mathew Tiffany first juggling & spinning rings, then doing a lovely set consisting of some old school combination tricks from the likes of Francis Brunn, some old props including the Salerno ring while juggling 5 balls. In between all that was a fun phonecall to his gran to wish her happy birthday & a flurry of crazy 5 ball stuff as a tribute to Ben Beever that would have made Ben proud.

Nearly There Yet presented a sensational duo acrobalance routine. They performed in silence which I always think is a gamble because your material has to be good enough to make the audience provide the soundtrack, but in this case it certainly was. The opening sequence where the flyer made a series of very precise & subtle jumps up the base's body while he went from lying down to standing was just fantastic. I also really liked the theatrical expressions which were cleverly framed between each others' arms & legs as they moved through the piece to really draw the attention. There were a number of genuinely scary, "how is he going to catch her if things go wrong from that position?" moments. A really striking act, wonderful stuff.

Closing the show was the sensational Ulrike Storch from Germany. She won me over just by the way she walked on stage to get in position before the music started. Her entrance was effectively the equivalent of grabbing the microphone & announcing, "Hi, I'm going to be fucking good". From start to finish every single move she made radiated class, the act was a masterpiece in how to project power & confidence. I loved every twirl, every stylish flourish of her hands, every sexy wiggle of her hips, the way she picked up her props, the way she swept her hair around her neck before upending herself onto the table. This paragraph is already sounding like a love letter & I haven't even mentioned her foot juggling yet which was fluid & precise with tricks that ranged from fast & flashy to slow & graceful all expertly choreographed to the pace of the music. Stunning, incredible, beautiful, superlative, superlative, superlative, superlative, superlative.

No review of the show would be complete without a brief mention of stage hand extraordinaire Haydn Earle (WOOOO!)


Mata opened with the traditional beer poi, then he did a rope trick where audience volunteers should've failed to get a ring off of a loop of rope wrapped around the necks of two volunteers but one of the kids came up with a far simpler solution! LP performed the golf club balance, Jugglebug attempted to hula hoop while bouncing along on all fours across the stage. Bungle taped drawing pins, sprung loaded mousetraps & a pair of pants to his clubs which he juggled while telling us his favourite joke. Void showed Jugglebug the correct pronunciation of zyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcba & also told us a joke backwards. Ieuen tied his wrists together with his belt then juggled 3, 4 & 5 balls, Jack did some top 3 ball stuff, someone sang how much is that doggy in the window backwards, a young girl did an impression of a rabbit's nose with her chin, Laura did a nice song while providing her own percussion by drumming her hands & a cup on the stage. Other stuff probably happened.

Late in the evening I learned things about my fellow TWJC members that I cannot unlearn. Poor Jerry.


Some people felt my celebration after beating ~12 year old George at Quoridor on Sunday morning may have been a little bit excessive.

I enjoyed sitting on the lawn listening to Tiff, Paul & another chap playing tunes while I chatted to Archie's mum & watched everyone playing with various toys.

The Games

I think Kevin had won the fancy dress competition from the moment he stepped from behind the marquee onto the playing field. Decked out in a stunning pink & black top hat & tails with kinky boots, an elegant cane & various clockwork embellishments, he looked superb even without getting the smoking stack on his hat to work properly.

Simon won the 3 club gladiators, Kevin won the face balance endurance, Bungle won the 5 ball gladiators with a pacifist run, Danny Colyer put in a very good performance to win the unicycle race after Matt from Southend impressively stacked it a few metres from the line with his shoe lace wrapped around one pedal. Kids these days just don't understand the value of preparation. Matt also suffered during the numbers game when he found himself as the rope in a tug of war match between two groups. However, when that was over the winning group recounted & found they didn't need him after all so Glyn mercilessly threw him to the ground & steered the group away. How is it that I'm the one with the reputation for being ruthless at this game? Jack caught me a treat during the hopping gladiators & sent me flying, I had a heart stopping moment when I hit the ground where I genuinely thought I might have dislocated my right shoulder. Fortunately this was not the case & I was able to move it again after about 10 minutes!

#crawley #CrawleyConvention2015 #conventionreview

Wizard - - Parent

It was, as always, a great weekend. Lou, Jerry and I enjoyed it, although Lou and I are remarkably less traumatised than Jerry by our experiences!. This was the first Juggling convention in about 2 years we've been to where we haven’t had kit destroyed by the weather, so that made a nice change. Thanks to Dave and the team, looking forward to next years already.

JonPeat -

Nederlands Jongleer Festival 2015 Review

Last weekend was the 25th Annual Nederlands Jongleer Festival! It was my first time attending the convention. Me and Ed had an early start on the Thursday morning, hooked up with Lewis and Rosie and managed to get breakfast at the airport before our flight to Schipol. Took a moment to enjoy the juggle juice bar before getting the train to Roosendaal and the on to Oudenbosch.

I Liked:
Tons of free sandwiches from the plane.
Unintentional punning
Windmill spotting
The nice big sports hall and the nice grassy area outside.
Most of the weather, we had only one rainy day.
Our (included in the convention price) NJF limited edition water bottle and amusing stickers.
The food! Lovely evening meals and breakfast included in the ticket price.
The number of Brits. Half of Cambridge seemed to be there!
The Gala show! So many acts and all very good. One of the best shows I have seen in recent memory.
Our camping spot - managed to grab the shade under the trees meaning the tent didn’t get too hot in the mornings.
Pillow Pets!
Passing so many interesting manipulator passing patterns.
The shops being so close to the camping, a pleasant morning stroll.

I Disliked:
Our train to Roosendaal being 2mins late which meant we watched our train to Oudenbosch pulling away from the station as we pulled in.
The show seating. Chairs on floor level meant the first 5 rows got a good view but everyone else’s view sucked. The opening show was spoiled for me by not being able to see most of it. Also, most people around us were playing on their phones or talking amongst themselves as you couldn’t see anything. (it was Wes’s ‘Volcano Vrs Palm Tree’ solo piece. It was miles better at Cumbria because we were so close to the action and everyone felt a part of what was going on.)
We decided to miss the Netherlands Vrs Belgium show as in order to get good seats we would have had to queue at the venue for the hour before the performance. We decided to do that for the Gala show instead, but not both.
My back after the first night, went to the supermarket and bought a single airbed for 8euros, problem solved! AND managed to fit it in my case to bring home, get in!

Ieuan - thank you for being my winged messenger!
Ed, Lewis and Rosie - thank you for being good travel companions, I had a lot of fun.
Jasper - for being our travel guide for the journey home.
Bob Carr - Organising the open stage and being so lovely and pleasant to speak to.
Luke - For organising the fight night and for his obvious joy at finally beating Jochen. I also really enjoyed his act during the gala show, that was an interesting machine and a great performance. I can't describe it but I enjoyed it. :-)

The convention was really great! I would have loved for it to have gone on for an extra couple of days as I had just about got into the swing of things before it was time to leave.
I went with the objectives of doing well in the fight night and passing new manipulator patterns.
I would have liked to do better at the fight night, but once again I was beaten by the eventual winner of the tournament so I have no shame. The competition was very hard.
Totally succeeded in the passing.
Here is a good video of something we got up to:
I think the link will work for people not on facebook, if not sorry.

I had a blast at the Dutch Juggling Convention!
Thank you to the organisation team, hopefully see you again next year!


P.S Join in with a review if you attended or post a link if you have photos. :-)


Daniel Simu - - Parent

Low: Food on Thursday
Goal: Hosting the NL/VL show in the best way possible, CHECK
Bane: Getting up on Saturday at 6:00 to do a gig, 3 hours driving away...
Crush: Amazing Marcel was even better than in my memory! (You wouldn't know, you missed the show!)
Surprise: Ehh... the bottles where a nice addition :)

JonPeat -

Mini convention review for Ballring Juggling Convention 2015

This Saturday the 28th February 2015 was the Ballring Juggling Convention held at the University of Birmingham (UK).
We had an early start, collected Jay on route and arrived at the convention in good time, mainly due to Jay’s knowledge of the Birmingham road network. If I had relied solely on my sat nav it could have all gone horribly wrong.

I Liked:
Club passing with the main man, Lewis Kennedy.
Seeing a seven ball neck catch on a unicycle. Who was that guy?
Passing Chopabout with Ben and Lewis and Dan before the show.
The show! It was short and sweet, but the acts were great. I enjoyed Matthew Green being himself and enjoying being on stage, I always enjoy it when Stumpy comperes (although I thought he was better at Lestival a couple of years ago) and I feel the audience let him down a bit, Mike was great and I enjoyed his more relaxed music ;-), Tom performed his lovely singing in the rain routine, Fred performed her club routine which was super smooth, Lisa performed her hula hoop routine, very techy hooping (I thought she was much better this time then at Bath JC).
The star of the show was Alexis Levillon! Alexis performed a jaw dropping diabolo routine entitled ‘Infinity’. It was astounding. It has been a long time since I saw a routine anything like it. It was first class. (I was delighted to find out that anyone who missed it at Ballring might get a second chance to see it at the BJC this year.)
The after show curry. I thought that the quality of the food was good and it was great that we could order anything off from the menu with our curry tickets.

My big major number one dislike of the convention: Hecklers during the show [1].
The room. Every year the Ballring convention gets more popular (and rightly so) but that means the room is getting smaller each year. For the first time the room felt much to small this year. It felt a bit like the London Convention in this respect (although if people bumped into you they apologised, unlike at the London convention...)
The curry house was full to bursting point and it was very loud. Good food and company, but we were pretty exhausted afterwards and also feeling a bit head achy.

All in all we had a great time at The Ballring Juggling Convention and we very much look forward to coming again next year! Thank you to the Ballring organising team! :-)

This is the ranting section, sorry.
[1] Hecklers: The people sat behind us during the show were obnoxious and rude. They had either smoked something wacky or were drunk. They heckled acts during the show and spoilt it for us. They also spoilt Alexis’s routine for him (and his experience of performing for us) as his drops were due to their shouting. When will people realise that heckling acts during a show is rarely funny? Some acts invite heckles as their routine interacts with the audience and is meant to be funny, these have been my best recollections of some genuinely funny heckles. However, just yelling stuff in the middle of performer’s routines is not funny and is rude and disrespectful to the acts. IMO. Rant over. Sorry.


It's Him - - Parent

The audience in the Birmingham convention shows has been a disappointment for the last couple of years. The heckling isn't enjoyable but neither was the whoop whoop whoop from the people behind us last year and especially not the strange purring noises this year. Some of the other comments from the people behind us aren't worth dignifying with more attention.
For a short and rushed show I found the level of skill and variety was excellent. Alexis's diabolo routine was definitely mindblowing but I felt that Stumpy bigging him up before he went on actually took away from it especially as his one diabolo stuff was nothing special. Tom's routine is always classy. Fred shows more stage presence each time I see and Mr Green was his normal unique self. I really enjoyed the spinning ball routine but felt that the five clubs on a rola bola as a finish should have been left out as it didn't fit in with anything else.This was the first time I have seen Lisa's hula hoop routine and I thought that it showed great technical skills. However there was a lot of repetition (ok at the start it was because she messed up a trick twice) especially at the end where the one hoop stuff felt like it was there to get to the end of the music track. The other thing was the whole routine felt like it was a derivative Gale Francis routine and if I want to watch Gales routine then I'd prefer to see Gale do it.
Unfortunately I didn't see the 7 ball to neck catch on a unicycle but I did see some pretty impressive stuff. Much of that was by people I already know or those who would later be in the show but Taiyo Kishi was particularly impressive (and yes I have booked him for MKJC). The second half of my day was spent in the underground room which was roomier and had the Milton Keynes jugglers in it. There was also an extremely good freestyle german unicycle lady who was particularly impressive with her one footed standing glides (I didn't get her name but she had the green unicycle).

Chris - - Parent

The green-unicycled German lady is Dorris. She's very good, and performed at Chocfest and Manchester.

JonPeat -

Bath Juggling Convention 2015 - Mini Review

Here follows a brief review of the Bath Juggling Convention 2015.

Great big hall, plenty of room for everyone.
Nice show venue with a good view of the entire stage.
Seeing some folk who I do not get to see very often due to geography.
The show acts were of high quality.
The place on campus where we had our tea. Good food and we arrived before the rush.

The show venue having a maximum capacity meaning some people were unable to purchase a show ticket.
Arriving at the reg desk only to be told that the convention tickets have to be purchased from another building across campus. We weren't the only ones who had to make this trip.
Having felt pen drawn on my hand to prove I have paid. Is my convention ticket not valid proof of payment?
Having to move all our stuff in the hall halfway through the morning as that particular wall was needed for a unicycle workshop. Perhaps stick signs up before people arrive and put their stuff there?
Halfway through the day the Uni staff declaring that only white soled trainers were allowed in the hall.

Found very funny
‘half shower’ being called during 5 club endurance. I ignored it because I thought it was joke...
Marky Jay’s compering of the show, I was greatly amused.
The raffle. (deserving of its own thread..?)
Convention thank you’s.

There were just a few organisational things which need clearing up to make next year run a little smoother, however Bath remains one of my favourite conventions of the UK convention scene and I look forward to coming again next year!

Cheers, Jon


jamesfrancis - - Parent

Likewise easily one of my favourite one day conventions.

Highlights for me were:
- Passing with Will whom I haven't seen for ages
- 11 clubs with Brook
- Marky Jay compare; genuinely hilarious
- Generally good quality show for a 1 day convention
- Masses of room and on site amenities

Lowlights / other stuff
- the obligatory 10 minute drive around the unsignposted campus until I find the correct car park (one day I'm going to master this)
- The theatre staff who couldn't seem to understand what to do when people had pre-paid tickets
- Danny's eye post combat trauma
- Some people missing the show due to new smaller unpublicised venue
- the long drive home complete with road closures
- No distracting rugby like usual so I actually had to chat to people during dinner. Luckily they were reasonably good company.

Thanks to the orgs, and I will be back again next year

Orinoco - - Parent

Just leaving this here: #UpChuck2015

Orinoco -

I went to Romvention 2014 yesterday. Kev & I had far more success with locating breakfast this time round, finding a very good cheap cafe 5 minutes walk from the venue which set us up well for the day. The venue was fantastic. Very easy to find, a good sized main hall (although the lights in the ceiling weren't ideal for anything involving looking straight up) & a cafe plus more space for games, workshops & the evening show in the building next door.

The programme for the event was every bit as good as the flyer. Sadie, Nigel & I enjoyed going through & picking out the myriad of mistakes early on in the day. This is a very cheap & easy form of entertainment that should be a feature of all festivals! Sadie & I also had great difficulty in recalling the Camvention show lineup for Nigel. I know why I can't remember things but Sadie is a youngster so I've no idea what her excuse is.

Workshops were announced regularly over the PA system. After the first one I noticed something odd. The sound was clear & I could make out every word. That's just crazy for a juggling convention. Well done to whoever was in charge of the music too, lots of funky, enjoyable stuff that proved very easy to jam to.

From TWJC we managed to get 2 out of 3 of our new kids along for the day (Gustav, you suck) which provided them with a nice introduction to the wider juggling world. We barely saw Archie all day because he was going to so many workshops. Both cleaned their parents out at the Oddballs stand.

Andy Fraser had a go on Kev's unicycle & commented, "If you twist quickly the fluffy dice hit your bum which is an odd sensation". So that's why Kev enjoys unicycling so much. Matt helped me out with some lefty righty 6 & 7 club patterns that I really should be doing more of. During the session I went through a number of satisfying, "this is impossible, this is impossible, oh perhaps its not" moments. Jack demonstrated a great trick where he gripped a ball between his heels, placed his hand behind his head then flicked the ball straight up into it. He managed this first go. Then failed the next 20 or so attempts. Bungle spent most of the afternoon waddling around keeping his knees together after ripping his shorts while lunging to catch a pass.

Before the Gala show they presented a slideshow of photos taken throughout the day which was a nice touch. The action shot of Rich's face hooping was a crowd favourite.

Stumpy, Gale & Chazz did mostly the same stuff that I had just seen a couple of weeks ago at Camvention 2014 but were still a pleasure to watch again. Keith Marshall persevered well through his impressive but very droppy high level poi act, disheartening because when he is on form he is amazing. Mark Steyn was his usual captivating self with his fluid contact juggling.

James Gilroy did a magic routine. Remember LP's recent post about magic acts? Sorry, there was none of that. I found the use of constantly changing music over the top of his patter was as subtle as a brick & really distracting. I think it was Luke Wilson who first told me (echoed by many others since) that the skill of a magician is in performing your tricks in full view of the audience. You shouldn't be able to see how a trick is done, even when you know how it is done. Disappearing off stage to prepare one of your tricks is not the best way to do this.

Arthur Hyam was far more magical. From start to finish Arthur had every last bit of my attention but I still couldn't work out how half of his tricks were done. Splendid stuff. Sam Goodburn was also on fine form while getting dressed & preparing a bowl of cereal while riding a unicycle. I love his cheeky stage persona, it's as if he is teasing the audience & clearly enjoys being on stage. Worth seeing for the smiley face pants alone.

I wasn't sure about Garaghty & Thom at first because their 6 club pick up was clearly a copy of Haggis & Charlie's classic routine, but they managed to win me over because they did it very well & added a lot of their own material. The hat routine was very funny & demonstrated a wonderful understanding of audience psychology. & how can you not love a man who gets naked for the final curtain call.

Act of the show for me was Nik Robson-King with his beautifully worked isolations of 2 figure 8 shaped props. It's strange because if you think about it, he's only really doing one trick, but he does it so fluidly that it is absolutely mesmerising & a joy to watch like complex clockwork. Don't think I didn't notice the spectacular shoes & the gliding foot work too. I could've watched it for twice as long.

Well done to Chrises Brown & Sullivan & the rest of the team for a very enjoyable first event. Everything seemed to run very smoothly & everyone I spoke to was enjoying themselves. I very much hope to see you again next year!

#Romvention #conventionreview

Orinoco - - Parent

Oh & how could I forget, highlight of the day: Max Oddball beating Brook at 3 club gladiators!

The Void - - Parent

*chuckles several times*

iMark - - Parent

Captivating - I like that very much indeed!


iMark - - Parent

A muggle friend joined me for the show in the evening and 30 seconds in to Nik's routine he exclaimed "holy shit" and sat in captivated silence for the remainder of the performance :)

^Tom_ - - Parent

"Act of the show for me was Nik Robson-King"

Nah, I'm sure you must be thinking of Nick Robsob- king

Little Paul - - Parent


Orinoco - - Parent

The photos used for the preshow slideshow can be found here (requires Facebook login *sigh*) & here's the best one.

It's Him -

A different review of BJC2014

Although I was on the crew and spent quite some time doing that I am not going to focus on the workshops because apart from the two I ran I didn't see any. Everyone else who ran a workshop is a complete star and I apologise to Marcen and Bekka in that whilst their workshops were on the internet version of the timetable they didn't get transferred to the hard copy. I would be interested to know how many people used the online timetable as it took a huge amount of time but possibly wasn't recognised as a good thing.

So anyway, we arrived on Thursday and the family sorted out the caravan whilst I went shopping. I came back to find the awning had been erected which was great for me but less so for Tracey as she has been suffering with muscle strains in her shoulder and injured herself more. I spent about 40 minutes getting the caretakers to give us access to the water point and later we were given a guided tour of the site by Kat Bown. This was the only time I went in to the main hall. Went to bed early after having made some mental notes of where things would be going and what signs were needed.

Friday was expectedly busy with Topper and the God Emperor himself being extremely helpful in getting signs put up in appropriate places. I also managed to get the caretakers to clear the whole workshop area which was fantastic as I was expecting to have to do that myself with whomever we could rope in. It was a bit weird with all the teaching staff still in the building but we managed. About 3pm I was asked to manage the hard standing area and spent most of the next 5 hours playing tetris with caravans. About 3 hours in I realised that I had put a van right at the back that needed to leave on Sunday and so we broke the school rules by driving him on the grass and dodging tents. We were rapidly running out of space to put vans and were lucky no more came than did. Tracey did a grand job of feeding me in stages as I directed traffic. I was also lucky to sample some of Little Pauls' Lemon Drizzle Cake, which was delicious.

Saturday started with a fire alarm. The fire assembly point was the MUGA (multi-use games area) which was of course locked. Later in the convention one of the crew would acquire the key but would not appear when the next fire alarm went off until after we were allowed back in. Much of the day was a blur. I do remember the 5 ring circus show which was performed by a group of 19 young people and lasted about an hour. A few bits of this I had seen performed before but it was still most impressive and professional. In many ways it was the most cohesive show of the whole event probably because there was no compere and therefore the segues had been thought about in more detail. The range of skills displayed was also good and the bravery of the kids who went to the top of the three high standing pyramid was immense. I wouldn't have wanted to do it, even if there were a strong enough crew to hold me.

Sunday Tracey and I managed to get in 20 minutes passing practice before the BJG meeting. Bryn managed to get a photo of this. It was the only time I juggled clubs all week. The BJG meeting was started by Jack and hijacked by Ewan and Ron (most discourteously I thought, I am sure they had their reasons but it would have been politer to let Jack go through his talk before presenting their thoughts), I left after 20 minutes. I ran my complete beginners Devil Stick workshop, hopefully it was appreciated. Eventually 4pm occured and we all headed into Sheffield. Most of the Milton Keynes crew were on the same bus and were in high spirits. Mark decided that he would do a selfie with everyone on the bus (apart from the driver) and these are now somewhere in facebook land. We managed to find a pizza hut to eat at (along with at least 30 other jugglers) and this seemed to be more than the restaurant could cope with as service was slow and they made a couple of mistakes (resulting in price reductions and extra pizza). From there we made our way to the show venue and after a brief discussion with the usherette lady who seemed to think that just because half of the group had stall tickets and half had gallery that meant we couldn't sit together, we went in. At this point I am going to turn in to a grumpy old juggler. The balloon chains are now so old hat that they are passe. I may have been one of the people who instigated the idea back in the 90s but I am now very bored of them. It is time for those jugglers with imaginations to come up with a completely different way of amusing the audience before the show starts. It used to be paper aeroplanes, now it is balloon chains, maybe next year it can be something original and amusing. The show was the usual mish mash of good and not so good acts. I felt the Voodoo act was not really suited to the cabaret stage and the music conflicted with Pete's commentary. Emil Dahl's act was to downbeat (especially after the diabolo team) to close the show. Why we needed another Wes Peden clone I don't know. I've seen this style of act many times and whilst I can appreciate the difficulty of the technical moves this act has very little appeal to me now and I'd like to see something that is truly different. The diabolo act was a case in point. Unfortunately the girl was a bit droppy (especially after she had pulled off a hard trick and then relaxed) but the two guys were solid, the extra long string I imagine spurred many to try that trick and the breaking of the fourth wall with an extremely long throw was magical. The technicality was superb throughout and the show was upbeat, it should have closed. Other acts that stood out for me (and I apologise for not knowing the names) were the vest guy, the guy with the saw and surprisingly the chinese pole guy. I had assumed all the way through his act that he was cheating and so was surprised to find that he wasn't. After getting back to the site I had to work but around 01:30 managed to get in with a game of poker. Fortunately there were a couple of players who weren't very experienced and the cards were falling in my favour and I walked away with a £10 profit.

Monday dawned. I was very busy during the day. I managed to fit in a 90 minute practice of the Concrete Circus act just before BYJOTY. In general I would say that the level of acts were similar to last year and though I didn't vote for him I could understand why Arthur won. His was the most polished routine and his performing experience (I had seen him in the show at Ball Ring) showed. My vote went to Cal Courtney because of the character he brought to the stage. His act was much more droppy but still a very high technical level. After the routines and the voting had finished the best trick competition began. Just before that I had encouraged my younger son to take part because there is no-one else his age doing the tricks he can do. He managed to pull off the first of his two hardest tricks first time, the second took more attempts but he still landed it after a few goes. After that I could tell he didn't know what to try as a third trick but he tried a couple of things that didn't work. As a ten year old going up against people twice his age he may have won because he was half the size of the other competitors but he still did two extremely difficult and awesome tricks, neither of which I can do. About 00:30 I managed to get some practice time for my show the next day. I was interrupted about half way through by the security guards clearing the area of people who might want to sleep upstairs (something I had mentioned to Bryn on the Saturday). Practice went ok but I kept forgetting the last few moves.

Tuesday. The day was mainly taking up with shows. At 10am Concrete Circus were practicing their show for about 90 minutes. After that I was involved in the tech rehearsal for the open stage. Then came the tech rehearsal for the Youth Circus show and then came the two shows themselves. At some point I realised that I wasn't going to have time to get the workshop boards done and fortunately Miark stepped in to the job and got it all done admirably. The kids pretty much nailed their act in a Youth show that had a much bigger audience than the 20 or so who turned up last year. I think the audience enjoyed a high level of skill and comedy from people aged 6 to 20. I didn't get to see the Torwood Wheeler show as I was backstage at the time. My act was on second which meant that I didn't have to worry about waiting for too long. It started well enough but about 30 seconds in I realised that my trousers were slipping down and that the bottoms of the legs were now under my feet. This made my act somewhat static. I survived with about 3 drops and with my trousers not around my ankles but the show could have been better. After the show the acts were treated to a buffet meal. This was a nice treat from Kat and her crew.

Wednesday. Another blur of a day. I went to the business meeting which was well managed by Lorri. I didn't agree to be on the crew next year as this year had been so frantic that I had had no time for myself. I will probably still offer a workshop or two and may be involved in one or more of the shows. I got to see my daughter perform in the kids renegade which was my only involvement in that this year. After which we all turned into the bat family and headed to the atrium. Various people took our photo but I have yet to see a copy of Bat-Roders' Assembled. The wait before the award ceremony and then the show was way too long and shortly after the show we all went to bed.

Thursday was spent clearing up, saying goodbye and making sure our awning wasn't destroyed like last year. We left about 15:30 and pretty much collapsed when we got home. I go away from BJC tired, hoping that I did a good job and proud of what my family did. 


Chris - - Parent

RE: The online timetable.

It certainly piqued my interest before the convention started, and gave me an idea of what sort of workshops to look out for. I didn't use it at all during the convention however, and I don't remember anyone else using it either (although I could be totally wrong about that).

It was a shame that the boards were only displaying the workshops for that day. I missed a few early workshops because the board hadn't been updated when I had gone to check. I was impressed by the range on offer though. I particularly enjoyed learning to throw knives (I think the guys name was John).

It's Him - - Parent

The workshop boards for the next day appeared the day before on each occasion but sometimes they appeared relatively late. There was a number of reasons for this. Firstly the smaller white boards were only painted on the Friday and as they were supposed to take three days to cure couldn't be used immediately. The CircusWorks workshops in the Atrium on the Monday and Tuesday were only decided in the afternoon of the Sunday and so whilst the signup sheets were on the reg desk before everyone left at 4pm the boards weren't completely finished until later. There was also the problem that I had over committed myself to doing a number of things (two shows, the workshop co-ordination and supplying various kit including one of the aerial rigs and one of the tightropes) and as the week progressed I ended up with less and less time. Interestingly the online timetable was much more up to date than the whiteboards until we got to Tuesday. the aerial sessions never made it on to the online version because they were all signed up by the time I had a free moment to do it.


It's Him - - Parent

Also John Taylor was the knife throwing person. His workshops were regularly oversubscribed. He has a facebook page or‎ is a starting link but less useful.


mike.armstrong - - Parent

How feasible is it to run the workshop board from a projector? Then it doesn't need writing up each day, the online version and the "workshop board" stay in sync and it can be made mahoosively wall-sized very easily

It's Him - - Parent

At Carton, very feasible. They had on the stage a very large white board with built in projector that could be used.


emilyw - - Parent

A white board that you could also draw on?

Little Paul - - Parent

have you ever tried to use a smartboard?

In my experience, they're fine for drawing arrows or circling things on powerpoint presentations - but they right royally suck for writing anything as the pens/sensors drift out of alignment at the slightest provocation - and writing when your pen is 2" away from where the text is appearing is erm...

Or did you mean a real whiteboard you happen to be projecting onto?

emilyw - - Parent

I mean, does whatever thing Nigel is describing facilitate jugglers adding workshops without requiring IT assistance :-)

It's Him - - Parent

Not sure, I didn't play with it but I'd assume that IT would be needed at some point.

What we didn't have the chance to use was the schools information screens, which could have shown the workshops for the next hour or other useful info.


Richard Loxley - - Parent

I used the online timetable before I arrived, and then again on the first day to plan my week.

After that I just referred to the boards each day because (a) it was more convenient (b) I suspected they had more chance of being up-to-date.

But seeing the provisional timetable for the whole week in advance was very useful to me.

^Tom_ - - Parent

Workshop planning/online timetable

I've been thinking about making a number of tools to help BJC organisation in general, and one I'm thinking about at the moment in particular is workshops.

The idea would be a tool where you can input/import workshops offered, spaces available (with times), arrange the workshops within those slots, and view/display the resulting schedule.

I'm a believer in the idea of if it's good, people will use it, and if people don't use it, it needs to be better... so a) it will take some time and with before it will be ready for use, b) if anyone else (*cough* Orin *cough*) is working on anything similar, please get in touch as I have some ideas, and c) whoever next year's workshop coordinator is going to be, it'd be nice to hear from them/maybe someone can let me know when one is appointed.

Orinoco - - Parent

We've had a timetable system on the Edge for ages, but no one has used it yet. Here's an example timetable created on the dev site.

Sadly very few event organisers are bothering to list their own event on the Edge yet, let alone create a timetable :(

Even if they did there are still some issues with my system. Most notably (as pointed out to me by Nigel last week) it is a good idea to wait until you are on site & can assess the workshop locations before assigning a workshop to a place in case it isn't suitable. My system currently requires you to assign workshops to spaces in advance.

I'm thinking of doing away with the locations completely & just stacking the workshops happening at the same time together. It will quickly become apparent if there has been too much scheduled for the same time because there will be a big bulge. However, you've got to put the locations in at some point, otherwise no one will know where to go. I can't see that adding in the locations during last minute site set up will be something anyone is going to have time to do.

I'm also thinking about adding some new fields to the workshops for prop type & difficulty level. I thought the colour coding of all the beginner workshops that Nigel used was a very good idea, but I think colour coding by prop type would have worked better. For example all the passing workshops being in one colour, ball juggling another etc. would allow people looking to improve in a particular area to find what they want more easily.

emilyw - - Parent

When I did it in 2012 I did "tracks" and gave each track a space and a separate calendar, and then did my best to give away the track and its space and its calendar to someone better at organising it than me.

That way the subjects got different colours automatically when I stuck them online.

There were enough space constraints ("need mirrors/chairs/height/quiet", etc etc) that I was pretty glad of having all the space allocation done well in advance. There is always SO much to do when you hit site that it's nice to be able to just copy it all out there and get on.

emilyw - - Parent

So if I was making such a thing I have some use cases in mind.

1. Generating a big word document with full descriptions of workshops and bios of workshop-givers. I did this by hand in 2012 and keeping it in sync was annoying. I printed it and stuck it up above the workshop board.

2. Phone usability. If someone can identify the stuff they are interested in and maybe subscribe to its calendar and get reminders?

3. Giving away permission to edit bits of the timetable (e.g. the youth circus bit, or the Pass-Out bit).

Orinoco - - Parent

1. The Edge system allows you to write as much as you like about each workshop.
2. I still haven't got into this smartphone thing, so I'm really not up to speed on best practices. I could create a link that would export a workshop via vcalendar, would that be any good? What about a Twitter client that tweets the next round of workshops 10 minutes to the hour?
3. Anyone with High Command access to an event can edit its timetables.

emilyw - - Parent

1. Writing as much as I like is not really the problem, it's keeping the calendar view of the data in sync with the big long document view. I might have a play with open document format if the data is wranglable.

2. vCalendar doesn't cope well with things that change after the import (which workshops are always doing). This is where the embedded google calendars win... In fact, exporting from more structured data to to google calendars could be the ultimate solution (this is what Dee did for Nigel this year).

3. If third parties are scheduling a track, it's good to be able to limit their access to their own track so they can't accidentally move the public show! - and the timetable is better with all the shows on, both for people scheduling workshops they are giving and for people planning their day.

But as soon as you start competing with calendars you get into all the nitpicky detail that calendars have. Could be a huge rabbit hole!

Orinoco - - Parent

1. I could easily[1] produce a page that lists:

Workshop Title
Date, time, location

Taking data from the timetable so you'd only need to update one. The document could be filtered by tag (track), difficulty level etc.

Bios would work best if separate from the workshop blurb because there are many stars who run multiple workshops. I can't think of many reasons why this couldn't work as just a static document, a database solution seems a bit overkill.

The good thing about having to assign a location at the start is that it highlights the workshops that don't have a location ;)

2 & 3 yep, good points.

More pie in the sky thinking: what about a workshop board listing the workshop title & a QR code that points to a page with more info (The QR code page on the Edge will already create a code for any timetables that are set up). For those that really go to town on their workshops with handouts & such like it would be a good place to link to the handout in pdf, videos of the skills to be taught etc.

A festival email list which sends out a daily digest of the workshops, shows, weather warnings etc with links to more info? Do people want info pushed onto them?

[1] In fact that will only take a few minutes. Here's the first day's worth of workshops from BJC 2014:

Timetable view
Document view

emilyw - - Parent

My big document had the bios directly under each workshop but eliding duplicates. A standalone bio document would be simpler, but I'd still have to track which bios I had received and which not. I didn't put date/time/location on my workshop blurb document because I wanted it to not go out of date.

The thing about assigning a location/time up front is that the data often starts coming in before the team have really even locked down the workshop locations, and before the workshop givers can commit to dates and times. Several wanted a gander at the "other stuff" schedule first.

Got no idea about QR codes, do most people know what to do with those? I liked the idea of people just being able to read down the document looking for things that sounded interesting. I didn't get any handouts.

Putting the location across the top of the calendar view is a thing that only happens because it makes it easy to draw on a whiteboard I think. In your example because the workshops are sparse it just serves to make everything wide and harder to read... and who really looks at the board thinking "what workshops can I go to that are held in the atrium"?

The MOST AWESOME thing would be if I (as an attendee) could mark up the workshops before, like "MUST SEE, maybe interesting, not interested" and then see my custom view where the boring stuff is gone completely and the must see stuff hits me with a brick ten minutes before it starts. I also want a pony but I guess it would not be allowed on site.

Personally when I see a QR code I have an irresistible compulsion to sticker over it with this

Orinoco - - Parent

Just doing some quick & dirty prototyping. Try the Document view again, each workshop now has an I don't care link which hides that workshop (requires javascript). Hidden workshops are stored to the device so will work for non-Edgenaughts.

& you can always have a pony.

Do you still have a copy of said document from 2012? I don't remember it from the event itself. Would be very useful to take a look at it.

emilyw - - Parent

Coo that document view is getting interesting, although the repetition of the "I don't care" text might have strange subliminal effects!

Orinoco - - Parent

Indeed, I just threw my shit into a bag & pushed it down the stairs.

Thanks for the file which is very helpful.

For the workshop coordinator I think the time/location grid is the most useful for allocating new workshops to a free time/space slot. For attendees though I think you are right in that this is not the most efficient way of presenting the details on a workshop board.

Time is important because you can't attend two workshops simultaneously (this also covers being in two places simultaneously so location information is not important), plus you might not get up before 11am & may not be there on Thursday. So workshops definitely need to be presented along a timeline.

Instead of locations which could potentially be empty how about always using the next available cell in the timeslot's row/column & then drawing a symbol representing what the workshop is for. I think people would prefer to scan the board looking for a prop.

In our example there were up to 6 workshops in an hour, meaning the 14 horizontal spaces representing all the available workshop locations could be condensed into something much more readable.

Any talented artists up for creating an icon set for:

Balls - a generic 4 panel juggling ball with a number for however many required
Clubs - as above with a club
Rings - as above with a ring
Diabolo - as above with a diabolo
contact juggling - a hand at 45 degrees with a ball on the back as if halfway through a butterfly
Cigar boxes, Devil stick, Kendama, Unicycle, whip, lasso, knife throwing - picture of prop
Hula hoop - a person with a hula hoop around the waist
Staff - Person twirling a staff
Acro - 2 people in a flag
Games - 2 die
Passing - over head view of two people facing each other with arrows pointing from right to left hands combined with prop: club, ball, ring
Dance - foot prints with arrows
Magic - rabbit in a hat
Other - question mark

Any more?

I'd suggest the icons be simple line drawings that scale well & can easily be copied onto a workshop board by hand if necessary. It'd be nice to have a standard set of glyphs that can be used by other websites & festivals so that they become more effective with familiarity. I'd like something ~100px square to use on the document view. RegularJugular do you still have the original svg files you used for the Edge banners? There is a lot of good stuff in there that could be used.

Mïark - - Parent

I think it might also be useful to have big events on the timetable too. At this year they had a paper timetable of big events and you could write the workshops you were going to on it. But without such a system I might think twice (or make preparations beforehand) before going to a workshop that lasted for 3-4 if I knew I had to get the bus to the gala show at 4.

If you wanted to be really computery and funky you could have the location description link to a map/plan of venue showing where the workshop was located within the venue.

^Tom_ - - Parent

"For the workshop coordinator I think the time/location grid is the most useful for allocating new workshops to a free time/space slot. For attendees though I think you are right in that this is not the most efficient way of presenting the details on a workshop board."

For the workshop coordinator I think you're right I also think that any tool with stuff wot i don't really understand to enable the coordinator to drag workshops around would be incredibly useful. when I edited mine in a spreadsheet, cut and paste worked... but not perfectly, and only from a real computer.

Even for punters, I think that a location/time grid is the most ideal way of doing it. a) they're the only 2 keys which, when combined, provide uniqueness*. b) they're the information that people need to get to the workshop. c) it allows you to mark times and locations of shows/inaccessibility (rehearsals etc)*. d) I actually think some people look at the board and think about themselves needing to move from *points* over there to *points* over here at such and such a time.

the problems are:
i) fitting the whole table on board/screen
ii) the third and fourth keys of prop type and difficulty.

ii) can be fixed on a computer by giving someone a button to change from time vs location to whatever vs whatever, but the hard copy is never going to be easy.

* the key point for a and c is that you can't offer a workshop at the same time and place as another one**, and if this isn't clear, then people will try to offer clashing workshops.

The lesser point is that the workshop board is (or can be) used as a a general timetable as well as just workshops (ie games, buses, shows etc).

** well, if you consider outside, or hall, or (for example an off-site workshop) just a meeting point, then this is no longer true, but a good system could cope with this (while also making it clear that you're trying to be the 10th workshop at the same time I the hall - depends on the exact space - probably would have worked last year, probably not this year).

Little Paul - - Parent

"fitting the whole table on board/screen"

Can I just say that when I eventually found it, I found the "list view" version of the google calendar really handy this year. Especially once I worked out how to make it add the workshops I was interested in to the calendar on my phone.

I still managed to miss John/Tiffs balancing workshop though, which was one of only two workshops I was interested in going to :)

emilyw - - Parent


1. co-ordinator needs to shuffle workshops around space and time in order that everything has a space and time, and various constraints are fulfilled.
2. workshop giver wishes to offer a workshop (six months before event)
3. workshop giver wishes to offer a workshop (during event)
4. individual track co-ordinator needs to shuffle workshops in time but perhaps not space, within their limited purview.
5. two weeks before event, workshop/track co-ordinator needs to negotiate time slots with givers of offered workshops
6. before or during event, user wishes to skim read what is available over the week
7. during event, user wishes to plan their day
8. user wishes (having planned their day) to be reminded of what is where and when so they can actually go there.
9. workshop co-ordinator needs to track use of limited resources such as portable amp
10. workshop giver wishes to quickly see their commitments and double check for clashes (with their own workshops or with other events they are interested in).

discuss! :-)

Orinoco - - Parent

Right then, got quite a bit further today. We now have 4 different views to play with. There are links to switch between them & also links to filter by category at the bottom. Conflicts are highlighted in red.

What do people think?

Traditional table

I don't like this view, I think we have stuck with it through inertia. This often gets large & unwieldy with so many time slots/locations. I did get drag & drop placement of workshops working using the same code that I use for reordering sections on the customise index page. However, because the table is so large dragging it to a position off the screen really didn't work smoothly at all. I got really fed up with it & found that just editing the time/location was considerably faster.

I've improved adding/editing workshops in that if there is a conflict the editworkshop form displays suggestions for alternative locations that are free at the same time & alternative times when the location is free.


I initially really liked this but have since gone off it a bit because of the timeline issue. Time runs down the page, so as you scroll down, time should move forward, but because the number of workshops in a given timeslot can alter the time/distance scrolled connection is broken & I have no idea what time I am looking at. This makes this view very difficult to use to plan your day because it is not immediately obvious which workshops clash with which.

Detailed list

My second favourite view. I like this because I am a data freak. I know I'm not the only one.

Small panels

Could possibly be more useful if level & workshop leader information is included as well?

This is my favourite view because it is so simple. It fits & scales horizontally on screen well. Even when the number of workshops wraps to 2 or three panels deep I still keep the sense of time.

I think there is a lot more tweaking that could be done & there are more optimal solutions to be had by combining features from different views.

emilyw - - Parent

oh cool! that's super!

For me the primary use cases for the document view are pre-convention browsing, and long-description-looking-up during the convention (from the printed version). In 2012 there was a list of workshops on the website substantially before the times and locations were sorted - you can't really do times much in advance because flaky people. So ideally some view or other could accommodate that.

They could be in alphabetical order and then you would for sure know where in the alphabet you were.

I love #3 and think it could have the description under each row? expandable perhaps?

The traditional view is still important as long as it's necessary to copy it to a physical workshop board. As Tom said, on a board people need to be able to add workshops without generating a time/space clash. And the faster you can write those boards up the more time you have to drink beer.

oOooo innovation!

Orinoco - - Parent

Clicking the title of the workshop in the list view brings up all the details including the description.

Is it necessary to use the traditional view for the physical board? I think the number of people browsing to attend a workshop far outweighs the number of people browsing to offer one so the format should be optimised for the greater audience.

For people looking to offer a workshop I would hope most people would go through the workshop coordinator (did this happen Nigel?) but for those that are unable to find that person I think a poster saying, "looking to offer a workshop? Please pick a slot below" with tear off strips at the bottom that are popular in America would work well.

To do:

Print css to get rid of all the Edge stuff.
Enable filtering by multiple categories.
Enable sorting by category.
Check boxes to toggle all fields of information - I think hiding time+location & sorting by category should improve the document view more towards your ideal.

I'm out tonight but will see how much I can get through on Tuesday night.

It's Him - - Parent

I'd say that about 60% of the workshops offered by individuals at BJC came to me, rather than used the board. Any changes made to the board were also obvious by the simple solution of writing everything in green and getting additional workshops added in black.


emilyw - - Parent

That's perhaps a side effect of the boards being in a big atrium hang-out kind of area which you were in a lot?

In 2012 the boards were in a corridor just past reg desk, I was generally nowhere near them (both because I was working the event and because it was not a conducive spot for hanging out) and I don't remember any of the workshop additions going through me, although there were plenty.

Your green pen solution was genius.

Orinoco - - Parent

I would have thought it was more to do with the specific Workshop desk which was the first desk you came to as you entered the college.

emilyw - - Parent

lol could be!

^Tom_ - - Parent

At Pickering it was maybe something like 5 or 10% who spoke to me about doing a workshop. I was also multitasking on site, though normally at the ticket office... which was a nightmare of an office. I think people will tend to do what seems easiest.

The green pen was very clever, and could be extended (eg only let people use a blue pen in the morning, then change then to red in the afternoon, or change the available pens whenever you update from the board).

Mïark - - Parent

I think having a temporary marker near a white board is definitely a good idea as it stops some idiot finding a permanent marker and using that.

There were also people changing a detail on their workhops (eg location) so having another colour to highlight changes might be useful if some people are relying on details they read on the board before the changes.

emilyw - - Parent

There might not be many editors, but if Nigel comes over to the board and finds that a mystery person has accidentally created a workshop clash, what's he supposed to do about it? He doesn't have a way to contact the person to discuss a better time/place or to tell them about it if he just decides unilaterally. They'll probably just show up in the wrong place and get confused and disturb the workshop they are clashing with.

It's Him - - Parent

Fortunately this didn't happen, partly because I tried to never use all the main workshop rooms at one time so that people could just move to a nearby space. The one problem I know about I caught early enough to get the workshop to move room.


PS Don't know who came up with the pen idea but it was as likely to be Tracey or the lady on reg desk as me.

Mïark - - Parent

Would you also need some way of marking rooms as temporarily unavailable to be used for workshops (for DIY workshop planners) eg if a room was being used for a show set up.

It's Him - - Parent

You would need to book the room for other use. In general that only happened occasionally as some shows were teched whilst the room was in use (5 Ring/open stage/cabaret) whilst the ones in theatre were preventing workshops.


Orinoco - - Parent

Only got round to adding check boxes which toggle various fields of info. This helps us see a whole lot of different possible views.

Orinoco - - Parent

I have done my to dos. Because that's what bank holiday weekends are for.

You can only access the document view ordered by category via links on the webpage at the moment because I think that is the only place where it really makes sense, but if you want to play sticking '&Order=Category' on the end of the list & panel views will work as well.

It's Him - - Parent

Looking good.


Mïark - - Parent

I like the traditional, maybe because I can scan it fast for the workshops I want and spot any clashes. There does initially look like there is wasted blank space, but often gaps get filled in with more workshops so it is good people see there is space to add more worksops.

It is also easy to spot any spare good locations if you want to add a new workshop that has special requirements eg needs lot of space

Moon on a stick requests;

The Document is very long involves scrolling which tires my little hands, once I see a Backgammon workshop, I know I have no interest in it from the title, I don't need to see the time (for a 2nd time) the location/teacher/description, since it's on a computer could you have it collapse to just the title and expand on mouse over or click on it.

Genocide might be diabolo rather than other

Ingenious the game is spelt with an "o"

It might be nice to be able to filter by more than one prop, eg I might like both dance and poi workshops, so it would be good to see both so clashes/choices would be easier to spot.

For the detailed list I would appreciate some separator between different hours it makes it easier to spot which workshops occur at the same time - even if it was just a small gap or a line between the last workshop at 9 and the first at 10.

The small panels should work but I keep expecting it to be the traditional table and then realise the same location is only in the same column by chance so have to read the location rather than recognising its location from its position.

It is good though to see trying to find if there are other better ways of displaying workshop information. Even if traditionalists like me are used to seeing them on a physical board

Orinoco - - Parent

The Document is very long involves scrolling which tires my little hands, once I see a Backgammon workshop, I know I have no interest in it from the title, I don't need to see the time (for a 2nd time) the location/teacher/description, since it's on a computer could you have it collapse to just the title and expand on mouse over or click on it.

This is pretty much the panel view!

mike.armstrong - - Parent

For an online, pre-event, view I like small panels best too but I think Traditional tabloe might still be the best once we're on site as it shows spaces where workshops could be added as well as were they already exist.
For small panels some colour coding might help scanability (daltonists be damned!) - how about colour coding the panel by prop (maybe using shade for beginner/intermediate/advanced) and adding a header bar to each box which could colour code locations?

It's Him - - Parent

Colour coding by prop and shade for difficulty appeals to me if a big enough colour range exists. It might be worth someone (not me) checking the numbers of workshops of each skill offered. Remembering that there were 8 aerial workshops not listed on Tuesday.


emilyw - - Parent

+1 for the workshop co-ordinator being able to have a sense at a glance of how well balanced their pile of workshops is, perhaps a month before the convention or so (and again, well before times and places are likely to be sorted out).

KStruthers - - Parent

I like the big table view because you can see which spaces are free, but also the panel view. I think time is more important than location when deciding which workshops to go to, so it's good to be able to see all the details of available workshops together like that. Are these workshop tables available to use for one day conventions/can it be made available? Maybe we could test it at Camvention?

I've also been thinking about how to physically display information at the convention, and how much information should be on the physical workshop board. Do you think that general events happening at the convention like the shows and games should be displayed on the workshop boards? Should the timetable be limited to daytime hours, or should it allow for some evening workshops and activities to be added? Is the title of a workshop enough, or should extra details like the name of the person running the workshop, skill level, and a description be included?

Orinoco - - Parent

I've just updated the live version with the new timetable code.

Timetables can be created for any event. If you go to the Camvention event listing there is an "Add new timetable" link which does what it says. Please have a play & let me know how you get on.

I think how much information to display depends on the convention. For one dayers I'm pretty good at keeping track of time so need less information. For longer events like the BJC & EJC where I only know what day it is by the number of clean pairs of pants I have in my bag I prefer more info.

Mïark - - Parent

I think the list would benefit from having some separator between different times
11:00 Workshop
11:00 Workshop
11:00 Workshop
11:00 Workshop
12:00 Workshop

You might also want to add a field for workshops with attendee limits with instructions to sign up at reg desk as necessary

There were also more workshops on the workshop boards at BJC than made it onto the on-line version.

At EJC in Finland they had a computerised workshop board on a big display screen, you filled in a paper slip and the info desk people inputted it for you. I can't remember if it was available on-line as I didn't have a computer or sophisticated phone with me.

Orinoco - - Parent

Try that.

It's Him - - Parent

There were also more workshops on the workshop board than made it on to the online version.

Not until Tuesday there weren't. I kept updating the online system from the board. I didn't bother keeping it up to date when I realised that all the aerial slots were already signed up when I went to add them to the online system. Although knife throwing and Torwood wheelers may not have been listed as knife throwing was happening every day and Torwood wheelers were changing what they were doing without informing me or changing the board. Instead both were listed properly on the sign up sheets.

The system should be able to cope with this.


Mïark - - Parent

My mistake, people were (possibly unofficially) adding more workshops to the workshop-boards in the gaps I didn't think these were getting uploaded to the on-line version, but don't mind admitting I am wrong

Dee - - Parent

It was available online - people were able to check for updates from the campsite as the campsite was fully covered by wifi.

As they didn't have workshop boards it was easier to encourage people to hand in the pieces of paper.  Munich had both a big board and pieces of paper to be handed in - this was a bit of a mess at  times tbh with clashes appearing caused by the lag between the slip being submitted,  logged and then posted to the board.

Dee - - Parent

I kinda like the festival digest email idea - however I think that it wouldn't be practical when lots of people are (trying) to rely on wifi [esp to avoid roaming charges] at an event such as an EJC.  I think at an event such as the BJC, where the majority of attendees are from the country, it's a little more practical. Then you get into the dilemma as to what time works best for the information to be sent out [but not too early as the information needs to be up to date if it's to serve any real purpose].

Dee - - Parent

Hmm. I've been playing around with this a bit, thinking how to set up a google form so that we collect the detail in a more manageable format for creating the online calendars.

My first try this time around is here

Thoughts / suggestions? Even if it is just a suggested reordering of questions.

Mïark - - Parent

Could the e-mail and workshop input boxes be longer so one could see an entire e-mail address (it rejected my e-mail address for no obvious reason). Is there a character limit to workshop title.

It might be useful for level to have minimum requirement for participants eg Popcorn Variations - must be able to already do basic popcorn.

I would have club passing and ball passing as separate skills rather than rely on people to mention it in the description.

Could the skills be in alphabetical order?

add Hats as a skill?

Dee - - Parent

I have fixed the email input box - I had incorrect validation settings on it, so it should work now.  The workshop title has a short text box rather than long to encourage people to keep it short so that it can be easily read on an online calendar.

Skills now in alphabetical order, including hats.  Have not separated out ball and club juggling as these options are merely to trigger colour coding - too many options means a ridiculous number of colours (that won't be easily distinguishable).  In all likelihood, some of the options would be combined into a single colour.  I have also edited devilsticks to include flowersticks.

In practice the minimum requirement would be merged into the description (I'm thinking from the point of view of what fields there are in creating calendar events)

I have also included a minimum / maximum number of participants option.

Mïark - - Parent

I deleted the flowerstick suggestion before posting - are you psychic? (or can you see the preview mode of my post?)

Dee - - Parent

Not psychic, just had a bit of time to think about the options!

Orinoco - - Parent

Hooray for building stuff! Well done.

Couple of suggestions:

I can't see any benefit in the extra workshop level categories. What's the difference between intermediate & improver (isn't everyone an improver?)? What other level could be useful? As much as it annoys me I think the irritatingly popular 'All levels' category should be included.

For the number of participants doesn't minimum logically come before maximum?

Dee - - Parent

Have added "all levels" and merged intermediate / improver. The idea behind including levels is to aid the workshop coordinator in building a timetable before the convention - so that there is a good mix of levels each day (or as good as possible).   Also, the level information is automatically included within the description [i.e. the submitted description of the workshop is supplemented with other information from the rest of the form.

I'm working on the principal that I can automatically extract the relevant information in appropriate formats for my scripts to create all the events.  This means that I could create the calendars multiple times - creating "quick and dirty" versions of the calendars to allow for easy manipulation of time slots.  Version 1.0 would be to have everything on the same calendar [i.e. no colour coding] to check for overloading and allow for easier visualisation of the available slots.  Version 1.1 would be coloured by prop/activity so that it would reflect the spread by prop.  Version 1.2 would be by location - ensuring no clashes. Version 1.2.1 would be by level (merely so that the coordinator could check that you didn't have all the absolute beginners workshops at the same time!).  Versions 2.0 and 2.1 would be made available to the attendees and would be two options - colour by prop/activity and colour by level.

I know that minimum logically comes before maximum, but more workshops will have a maximum number than a minimum number [especially as the minimum number is something that can only determined at the start of the workshop, so really, the scheduler doesn't care about this!].  Having worked on (and taught) survey design, I know to order things by how much you need the information - most needed information is asked first, as you will always get the lovely folks who can't be bothered to fill in the form fully.

emilyw - - Parent



Leave off "minimum number". It's so unusual it doesn't need a separate box. Everybody can guess that the five person passing pattern workshop needs five people.

Replace "maximum number" with a checkbox for "Workshop has limited spaces and needs sign up sheet". If the workshop has a maximum number that's likely to be reached, people will ask for a sign up sheet. Most don't. The workshop leader can bring their own sign up sheets.

I think I'd split that constraints thing out into separate sections. Makes it easier for people to tell that they filled in all the things they need to. I'd also split description / assumed knowledge. Assumed knowledge could also have an example ("must be able to juggle three clubs").

I would provide a tiny sample bio. This is a good way of nudging people towards some commonality of style e.g. all third person, all in a similar tone of voice. "Fred Bloggs is an accountant and street performer who has been balancing things on his nose ever since he saw a sea lion video on youtube when he was five."

I don't think there's any need for the "as previous" stuff for bios. It will all come out in the wash, I think you can just tell them no need to write it twice.

If you avoid telling people where/how the different bits of info will show up, then that gives more flexibility for Orin or someone to change that around without making your form all wrong.

I'd drastically cut down on the words, people hate reading words. It's all friction preventing them getting to the bottom of the damn form and hitting go. Like after "workshop level" I don't think any of the description is really necessary.

It might be (slightly) easier to follow if it was chunked logically into stuff the public want to know, and then stuff only the organiser needs to know. (Maybe?). So time would come after description and level.

Dee - - Parent

Thanks for the really helpful feedback Emily.  I've implemented your suggestions.  I think that I would automate sending an email to those who select a maximum number of participants checkbox to see what that number is (i.e. get the additional information by email for the few cases that it actually would apply to).

I've left the "About you" section to the end, as it's the most optional bit of information needed [if they omit that, I really couldn't care that much!].  At this point only five questions are required [i.e. name, email, name of workshop, prop used and the timeslot] - do people think that other questions should be required? I'm thinking that if logging these during a convention I would change the status of email and to not being required (and move it down the page).

emilyw - - Parent

coo this is looking well useful.

Only small further suggestions:

Is it possible to shrink some of the text boxes? Having such large boxes under e.g. the constraints seems like inviting essays when ideally people would write "high ceiling please" and move on.

The word "any" could be used to disincentivise rambling in boxes where no rambling is needed. E.g. "Any times you are unavailable", "any requirements", etc.

Slashes should be surrounded with spaces for easier reading.

After all this I really hope some conventions make good use of it!

Dee - - Parent

If they are hosted on the google drive, you can't change the size of the boxes, but if the form is somewhere else you have a little more control over the style sheets and some basic settings (including the size of the "paragraph text" boxes) - at present I've just put in a character limit of 250 characters - so a red box appears if you go over the limit with an associated message gently reminding the person filling in the form that we don't need an essay.

Mïark - - Parent

At the risk of making the form longer...

Name might need to be Name(s) if it is a workshop for passing or other partner skill, so you can ensure that one workshop doesn't clash with another workshop that their secondary (or even tertiary) person is helping with. eg if Adam and Bill are running a workshop there doesn't want to be another workshop run by Bill at the same time.

Poi waving/twirling/spinning might be another skill - but I guess you can add more skills if they repeatedly occur in "other"

^Tom_ - - Parent

speaking from having done most of the workshops last year, here's my experience:
I arranged the workshop timetable online, so all of the pre-planned workshops could easily have been converted into an online timetable (*). then I would have printed them off had the printer worked [so copied them into paper with pen! :-( ] before handing the result to kind volunteers to put into board [thanks guys].

the rest of the workshop boards grew organically, people added workshops into any non taken, non blanked slot on the board, so:
a) if a space is going to be in use for something other than a workshop - you will need to blank it out.
b) never leave a half written/blank workshop board out, someone will write a workshop on it when you're not looking, and it will probably clash with your gala show performers' workshop (whom you've given prime place and prime time) - I'm sorry if it was any one here's workshop that I had to take off the otherwise clear board last year when I wrote up the next day's workshops.

thanks and congratulations for having done a good job with the workshops this year, I didn't check online, but then I don't plan on doing many workshops at BJCs.

* see below.

It's Him - - Parent

So what I actually did with the online calendar was the following. I separated most of the workshops into basic, beginners, intermediate, advanced, unspecified or adult only. With the exception of board games and balloon workshops. This pretty much used up the colour range. Splitting it into props would have been another option but there was a very wide range of those given we had crafts, knife throwing, unicycling, dance, lasso, meta lectures as well as all the standard props such as hula hoop, aerial, acro staff, spinning plates etc. 

I asked most people who submitted a workshop to me rather than via the board what the minimum level of skill they required was and that was added to the online description as well as the sign up sheets (particularly important for aerial with small numbers of sign up spaces). 

I assigned workshop spaces just before the workshop boards were written. In doing this I didn't have to worry so much about the effect of weather which if it had been bad would have caused a disaster as particularly on the Monday and Tuesday I would have had to find room for whip convention, unicycles, tightrope, knife throwing and meteors/rope dart. 

For each workshop I added who was running it and therefore who to find/blame if it didn't happen. To my knowledge only 4 workshops of the sixty plus that were offered pre-bjc didn't happen, two because the person couldn't make it and two because Natalie was too tired. Over 90 workshops were added during the BJC. This means that a non-updated online timetable is basically useless. Many of these were added the day before and two workshops got put on the online timetable but didn't get transferred to the boards. One because I was walking over to the board to write it and got distracted and one was me messing up.

Any system implemented, and the Google calendar system would work fine if done properly, needs the proper equipment to run it. A tablet isn't the best device, a laptop with mouse would be much better and I should have brought one. Cutting and pasting would have been much, much quicker. Some background software or wetware asking questions such as can you do diabolo in that room? Or is this a sit down workshop? Would help as people assigned workshops to unsuitable spaces and I then had to run round altering them and redirecting people e.g. Tom Derrick from w1 to w7.


jamesfrancis - - Parent

I think some additional thinking on suitability of workshop spaces may have been more beneficial. I was rather unimpressed when 30 people turned up to my 3 person passing workshop with run-arounds to find I had been scheduled in the drama studio which comfortably fits about 15 jugglers max (and only if you manage to avoid hitting the low hanging ceiling objects). It was no problem as we just moved the workshop to the main hall, but it did kill 10 minutes of the workshop.

I never personally used the online timetable as I imagined it would be cumbersome to view from a smartphone. I did think the workshop boards needed more information e.g. at a minimum who is running them. People attend many workshops often because of the person running them so to leave this off I think was a mistake. I do remember one workshop just listed as 'club juggling' with no description of whether it was 'learning how to' or 'amazingly awesome and hard tricks' and thinking a lot of people would be put off attending or find themselves at completely the wrong workshop. One problem with only publishing full information online is not only the constant updating problem you mentioned but also the requirement for internet connectivity. You have to remember that each year at least 50 people come from abroad and won't have free internet access to get all the details - boards will always work much better for me.

Didn't mean to sound overly critical in this post. I generally think things this year were much better than they have been in many years gone past and the range and timing of workshops was really good. Of the 3 workshops I ran, two had really good spaces and I think generally feedback has been positive with regards to workshops. I just wanted to raise some quick wins that I think could benefit future conventions. Thanks for all your effort in organising.


It's Him - - Parent

Large workshop spaces were at a premium especially on Monday and Tuesday. I wasn't supposed to be using the main hall as a workshop space although I did on a few occasions mainly for club passing. I am glad you were able to relocate yourself.

The workshop boards being done in a grid format meant that there were not enough space on the grid square to write all pertinent information. There are other ways to display information on the boards but we went for the usual format. Even then this was apparently difficult for people if the two boards had different times!

I had got someone to check the usability of the timetable on a smart phone before it went live. It was quite useable. I can do nothing about assumptions people make without trying alternatives. Such as assuming we wouldn't update the timetable at the convention. We can publicise it more but with less than a week to go to the convention there were less than 30 workshops which changed to over 50 by the time the timetable went live. It is difficult to let people know about a wonderful timetable option if it is not populated.


Orinoco - - Parent

Great review Nigel, thank you for posting.

I too am one that never really plans to attend any workshops. But I still felt that the online timetable gave a good overview of what to look out for, which would've helped me plan my day if I was that way inclined.

#bjc2014 #conventionreview

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