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JonPeat -

Belfast Juggling Convention (Ireland) 2016 - Review

This weekend, 12th – 14th February 2016, was the annual Belfast Juggling Convention which is held in the student’s union building of Queens University Belfast. Myself and Lewis were invited to the convention to perform our passing routine in the Gala show.

I intended to make notes throughout the convention but I didn’t manage to be that organised. There was just too much going on. I am sorry if I have missed anything or anyone out!

Friday

There is never a dull moment when travelling with Lewis and we already enjoyed a few good scenarios before even leaving Leeds Bradford airport.
I have never had a problem with having juggling clubs in my hand luggage. Just before Christmas I flew from Manchester to Berlin and back with 5 clubs in my hand luggage and no comment was raised. Unfortunately this was not the case on Friday. All of our routine clubs were packed in hold baggage but Lewis’s own clubs (4x) were refused at security and not allowed to be taken on board. There was the option to squeeze them into the hold bag etc. but they wouldn’t fit. Lewis donned his running shoes and sprinted a mile and back and dropped the clubs off with Jenni at work. Disaster averted.

TAKE NOTICE – be careful about having clubs in your carry-on baggage! It depends on your flight carrier. I will not be taking the chance from now on…

It was an interesting flight in a plane with one working propeller and a very educational taxi ride over to the union building. Nicest taxi driver ever!
We wandered into the union building and found our way to the juggling hall. It was empty of jugglers and filled with tables and chairs, we stood around for a bit looking confused until someone else came in… turns out we were in the right place but on the wrong floor! We went up a floor and found the convention in full swing. The hall is bright and airy with a deceptive ceiling. It looks quite low, but actually you can easily fit triples in (as long as they are not too floaty). The hall is nice and big with some seating around the outside.
There were a few familiar faces and good Scottish contingent who had been at Leeds JC, so it was nice to catch up with a few folks. It was funny to be identified as ‘crap juggler Jon’ from Lewis’s practise logs from the Edge.
I did some ball juggling to warm up, later on me and Lewis did some fun passing and enjoyed messing about with some tricks we haven’t touched for a while.

That evening half of the hall was curtained off and became the venue for the Friday night Open stage.
Graham and Creamy Joe (as he will henceforth be known) did a funny ice cream inspired routine complete with puns. These guys perform so well together and were also comperes for the Gala show. You can just tell that they love performing together, it was a pleasure to see.
There was a bit of straightjacket escapology to Queen’s ‘I want to break free’ with lip synching and suggestive dancing, which greatly amused me. Also some classic whip paper cutting, thank you to Aaron for providing translation for me, I struggled to understand some of the quick fire Irish accent patter!
There was a juggling ball routine with some knot tricks / rope magic thrown in, I really enjoyed the juggler’s character on stage.
Then there was a fantastic hula hoop routine, performed by Laura, I was enthralled and I think everyone else was too! It was really well put together, bursting of really hard tricks and just delivered so smoothly. I loved it, best hoop routine I have seen in years. Outstanding.
There was a lovely rock and roll cigar box routine performed by Logy. It was pretty droppy but the presentation was superb and we all loved the performance and the drops really didn’t matter at all. There were some rock hard tricks in there and I would love to see the routine again.
Then there was a Burlesque ‘circus’ act. I don’t really understand Burlesque and haven’t seen very many Burlesque acts at all. I just found it a bit awkward and wanted her to do more hat tricks… Nether the less it seemed to go down very well.

The Belfast JC audience is one of the warmest audiences I have ever experienced. You really got the feeling that everyone was simply there to have a great time, no matter what!
Audience warming up was not necessary as the crowd was raring to go from the onset.
Me and Lewis went on a walk and found the local take-aways which were only a short walk away from the venue. We ate back up in the hall and chatted to various folks.

The convention then retired to a bar downstairs where there was live music and plenty of glow props and drinking. I was shattered by this point and I was achy and sore from sitting on the floor to watch the show. I also don’t drink and the music made it very difficult for conversation, I sat in the corner being a bit of a party pooper but enjoyed watching the glow props.
Eventually we gathered together Lewis, Ed Cliffe, Tim Schulze(a diabolist from Germany and Gala performer) and piled into Grahams 3-seater van. Lewis and Ed were loose in the back so we had a hilarious ride across Belfast, dropping Tim off on the way at a different house, before arriving at Romy’s Mums house which would be our home for the weekend. After Graham performed a spot of midnight housebreaking we eventually found the right house and Graham let us in. Everyone pretty much crashed out straight away.

Saturday

Julian from Norway had joined us during the early hours and so we all had breakfast together. We also spent some time admiring Origami before heading back out to the convention site.
It was much busier in the hall on the Saturday morning, lots of workshops taking place. I did some ball juggling in the morning and struck out for the supermarket to grab some lunch.
Came back and ate a leisurely lunch whilst watching lots of 3 club gladiator’s players slowly taking over the bottom end of the hall. I was running the qualifications for the tournament at 3pm so at 2.30 I went over to warm up. Five minutes before the start of the qualifications I took a very unlucky club to the eyebrow, which immediately started to swell massively. I ran down to the reception to get an icepack but none of the first aid kits had one, so I settled for a bag of ice from the café. We started the qualifications slightly late and I might have put a few players off slightly by introducing the qualifications with a massive huge black eye. 17 players took part in qualifications and I think everyone had a really good time. I had the best qualification result so far by winning all my matches and only losing 4 points, I think that I intimidated a few people with my evil looking eye which was still swelling up. Between matches I applied ice and by the end of qualifications it didn’t feel too bad.
Once the paperwork was done and the qualifications completed I went over to the Gala show venue to rehearse and do some teching.
The show venue is a 1 minute walk from the front door of the union and is in a nice church hall which has floor level seating and a tiered balcony.

I didn’t see any of the show as I was performing my solo 3 ball act in the first half and then performing with Lewis in the second half, all the intervening time I spent in costume changing and warming up / keeping warm.
I did see some of the acts during the tech runs, but I saw nothing of the actual show although the lineup for the show looked great!
Asaf Mor was performing a very elegant and brilliant technical club juggling routine. Florence Huet performed an equally beautiful multi hoop routine. Tim performed a very slick diabolo routine. I missed Ed doing his contact box routine but I know the audience loved it. Julian closed the show with a lovely and highly technical ball routine which included 7up pirouettes and a 9 ball flash (done super cleanly as well). It made me laugh when after his performance he can backstage and said something along the lines of ‘Wow, I can’t believe I got the 7 up pirouette on the first try that never happens!’ to which we responded, ‘but, you got it first time during the tech run too’. ‘Oh, yea.’ It was a great performance.
My own routine was very droppy. It felt really good during the last few weeks and even during the tech run and my pre-show warm ups it felt great. When I got onstage it turned into a bit of a dropfest. BUT, the Belfast audience struck again and really was such a warm and giving audience to perform to. I received some lovely comments afterwards about the routine. I am very lucky again for having a forgiving performance style where the drops tend to go fairly forgotten. Even so, I was disappointed as I know I can run it much cleaner.
When me and Lewis ran out onstage for our routine in the second half I was surprised to see that half the audience had gone… I couldn’t understand this until I saw that most of them had migrated to the balcony to get a better view of the stage. The energy was fantastic! Me and Lewis gave a good performance with just a couple of drops in non-important places. We were also delighted to get the 6 club back to back kick-up to 7 perfectly on time with the music which drew a huge reaction. It was a good performance and we were both really happy with it.

We enjoyed after show pizza and listened to Julian’s Kebap Rap.
The show was really well organised, the lighting and sound guys were professional and very easy to work with. Gail was in charge of corralling the performers and setting the stage. The whole thing was super smooth and went down a treat with the audience who gave the impression that they loved every minute.

Once again, the convention moved sites to another venue in the city where the after show renegade and party took place. I didn’t see much of the renegade except for Asaf showing some insane club tricks and I used the time to chat to Tim and Hannah (we will definitely pass at BJC!)as well as filling out all the qualification data from the fight night and working out the seeding’s for the tournament on Sunday.
It got horrendously late and I got horrendously tired so I bailed out of the party early (about 2.30am) and made my way back to the house where I slept uninterrupted until I woke about 10am. I think everyone else came back to the house at about 5am after various house parties across the city. I just can’t take the pace!

Sunday

We got into the convention hall at about midday on Sunday so I spent some time drawing up the brackets for the tournament. A couple of players had already had to pull out due to injury and by having to catch ferries etc. Mine and Lewis’s flight was at 2.50pm so we had to leave the convention site at 1.30 to give us enough time at the airport. As quite a few of the combatants and organising team were missing in action from the night before I pulled out of the tournament and passed along all the information to Caoimhim to run the tournament in my absence.
We said our goodbyes, got to the airport and headed home. Had some more scenarios at airport security (seriously Lewis, how often do you fly to places?) before taking the sunny flight back to Leeds. The weather got grimmer and grimmer as we came into land. About 30 seconds after we had touched down and were taxiing to the terminal it started to snow really heavily, so we were lucky not to be delayed!


Thinking of heading over to Belfast next year? Do it.

The convention was great fun and held in a nice venue. The vibe was fantastic and the energy around the convention was addictive. The organisers put a lot of time and effort into organising the show and the line-up was very strong.
The only downside I could see was that there was no camping or crash space at the venue, so the majority of convention goers were in hostels or friends’ houses all over the city, this isn’t a major problem for the convention at all, but if I went again I would definitely get a good quiet B&B to relax in after all the partying.

Overall, a great convention! Thank you to Romy’s mum for putting us up for the weekend, Graham for being our host and Caoimhin for stepping in with the combat tournament.
Thank you to the Belfast Convention organising team for putting on a great event and inviting me and Lewis to attend.

Jon

#conventionreview

Austin Hurley - - Parent

Hey Jon. Would you mind if I posted this to the Belfast FB event page or the Circus and Juggling Ireland page.

I'm sure people would love to read it but it's cool if you'd rather I didn't.

APH

The Void - - Parent

I don't speak for Jon, but generally it's fine to post *a link to* some other content, rather than copy-posting stuff. In case you don't know, the hash symbol in each Juggling Edge post (top right) is a link to that post.

Austin Hurley - - Parent

Oh yeah. I just thought that he might only want the people on JE to see it. No harm being sure ya know

The Void - - Parent

Yep, true. But (again, in case you don't know) all JE posts are publicly visible - you don't have to be logged in to read them. Anyway, juggle on!

Austin Hurley - - Parent

Ah right. Thanks a bunch Void

JonPeat - - Parent

Hi Austin,
Apologies, I didn't see this message untill just now.
Feel free to post a link to the review wherever you wish. :-)
As The Void suggests this is public content and is free to be read by anyone.
Cheers, Jon

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

#conventionreview

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 -

Leeds!

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.

Alice

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!

Highlights
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

#conventionreview

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.

Highs:
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. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1m-5WKrIxurNDNxofa94k0_qjtysy2kcan4yGAYPQotg/edit?usp=sharing - 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.

Lows:
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.

#conventionreview

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%

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B26BTNBYVjFqdW9mWUgteDZYT00/view?usp=sharing

I also corrected a few of the invalid tricks.

Enjoy

James

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!

Highs:
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!

Lows:
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 - https://vimeo.com/85896096 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:
https://jugglingedge.com/js/Small-11111010.js 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!
Cheers,
Jon

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:

https://jugglingedge.com/pdf/FightNightScoreSheet.pdf

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:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Xl2LkEfyVGT5gmAcQgGjZZOz3KXDpDscRkR4vP8orX0/

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: http://fightnightcombat.com/tournament-EJC-2015-Bruneck-qualification-guide.html

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: http://fightnightcombat.com/running-rr-qualification.html

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

https://youtu.be/g-gUBvB0h4U and http://juggling.tv/6735 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 https://www.juggle.me.uk/passing/ 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 https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/15kr9XVS-4IpBz3uIiJUYfLH_SJfE93YLFFAtncPIgIo/edit?usp=sharing (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

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!)

Renegade

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.

Sunday

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!

Crushes:
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: https://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fkoelnvention.de%2Frunarounds%2Fchopped%2520zig%2520zag%2520with%2520b.MP4&h=0AQHQgxiC
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!

Jon

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

#conventionreview

Daniel Simu - - Parent

High: SO MANY PEOPLE!
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.

Disliked
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.

#conventionreview

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).
Nigel

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.

Liked
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.

Disliked
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

#conventionreview

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!

Ta!

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

Arf!

Orinoco - - Parent

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

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