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Viewing all threads tagged #Altern8, these threads relate to The Altern8 Juggling Club.

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The Void -

#Altern8 will be closed for 21st & 28th May, as we’ll be at Bungay.

The Void -

Two quick bits from #Altern8 last night.

Steve Cuthbert -

Hey everyone, I’m a lapsed juggler and came across a photo some of you from bristol May be interested in.
I used to go to the freaks Unlimited juggling club at the elm grove center and was in the unicycle hockey team.
I think from the date and a bit of research that this was at the National championship in Cardiff.
From left to right, can’t remember his name, then roger, Paul, sylvan, me and possibly Julian
May bring back some memories for some of you

Steve Cuthbert - - Parent

Sorry I’m crap at this don’t think the photo will come up, will try something else!

Steve Cuthbert - - Parent

Hopefully it will work now

Richard Loxley - - Parent

Hi Steve,

Great photo! I think that must have been slightly before I joined the Freaks, as I moved to the South West in September 1993, and started unicycling towards the end of 1994. I was definitely playing with Freaks by 1995 as I've got one of the Freaks newsletters from November 1995, and it lists events that I remember going to.

I don't remember all the names and faces, but here are some names mentioned in the two newsletters I still have:

Nov 1995, newsletter 1:
Adam, Flo, Nik, Steve, Paul, Noel, Matt (the team line-up for a tournament in London).
Louise (B team in Stroud tournament).

Jan 1996, newsletter 2:
Johnny, Jonathan, Paul, Noel, Ben (mentions a move to Australia, but that might have been a joke), Nick, Steve, Louise, Mat, Steve.

I also remember: Tanat Lewis, Pete Haworth, Jamie Fletcher, and myself of course (Richard Loxley).

When I joined in about 1995 Freaks was meeting at the United Reformed Church Hall in Horfield. We played there for a few years until the hall was redecorated and the owners didn't want us playing hockey in there and scuffing the new paintwork!

They did find us another church hall first though, which was nice of them. On Gloucester Road, it wasn't nearly as nice, and it was full of junk from jumble sales, but it kept us going for a while. I still have a scar on my hand from a metal eggcup that got embedded in my hand after I took a spill into a pile of jumble!

Freaks carried on until probably 1998/1999, when we stopped meeting as the second church hall closed for renovation. By that time there were only four of us left in the club, and so we didn't think it was worth finding another venue as we kept having to cancel anyway due to too few players.

We started up again in 2006. We were contacted by a couple of people who were learning to unicycle in order to do a charity sponsored unicycle ride (15 miles, Bristol to Bath). We joined them, and by the time the ride happened there were 20 people signed up. Pete pointed out that if there were 20 unicyclists able to get to Bristol, maybe there was enough interest in resurrecting the club. He booked the St Pauls Sports Academy main sports hall for an hour on a Wednesday night, and printed out some flyers to hand out at the ride.

The ride was a great success, and there was interest in the hockey, with about 12 people the first night. We booked the hall again in the same slot, and settled down with about 8 players each week.

We've now been going for nearly 12 years, in the same Wednesday night slot at St Pauls Sports Academy. Numbers go up and down, but we probably average 5-7 players at the moment.

We decided to drop the 'Freaks' name, as we were no longer connected to the Freaks brand, and thought the name could be off-putting to beginners. After a vote we chose the new team name "Severn Wheelers".

Full details at for anyone interested.

Oh, and the Freaks juggling club lives on as the #Altern8 juggling club, still at the United Reformed Church Hall in Horfield :-)

Steve Cuthbert - - Parent

Hey richard, I think I was 14 then and left when I was 16 to be in a show at legoland Windsor so think I was gone by 95ish.
Might pop along to hockey when the pub pool season finishes as it’s on Wednesday nights typically but would love to get back into it.
May even dig out all my old juggling gear and see how bad I am now

Richard Loxley - - Parent

That rings a bell, I vaguely remember a youngster who worked at Legoland. Perhaps we overlapped slightly, or perhaps you came back to visit occasionally?

Do come along to hockey on a Wednesday or juggling on a Monday, it would be great to see you :-)

It's Him -

Today Milton Keynes Juggling Club sometimes known as Jugglers Anonymous and/or the juggley love club is 25 years old!

Which means I've spent half my life going to this club.

I'm curious to know how many clubs out there are older? I know there will be a few in the UK but elsewhere?


Maria - - Parent

"My" club is younger, but it's 20 years this year. (Fritidsjonglörerna, Stockholm.) Maybe I should try to find out the date so we can celebrate. :)

Mike Moore - - Parent

The 25th annual Waterloo Festival happened earlier this year, so I think it's safe to say it's older. No idea how much older, though.

The Void - - Parent

Congratulations on both feats!
#Altern8 in Bristol is older by a few years.

glomph - - Parent

Flying Teapot's the Uni of Sheffield circus society celebrated 30 years this year!

York Jugglers - - Parent


York Jugglers is also 25 years old this year (October to be more precise) but we don't have any members who have been going for all 25 years.

charlieh - - Parent

I first went to Cambridge Community Circus (then named Patchwork Circus) in 1992 so it's at least 25 years old, and rumor has it that there was a juggling club run by some of the same people in the late 80s.

Orinoco - - Parent

Turns out TWJC will be 25 later this month!

The top 10 oldest active UK clubs with a known established date in the Edge database:

Nottingham Juggling Club (1980)
Flying Teapots (1985)
Hullabaloo (1988)
Altern8 (1989)
Glasgow Juggling Club (1990)
Imperial College Juggling Society (1990)
Camcircus, Milton Keynes, Tunbridge Wells, York Jugglers (1992)

Interesting because the BJC is 30 years old. I expected there to be more than 4 clubs (Balls up in Portsmouth was established in 1987 but is alas no more) to be active at the time to provide an audience to make a national event viable. I'm sure there were clubs that predate internet records. Or is it that annual juggling events produce local juggling clubs rather than the other way around?

The oldest club we have on record is Santelli, NL which has allegedly been going since 1962.

Bosco - - Parent

Hastings Juggling Club started in 1990. Russell Watson was the original motivator. Still going but monthly. It's been responsible for much - marriages, break ups, new careers, making people happy, an escape from the world we live in and more, just like the other juggling clubs around the world I'm sure.

Where would we be without a juggling club?

Orinoco - - Parent

I hope HCC wasn't responsible for the break ups! Although come to think of it I did leave someone partly because she thought what my juggling friends & I did was 'silly'.

Bosco - - Parent

I'm sure it was lack of juggling causing break ups.

The Void -

#Altern8 will be closed for the next two weeks: May 22 & 29th.

The Void - - Parent

We were back tonight, with 13, including two newbies. I introduced one of them to the joys of 3-count passing. I disapprove of the nouning of the word "thin" spreading to the world of biscuits, although they were quite nice, but I'd've preferred dark chocolate. And as for Anton veering wildly from Renegade 105s to PX3s, welll.... Tsk!

Monday night #Altern8 #Bristol #juggling club.
— The Void (@TheVoidTLMB) June 5, 2017

The Void - - Parent

16 tonight. Heady.

The Void -

#Altern8 will be closed next week: April 10th, as most of us will be at #BJC2017. Back as usual on the 17th.

Currently 12 of us tonight, posh biscuits are chocolates again. I got 43 catches of 5 clubs. Jon's contemplating mirrorising his headbounce ball. Angie's leg hooping hilariously.

bad1dobby - - Parent

"Jon's contemplating mirrorising his headbounce ball"

Interesting idea. Seems like it might be within the realms of possibility, given the flexible mirror materials that are available nowadays.

I can't see how you would achieve the genuine faceted look though - seems to me any solution is going to have to fully adhere to the curvature of the ball or you're going to have tiles spraying everywhere on each bounce.

The Void - - Parent

14 tonight. Henna from Tampere was in town, and is a recent kendama convert, so I gave her a few tips, and she hit her first Around The Village. She & Gale also played with hoops. Anton, Rupert & me all had a bash at 5 clubs, Anton including singles. Jon and Tarim were having a crack at 996, before Jon later went on to theorise that you could name & recognise a period-3 3 club siteswap from a still photo. He convinced no-one. Richard, Ian, Sam & Hazel passed a Z-feed. Some kururin were fiddled with, including in the pub afterwards.

lukeburrage - - Parent

"Jon later went on to theorise that you could name & recognise a period-3 3 club siteswap from a still photo. He convinced no-one."

I'm immediately suspicious, but also immediately intrigued.

jonudry - - Parent

Ok, let me just clarify! I didn't say it was possible, I was suspecting that it might be if you give certain limitations. For example, if you limit a site swap to only period 3, then at any point in the site swap there are only very limited outcomes of what the pattern could be, right? Who knows? Who cares?! Obviously, this only applies if the juggler is playing fair rules and not doing a 3 club cascade and calling it 522 or any nonsense like that.

Also Little Paul, I've heard that you may be selling my Delphins that I sold to you a while ago. If so, I'd love to buy them!

Little Paul - - Parent

Hi Jon,

I tried to email you via the info address on your website, but I got a bounce message saying your email address doesn't exist. You might want to fix that I guess.

Anyway, what I said was pretty much:

Sorry, I've been a terrible procrastinator recently, hence the lack of reply to you about Delphins!

I am considering selling my Delphins and finally going albatross (after probably 20 years of thinking I should do that!)

Obviously as it's now been 10 years since you sold them to me they're not quite in the condition they were when I bought them (although as I barely juggle any more, they're not exactly beaten up)

I'll check, but I'm pretty sure I've got all 7 still. If you're around for Monday night juggling next week, I could bring them along then?

Price would be whatever you would want to give me for them.

jonudry - - Parent

Hi LP.

The error is fixed on my website email now, so thanks for bringing that up!

Realistically I won't be at the Monday night juggling club until the 5th June. Email me on and we can arrange for me to pick them up.



penthief - - Parent

How nice to read a thread about Altern8 and to hear it is still going strong.

The Void - - Parent

Have you branched out from only nicking ballpoints these days? :-)

The Void -

We had 9 at #Altern8 on Monday. (Get well soon, Richard.) Newbie Rosie was working on her 3 ball half showers both ways, and 4 balls, and also asked us how long the club had been going. We don't know exactly, but guessed about 25 years. Other new arrivals to the club were Anton & Angie, fresh to the area. Angie & Annette tried a dual booty-hoop which was more hilarious than successful. Anton and I had a little "remember when we both used to be able to do 5 clubs?" session. (41 catches, go me. Not sure what Anton got.) fak, Ian & Hazel passed clubs, and Hazel tried throwing tomahawks in passing for the first time, at Annette. (No-one was injured.) Biscuit quality: medium.

Mïark - - Parent

The juggling edge listing for Altern8 says it was established on 1 June 1994, so you maybe have another 2 1/2 years to meet your quarter century.

The Void - - Parent

Pretty sure it was me that entered that date. It was a guess. Hmmmm... might have to have a look in some old issues of The Catch....

The Void - - Parent

First listed in The Catch in the Winter '97 edition, but that may just have been when Tarim started running it, or maybe when it first had the name Altern8. There was mention on Monday that it used to be in a different venue...

Richard Loxley - - Parent

Oh, and I also remember that after I'd moved to Bristol (probably winter 1997) Tarim announced a 're-launch' of the club after the summer break (the club used to close down over the summer due to lack of interest).

I was lead to believe that previously the club was quite sparse, with maybe 3-6 people attending. But Tarim did a good job of publicity, so about a dozen people (myself included, and quite a few students) turned up on the re-launch night. That made a great 'buzz' and I think cemented the 'social' aspect of the club. Most of us carried on coming every week after that as it was so special. We also socialised outside the club a lot, and I made some great friends.

But I'm not sure if that re-launch was when Tarim took over, or whether he was already running it prior to that point.

Little Paul - - Parent

My memory for dates of events around that time is somewhat hazy, but I believe Altern8 was established up when the Freaks Unlimited workshop at the Elmgrove Centre in Redland lost their venue.

I have a feeling that the name of the club has its roots in it being an alternative to the freaks workshop - but I can't confidently claim that as fact.

Not sure what prompted the loss of venue - I think the Elmgrove Centre either had a refit, or started becoming more of a sports centre than a community centre. I only went to the Freaks workshop 3 or 4 times. If you think parking is bad where Altern8 is, you haven't tried parking near the Elmgrove Centre - which was a nightmare even in 1994 (and is pretty much impossible now)

The Freaks workshop is last mentioned in The Catch in 1994 - which would tie up with the foundation date mentioned above.

Tarim will have the full story though, as he was more directly involved.

Richard Loxley - - Parent

Gutted that I'm missing so many sessions. My back is getting a lot better, and not stopping me do much now, except that sitting in a car is still very painful, making travel very difficult!

But Angie and Anton stopped off for a cuppa on their way to the club to give me some company :-)

The club was being run by Tarim in 1997 when I moved to Bristol. But it was run by Paul and Kelly from Freaks before Tarim ran it (I used to go to the sister Freaks unicycle hockey club for a year or two before I moved to Bristol).

I believe the Altern8 name change happened when Tarim took over (Altern8 was Tarim's domain name). But I think the spirit of the club remained from the Freaks days.

So the change to Altern8 probably happened in the mid-1990s. I don't know when Freaks started. Ian might remember more as I believe he previously lived in Bristol before moving to Liverpool, and went to the Freaks club (in a different venue) back then.

The Void - - Parent

Ah, well in that case, there was a Monday night workshop run by Freaks advertised in the 1st issue of The Catch (Sep-Nov 92), in the Elmgrove Centre on Redland Road. If that's the one, then were at least in the 25th year. But I think Ian said it used to be in St Werburgh's: perhaps that was between Redland Rd and the current address...?

Tarim - - Parent

Paul and Kellie ran the Freaks Juggling Club at the Elmgrove Centre in Redland Road and later moved it to the Horfield United Reform Church. They also ran a unicycle hockey night and team. When they moved out of Bristol, Tarim took on the juggling club and renamed it Altern8 - as Paul and Kellie were still running the Freak's Juggling Business (still got some of their fire torches). Since then, the club has also been run by Chocolate Jon and Ian but it's always felt like the same club. It's occasionally been in the other hall and once or twice in the church itself. There have always been biscuits - though not the same ones.

I have a very vague recollection of a club briefly running in St Werburghs Community Centre (or was that a story-telling club?) but that wouldn't have been connected either way. Fool Time (now Circomedia) started in St Pauls but I don't think they had a drop in juggling club.

I can't remember any dates though. It's possible Freaks at the Elmgrove started in the late 80s - I'll see if Kellie can remember.

Cedric Lackpot - - Parent

Nice one Tarim. I have a feeling the Freaks workshop at the very wonderful Elmgrove Centre started late '90 or '91 because I remember going there, and I didn't arrive in Bristol until Sept. '90. I suspect it didn't start up until around the time Freaks moved out of their Picton Street premises. But of course Kellie would know far better than me.

St. Werburgh's Community Centre got used a lot as a practice and rehearsal space by Fool Timers but I can't recall any kind of regular juggling club there. As you well know there were quite a few juggling clubs to choose from at that time anyway. And I'm pretty sure Fool Time itself never hosted a juggling club during my time there, because the space was pretty much booked solid by courses, classes, and people using the specialist equipment there. But there was for a while the Friday evening kids' sessions which would've been the closest thing to a regular juggling club.

The Void - - Parent

Cheers for the memories, Tarim, Richard, & Cedric. I've changed the start date of the club to "1990", until any more definite info comes along.

Tarim - - Parent

Kellie says she's fairly sure that Freaks' Juggling Club opened at the Elmgrove Centre in 1989 around the time Freaks' Juggling Shop moved from Picton Street to Perry Road (where the famous tile pattern can still be seen) as she can remember cycling up the steep hill to get to the Elmgrove Centre. If you know St Michael's Hill - you know you wouldn't forget cycling up it.

The club moved to Horfield Church in 1994. The shop moved to Park Street in 1993 where it ran until 1996 and it would have been not long after that I took over running the club. The name Altern8 came from "Alternates" - a (little used) term for 3-count.

The Void - - Parent

Thanks Tarim and Kellie. I've changed the start date to 1989. So, we're 28ish then.

Richard Loxley - - Parent

I've just dug out my old diary (sadly I only started keeping my calendar on the computer from 17 June 1995, so I'll have to go through old papers to find anything earlier).

According to that I was definitely going to the Freaks Thursday unicycle hockey sessions in the Horfield Hall by December 1995, because I've got the fancy dress unicycle hockey session marked down on 14 December 1995.

I dressed up in my wizard cape, which was very dangerous when going backwards as it got trapped under the wheel. I remember that anyone who turned up without a costume was forced to wear clothing out of the boxes of jumble sale items at the back of the stage. There were a lot of people wearing middle-aged lady's dresses that night.

We've resurrected the fancy dress tradition when Freaks unicycle hockey team reformed as the Severn Wheelers. We now do a fancy dress hockey game every time Halloween falls on a Wednesday. So we've done them in 2007 and 2012, and will hold the next one in 2018 :-)

We also had a Bristol unicycle hockey tournament on Sunday 17 March 1996. I believe that was the one at the Whitchurch sports centre, because I remember I had been there before the BJC at the same venue in 1997. By the time of that tournament I had been upgraded to the Freaks A-team, so I must have been playing with the Freaks for a while. I think that tournament was the one where Ali fell into a 'wall', which turned out to be a door, making her disappear off the pitch, complete with unicycle and stick, with the door closing automatically behind her. We were all left wondering where she'd disappeared to.

Sadly I can't find mention of the Altern8 launch night in the diary. However I have an entry for a party at Laura's (one of the Altern8 jugglers) on 29 November 1997, and the same day a Portishead gig in Bath (which I attended with some of the Altern8 jugglers). So the club was definitely running by then. I moved to Bristol in June 1997, and my memory says that the relaunch was after that summer.

Interestingly, I do have an entry for juggling on a Wednesday (19 November 1997). From memory Rod Laver used to run an evening juggling club at Circomedia in Kingswood on a Wednesday night, so I'm guessing that was one of those sessions?

The Void - - Parent

I'm not sure if I'm clearer or more confused after all the answers. :-)

Dee - - Parent

Good to hear a report on the biscuit quality. My shoulder was (still) bothering me enough that I didn't want to go an aggravate it. Sorry that I missed greeting some fresh blood!

Cedric Lackpot - - Parent

I'm not 100% sure I'm thinking about the right place, but I think I used to go to Altern8 in the early 90s, '91 maybe. But you should ask Tarim, I have a feeling it might've been him that started it. Or maybe even ask Pippa Tee.

The Void - - Parent

Back up to the dizzying heights of double figures this week. All the way up to eleven, in fact. Rob continued his fight with 7 clubs. Rupert, Jon, James and I were all having bashes at 5 - I got 2 runs of 50+ catches, one of them clean! It's almost as if practise makes a diffe.... Nah, can't be true. Richard's back had recovered enough for him to show up and make sure that neither the tea nor the biscuits weren't neglected. Biscuit report: good range but slightly disappointed that the "double chocolate" digestives were milk choc, not plain. Henry, Ian, Hazel and fak all did some passing, I'm not sure if Dee did too. Jon was jumpy, in a good way, but not quite skippy enough. However, he did fulfill his crisps obligation at the pub afterwards. And revealed his desire to go to prison for a year.


The Void - - Parent

A round dozen tonight. Including new-to-Bristol-but-returning-to-juggling-after-10-years Marcus. Didn't seem to stop him getting his 7 ball pattern up. Richard's back's fixed enough for light passing. Local convention venues were pondered.

The Void - - Parent

Ten people tonight. Plus a baby. Fak did some snakeboarding, and 4 clubs. Rupert and I both worked on 5 clubs. Marcus & I did some old school 4-count passing. Jon got two skips with a head bounce. Richard brought a birthday biscuit box. *click*

The Void - - Parent

13 this week, boosted by freshly-back-from-The-Canaries Sam. Pistachios in the biscuits.

The Void - - Parent

Last week: 13. Posh biscuits: ginger, dark chocolate.
#Altern8 #Bristol #juggling club. #Mondays #WheresRobin?
— The Void (@TheVoidTLMB) March 6, 2017

This week: 14, with a disappearing Rupert, but the return of the Robin. Posh biscuits: Salted caramel choccy thing.
Passing, 5 clubs, leg hooping, combination tricks, 7 balls and siteswaps.
Monday night #juggling at #Bristol #Altern8 club. @RobinGunney
— The Void (@TheVoidTLMB) March 13, 2017

The Void - - Parent

A round dozen tonight. The best biscuits were back. Anton, Rupert & I mucked about with overheads, and I ended up revisiting 4 club pistons on singles. (It's been a while.)
Face off:
5 ball endurance at #Altern8 Monday night #juggling club. #Bristol
— The Void (@TheVoidTLMB) March 20, 2017

The Void - - Parent

10 again. Posh biscuits: oatmeal and treacle. Sounds like a punnishment to me.
I got 41 of 5c again, and did some Fast Hand Spikes.
Passing, and some fun with ohshits.

Richard Loxley - - Parent

Yup, I had one of the treacle biscuits. Just about ok, but needed dunking in my tea to improve the texture.

I still maintain that a biscuit needs chocolate. Jammie Dodgers are the honourable exception.

Danny Colyer - - Parent

<quote>Void wrote:</quote>

"Posh biscuits: oatmeal and treacle. Sounds like a punnishment to me."

Wouldn't that be a flapjack? Sounds delicious, anyway.

Richard Loxley - - Parent

Not really, the consistency was more like a cross between a Farley's Rusk and a rock cake. And the taste was very much like dark treacle, a kind of burnt sugar taste.

Paul Mulrennan -

How's it going?

I am new here and stuff, I am an Irish juggler currently living in Bristol. I am currently working on three balls in one hand with both hands, so I guess 6 balls but I want to make it interesting. I am not sure what the next convention I will attend is but I will be at the EJC in Lublin. If you want to know more feel free to ask and stuff.


The Void - - Parent

Hi Paul!
Do you think we should have those lemony biscuits again at #Altern8?

Richard Loxley - - Parent

I think they were quite pleasant, so would happily see them again.

They might be improved with the addition of some chocolate, which would also help with the crumbling issue.


The Void - - Parent

Chocolate plus lemon? Hmmm.

Paul Mulrennan - - Parent

While I am not opposed to their presence I recommend investigating alternative flavours, I have noticed some chocolatey ones that may address the concerns raised by Richard.

The Void -

I didn't know him very well, just on nodding terms really. He once or twice came to #Altern8. Crap way to go. Be careful out there, folks.

Cedric Lackpot - - Parent

I just picked that up on the interwebs a few minutes ago. Terrible news, and one wonders if there is more to it than meets the eye.

I hung out with Ashton a bit years ago at Bristol, then watched him grow and get fit as he attended Circomedia. He was perhaps the kind of character of whom one might not be so surprised by such a happenstance, but that really, really sucks as a bad end to a short life, both for him and his poor family.

Little Paul - - Parent

From what I've heard, it sounds accidental. Possibly a misjudged fire breathe that went wrong (although that appears to be pure conjecture, take it with a pinch of the proverbial)

It's a nasty way to go, and a terrible thing for his friends and family to be dealing with.

Play safe out there people...

Orinoco - - Parent

Someone posted a different story on Facebook that I don't want to repeat yet because I find it hard to believe.

Did he perform in BYJOTY one year? I remember the name but not the face.

Tom Derrick - - Parent

He performed in BYJotY in 2011 in Nottingham. He seemed like a nice chap from the interaction I had with him during that period.

I also heard a different story on Facebook. From the evidence I've read in the news it seems consistent, but I'm not going to perpetuate rumour. I'm just shocked and sad right now.

Little Paul - - Parent

I'm not going to perpetuate rumour

You are of course, entirely correct. I retract my comment.

Dee -

Just saw Jon Udry do a Scilly Gallop at tonight's #Altern8. It's a really nice 423 club variation

The Void - - Parent

Thank goodness Richard was there tonight.
#Altern8 #Monday night #juggling club, #Bristol .
— The Void (@TheVoidTLMB) August 22, 2016

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