Viewing all threads tagged #BJC2016.
The 29th British Juggling Convention, Perth
My BJC started at the stupid time of 4:30am at Kev's house. I'd followed him back to his place from TWJC the night before navigating an excessive detour due to road works. The late night combined with pre-BJC excitement meant that I had almost no sleep. Pretty much everything was already packed & in the car so we were away & driving within 10 minutes of the alarm going off. After a short trip we left the car with APH who then ferried us via bus to Gatwick North Terminal. We met up with John Shearing who had caught the train in & checked in early. Strangely my rucksack was deemed 'oversize luggage' but Kevin's monstrous bag that could possibly contain two of my bags was ok. I later learned that it was the straps that was the problem, not the size. Shame I forgot that my rucksack is actually a Transformer & the straps can be cleverly zipped away.
We had a cup of tea in the terminal while Kevin went to double check our return flight information at the BA help desk because we had some confusing changes to our flight times. He was gone for quite a while due to a problem with the computers but he managed to return to us just in time for our names read out in a stern voice over the public address system telling us to get to the gate immediately which was thoroughly satisfying. A quick sprint through the North Terminal labyrinth & we made it to the gate just as they were starting the disembarking process. We pretty much fell into the cabin puffing & wheezing, me wearing my heavily patched up convention coat looking like a tramp & Kevin wearing a black & white polka dot top hat with a bright pink feather & a pink BJC logo on the front. Glaring back at us were a lot of serious looking middle aged business men in sharp pin-stripe suits. I think we made a lot of friends with that entrance. We weren't the last ones to board though & we didn't delay take-off.
I've never flown with British Airways before, having always used the low budget airlines. It was a comfy flight with excellent service, the better baggage allowance & much more accommodating attitude of the company in general is definitely going to make me consider using them more in the future. The very welcome in flight breakfast was satisfying too, even if I did keep burning my wrist on the hot container.
We were pleasantly greeted in arrivals at Edinburgh airport by the lovely Dee. I'd worked out a bus & train combination to get to site as cheaply as I could, but Dee had managed to find a couple of buses that worked out a fraction cheaper so we ended up all travelling together. It was great to get a few tips from an obviously very experienced traveler!
It was a 2 hour-ish bus journey to Perth through some beautiful countryside with Dee being an excellent tour guide. After a 10 minute walk from the bus station we found Bell's Sports Centre just after midday. On the fields outside the centre a very small area between two rugby pitches which would be in use during the festival had already been fenced off, we immediately knew camping space was going to be an upcoming problem! There was still a lot of set up work to be done so we dropped our bags in the reception area & got on it. I ended up unloading barrels of beer from the wonderful people at MòR Brewing. Speaking to Jak, he said one of the reasons he chose them was for the puntastic names of their ales (MòR tea vicar, MòR Calm & Wise, MòRticia etc...). The brewers were surprised & very glad of the volunteers on hand to help with the grunt work. Naturally I mangled two of my knuckles lifting a barrel off of the trailer.
On a tip from Gandolph I commandeered an abandoned shopping trolley to help with unloading more drinks & supplies from Ron's van. Fundamental rule for site setup: if you see a set of wheels going spare, grab them!
Kev & I then helped with carrying tables & chairs for the bar & board games areas before making a quick sortie into town to pick up some supplies from a supermarket for the week. We came back & assembled on the sofas with a number of other volunteers waiting for any calls to action which strangely never materialised. Odd to see everything so in control!
After a while the registration desk was declared open for volunteers so I picked up my welcome pack & then went to set up camp in the glorious sunshine. I picked a spot just off of one of the fire breaks & pitched with my tent entrance facing the security fence so that I could use that to help me clamber out of my tent in the morning. I think my 3 man tent took up about a third of the available space. We'll be extending the camping area shortly then… By the time we'd finished a growing crowd of non-volunteers had grown outside the campsite entrance & were being kept at bay by Jon Peat. Jon can handle anything so we left him to it & went into town to get some fish & chips.
We returned just before a brief rain shower & I had a quick nap before toddling off for my scheduled reg-desk stint at 8pm which turned out not to be the case due to a bit of shift confusion so I signed up for a shift the next day instead before proceeding to the bar & enjoying a few drinks & chatting with friends. After sadly missing last year's BJC it was lovely to meet up again with a lot of people I haven't seen for two years. It was a long day though & I was severely flagging by around midnight so had an early night.
I had a good night's sleep & woke around 7.30am. I wandered over to the main hall & had a quick snakeboard around the handful of other early risers. I then picked up Kevin & we went for a walk along the beautiful River Tay. Fak blitzed past us on her morning run which made me feel ill. We enjoyed exploring the statues & the alarming high water marks & dates carved into the stone bridge. It is an impressively wide & powerful river evidenced by the rather large tree currently wedged against one of the bridge's piers. We then met up with Paul & Louisa (not Laura) for a tour of many closed cafes around the town before finding a Wetherspoons & digging into a massive Scottish breakfast with my first experience of haggis which was very tasty. Paul spread hot butter on his crotch.
When I got back to site I reported for registration desk duty. I've never sat on a reg-desk before but I was given ample training from Steph & was superbly supported by the wonderful Fak. We answered a lot of questions, I have to say most of the answers to which were already in the info booklet. I probably could've been more helpful as one poor guy was subjected to:
Him: "What's the best way to walk into Perth?"
Me: "Have you seen the Ministry of Silly Walks sketch...?"
I cocked up our first transaction with the till due to the decimal point confusingly not being displayed until after the transaction has been entered. I was initially nervous about reg-desking but it turned out to be a lot of fun.
After being relieved of duty by Susannah & Guy I found Kev mopping up the aftermath of an exploded fizzy drinks bottle in his tent. We then went for another jaunt into town so Kevin could buy a duvet & Paul could buy another set of trousers so he could make a sandwich. I think we took every wrong turn possible & managed to take 20 minutes to get to a shop 2 minutes walk away. We did find a nice looking noodle bar for later use though.
Back on site I had my first juggling session of the festival which was also my first bit of juggling for almost 2 months which felt great. Working on my handstands did me the world of good too.
Anna presented me with a complete set of volunteer badges for work I'd done with pre-reg before the festival. Six standard round badges each featuring a performer from the Gala show & one large square badge featuring everyone. These will make a nice addition to my bundle of passes, badges & other juggling festival memorabilia.
In the evening we sat down for the Open Stage which was the first show of the festival. Tom Derrick was our compère for the evening who in between introducing the acts supplied some truly awful puns, a useful rundown of Scotland's surprisingly strict drinking laws & performed some of his stringless tennis racket material which was lovely to see again. He also looked stunning in a corset.
First on stage was a young lady whose name I can't remember in a splendid polka dot outfit who performed as a puppet character with poi. She maintained character beautifully from start to finish while presenting a clean routine which included some nice moves particularly the contact body rolls with the trailing string whipping round.
Cat Learmonth & Cai Lear performed a Punch & Judy show which contrary to expectations was laugh out loud funny. The routine was true to the traditional characters but the story was tailored to us jugglers & easy to get caught up in. Also included a nice burst of some rock hard 5 ball juggling from Cai.
Tiff blew the roof off the hall with an epic rendition of Gina G's 'ooh aah, just a little bit' on the banjo. I loved his, "Stop it! You're putting me off!" outburst. Everything works better with a flat cap & a Yorkshire accent.
Ieuan performed a ring juggling act that was a bit droppy in places but nicely put together with a lot of variety balanced well throughout the routine.
Callum & Lisa performed a glow hoop act. There were some nice moments where for example they would be performing an isolation with the hand travelling around the hoop in one direction, but the flashing sequence of the LEDs made it look like the hoop was turning in the opposite direction which made for a pleasant visually confusing effect. Unfortunately this sort of effect was limited so for me it still falls into my 'unnecessary glow' category. But still nice to watch.
Tiff returned with his jolly 3 ring juggling & spinning routine that I'd already seen at Crawley earlier last year. Still enjoyed it on the second sitting.
Claire Stephens sported a high-vis waistcoat & hard hat for a slick, fast paced hoop routine again with a lot of variety. I heard she was suffering from terrible nerves before the performance, but I didn't pick up on any sign of that at the time.
Closing the show was Ed Cliffe with his signature cigar boxes & contact ball work which he has really made his own. I was a bit non-plussed with the drawn out ball on head build up but once the routine got going I was thoroughly absorbed. As usual his routine contained lots of intricate cigar box moves with the ball balanced & rolling around on top & interesting dynamic spins of the boxes on his finger tips using the weight of the balanced contact ball to hold everything in place.
Top act of the show for me though was Doris from Germany with an ace vampire themed freestyle unicycle number complete with red silk lined cape. The look, the music, & all the cape flapping combined with ridiculously high level tricks had me transfixed throughout. Years ago when I started writing festival reviews I used to focus on lists of tricks that people were doing, then I stopped really caring & started writing on how people performed & how acts made me feel. However, for this act I'm going to have to return to my roots & point out a very long & controlled hand walk, bouncing while standing on the forks with legs crossed around the back of the frame & (I think this is what I saw but I'm still not 100% convinced I believe myself) throwing the unicycle tire first at the ground so that it bounced & flipped over 360°, jumping & catching the unicycle mid air then landing & bouncing while standing on the forks. This trick left me agog. Well deserving of the standing ovation.
After the show I spent a long time chatting to people about the show, & to Matt in particular about workshops. Matt also tried to educate me on the finer points of high end whiskey but I'm afraid I think I'm a bit of a lost cause. From the sample bottle we had to work with I managed to pick up on the smokey taste but beyond that the only thing I could detect was, "Holy shit my mouth is on fire, let me cool down with some chili vodka".
I went back to camp to fetch my juggling kit but after chipping my way through the ice to get into my tent I decided to turn in sooner rather than later.
I slept very soundly which was just as well because it was set to be a busy day for me. I started by packing in another big fried breakfast (haggis is awesome!). I spent all morning in the main hall juggling & hand standing. I also had a long & interesting chat with the ever lovable Max Oddball mostly about the Oddballs Empire. We then picked up some clubs & did some 6 to 8 club passing. I feel that most of his tricks are designed to fool his passing partner which certainly kept me on my toes!
I also managed to pick up a load of Juggling Edge stickers from LP printed by Gravity Outlaws which I would enjoy giving out over the coming days (still got lots left, grab me at a future festival if you want some).
Throughout the week the puppet making workshops kept many people engrossed as they lovingly brought their creations to life. Anna & Susannah especially were very much in love with their final creations which was lovely to see.
After a quick bit of snacking I attended a meeting to discuss improving the BJC's online presence. It was attended by a good variety of interested parties & there was a general consensus that we need to clean up & coordinate the various online BJC promotional & educational efforts better. We also identified two audiences which I don't think are served at the moment (suppliers & press). I'm one of a number of people assigned tasks that we agreed would improve the situation. It's going to take a while to get up & running but stay tuned for an announcement in the next couple of weeks for more detail about what's going to happen.
Following the meeting I made my way to the coaching hall for the Fight Night Tournament qualification rounds. Not for the first time I started off the process by incorrectly writing Jon Peat's name on the top of my score sheet. I know everyone wants to be Jon Peat a little bit, but my fixation is becoming a cause for concern. We had 26 players sign up, many of which I had not played before which was good to see. We were split into 2 groups & everyone in group 1 had to play against everyone in group 2 so 13 matches in total. Jon Peat steam rollered me 3-0, but everyone else I scored at least one point against. I even managed to score a point against current world number one, Luke Burrage which I was delighted with. Closest match of my qualification run was with Cameron Ford who I'd never fought before. It seemed to go on forever because our styles tended to cancel each other out pretty effectively. It was one of the last fights of the session so both of us were already very tired. Every point was closely fought & consisted of dozens of attacks & responses each. My right knee was screaming at me with every lunge. I managed to scrape the win 3-2 & my legs genuinely gave way at the end. I didn't want to go through that again.
Once I'd finished all my matches I totaled 7 wins & 6 defeats which I thought was pretty disastrous. However, I still managed to qualify as the 11th seed which I think is an indication of how much closer the competition is now. Brook Roberts went through as the number one seed with a perfect qualification run.
I then had a quick snack before joining in the Ceilidh dance which was hastily organised last minute by a number of attendees. Instead of a band we had recorded music some of which was edited onsite into the required measures & managed by Andy behind the sound desk & our caller was BJC 2005 organiser Graham Benson. Knowing that I needed to conserve energy for the Fight Night finals immediately after the dance I thought I'd join in, but I'd take it easy.
Did I fuck.
I had great fun dancing & being ridiculous with Nicola, Jamie & Lizzie mostly, all of whom danced with exuberant enthusiasm which obviously I had to echo. There were times when the calling wasn't exactly in time with the music so there were several occasions where the people keeping time & people following the caller collided which was good fun.
Straight after the Ceilidh it was back to the coaching hall which was now fully set up with a ring complete with umpire's chair ready for the Fight Night tournament. My first fight was against... Cameron Ford! & it was more of the same, we had the longest fight of the tournament at over 6 minutes. I think it was clear how tired both of us were because we each made a lot of mistakes. I was a tiny bit disappointed with the result because I believe I was up 4-2 at one point only for Cameron to grind out the win at 4-5. I thoroughly enjoyed the battle though, I think the best man won on the day & most importantly I think we put on a good show.
For the rest of the tournament I enjoyed mucking around & cheering on the other competitors especially fellow Jon, Jon Peat who suffered a full on body slam from Ian & took a club to the face from Luke. This was on top of the swollen cut lip he picked up during qualification! The final saw the top two seeds Brook Roberts vs Luke Burrage going head to head for a very closely fought bout which saw Luke take the win 5-4. Props to Brook for donning a headband to really look the part.
It was a good fun tournament to compete in but I felt it needed more loud, rocky music (or even Rocky music) throughout to boost the atmosphere for the audience. See the FNC website for the full results.
After licking my wounds in the shower I spent the evening chatting with Nicola & Helen mostly for as long as I could keep my eyes open. Which wasn't all that long.
After another sound sleep I woke early at 6.30am with a chilly nose (I haven't successfully worked out a method to keep my nose warm yet) so relocated to a sofa in the warm hall & spent some time writing while relaxing to some chilled tunes from the sound system. Some kind chap gave me a Magnum ice cream which was very welcome & a lovely thing to do. Around 8ish I met up with Kev again for a genuine breakfast. During the walk to the pub we were both surprised by how much the water level of the Tay had risen since the day before.
I decided not to join in the parade & spent pretty much the entire day juggling, hand standing & snake boarding in the main hall instead. I managed to make some good progress with fixing a minor annoyance with my left hand when doing 423 lazies which was satisfying. In the afternoon I noticed the security team & Dr Alice dealing with a guy who appeared to have passed out in the hall on one of the acro mats. I later learned that my sympathy was perhaps misplaced as his condition was self inflicted & drugs related. He'd also been involved in earlier incidents that could have jeopardised our festival. But very well done to the security & the organisers for dealing with the situation exceptionally professionally & taking good care of him.
In the early evening Kev, Paul, Louisa (not Laura) & I went off in search of the noodle bar we spotted earlier in the week. True to form we completely failed to find it, so we sat down for a meal at Jade's Garden Chinese restaurant instead. It was a very beautiful setting, the staff were friendly & very helpful & we all stuffed ourselves with delicious food. It was a welcome change of pace & set us all up ready for…
The Gala Show
After another short walk (not having to faff around with buses to get between venues this year was fantastic!) saw us at the Perth Concert Hall for the public show, titled iJuggle. In the atrium before we took our seats Jon Peat & I were entertained more than we should've been by the network of screens showing a looped video of a group performing a Mexican wave. A few minutes later we were in the auditorium with comfy seats, good leg room & a nice uninterrupted view of the stage.
Ian Marchant guided us through the evening interspersing acts with a variety of vaudeville era skills such as flipping five spoons into five tumblers on a tray, the golf club trick with walking sticks & also Michael Pearse's table cloth trick, which was a lovely tribute after the very sad news that Michael (aka Pearse Halpenny) passed away earlier in the week.
I was very surprised by the large number of non-jugglers who cheered when Ian was gauging who was in the audience. I'd be interested in the numbers but it definitely sounded a lot more than any other BJC show I've been to. Good for you Perth.
The first act of the evening was Thomas Bounce showing off his signature bounce juggling with 3 to 6 balls on a flat surface with two 'V' shaped surfaces either side. There were a couple of unfortunate drops but I loved his low & tight patterns & the smooth transitions between the different angled surfaces. His act went down a treat helped in part by all the fans he'd picked up earlier in the week in the main hall. There always seemed to be a flock of people around him whenever he was practicing & Thomas was talking to all of them. Thomas is friendly & professional way beyond his years.
Next up was Cai Lear who's act started off with an odd soundtrack of a radio tuning in & out of disjointed news quotes which I didn't really get, but then the music cut in & he showed us a routine combining shaker cups & bounce balls with lots of tennis ball & can style tricks. I thought the technical skill was superb, but I was a little frustrated at losing the white balls against his white jacket.
Following Cai were Gemma & Stephen with a duo silks routine. I was underwhelmed by this act. I think it suffered from unfortunate rotation, I never felt I was being presented with the best view of the act.
Closing the first half was Gail O'Brien. There was a very brief moment when I was worried that I was going to see a generic hoop routine but I couldn't have been more wrong. Gail performed loads of interesting off the body moves that I had never seen before, I particularly liked the body rolls where the rolled hoop was collected ring grind style in another, then flipped back into another move. I also thought I was immune to gimmicked props but Gail's powder filled(?) hoops created lots of neat effects. My favourite was when she'd aggressively whip a hoop sideways from an isolation temporarily leaving a cartoon-like smoke ring hanging in the air. A wonderful act full of surprises, a real joy to watch.
After the interval we returned with a spectacular poi swinging & passing routine from six person troupe Alba Circus. The act featured good humour, lots of nice synchronised movement & some really big passing set pieces that filled the whole stage. Very Gandiniesque I thought. I also think this might be the first time I have ever used the words 'spectacular' & 'poi' in the same sentence.
Holding a BJC in Scotland meant that Donald Grant was an obvious shoe-in for the show. His act may be older than most people in the audience but it is still exciting, high-level & full of cheeky up-kilt moments. I've long since lost count of how many times I've seen Donald perform, but I know it won't be the last & I'm very glad of that! Of all the volunteer badges the Donald was the most sought after!
The headline act for the evening was the excessively multi-talented Matthew Tiffany showing us all the tricks. Five balls with a head balance while standing on a rola-bola, spinning a ball while spinning one ring round the arm while spinning two rings round one leg, while balancing a pole on the forehead while juggling two balls in the other hand, & the best trick of the night for me: juggling while keeping three balls going in a triple Salerno ring. All with a constant stream of very juggler specific jokes.
Well done Emily & Sam for putting together a great show, sorry you couldn't be there to see it Sam but congratulations on the new baby!
Back on site in the juggler's bar there were many toasts in Pearse's memory. I spent time with Matt & The Void trying to recall past BYJOTY winners. I also popped over to one of the arts & crafts tables to see what all the fuss is about 'adult' colouring books. Disappointingly it turns out they are just more intricate pictures. They are supposed to be a great stress reliever but I found myself getting wound up as I raced to finish as much as I could before Renegade started. We had a nice chat with Jane about running a juggling club & various festivals. I have never seen her looking so relaxed! We also met Hermione who was creating the most beautiful psychedelic elephant I have ever seen. Andy interrupted my zen state of mind by hawking raffle tickets which resulted in the traditional argument about how much I don't like raffles. Inevitably I bought a strip of tickets anyway & gave them to Hermione. Well mugged that man.
I went & sat in on the Renegade for a while. It was being hosted by Logi who heroically stuck to the 'free backstage hugs' story throughout the night. He also had the most wonderful high pitched Irish, "What?" response to any heckle he didn't catch that made me chuckle every time.
Act wise Tiff & Paul did an epic performance of, "t'devil went down to Yorkshire" on the fiddle & guitar which was sheer genius. Again, everything works better with a flat cap & a Yorkshire accent. Young Molly also sang a lovely song accompanied by her dad on the guitar which I really enjoyed too. Graham whipped a toy bunny off of a pedestal while standing on a rola-bola with a spinning plate in his mouth & juggling two clubs in his free hand. I stayed for most of the night into the wee small hours, other stuff happened but to be honest I was just waiting for Logi to tell the over-excited young heckler in the back row to, "shut up ye stupid eejit" but it sadly never happened.
I'd like to apologise on behalf of Tunbridge Wells Juggling club to anyone on the camp site who was woken by the sound of Kevin falling over & crashing noisily into the fencing as he exited his tent on Sunday morning. & to anyone woken by the sound of me laughing at him. After the usual breakfast ritual & confirming the return bus times I had a nice long juggle in the hall before attending the BJC meeting (I thought we were going to call it something else to make it sound more accessible?). The increased publicity of the meeting & blocking off all other events for the time slot obviously worked because the attendance was easily double what we usually get. There were lots of very positive comments that were well articulated. I think a lot of the praise was a result of this year's team really focussing on doing the basics as well as they could & allowing the attendees time & space to organise their own entertainment.
Looking to the future we had a proposal to return to Nottingham for 2017. The team did well to weather the far too many inappropriate questions about micro details. We don't need to know the colour of the door handles at the proposal stage. There was also interest from two possible teams for 2018 & a possibility of an EJC in 2019. Full minutes will be appearing online in the near future.
British Young Juggler of the Year
The final show of the festival was the BYJOTY competition. This year's event was hosted by 16 year old Harvey who did a great job of keeping the show moving for someone of such a young age. He spoke clearly & confidently with enthusiasm which maintained the atmosphere throughout the show.
The first competitor of the night was Adam juggling 3-5 balls. It was his first time ever on stage & was clearly terrified of the experience but I think he did very well to not let his nerves affect his juggling noticeably. His act would have been boosted immeasurably with a bit more confidence which will come with experience. There were some uncomfortable moments where he was gingerly tip-toeing around his props as if he were walking on egg shells. Don't tip-toe! Stamp! I've talked about moving on stage before & I'm still right.
Next up was Lucy, with a nice freestyle unicycle act. She performed lots of impressive feats with a good deal of variety, a controlled 3 ball cascade while wheel walking being my favourite. Unicycle acts have traditionally been excluded from BYJOTY (with the exception of Sam Goodburn & Lucy the drag act, but they were more juggling on a unicycle than tricks with a unicycle), but I think they make a good addition to the competition as a show because the nature of the prop means the performer has to use all of the stage, which is something that many young performers neglect to do.
Nathaniel did some technical club & ball juggling. This to me seemed more like a practice routine than an act. His juggling was very impressive but nothing really jumped out at me other than wondering if Pete Gamble might whip him to death for using his catch phrase on his t-shirt.
David Haslam provided a more rounded performance. Wearing neutral clothes he let his 3-6 club juggling do the talking, demonstrating extraordinary spin control by juggling some complex four club siteswaps & a very long run of five all on singles with clinical precision. Would a non-juggling audience appreciate the subtleties of his technique? Probably not. But for us jugglers it was a real treat.
We then had Max with a one & two diabolo routine. This was the act of the show that showed the most character in that he used mime to show that his diabolos were stuck to the floor if he used his hands but he was able to pick them up using his feet. This allowed him to make the most of his unique method of starting where he'd use one foot to roll the diabolo up the outside of the opposite leg to flick the diabolo up onto the string with spin. Speaking to Mike Armstrong in the bar later in the evening he noted that he respected Max because he stuck to his guns & never once picked up the diabolo with his hands, maintaining the premise of his act despite the number of drops. I didn't notice at the time, but I also appreciated it once it was pointed out to me.
Closing the show was the cool new kid on the block, Luke Davies with a very high level club & ball numbers routine during which I only remember one drop. He made nine balls look like it wasn't important. Some people I spoke to found his on stage persona a bit too arrogant. I quite liked the cockiness because it suited the difficulty level of the material. However, I didn't like the way he threw away the wrapper of his chewing gum. I do not approve of littering.
I was a bit underwhelmed by the best trick comp as a spectacle, the pace & excitement simply wasn't there. Harvey needed to be much more bullish to keep the competitors moving so that there is always a trick being attempted with no dead space on stage. Trick wise though I was very impressed with the girl taking her socks off with her feet in a handstand & turning in circles while holding four balls clamped between her legs. The fact that she managed to force a draw against the cuteness of young Leo who on any other day would have runaway with the audience vote stood testament to her skills.
After the votes had been counted Luke Davies picked up a bronze award, & Nathaniel & David both collected silver awards. The audience vote & the BYJOTY title deservingly went to David Haslam. Well done to Claire Stephens for organising, judges Natalie, Donald & Tiff for judging & to Harvey & all the performers.
Then the rest of the evening was taken up with juggling & socialising at the bar. I introduced Little Paul, Luke Burrage & Mike Armstrong to the live action version of Where's Wally? which is a great game to play in a crowded juggling hall at a festival. One person has to name someone that the rest of the players know & the winner is the first person to find the target. I particularly liked the moment when Mike called, "Donald Grant" & the rest of us immediately turned & pointed in the same direction with the synchronisation of a boy band.
The final day was a flurry of activity because we had to have the hall empty by 10am & be off site by noon. I first helped clear the main hall of left over debris. We managed to clear out pretty quickly which the cleaning staff at the centre were very appreciative of. Then I joined the fencemonkey crew to take down the camp site. The only ones I can remember by name are my partner Ollie, Adam, Lizzie, Jamie, Tarim, Richard & Ian but there were many others too all working hard in unpleasant weather conditions. I'm very proud of the lot of you, thanks for all your help. The free cake for the fencemonkeys was very welcome too! After all that there were a few minor tasks before we joined the handful of people winding down in the cafe waiting for various planes, trains & automobiles for their journey home. Our return trip was pretty uneventful & I managed to get home just before midnight where I collapsed into bed almost instantly.
Sadly due to running around on the last day I missed most people as they were leaving & I didn't get to say many goodbyes. So if I didn't catch you before you went, thank you for your company.
Finally I'd like to say a huge thank you to the core team Ron, Duncan, Ewan, Steph, Anna, Jak, Carrie, Emily, Sam, Lorri, Graham in particular & to the pleasingly growing army of volunteers who helped put on the event. You rock.
A good read, Orin, thanks.
Seconded on thanks to all the BJC crew. Hats off.
I didn't watch the open stage, but I'd guess the poi performer was Antonia May.
And speaking of Fight Night...
Hot News! FIGHT NIGHT AT BUNGAY! Wednesday night! Official! #fightnightcombat @fncombat pic.twitter.com/I1Juo4WJ2R
— Bungay Balls Up (@BungayBallsUp) April 3, 2016
The young lady who you couldn't name in the open stage was Antonio from Germany. She was also part of Circus Alba in the public show.
Nice work as always Orin, but:
I particularly liked the moment when Mike called, "Donald Grant" & the rest of us immediately turned & pointed in the same direction with the synchronisation of a boy band.
That was LP. It's always good to see tradiations being maintained!
I just started this off:
I may come back to it later, but feel free to chime in there.
Nice that you took pictures... But why the huge ass watermarks and the no reupload request? :/
Because I'm fucking fed up of having my pictures stolen and reuploaded. Was that so hard to work out?
The next 2 days are going to be logistically challenging for me. My brother is currently stranded in Las Vegas for an extra day so I'm stuck cat sitting at his place for another day too. Looks like I'm going to have from 16:00 tomorrow to get home, get packed, get to TWJC, then to Kev's where I'm stopping the night, getting up stupidly early to catch our 07:00 flight, then a couple of hours of bus & train wrangling to get to Perth. Not sure which of the two set up jobs I've seen my name against I'll be doing when I get there, hopefully not both!
So please make sure you've got your pre-reg confirmation or the correct money ready when you get there because the guy on the reg desk between 20:00 & 22:00 on the first night, might not be in a 'customer service' frame of mind!
I'm usually pretty gungho about turbulence but I do hope that the storm winds die down a little bit before I have to get on the plane to Scotland.
I'm currently about two hours north of Perth and have just finished eating breakfast while sitting in the sunshine outside my van. We've been laughing at the radio reports from the poor saps down south suffering from the storms; get up to Scotland ASAP, it's lovely!
I'm about to drop the cat off at her holiday home, then I'm headed south to pick up J, then tomorrow we pick up the hire camper before heading up to the lakes. An overnight stop there and we'll continue north to Perth
Really looking forward to it!
Oh, and Mike, yes I've packed the blowtorch and solder for that thing we talked about...
I have two days to pack and then I'm flying to Glasgow onWednesday afternoon. I guess I'll take the train up to Perth, and I'll drop off my bags in my B&B before arriving at the convention. No van for me this year.
Glad to hear it! I bought solder ring fittings as I don't trust my skills ;-)
Mine is constructed from a mix of solder ring and standard fittings, turns out I'm not much of a plumber
Ooh! Excellent!! Thanks so much for sorting these out Paul.
I wonder where I could stick mine?
In the interests of trying them out, I stuck one on my laptop. I'm told they should do ok outdoors so I'll be keeping one back to go on BOV :)
I've (technically) been travelling to #BJC2016 since last Wednesday (via Ireland)... I'm flying into Edinburgh tomorrow a.m. ready to volunteer [so I may just be on the reg desk at some point tomorrow].
I'm doing well so far, slightly ahead of schedule. I'm all packed. I've even managed to cram in some juggling clubs which I never managed when I flew up to BJC 2005 which makes me think I've done something wrong.
The out of office auto-responder for the sales.bjc2016 email account is now on.
We had a very pleasant night in the Lake District, woke up to a stunning view of snow capped hilltops.
Currently headed north on the M6...
Omg Perth is gorgeous! The sun is out and I'm having a lovely walk along the river. If anyone is undecided about coming because the weather is shitty in most of the U.K. at the moment - get up here it's gorgeous!!!
eJuggle (https://ezine.juggle.org) is the official publication of the International Jugglers' Association. The site is updated regularly with high quality juggling articles, videos, and other exciting content. There are currently over 700 original posts available on every aspect of juggling.
While most eJuggle content is freely available to everyone, some exclusive articles and videos are for IJA members only. See https://ezine.juggle.org/video-library/ for a list of exclusive videos such as full IJA Festival coverage, IRC videos, plus premium works by artists such as Wes Peden, Tony Pezzo, Jay Gilligan, Anthony Gatto, and others. Go to https://ezine.juggle.org/membership-options-page/ for more information about why and how to become a member of the IJA.
In April, 2016, we are looking forward to publishing the following content on eJuggle:
Below are the recent posts to eJuggle (from the archive at https://ezine.juggle.org/archive/):
If you have feedback or want to contribute to eJuggle, contact us at https://ezine.juggle.org/feedback/.
The eJuggle Team
Is it too spammy if I make a post like this every month (with coming soon/recently published)? Obviously we're not for profit and doing this to provide a service to jugglers.
This post is already way too spammy, in my opinion. If you as a human being think something is worth sharing here, share it. That already happens with lots of articles on eJuggle by the authors. I don't see this forum as a publishing platform or promotional pipeline, nor do I want to.
I'm with Luke.
The ezine already gets quite a lot of exposure here (either from the authors, or when a reader spots something interesting)
If some exclusive content turns up that you're especially excited about, or if you've got something important about the IJA fest like pre-reg ending or whatever - post about that.
A regular spammy post like this one doesn't add anything, and I prefer single issue threads (to be honest, I also prefer those threads to be from individuals rather than generic accounts)
Please don't turn the IJA into another "lucasgabd, hit and run, only here for the self promotion" thing.
I'm not that guy. I've read nearly every post on this site since its inception, and even contribute occasionally.
How do you suggest we promote eJuggle better? Should we leave it up to the few authors who sometimes post here? Is that sufficient for new jugglers to find out all the good free content provided by the IJA? Can we do better for our fine contributors?
Are you against it because it's the IJA? Is the problem that my post was too wordy? If it were just a simple link (like is done for Spectacle), would that be ok to post each month? Is the problem that the post was made by a cold new organization account instead of by my personal account? How can I make it more appropriate? What is the maximum that would be acceptable? What do you suggest?
You are not a guy. You are not a human. You don't have a name, nor a personality. You are an account created by an unnamed human purely for promotion. This is what spam is. This is what spammers do.
If you are a human being, use a name. Be a person recommending something you have created. Be a human pointing at something you find interesting. Be more and contribute more to the forum than just a feed of promotional material.
Are you equally offended by fest promotions done by official accounts rather than individuals? Are you just ragging on me because I was trying to be sensitive by asking? Would I have been better off without my footnote which basically brought it on myself*?
You do understand that we're just providing a useful service, right? We're not trying to make money off of anyone. Sure, the IJA does want more members, but I think you know that I'm not even an IJA member and that very little on eJuggle requires membership. My goal is to support a hobby I love and to share juggling content with as many jugglers as possible (render assistance blah blah blah). I also want to get more publicity for the contributors who work so hard and get paid so little.
-Scott (yeah, surprise, it's me, a real person)
* Probably not, because I did learn something about how to approach things differently next month.
I think you misunderstand! I'm not offended by this. You asked if it was too spammy, and I replied in the positive.
As for other non-human accounts, I've not noticed them posting a wall of text so blatantly. I didn't even consider reading it, there was so much overload of uninformative information. It didn't look like it was contributing anything to the forum, only directing me elsewhere.
If you had posted it with your own account, I wouldn't have minded at all. But you did ask!
Yes, I over-reacted. Sorry about that. I asked and I was answered. I'll hopefully do better next month (from that other account).
Have fun at BJC!
I'm not that guy. I've read nearly every post on this site since its inception, and even contribute occasionally.
How can we tell? We have no information about you other than that you're posting from an anonymous sock puppet account.
I mean I could have a good guess at who is behind the account based on a huge amount of prior knowledge (and if I wasn't right in one try, I'd probably be right within three), but I can't really be *sure* who I'm talking to.
This account has no currency here (yet) - there is no trust established (yet)
How do you suggest we promote eJuggle better? Should we leave it up to the few authors who sometimes post here? Is that sufficient for new jugglers to find out all the good free content provided by the IJA? Can we do better for our fine contributors?
If only the IJA had some kind of social media expert on hand, someone who does community engagement and marketing campaigns on a professional basis who could help answer those questions... Someone who perhaps was recently interviewed for the podcast which forms part of the ezines regular content...
My personal preference is for people organically spreading posts which they think are interesting or noteworthy. Whether that's done by the authors, the board, the ezine team or by readers I don't care.
Make it personal, make it "rare and appropriate" - make the ezine a human interaction, not a faceless monolith.
Are you against it because it's the IJA?
Not in the slightest. I read most of the articles posted on the ezine, I listen to all the podcasts. (and
if you are who I think you are, you probably already know that, and we've probably had conversations about the ezine and you'll know I've always supported it as being the best move the IJA made in a long time)
Besides... IJA hating is sooooo last century darlink!
Is the problem that my post was too wordy? If it were just a simple link (like is done for Spectacle), would that be ok to post each month?
It's not the size of the worm it's the way that you wiggle it.
Orin posts when a new issue of spectacle is available because the RSS feed for that site is broken/non existent. It's not posted from an anonymous account, it's clearly posted by an individual who is actively/visibly involved in the community and contributes to discussion on a wide number of topics.
He's a fan of spectacle, and not otherwise involved in its publication.
It's not "promotion" or "advertising" - it's a juggler highlighting something of possible interest to other jugglers, quietly, unobtrusively, as an impartial announcement and not a partial plea for views.
Is the problem that the post was made by a cold new organization account instead of by my personal account?
I think that is my main problem with your suggestion. cold, new organization account reeks of "we" and not "I" - and that has unfortunate connotations of shadowy committies discussing strategy behind closed doors... something the IJA has made huge strides in getting away from over the last 5 years!
If I think about how other organization accounts are used (eg for BJC, Turbofest, various clubs) they're for announcements about important dates, or answering questions in threads started by other people. Giving the "official" answer rather than a personal answer - and that's useful when responding to questions about carparking at an event or whatever.
I'm not saying "burn the ezine account!!!" - just think carefully about how it could best be used, and whether a regular reminder that the website exists is the best use of it.
If after you've done that navel gazing you decide a regular post is the way to go (a post which even made you think "is this too spammy?" and if you ever have to ask yourself that question the answer is usually "yes") then fine! Go for it!
If it gets too annoying, I'll click the ignore link.
How can I make it more appropriate? What is the maximum that would be acceptable? What do you suggest?
I was reading something recently (on The Jerx) which quoted Austin Kelon - "You want hearts, not eyeballs"
I haven't read the whole of Austin's book, but if I agree with it half as much as I agree with the paragraph discussed in that post then I think it's probably worth a read.
All that said, don't make any decisions based on my and Lukes opinions alone.
We're two very noisy Brits, and I don't think either of us would claim to be representative of the entire juggling community (ok, well... I wouldn't. Luke probably would... but... well...)
This post was wordy, but I think it makes my opinion quite clear so I'll duck out of this thread now and let others say what they think.
Besides, I'm starting my mammoth journey to #BJC2016 tomorrow and I've still got packing to do!
I'm very pleased to see the IJA trying to engage more, however I also think the OP misses the mark. It feels very 'corporate'.
I've never been a fan of vague posts from 'we', 'us' or 'the organisation'. For the Edge I try to make it very clear that the buck stops with me, a real live person. For every invitation request I reply to & the welcome page seen by every new member I tell them that this site is my responsibility. If something goes wrong I am the one you should report to, I am the one who will fix it.
For me the name itself is not as important as the pedigree behind it. When I started using the internet it was standard practice to use a handle in place of your real name, because we were all so l33t. I decided to go by Orinoco when I started the Edge because more people know me in the juggling community (especially online) by that name than didn't. I thought a familiar sounding name would be more trustworthy than my relatively unknown real name.
That said I think Norbi's use of the Turbo418 account & Mïark's use of the York Jugglers account are excellent examples of how to use an official account appropriately & effectively. Replies from these accounts are usually anonymous, terse & official, but they feel like a service & not an advert.
Promotion is extremely difficult to get right, & what works for one audience will not work for another. If the OP was posted as is on Facebook I doubt more than 5% would read past the first paragraph & even fewer would have clicked the link therein because there was no specific reason to do so. Saying, "there are 10,000 books in the library" is just a statement of fact that doesn't give me any incentive to check out which books are there. I don't think many people would have read on because there is too much information.
Here, I would guess that 40-50% of the active users who will have seen the OP are already subscribed to the ezine RSS feed. In which case this post is simply old redundant news (I'm not bothered to know about upcoming articles because they'll be delivered to me regardless).
It's a tough trick to let the non-aware know about new content without stepping on the toes of the aware. The only suggestion I can come up with is to find a way to encourage people to talk about the articles on the platform they are already using. People are more likely to follow a link their friends are talking about than one (or over a dozen) posted by an organisation. People don't want to miss out on & feel left out of what their friends are doing. That is the whole precept of social media.
If it were up to me I'd close comments on the articles themselves, specify a hashtag for each article & ask people to comment using that tag with some sort of incentive for the best/most insightful/funniest comment. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google plus & some other juggling website all support hashtags which should account for a pretty sizeable chunk of your target audience. Then use something like https://tagboard.com/ (which sadly does not check the Edge) to monitor what is being said where. You could embed a tagboard at the bottom of each post which will highlight conversations automatically or if you are feeling masochistic manually add links to interesting conversations to each article. However, I wouldn't bother as most people use social networks as their 'base' & follow links out to destinations. They don't generally go from a destination to a conversation.
Be wary of going down the clickbait route, it will probably turn more people off than on!
I do very little promotion for the Edge, because what have I really got to offer? I can offer a place to chat that is cleaner, simpler & less noisy than Facebook, I offer an archived searchable database of clubs & events that is actively kept up to date. I offer a place where you can record your practice sessions & your personal records. Which in the grand scheme of things is not a lot. Certainly not enough to warrant a big marketing campaign.
I didn't mind the post, and wouldn't mind a monthly one like that here. That said, it still did feel a bit spammy, possibly because of the anonymity of the poster. I recommend using a personal account. It's not as though X's association with ezine would come as a big surprise.
Have I ever mentioned JTV?
There seems to be no perfect solution :(... I dislike the spammyness of posting my own articles, but I do like the feedback I get through these promo-posts which I don't get through the comment sections of eZine. Also, I always wonder if anyone reads eZine at all, which again I only get feedback on if I post something online..
And then I have to post here & object episodes & facebook groups.. ugh, talk about spammy!!!
Online article platforms remain complicated things to run.. Now only if everyone would understand and use rss feeds & readers... I do, but I don't know anyone personally who does!
I always go by the copy/paste test: does it look like this message has been, or could reasonably be copypasted across jugglingedge, Juggling Rock, Object Episodes, etc.? If so, it's probably spammy.
Also, this kind of post doesn't really start a discussion, it's more of a list of things that exist. Something I'd find less spammy would be like:
"We've published 12 articles in the last month, including [a few particularly diverse ones]" rather than a list of links.
In the list of articles slated to be published, there could be some cutting there. While I enjoy reading messages from the IJA chairman, I don't think anyone will be excited/interested that it's an upcoming article. Periodic articles/videos I will assume are coming (Tricks of the Month, interviews etc.) and I don't think need mentioning unless they include new information (e.g. Dan Holtzman's special guests).
Cutting these bullets would draw more attention to the drama, the excitement, the CONTROVERSY that I'm anticipating in David's upcoming Willy article.
Finally, if using a group account, I think it's important to sign your name at the end of the post.
Not long to go until #BJC2016. I'm starting to get excited.
Online pre-reg will close on Sunday, 20th of March. After that you will still be able to buy tickets on the door. Over 360 people have pre-regged so far, which is pretty damn good. So if you haven't bought yourself a ticket yet, help yourself by coming to a fantastic event at a superb venue & help us by registering at https://bjc2016.co.uk/tickets/
I will be catching up with sending out confirmations to those already paid up from tomorrow, which will take approx. 5 days to complete. If you haven't received an email by next weekend then please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Lookout Scotland, here we come!
Ooh! Looks like I'm now finally up to date. If you have pre-ordered a ticket for BJC 2016: 1, you are awesome. Ordering in advance really helps us out, thank you very much. 2, you should also have received an email with your registration number that you will need to give to the lovely people on the registration desk when you arrive. If you have not received an email, or the tickets/merchandise listed is not what you were expecting please email email@example.com & I will jump right on it. Then I'll try & sort it out.
I'm still yet to hear from the following people:
If you know any of these people please ask them to get in touch, thank you!
I have never been to Scotland, or to a BJC. And we don't have any juggling practice in Stockholm that week because of Easter break in the schools. Maaaybeee.... I could go almost straight from the Swedish Juggling Convention to the British. Maybe.
And then on to the Dublin convention! ;) (I assume that's the plan, right)
I don't think my boss would be happy with me being away for too many days right now, we have lots to do. ;) Also, I need to save vacation days for the summer. EJC and some other stuff...
Thanks for the reminder!
*throws money at the screen*
*picks money up*
*tries again with paypal*
BJC 2016 ticket.
Anyone driving south from Perth on Sunday via the A1 who can give me lift to Scotch Corner/Barnard Castle?
FYI there appears to be an update regarding hard standing at #BJC2016
I just looked at the index view, and wondered where "Happy Street" was.
There are many according to Google maps:
Happy St, Buluk, Juba, Central Equatoria, South Sudan
Happy St, Church Point, Louisiana 70525, United States
Happy St, Cleveland, Mississippi 38732, United States
Happy St, Malvern, Arkansas 72104, United States
Happy St, Mt Pleasant, Texas 75455, United States
Happy St, Edwardsport, Indiana 47528, United States
Happy St, Paramount, California 90723, United States
Happy St, Marrero, Louisiana 70072, United States
Happy St, Norwich, Connecticut 06360, United States
Happy St, Lebanon, Tennessee 37087, United States
I can't believe everyone has taken so long to pre reg…
For me, I was holding out for an announcement about hard standing for camper vans (which still hasn't appeared from what I can tell)
Eventually I just said fuckit. If that announcement ever materialises then fine, if not I'll either find a series of lay-bys to park in like its the 90s
I'm actually itching to get to Leeds this weekend, me and a couple of mates decided to go last week. Has anyone got any advice for it? I've been looking for my sonic the hedgehog mug so that's just about all the prep I need!
Bring some money so you can pre-reg for BJC Perth while you are at Leeds Juggling Convention (the cashpoint is not very close to the school) before the pre-reg price goes up at the end of the month.
Hopefully the website should tell you anything you need to know. www.juggler.net/leeds
Take a mug to drink tea from and something to snack on while you're trying to herd your juggler friends into making a decision about where to go for food...
But most importantly, say hi to people outside your group of mates, make new friends and have a lot of fun :)
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