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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.


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