Are there not enough old fogies?

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It's Him -

Are there not enough old fogies?

Today I came onto juggling edge for the first time since 31/1/19. I had 280 unread messages. This suggests that there aren't enough people doing the stuff that made juggling edge (and before that rec.juggling) an interesting place to hang out. My excuse is that I've had to turn my energies elsewhere for a lot of the time.

As many of you will know I organise Concrete Circus, which from September to February this year was a circus school teaching around 17 public classes a week (as well as private sessions). In February I learned that despite appeals made by the arts charity that runs the space where we were running these sessions, Milton Keynes Council Building Control didn't think the space was acceptable for public use (and yes I know we ran a juggling convention there in November and it worked ok). Therefore I've spent the last few months runiing half the number of classes and trying to find other sources of work. Not that easy as I'm sure some of the professional jugglers on here will tell you. Now I've hit the summer and more work is appearing I should be a more frequent visitor.

In the spirit of old fogeyness I have a question.

In 1992 I attended a juggling convention somewhere around London. It was held outside with a small marquee it case of rain (a marquee that would never have held the numbers who attended). This was the first juggling convention I remember attending and much of what I remember of the convention is somewhat faded with time. I remember during the juggling games one of the games was blind juggling and someone managed for over a minute juggling clubs but not much else. I've listed myself as attending a convention that year but I have no idea if it is the right one. Who might remember this convention?

The Void - - Parent

I don't know which your convention was, but have you checked old event listings in The Catch or Kaskade?

Meanwhile, in July (pretty sure) 1992, I went to my first convention, in Weymouth. I can't find it listed in the magazines. I remember it as being called a "juggling and model village convention" (yes, a somewhat abstract pairing), but recently I saw Silver's Model Circus mentioned online ( ), and I think that maybe it was that which was the model component. Anyone remember that one, or specifically the event name or dates? Guy Heathcote did street shows, Steve Rawlings was in the public show.

GbH - - Parent

Hi Void,

Yes, I was there (at least partly...) and remember a few details. The convention was one of several, in Weymouth, that had been organized by a guy called Bob Townsend. Bob, and his family, ran a visitor attraction called Silverlands in Chudleigh, Devon. He also operated as an entertainments agent and, I think, there was also a business supplying animated models for Xmas grottos and suchlike. I suspect that many Devon-based acts, that were around at the time, will have known him, if not worked for him. As the article mentions, they had the model circus at Silverlands, with Bob often taking on the role of ringmaster, both at the attraction and elsewhere.

As part of his ‘agent’ work, Bob obviously had contacts in Weymouth - I remember being booked into a place called Brewer’s Quay on multiple occasions. Thus, he had the means to organize juggling events there, too, which happened several times. I think at least one of these events was branded as ‘Juggling Olympics’, or something similar to that, with the big event being the games (pretty much like any other convention games, it with a lot of very random prizes). On one occasion, I remember taking a lot of unexpected stuff home, as between myself and Rut, my then street show partner, we won just about everything going.

The event remembered by Void was likely the last of these events. Unlike the others before it, it finished up with a full theatre show, with Steve Rawlings being the headline act. Rather curiously, on that occasion, I was booked to appear on the day, but in a different location from everyone else (perhaps back in Brewer’s Quay). Perhaps he wanted to give others a chance at winning the prizes, LOL! Thus, as far as I can recall, I saw little of the event on that day and only saw the latter half of the show.

BTW, I’m pretty sure Bob once held a juggling convention/gathering at Silverlands, too. I remember him mentioning it, but I think the event would have been before we met. Perhaps there are some other jugglers that would remember that?

Hope this gives at least a little context to it. I’m sure some others, more local to Devon, who would know a lot more.


The Void - - Parent

Excellent info, Guy, thanks very much. I'd been juggling for about two weeks when I went to this one, so it was great seeing all the astounding stuff that everyone was doing. I even remember some fellow getting decent runs of 3-low diabolos in the camp site, if you can believe it. :-)

Richard Loxley - - Parent

Issue 1 of The Catch was September 1992, so it misses much of that year. But there is a Horsham convention listed in October.

It's Him - - Parent

It could well have been that one Richard. Unfortunately my memory of this is a little hazy. I went by train and with somebody who knew where they were going and I just followed along.

I've managed to get swept along to a few different things over the years and generally can't remember the reason I was there. For example I can remember watching/being an audience volunteer at a soho busking festival which had a reasonably large number of acts and about 7 in the audience.


pumpkineater23 - - Parent

Swept away by the stream of time. 1992 was the year I learned to juggle, it seems like quite a long time ago now. I get confused trying to remember what happened when during those years. As I get older I find myself thinking in decades rather than years.

mike.armstrong - - Parent

This badge for the 1992 East Midlands Juggling Convention popped up in one of my eBay searches last week:
Is it too far outside London to be the one you're thinking of?

It's Him - - Parent

It was in the wrong direction. I definitely took the train down to London. Can't remember where I went from there.




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