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Sergei -

3 ball Shower for old mentally retarded beginner. Just made 10 catches dominant hand Shower. It was pure luck. Left hand only preliminary exercise - two throws left hand + right hand pass and total mess. Any ideas how to learn and improve Shower ? as I understand it is probably intermediate level trick.

The Void - - Parent

Think of it as
Throw & zip,
Throw & zip,
Throw & zip,
Also, try to hold the zipping hand a little higher than the throwing hand. It's easier to zip/pass the ball slightly *downwards* than straight across or upwards.

Sergei - - Parent

Thanks for advice. Is it possible to make it geometrically more like a correct CIRCLE ?

The Void - - Parent

Personally, I think of it as an isoceles triangle. If you want to be more circular, hold your hands further apart. But that will make the zips more difficult. Experiment!

pumpkineater23 - - Parent

Nice and solid two ball version before you progress to three. Keep the two throws (zip throw and up throw) roughly the same distance ie *don't pass the 'zipped' ball* - throw it horizontally with some force. Keep your hands apart and as still as possible (then the next pattern (box) will be much easier.

Sergei - - Parent

Thanks for your advice. Yes, I am already looking forward for Box and already practice 2 ball exercise for the Box. My humble guess it is also good for Shower

7b_wizard - - Parent

There is also the "half-shower" (with 3 balls): ___ you throw only outside throws with one hand on its side (rather with stronghand), and only inside throws with the other hand on the other side. The siteswap for that is then not 51, but ``regular´´ 3. The outside throws a bit higher and the inside throws a bit lower, then ( for the higher balls to pass well over the top and not get any collisions ). Then looks a bit more like a half-circle too, but essentially feels notably slower.

7b_wizard - - Parent

.. it's a bit like juggler's tennis, but all tennis throws, every second throw, and only those, now to the same side. ( like a tennis-ball-feeding-machine. if you want. :o| )

Sergei - - Parent

You can not even imagine how I love Half-Shower !
Worked very seriously on this pattern, but it was non-reciprocal love ))) So I shifted to preliminary exercises for full Shower, more difficult pattern, with hope that new skills will be useful for my beloved HS ))) Funny that I possibly will learn Shower BEFORE HS )))

Monte - - Parent

I learned shower before cascade, I also do 4 clubs in singles and never learned it in doubles. Not sure if it matters what order you learn things at first. Just enjoy your progression.

pumpkineater23 - - Parent

I think some order, at first, is important. Better to learn cascade first. It's easier so more likely not give up. Shower should be learned in both directions. Shower and cascade are quite different motor skills. The half shower is a kind of lazy shower (sometimes called lazy shower I think). It caused me bad habits and the real shower and box were more difficult than they needed to be.

Sergei - - Parent

tried half-shower today after abstaining for a week and attempts to learn full shower. I feel HS goes better now. My humble goal is to have stable 10 cycles HS (20 catches?) both hands. It is really nice pattern ))

pumpkineater23 - - Parent

Slightly off topic - I remember you mentioning you were practicing the reverse cascade. Have you tried the RC with arms crossed? Keep them crossed, left hand doing the job of the right hand, right hand doing the job of the left. If you can juggle RC it's much easier than you think and it looks far more difficult than it is. Just takes a little while for your brain to realise it's the same as RC but the hands are swapped position and then it 'clicks'.

Sergei - - Parent

yes, reverse cascade for me is more easy than normal cascade )) but to do it crossed arms ??? I am not sure I am ready for this witchcraft )))

pumpkineater23 - - Parent

There's a momentary 'crosswires' in your brain when you first try but very quickly you can do it, if you can already do RC. Just jump straight in with three balls. Try to do three throws first. Your brain will make sense of it quickly. It's a good 'quick fix' when you're learning things that might take a little longer.. like shower/s and box.

Sergei - - Parent

Thanks. I guess I ought to try it just to make some middle level brain injury )) need to look for step by step tutorial on Net

Sergei - - Parent

Just created exercise # 1 for crossed arm cascade : arms crossed with 2 balls in one hand tossing "one-two" into the empty hand/ Hope it is not idiotic idea ))

Orinoco -

The 31st British Juggling Convention, Canterbury

Tuesday, 3rd April

I felt very strange going into this one. I have had a lot of family issues over the past year & I wasn't sure if I was going to attend right up to the point I left home. I've only made one appearance at TWJC since the last BJC & that represented all the juggling practice I have done since the last BJC too. For some reason I didn't feel that I deserved to be there. However, I was warmly welcomed & accepted by everyone, both old friends & new, & for that I am extremely grateful. Thank you to you all.

I arrived on site at 17:00, which was the advertised start time. Just behind me in the reg desk queue was Louisa (not Laura) who gave me my first hug of the festival. Just behind her was fellow TWJC member Richard but because he has never been to the BJC before I didn't register that it was him until my second pass through the queue! Also received a lovely welcome from Tor (my perpetual HLGCBS crush) in the reception, then Hannah, Chunk & Bungle from SJC before we found where Kevin, Nicola, Duncan & John had initiated the TWJC camp.

I got my tent up quickly then we went for a quick explore of the site. There was plenty of camping space available around the outside of the sports pitches with toilets & showers close by (to where we were pitched at least) in the separate pavilion building. The enormous Spinning@ tent & a knife throwing range being run by the Essex Backyard Throwers. The main building housed the show hall which was open for practice space during the day & used for shows in the evening, a dance studio for workshops, a climbing hall for big workshops & practice space, & the canteen which was home to Montegriffo's Frying Circus.

Outside were the Veggies catering van, while Love Waffles were set up in another building. There was a separate building for the balloon modellers, 3 outdoor huts for workshops, another 3 outdoor huts for the traders (which were quite out of the way of the regular convention foot traffic). Another building contained the main juggling hall, a few more showers & also the Lazy Juggler bar upstairs.

We poked our heads into the main hall which already had the distinctive aroma of a well used juggling hall. We went upstairs for a drink at the bar & found it was much more pleasant to watch the hall from the viewing window! There were lots of unfamiliar faces in the hall which was good to see.

The pass for the event was a tiny glass bottle of bath salts/glitter on a ribbon. It was also noted that the 'no glass allowed in the main hall' rule was a bit of a contradiction. My pass also didn't survive past my third hug, I spent the rest of the convention with the ribbon round my neck & the bottle in my coat pocket.

Wednesday, 4th April

Breakfast is by far the most important meal of the day. It is something we take very seriously at TWJC so it was a dent to our pride that we were not first in the queue at 08:00 on Wednesday morning. Not that it really mattered when we found out that the team weren't serving until 09:00. I wasn't too fussed but the coffee drinkers in the queue were mortified!

We killed time by perusing the workshop board which took the form of a grid made from coloured tape stuck to the large windows along the side of the show hall. Workshops were written up on individual cards & stuck in the relevant spot. It looked pretty but unfortunately the bright back light from the outside sun made it very difficult to read & even more difficult to photograph unless you were close enough for the individual cards to blot out the sun.

I also enjoyed all the student artwork that covered every available bit of wall. All of it was very good, & some of it was excellent. I particularly liked the black & white portraits in the seating area for the canteen.

When 09:00 rolled round I was a little disappointed. It was ok but the portion was small, the bacon was tough, the mushrooms lukewarm & for £8 including a cup of tea I expect a lot more.

I spent the rest of the morning in the show hall trying to remember what all this circus skill lark is about. I managed some satisfying handstands, although I think this was probably down to my improved physical condition rather than maintained ability. I also did some club passing with Richard before we were interrupted by the fire alarm which forced us out into the car park in front of reception. I waited it out chatting to Dee, Tor & Helena & enjoyed coming up with unsubstantiated theories as to the cause & casting blame accordingly. After a disappointing lack of firemen I returned to the show hall & continued with some 3, 4 & 5 club practice. All of which was dreadful.

At midday I joined in with an RPG session being run by last year's main organiser Stephen. I've been looking for something new to try & have been enjoying the Dungeons & Randomness Podcast (start at Arc 2: episode 1. It's really well done) so I thought I'd give it a go. The game of the session was Everyone is John, all of the players are a different voice with unique obsessions in the head of John, a poor chap with a severe multiple personality disorder. The aim of the game is to take control of John by bidding with your limited supply of will power then get him to perform actions related to your obsessions to score points. Not knowing anything about the game my choice of obsessions were very poor, my top obsession was free dive for 10 minutes, which turned into stay underwater for 10 minutes cumulatively. I managed to genuinely achieve 3 minutes 31 seconds. It was a very bizarre session & lots of fun.

I then took a break to cook myself some parsnips & pancetta & whiled away the afternoon drinking cider & chatting until...

The Spinning@ Show

Our compère for the show introduced herself as Miss Glitterface which was certainly descriptive. She was clearly spoken & very confident but I felt she went a little overboard trying to control audience applause levels. If people want to applaud, you should let them do so!

The show got off to a great start with Rico Titou from France performing a beautiful hoop routine where I think every move was in the vertical plane but still mostly on the body rather than just around the arms. He was very fluid, used the whole stage & at a time when 'generic hoop act' is in danger of entering my list of go to phrases for convention reviews Rico showed a lot of originality.

This was followed by Tony Nowhere with a rope dart act it might have been good but I don't know because it was unfortunately ruined by being an unnecessary glow routine. I'm sure there was lots of interesting things being done with the rope in the dark but all I could see was a bright spot of light either drawing a circle or going back & forth across the stage like the face of a 1970's Cylon.

Next up we had another hooper. She had a great sparkly costume & clearly enjoyed being onstage, she was very good but unfortunately it felt a bit too much like a generic hoop act. I can't pick out anything unique or special that I haven't seen before.

This was followed by Stanley Styx with an unnecessary glow staff routine. It was unnecessarily bright too, I couldn't look directly at the prop. It was a staff routine with overly dramatic music & a daft storyline. I'm sure all the contact moves were very interesting but in the dark it just looked like a really slow staff routine.

Pixie Patch tried a clown routine. In this instance the glow hoop was not just unnecessary, it was a brick wall preventing any enjoyment of the routine. If you are going to do any sort of clowning, I need to see your face. With the lights down I couldn't see any expressions or connect with the performer in any way.

Thankfully Ben Cornish rescued the show by performing with the lights on! He did the walking round the isolated suitcase skit & a bit of ball spinning. However, due to injury he couldn't do much of the spinning so the audience was in the awkward position of wanting him to succeed at the trick but didn't want him to hurt himself. What the act lacked in material Ben made up for with charisma, he was funny, charming & delightful.

Also performing with the lights on was Sam with a fast paced technical bar flair act. He performed lots of rolls, spins, stalls & traps with a big smile.

I was suffering some pretty severe hoop-fatigue at this stage in the show but Alice still managed to blow me away with a sensational melancholic hoop routine. Everything she did was flawlessly stylish & graceful. Instead of a checklist of flashy hoop tricks the routine consisted only of moves that fit the character, but was still highly technical. This was a great example of the performer being the focus instead of the prop. She maintained character with her body language, facial expressions & pace of movement almost to the end, only breaking I think to celebrate a job exceptionally well done.

After that I think it was Boris with a nice 1 & 2 diabolo routine using a loop of string instead of sticks. I haven't seen this style for years so it was a very pleasant change. Excellent skills well executed. Oh & with the lights on too!

Act of the show was Lukie the box monkey performing with 3, 4 & 5 cigar boxes. It was highly energetic & crammed from start to finish with ridiculously difficult tricks. There were quite a few drops but Lukie's personable nature on stage meant the whole audience was with him all the way willing him to succeed. Allegedly the routine was only put together in a couple of hours, but I'm not sure I believe that.

The show finished with another hoop act this time from Callum & Lisa. It's ok but still an unnecessary glow routine. I think the performers were a bit rattled too because the sound tech used a snippet of their music for the previous act which must have been off putting.

I'm glad I saw this show. The lows were low, but the highs were exceptional & more than made it worth my while. Remember kids, just say no to glow.

Thursday, 5th April

I made my own breakfast this morning (Eggy Bread - beat one egg per slice of bread, soak bread thoroughly in beaten egg, fry for about 1 min each side, spread with English mustard #recipe) which set me up well for the day. I spent the morning up in the bar area writing, then I joined Susannah, Lyn, Void & Guy to solve a cryptic crossword. I even managed to solve a clue, which is one more than I usually do.

At midday I joined in with another RPG session with Stephen. This time the game was called Lasers & Feelings, a more traditional RPG game where everyone plays individual characters trying to accomplish a mission, which in our case was to stop mind controlling parasites from reaching Earth. I played a yellow custard coloured android. As it turned out my disembodied leg turned out to be more useful than the rest of my character.

After lunch I enjoyed another chilled afternoon eating, drinking & chatting in the sunshine before heading into the hall for...

Open Stage

Our host for the evening was Devilstick Peat who is clearly enjoying the Tommy Cooper style of magic which he performed in between most acts.

Kicking off the action were Chris & Eilidh with an acro routine. The balances were a bit shaky but the routine had lots of daring moves & there were no mistakes that I could see. I enjoyed the ballroom dancing interludes in between moves & fantastic costumes too. Ivana got off to a droppy start with her hat routine but she got stronger as the routine went on. Her 3 hat work was superb, I particularly liked the sequence where she rotated 3 hats between her hands & head while twirling across the stage on her knees. I would like to see this act again.

I was initially dubious when John & Steph took to the stage with their glow poi, however the lights stayed on & their outfits were simply stunning. They performed a beautifully choreographed partner poi routine with lots of very well executed sequences all with slick transitions. It was clear they had put a huge effort into the presentation of the act. I was most impressed with the fast side to side step across the stage while standing front to front, yeah the intertwining poi was nice but the footwork was exquisite! Both performers wore massive smiles & clearly enjoyed being on stage.

Cameron & Mark entertained with a ring passing routine featuring an excellent mix of both technical & silly entertaining tricks all performed with good humour & a great connection with the audience. Daniel performed an excellent comedy ball juggling piece. Despite being dressed in a simple grey t-shirt & shorts he was able to brighten the stage with personality alone. He very quickly built a strong rapport with the audience only using one of the most expressive faces I have ever seen.

Keith & Antonia filled the stage with their poi passing routine featuring lots of slick behind the back catches, which were surprising because the passes were low, fast & horizontal rather than high & floaty like most throws that lead to a behind the back catch.

Closing the show was Arthur Hyam with a new diabolo routine. Lots of tough tricks with 1 to 3 diabolos, it was pretty droppy but he kept his composure throughout.

All in all a great show.

Friday, 6th April

On a tip from another juggler Kevin, Louisa & I walked down the road to find the Lime Tree Cafe hidden behind the Sainsbury's supermarket. We were gutted to find out that they weren't serving a full English that day but we enjoyed excellent bacon in beautiful soft white baps & a nice cup of tea. It was a lovely pristine cafe overlooking the county cricket ground which was busy with people hurling cricket balls at batsmen using those flexible tennis ball launchers you often see dog walkers use. It was a bit unfair I thought but very entertaining as the trainers were not always particularly accurate. It made me wonder how fast a fast bowler could bowl if they could use one in competition. Before we left Kev made the staff promise that they were definitely serving a full breakfast tomorrow at least 3 times.

Back on site we prepared for the long day in Margate. Buses left site at midday & 40 minutes later dropped us off at Dreamland. The info booklet told us our pass entitled us to a free ride or some free food at one of the concession stands, neither of which turned out to be true. I certainly didn't feel like paying any of the high asking prices for the basic fairground attractions. There was one side attraction that I felt would have been pretty easy pickings for the aerialists & rock climbers among the BJC crowd where you had to hang from a bar for 2 minutes. I admit I was tempted to have a go but put off by the prospect of winning an absurd oversized stuffed toy. Many attractions were closed or under construction, the bar was mugging patrons for £5 a pint, the roller disco floor was the size of a postage stamp. To make things worse before the games started we were subjected to the excruciating Story time with Peter Rabbit show, a patronising screechy affair narrating the actions of someone in a stuffed animal costume. I died a little inside. For those that couldn't believe it the first time they did it again an hour later.

Devilstick Peat & Russell Wells got the games underway. I watched Felix win the brief 5 club endurance in windy conditions & Lucy put in a great performance to win the unicycle gladiators. I got bored with the prolonged balloon modelling race & joined Kevin, John & Gabor to explore Margate & scout out somewhere to eat for Louisa to join us later. It took us a while to find the exit through the park's last ditch attempt to fleece customers of their loose change otherwise known as the 'amusement' arcade but we finally managed to reach safety. However, Margate was a very depressed town of soulless amusement arcades & uninspiring eateries in between boarded up shops & litter. We spent our time exploring the handful of interesting antique/bric-a-brac stores, all of which were charging antique prices for bric-a-brac. I did like the 7ft imitation bear though.

We decided that the Weatherspoons pub was the only safe option for something to eat & bagged a table before it got too crowded. I left the group to find Louisa who was MIA. I was beginning to fear that she might have slipped into a coma in Dreamland & that I might have to go back in to get her out which was quite the emotional crisis. Fortunately she emerged while I was figuring out just how much I was willing to pay someone else to go in & get her.

Back at Weatherspoons we ordered food & settled in for the advertised 30-40 minute but in reality 1 hour wait for food & amused ourselves by pinging origami frogs at each other courtesy of another juggler on the next table. After gorging ourselves we ambled to the other side of town to the Wintergarden Theatre for...

The Gala Show

On entering the theatre we were greeted by a superb giant balloon sculpture of the convention's troll mascot, animated by volunteers with long poles. Easily the best BJC balloon sculpture yet.

Unfortunately most of the seating was flat, the only raked seating mostly had views partly obscured by pillars. We decided to sit in the flat seating, hoping their wouldn't be much low level action.

Our compère for the evening was Matthew Tiffany who entertained with a Brunn combination trick, spinning a 3 ball stack, some teaspoon balancing & some songs on the banjo in between acts.

Jon Udry kicked off the proceedings with some nice ball through the rings juggling, some of his fantastic 3 club technical skills, a daft 3 ball strip tease (just his jacket) before finishing with his 5 helium balloon juggling. I really enjoy his dry sense of humour & his comedy skills are improving every time I see him.

This was followed by Ben Nichols performing as Professor Circumference's assistant. It finished with an interesting way to get into a 5 ball cascade by holding 3 balls in place on top of a beach ball using a juggling ring, then dropping the whole lot on the floor which launched the 3 balls into the air in perfect formation. It was a nice act but felt very low energy after following on from Jon Udry.

Ratcheting things up again was Jan Himself with a superb high skill diabolo act with lots of Zoolander-esque male model humour. A lot of the gags involved his phenomenal waist length hair which he incorporated into his diaboloing. This was a really really really really good looking act.

I was very surprised to see Paul Zenon listed in the info booklet. I loved watching him perform when variety was a thing on UK TV in the 90s. Paul is a great magician & comedian & I was really enjoying his act until it was unfortunately cut short by a stage hand angrily demanding that he get off the stage. It was not immediately clear why this was the case, & there was no explanation given. If it was the adult humour he used it was certainly no worse than that used by Jon Udry or Tiff. If it was the cigarette that he was performing a trick with surely this should've been picked up in advance? Regardless the episode completely ruined an otherwise very enjoyable act.

Helena Berry opened the second half with a wonderfully moody acrobatic juggling piece. There were lots of walkover, handstand & cartwheel moves with balls balance on her feet, then a lot of interesting juggling patterns involving catching balls on the sole of her right foot. She struggled a bit with the 5 ball cascade to foot catch finish but it was genuinely satisfying when she did manage to land it.

I was really looking forward to seeing Loz Because because (I can't believe that has never come up in my writing before) she is one of my favourite performers. I love her manic comedy style so I was disappointed when she performed an unnecessary glow routine I think there was lots of nice subtle technical skills lost in the darkness. I did like the Streetfighter 2 reference though.

The Berlin Passing Girls are a 4 strong troupe from Germany who were very technically adept & filled the stage in all 3 dimensions with big many club passing patterns. The act had a lot of parallels with the Gandini Juggling Project. It was a well choreographed routine but I felt some of the transitions were a little slow for my liking & it lacked that little extra polish that the Gandini's bring.

Rounding off the evening was BJC favourite Steve Rawlings being Steve Rawlings. You've all seen his act, you all know how good he is. Was he brilliant? Of course he was!

Saturday, 7th April

Saturday started with a bit of light rain, but not enough to stop Kevin, Laurence & I wandering down to the cafe for breakfast where we met ball spinning Peter & enjoyed large English breakfast featuring lovely soft bacon, superb sausages & free tea/coffee refills for £7. It was a lovely meal, served by pleasant staff & enjoyable company.

Back on site I joined the last of Stephen's RPG sessions. The name of the game was Actual Cannibal Shia Lebeouf, & the aim is to kill or escape from Hollywood actor Shia Lebeouf. This game felt a bit unfair the odds always seemed to be stacked against us, but it was still fun to play thanks to the other players. I was the first player to die in an adventure where almost all of us perished but as a team we were victorious.

I then went back to my tent to cook myself some food, during this time I had to actively avoid the burning sun. I regretted not packing my shorts.

A great place to avoid the sun was the Spinning@ tent for an audience with Steve Rawlings. Steve was open to every question, full of fascinating stories & gave useful advice from experience. It was a very funny & entertaining session which could have gone on for hours.


The panel of judge's this year consisted of Ben Cornish, Natalie Randall & Matthew Tiffany. Jon Udry took on compère duties.

I sadly can't remember the names of the young acrobatic trio who opened the show. They were all extraordinarily bendy, as only kids can be. They did lots of synchronised tumbling into splits positions. They lacked a bit of confidence & were a little hesitant at times but they got through their well choreographed routine without any errors as far as I could see. A cracking start.

Next up was Becca with a staff routine. She had a great costume & presented herself well, again she lacked a bit of confidence but kept smiling & worked through her piece which was well choreographed to her backing music. My only real complaint was she was too static, she never really left the centre of the stage.

Jonny performed a technical ball juggling routine with 3 to 7 balls. There was a lot of variety but the performance had too many drops for it to build any momentum.

Young Sophie presented a glow poi routine which was fine but unfortunately for me she did the routine with one set of poi, then pretty much did the same routine again with another set of poi that had long tails which was just unnecessary. The takeaway lesson from this act is: if you have 3 minutes of material, just do a 3 minute act. Short acts are perfectly ok!

The next act was Chris with his S-staff. This was not my thing at all, the isolations were unconvincing & the routine was repetitive. My main frame of reference for this type of act is Nik Robson-King who is mesmerising to watch, sadly Chris had none of the magic. I am well aware that it's pretty unfair of me to compare him to Nik because that is a very high bar to live up to.

I wisely walked out on Peter practicing earlier in the week when I learned that he would be competing in BYJOTY. I prefer to be surprised, & I know I judge acts more harshly if I've seen it before. He stormed through a fantastic spy themed walking globe routine. It featured loads of tricks I haven't seen before such as a leapfrog mount over a globe onto another one, a 3 ball 1-up 180° on 2 globes. My favourite trick was when he put a globe into a fast horizontal spin then leapt on & maintained the balance until the spin stopped. Bonus points for his young assistant being suitably decked out in black clothes & sunglasses too! It's the little touches like this that make an act special.

Closing the show was Circomedia student Eilidh Sela with a very high end hoop act. Her advanced training was evident from the start, the whole routine was very slick & professional. She looked great & was able to throw in the incidental smiles & connections with the audience that only comes when you are very comfortable with your skills. She rattled through all the tricks at a blistering pace yet was still tight to the musical queues. Fantastic stuff.

While the judges retired to deliberate their decision Jon kicked off the best trick competition. The drop count competition wasn't particularly popular this year which meant the prize fund was only £12. This fact combined with the length of time that the best trick section went on for meant that it violated the UK minimum wage law.

The judges returned to award Peter & Eilidh silver awards & Eilidh the Judge's Choice. Once the votes were counted Peter picked up the BYJOTY title. It was tough to call between Peter & Eilidh. I think Eilidh was the better performer, but the market for accomplished hoop acts is becoming saturated whereas Peter's routine had the benefit of originality & rarity.

Other stuff probably happened then it was time for another episode of...

Old Skool

Our panellists for the evening were The Void, Jamie Fletcher, Mandy Blake & Devilstick Peat. They were kept under control (mostly) by Ashby Winch. I particularly enjoyed hearing about Void's experience's of working with Max & about Mandy growing up in the early UK convention scene. It was a fun, laid back show in which everyone was entertaining.

Sunday, 8th April

I cooked my own breakfast then spent the rest of the morning doing some juggling & handstand practice in the show hall. My handstands are improving, I managed to stay standing after being struck by an errant diabolo twice.

The BJC meeting was very positive. I was very impressed with how effective Anna's opening preemptive strike against some of the obvious complaints was. I also think every BJC meeting should feature a scone vs scone pronunciation fight.

Jane talked about all the developments for next year's EJC 2019 which is going to be awesome. Keep an eye out for tickets, you can be the first to know by signing up to the email news letter.

At present there are no bids for a BJC in 2019. If you have a proposal, no matter how tentative, please do come forward.

After a bit more food it was time for the Fight night qualifying. 31 of us registered to take part, we were split into 2 groups & then worked through matches until everyone in group A had played everyone in group B. The climbing gym was too small for everyone to play at once so we set up a queuing system so that there were only around 8 games happening at any one time. This helped by giving us players a little bit of a rest between matches & allowed us to watch some of the games which I appreciated. Cameron beat me 3-0 with ease early on. Felix Surbe beat me 3-1. I'm not going to dwell on the 3, I'm going to focus on the 1 which was the greatest point I have ever scored. I managed a very clean lunging strike at full stretch on one of Felix's clubs just before he could catch it, my high throw was a bit wayward though forcing me to run & slide on both knees to make the save. Unfortunately I didn't slide on the nice slippy part of the hall, I slid on the grippy black rubber section of the floor which took all the skin off of my left knee & some of my right. I couldn't kneel down for the rest of the festival, but for that brief moment I looked good. I also lost 3-1 to Rob Woolley. I had a very satisfying 3-2 win over Stephan Cipra. Stephan is a very fast player who literally ran rings around me, I spent most of the match standing in the centre fending off his attacks but I was able to take advantage whenever he extended himself that little bit too far. Other than that I think I won everything else 3-0. Sadly my last match ended in disaster. I was playing Joe Wonham, we were at 2-2. He threw a club up & came at me for an attack, I tracked back a little then made a high throw & reached to swipe at Joe's descending club, while I was watching Joe's club I think Joe leapt in an attempt to catch my high club. I batted his club just in time to clout him in the face. I didn't realise this at the time so I caught my club & juggled to a clean finish, I turned to thank Joe for the game only to find him crouched & holding a bleeding nose. Arse.

I'd like to say sorry again to Joe for causing the injury & a big thank you to Stephen as the first-aider on hand for taking good care of him.

The results were totted up & 12 of us were selected for the main tournament to be held later in the evening. I was pleased to have made it through so I thought I'd go back to my tent for a brief nap before the main event at 22:00. I woke up & looked at my phone which said 21:57 so with a little bit of a panic I made it to the main hall in time for...

Fightnight Tournament

The arena was set up at one end of the main hall, Ieuen acted as referee, Dee kept score & Rosie Kelly did a fantastic job as the commentator making up lots of ridiculous facts about the competitors. My favourite line of the evening was, "Callum is sponsored by outer space".

True to form I went out in the first round losing 5-4 to Lukas Bonauer, but at least I didn't make anyone else bleed, although I did come close when I went crashing into the commentator's table.

Jon Peat surprisingly steam-rolled the number 1 seed, Brook Roberts 5-0 in the semi final. I have a long & glorious history of losing all the points-0 against Jon, but Brook?! Callum Lawrie pulled off a superb victory against number 2 seed, Cameron Ford to join Jon in the final. Callum lead Jon 4-3, when Jon won the next point he amusingly thought he'd won! Jon also took the last point to win the title with a well deserved 5-4 victory.

Well done to all involved, especially Ieuen for organising the whole thing.

Monday, 9th April

Monday was pack down day so I spent the day carrying fencing to the end of the car park, moving tables & chairs back into class rooms & litter picking. Thank you to everyone who chipped in to help, especially on the last day.

It was particularly lovely to see Anna & Jak smiling & laughing after a very successful event.

Orinoco - - Parent

Gah! #bjc2018

Stephen - - Parent

Being mentioned 4 times in one review. I feel... honoured!

It was great to have you in all my games though, and I do hope you'll join me again (hopefully @ Bungay if I run them!)

Monte - - Parent

Games at Bumgay!!
Good heavens, whatever next?
Someone will be suggesting workshops if this trend continues, fetch my smelling salts someone I'm close to fainting...

JonPeat - - Parent

Enjoyed reading the review. :-)

I forgot to mention in mine that I sopent some time making enquiries into the whereabouts of Dorothy...

It's Him -

BJC2018 – A review

This review is my personal thoughts of the last few days and may be idiosyncratic.


We arrived in two cars as my car had two walking globes init as well as part of an aerial rig and therefore only the front two seats were useable. By the time we had set up the caravan and oldest sons tent (which he pitched about as far from us as was possible), it was time to eat. Then I played the yearly game of find the water point (why is it never marked on the maps?). Eventually we were all sorted and we looked around the site, chatting to friends as we went. At some point we went to the gym and Peter did an hours practice (added a time waster move with two globes) which like many of the practices at BJC had Peter struggle with the 1 up 180 with 3 balls, whilst stood on two globes. He could run it fine when not running the whole act. As soon as the music started and he tried it two minutes in to the routine it became much harder. After that we did a bit more chatting before an early night.


After breakfast we did another hour practice with Peter(changed 4 ball on one globe with an under the leg throw to 3 ball, 2 globe and under the leg throw). After that I went to add a workshop to the board (walking globe, naturally) and the fire alarm went off. No idea what set that off but at least it was a one off. At some point during the day Jamie Fletcher appeared with my new toy, a red and yellow Salerno ring. I haven’t had a lot of success with it as yet but should have plenty of practice time and space in the near future to improve. Spoke briefly to Clare about BYJOTY to learn that only 3 had entered to that point. Spoke shortly afterwards to Christopher and suggest that he practice the act that he had performed the month before and then enter BYJOTY. He is one of the students at Concrete Circus and whilst it is an act in development, the experience and feedback from BYJOTY would be good for him.Various chatting and food happened until the start of the Spinning@ show.

For me the first half was basically filler. Whilst there was some good technical skill most of the acts were too long or too repetitive. The best of them was the rope dart but that act could have been shortened and maybe some of the tricks could have gone above the audiences head. Of the other acts,the only comment I’m going to make is since when has clearing up after yourself been an act?

Our friends the Kelsalls arrived during the interval which pleased my daughter particularly (and us as well as we then didn’t have to explain the compere to her) and they got to see a really good second half. Starting with Ben Cornish. Ben was having a bad time with one trick but his performing experience showed through. We also had a really nice Bar Flair routine by Sam, a pleasing, smooth and aesthetic hoop routine by Alice, a very competent (and much improved since I last saw it) hulahoop act from Lisa and Callum and for me the stand out act in the show the cigar box routine by Luke? Cigar box routines are rare anyway but to show great skills with 3, 4 and 5 boxes made it much better. The final part of the act was a standard made better by music that worked well (even though the music was for the next act, which didn’t help them I’m sure).

After the show chatting happened and then I retrieved my juggling case from the sports hall, where it had sat for a day. I did some passing with my sons, including some feeding and switching who was feeding.Considering that Peter hadn’t done two count club passing before that evening,that was a great improvement.


Again we started with an hour practice with Peter (changed the skipping part to have two jumps rather than one). After that some more chatting happened before I attended Euaun’s combat workshop. That was good fun and the only workshop I attended other than the walking globe workshop that happened immediately afterwards. I was impressed with the turn out to the workshop as there must have been about 25 who attended. I worked with the beginners, many of whom learnt to walk on the globe, whilst Peter worked with those who were more advanced. Nobody was killed or seriously injured which counts as a result in my books and actually quite a few people came up to thank me afterwards and it wouldn’t surprise me if Lancaster University juggling group buys a globe.

At some point in the afternoon I played the one game I played all convention. I don’t remember its name.

The show in the evening was the Open Stage. Devil Stick Peet compered and did a small act between each act which meant he now dominates the show in my head. Other acts that impressed were (in no particular order) Antonia and Keith with their passing poi (I liked the characterisation), The odd ball juggling person (Daniel?), the professional looking poi double act and the duo acrobalance. There were other acts and none of them were bad, I just can’t remember them at this time.

I did a bit more juggling and passing afterwards and thus this became the convention I have done most juggling at for a few years.


Up early again for another practice session with Peter(added 5 ball multiplex on 2 globes). After that I generally chatted although I did meet up with Barbara at some point to discuss aerial rig bags. We had the debate of going on the bus or driving to Margate and went for the bus. Arriving at Dreamland (so called because that is where dreams go to die?) we hung around and watched some of the games. I took part in the balloon dog making one although felt hampered because I felt obliged to pick up the pump and then it got in the way when I was blowing up the balloon with my mouth. David did creditably well in the unicycle gladiators before being taken off his unicycle by someone hugging him and then suiciding. Shortly after that we left Dreamland(with its hall with more hole than roof) and went across the road to the beach and promenade. We stopped for a while at a large set of steps where David proved that he can bunny hop and Olivia Kelsall showed that she is an up and coming artist. We chatted to one of the local families and tried to convince them to watch the show later. Our evening meal was pizza at a sea front restaurant. The door to the place was particularly difficult to open and as we sat outside the restaurant eating we gained much amusement as other people(including staff) struggled to get in and out. After eating and walking closer to the show venue we also had an ice cream and eventually reached the venue before the vast majority of jugglers but only just. This did allow us to have seats in the centre of the theatre.

For me the show felt very safe. By which I mean that most of the acts were well known and had appeared in the BJC gala show before. Jon Udry was slick and his dry humour works for me. Ben had an interesting and novel act, perhaps not quite enough juggling for me but still enough to keep it interesting. Jan Himself was very professional in an almost predictably weird way. Paul Zenon’s magic routine had a lot of standard tricks which were all well presented. The end of his routine I thought was a somewhat bizarre staged event at first but apparently that wasn’t the case and one of the stage hands took it upon herself to interrupt his act. I hope someone apologised to Paul afterwards. The second half was equally skilled. Loz because performed a routine which was both well choreographed and well programmed, I always think that glow props take a little bit away from the performer and their skills but Loz was visible enough that we could see much of her tricks. Helena Berry has an act that isn’t very forgiving and the drops grew more towards the end but this didn’t take away from the act which was original and skilful. The Berlin Passing Girls did a great choreographed act and probably inspired the girls in the audience into believing they should juggle more. Steve Rawlings has been in at least 3 other BJC gala shows and is always a crowd favourite. For me the highlight of his act was the bit that I haven’t seen before with the mouth stick bottle and balloon. Matthew Tiffany as compere did a great job as compere and introduced a song that is fairly hard to sing if you have all the words written out in front of you.

On the way back from the show I learned that if Steve Rawlings does his knife gag in a show and you are 3 then you will still remember it 9.5 years later.


Guess what, we started the day with another practice session(changed the skipping so there was a slick turn before the second jump). After that I had a long conversation with Jonathan the Jester and probably chatted with others. After lunch I visited the traders with my daughter who needed anew peddle for her unicycle. Roger managed to sell her an upgraded set of peddles (pink) but not a new tyre (also pink) just because she had a pink unicycle stem and was wearing a pink cardigan doesn’t mean that she is obsessed with the colour. 2pm was tech rehearsal for BYJOTY so we all went over there. Originally there were going to be 8 acts but one of them was clearly not ready and will probably do a better job next year. After watching the tech run I thought that it would be very close indeed between 3 acts, the two twenty year olds and my 14 year old son. It turned out that I was correct. If you congratulated Peter and he didn’t say anything back to you it wasn’t because of you. For someone who is happy to stand up in front of people performing he isn’t great at conversation. After that we treated Peter to a meal of his choice, so we ended up going to Pizza Hut.


It's Him - - Parent


We didn’t do an hour of walking globe practice. Instead we slowly packed away and said our goodbyes. Peter bought some balls from Oddballs with his voucher forgetting a silver medal. Eventually we left for the journey home. Around about J30 my car engine started making funny noises and got gradually worse so I pulled over just before J28. Fortunately one of the Milton Keynes jugglers saw us and took Peter home (the other 3 were in the other car). I got to play the very slow game of waiting for Mr AA Man and eventually got home some 9.5 hours later. A sad end to an otherwise great BJC.

It's Him - - Parent

I noticed that in this review I forgot to thank all the people who made BJC happen. You are all wonderful people and I enjoy spending time with you each year.


Daniel Simu - - Parent

Yes, the odd ball juggling person on the open stage was me :)

It's Him - - Parent

I enjoyed the act. I generally enjoy acts that have characterisation and have been thought through and yours met both those criteria.


Daniel Simu - - Parent

Thank you, I'm glad to hear that :D

The Void - - Parent


Jonathan The Jester - - Parent

I have to say how Impressed I was with BYJOTY, esp the astounding walking globe. I have not been that gobsmacked since Sam Goodburn wheel walked his uni. Very very good stuff. As always it was great to catch up with Nigel.

JonPeat - - Parent

Nice review Nigel!

Pssssst Orinoco... you aren't waiting for me really, are you? Mine is going to be a good few days yet at least...

Orinoco - - Parent

Nope, I am working on it but I've only got up to Thursday so far...

Monte - - Parent

Cold showers, cold bed but great new Bristol backdrop mug.

JonPeat - - Parent

Hi Everyone,

I also went to the BJC in Canterbury and wrote about my experiences!

Check out all of the action here:


Cheers, Jon

p.s I enjoy reading other peoples reviews and experiences, add to the discussion with your own mini reviews!

peterbone - - Parent

Interesting that you tried to attend the preventing injury workshop. Frederique and myself were the only ones there unfortunately. Ben did it anyway and we found it useful and informative.

JonPeat - - Parent

I am very surprised that so few people went along.

Fortunately (or unfortunately...) any injuries I recieve which prevent me from juggling are normally due to things outside of juggling (cycling accidents, mis-handling of tools etc...) or avoidable impacts from juggling combat.

I was very interested to hear what Ben said and would definately go if the chance came up again. It just didn't work out for me this time.

Orinoco - - Parent

Ejuggle appears to be down at the moment :(

I'm hoping to finish my effort this evening (probably late evening).

Mïark - - Parent

I did wonder if was just not working for me, or if Jon had broken it.

jamesfrancis - - Parent

Thanks Jon, as always I really enjoyed that.

Very interesting to see how you always have a completely different juggling experience to me: a rare attendant to shows or workshops and a frequent attendant at the lazy juggler bar!

My main thoughts / feedback / witty or non witty repartee in no particular order or coherency are as follows:
- Margate had excellent fish and chips away from the main strip. We skipped dreamland and the games completely and played adventure golf (curse you Andy Fraser for taking my title) and really enjoyed our day out and nearby Fish.
- I really enjoyed the gala show but thought too many of the acts were a little similar. It was probably the least balanced gala show I had seen for a while. I love Tiff, Jon and Steve, but all in one show with a talking magician and a talking Ben was a lot of wordy performances. Helena was really quite good though.
- Was the stage hand who interrupted Paul Zenon really not a poor acting planned part of the act? we couldn't tell
- Monte food = excellent. Much better when he has a full kitchen and helpers to work with. Rarely needed to leave site for sustenance other than drinkable water
- Lack of flushable one point I think there were only 2 working on site. Thank goodness the portaloos turned up
- Waffles are not an acceptable breakfast. Why can we not get decent coffee anywhere ever at a BJC?
- Played two long games of Suburbia and Stone age with Brook, Cameron and Danny. Stone age seemed to be more popular. Also played a bit of seven wonders duel with various people. This is my latest favorite two player game of choice. Also Danny needs banning from all board games on account of being too good.
- Generally the organisation was a little lax. The volunteer board didn't seem to exist and on inquiring how I could help I was told 'go and see if anyone is on badge control now and you can fill in'. Well I did and a couple of hours later I was lucky to be replaced as the person after me had no relief after 2 hours. A simple printed schedule people can sign up to is so much easier.
- Sebs workshop on 3 in one hand scissor manipulations was great
- I felt really sorry for the unicycle hockey guys for pushing my patience. The Scheduling as you mentioned was awful but it wasn't their fault and I was temporarily very angry until I thought about this
- Love being able to drive to BJCs and bring my double duvet to camp with. Feel like a big southern pansy, but no regrets!
- I need to pass more with different people. I did no > 2 person passing other than 'Spider' and mostly passed with the same people. Made some progress on Funky 9 though. Also amazed at the number of people who can now acceptably run Holy Grail. A few years back this was a pipe dream and now it seems almost common. Need to regress a few years, quit my job and move to Cambridge to keep up.


The Void - - Parent

"- Waffles are not an acceptable breakfast. Why can we not get decent coffee anywhere ever at a BJC?"
From which conjunction I conclude that you think decent coffee is an acceptable breakfast. I agree, but enjoyed a couple of veggie Full Montes in the week too. Seeing Bob Fromcanada around made me miss his great coffee stall that was at EJC.

Monte - - Parent

I have never understood why people for whom coffee is so important cannot bring along the means to provide their own. SMH

jamesfrancis - - Parent

I could... but given my campsite was at least 5 minutes walk from the main communal / juggling area, and that I would have to whip out a camp stove, boil my own water and bring my own fancy cafetiere in the first place this seems a rather extravagant means to an end.

Much easier to rant on the internet than self provide a simple practical solution. That being said I am sure there is a commercial opportunity there given the success of EJC ventures.

John R - - Parent

I could being the Leeds convention filter machine along, but it’s not PATed so insurance mght be an issue...

John R - - Parent

I do, thanks! Aeropress and hand grinder. But there is a bootstrap problem in that some people - not me, cough cough - need a coffee before they can be organised enough to make coffee.

JonPeat - - Parent

Nice mini review, I think I spotted you juggling in the hall a couple of times during the week...

I would be up for a game of Duel sometime, great game!

Monte -

Otters juggle! Who knew?

Mïark - - Parent

wow! next you will be telling us that Asian Black Bears know how to staff twirl

7b_wizard - - Parent

°Gee° .. all the years of hours of daily practise this must have taken!?

Just a question of time now until they too invent computing and digitalize their world, then be first on mars, I say.

Monte -

Is the BJC dying a slow death?
I've not been for a few years so I was quite surprised to hear how few are expected to attend this year. Fewer than half the amount of people that used to go about 10 years ago.
Is this a sign of a fall in the numbers of young jugglers taking up the hobby or are there just more events dividing up the pool of likely attendees?

The Void - - Parent

BJC numbers are always down when it's in a "far corner" of the UK. Of course, we're well down from the early 90s heyday, but that's been true for years.

The Void - - Parent

The last 2 with figures for attendance on (both in Darton) are over 900. That's pretty good. I'm sure Perth will have been well down on that, and I guess it makes sense for Canterbury to budget on a low figure too. We'll see how it goes, I guess....

Monte - - Parent

I wouldn't have called Kent a far flung corner. Not compared with Yorkshire. I suppose I'd need to know more about the concentration of jugglers around the country but I would have assumed London and Bristol to be hotspots.
Anyway I hope you're right because 500 seems a small number to me.

The Void - - Parent

Where are you getting 500 from? *If* it's their budgeting figure, that's presumably a worst case scenario, and therefore it wouldn't be unreasonable to *hope for* 600-700. Dunno, I'm guessing...

Monte - - Parent

From the horse's mouth. Budgeting figure is even lower.
Good to know the last couple were around 900. That's a good number.
When people are deciding between BJC or Catch it can't be a good thing.
There has to be a number where it is no longer viable in its current form.
Mind you, under 500 and we could do it at Hulver farm
British Balls Up anyone?

The Void - - Parent

There are no numbers on that site for attendance for the last 2 (anyone know?). 900s were 2014 & 2015.
Well, here's hoping...

Cedric Lackpot - - Parent

> When people are deciding between BJC or Catch it can't be a good thing.

Why not? I see that it's a risky situation, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's wrong. It seems to me that the BJC does not have a right to be pre-eminent, it needs to earn that status.

Monte - - Parent

I meant it can't be a good thing for the BJC. It might well be a good thing for juggling.
It already seems quite hard to get people to commit to running one, if numbers decline who's going to take the risk of making a big loss?
Maybe both can be successful?

Anyway, come to BJC and eat at Montegriffo's.....

Richard Loxley - - Parent

I wouldn't have called Kent a far flung corner. Not compared with Yorkshire

Spoken like a southerner ;-)

I'm currently a southerner, living in Bristol. But I'd still rather travel to Yorkshire rather than Kent! There's this annoying thing called London in the way, which adds stress and considerable time, whatever method of transport you use.

I will make the effort anyway, because I want to go to the BJC. But I can see why anyone in the Midlands or above would think twice.

Monte - - Parent

Southerner? Norwich is further North than Birmingham.

Mïark - - Parent

Canterbury is more than twice as far from the centre of the UK population as Darton is.

Monte - - Parent

Where's the centre of the UK population?
About one in seven live in London, must be getting on for a third of the population are South of Watford.

The Void - - Parent

From a comment on an Ordnance Survey page: "Yes, one of our Twitter followers suggested this too. It’s not something we’ve worked out ourselves, but @MurrayData says that using a population weighted approach centre of GB is approximately 433924E 309573N (Measham Rd Swadlincote Leics.)"

The Void - - Parent

Click the pic link in the tweet:
@JugglingEdge Pic for Monte:
— The Void ザ・ヴォイド (@TheVoidTLMB) March 10, 2018

Cedric Lackpot - - Parent

Yeah, erm, Swadlincote's in Derbys not Leics - only just, but Derbys nevertheless. Not a good start, although if I had to guess the GB population centre I'd probably go for somewhere not too far from Swad.

Also, Swad is mostly an unmitigated shithole, but then that probably makes it a good representative of some sort of median of the British population. I have worked a lot in Swad.

These Swad facts brought to you by Cedric Lackpot, who has nothing of value to add to this thread, but knows a damn thing or two about Swadlincote!

Mike Moore - - Parent

I'd like to subscribe to Swad facts by Cedric Lackpot please.

Cedric Lackpot - - Parent

J. Thomas Looney died at Swadlincote in 1944. 'Nuff said.

Llama_Bill - - Parent

Measham Road to Darton BJC - 1:20
Measham Road to Canterbury BJC - 3:07

lukeburrage - - Parent

The main reason I won’t be returning to the BJC again soon, and the reason why I don’t recommend it to European jugglers when they ask me about it, is the time of year and the accompanying high chances of bad weather.

That’s the reason I’m not going again this year. The better time of year is also the main reason I’m going to the Catch festival this year.

If the BJC was held in July, I’d probably go every year.

charlieh - - Parent

That's rather a silly reason not to recommend it, Luke. Yes, some BJCs have had awful weather, but plenty have had good weather, even the ones held in the far flung North. Also, last time I went to the Lakes in the summer we had really quite a lot of rain.

There's no guarantee of good weather at any time of year, although it's likely to be a lot warmer in the summer of course. I'd be more inclined to talk about the shows, workshops, halls and general vibe of the BJC than the weather - if nothing else, to avoid becoming a national stereotype!

lukeburrage - - Parent

Not, it's not a silly reason. It's a major factor for me, and judging from the feedback I get from non-UK jugglers who visit the BJC, it's also the main complaint they have.

In Europe, if a convention is held in the winter, camping isn't expected. It's an indoor sleeping convention, with entire sports halls or other rooms set aside for people to lay out mats and sleeping bags. If the convention is late spring to early autumn, camping becomes an option. The BJC insists that camping is an option, even when the chances of bad weather is worse than good weather.

For example, Berlin held its convention in September last year, due to some date conflicts, and everyone expected the weather to be fine. But it wasn't. It was waaay colder than it is in May or June, the normal date for the event, and it got dark way earlier. So now the convention has moved back to the summer again.

Just so you know, the shows, workshops, halls and vibes at the BJC are no better than other national conventions in Europe. There is nothing to recommend them above conventions at better times of year and with better weather than the BJC. The chances of bad weather in March in Scotland though? Camping on the top of a mountain in Yorkshire in April, with tents being blown away? No thanks!

Rain isn't so much of a problem if the temperature isn't too bad. Just the difference from March to May was enough for it not to be too stressful for us to camp at Bungay. But the BJC that same year? Nope, we got a B&B.

Stephen Meschke - - Parent

Canterberry in April:

  • High: 52°F
  • Low: 39°F
  • Average 7 days of rain.
  • 13.5 hours of daylight (+1 hr of twilight)

Cumbria in July:

  • High: 63°F
  • Low: 48°F
  • 16 hours of daylight (+1.5 hrs of twilight)

lukeburrage - - Parent

If you are wondering about reduced numbers of people at the BJOC, I think the comparison you want is Perth, Scotland, in March and anywhere in the UK in July.

Perth in March:
Average high 6.4°C
Average low 2.1°C

Canterbury in July:
Average high 22.8°C
Average low 12.9°C

Penrith (closest city to Appleby) in July:
Average high 19.4°C
Average low 10.5°C

Conclusion: if the BJC was in July, anywhere in the UK, I'd probably go and be okay to camp every year.

Little Paul - - Parent

What’s with the crazy units?

Cedric Lackpot - - Parent

I may not agree with a whole lot of what Luke has to say - and I'm pretty confident he's perfectly cool to be disagreed with - but I confidently and assertively agree that the climate is not a silly reason.

And it's certainly nowhere near as silly as saying that the British climate is unpredictable at all times of year, and therefore implying that the probability of seasonal or non-seasonal weather is immaterial regardless of the time in question!

There are a number of good reasons to hold BJCs at or around Easter - the weather is not one of them.

rosiejane - - Parent

I have to agree, the damn weather and having to camp is always a factor that is lurking in the background, taking the edge off my anticipation. I am not the best camper - can't sleep well in a tent, so this year for the first time we have opted for the local Premier Inn. It does feel like a cop out but seeing as my hot water bottle is going to the IJC I couldn't face a week sleeping in a cold tent.

That being said the British EJC in 2019 will be in August and I am hoping that it will be considerably warmer and with little rain! Newark is only 50 miles from Swad so not far off being pretty central and we really really hope that we can entice as many jugglers, hoopers, diabolists, aerialists etc to it as we can.

As it is in Britain I am hoping to attract not only all the wonderful people from all over the world who come to EJC but all of those Brits that have never been to one before.

I know there is another EJC before it (2018 - Azores) but I am just slipping it in now so it's in your subconscious!!

PS the EJA are looking for a team for 2020, so if you know someone who might be interested in finding out more about organising a huge event like the EJC then send an email to

lukeburrage - - Parent

Let me ponder my BJC camping history:

2000 - so wet I never pitched my tent, and slept in the car instead.
2001 - some nice weather, but freezing cold one night and as it pouring with rain on the last day, it was the least pleasant final day of a convention ever.
2002 - after two years of terrible weather, I skipped the BJC completely! I went to the Israeli convention instead. The weather was amazing.
2003 - didn't camp, got a room at the university instead. People complained about ice on their tents. This was Brighton, not Scotland, so the location isn't always the most important thing.
2004 - performer, and was provided accommodation.
2005 - performer, and was provided accommodation.
2006 - performer, and was provided accommodation.
2007 - performer, and was provided accommodation.
2008 - performer, and was provided accommodation.
2009 - got myself a B&B, but as this was a summer convention, I would probably have been happy to camp.
2010 - BJC switched back to a winter convention again, and I decided to skip it again.
2011 to 2013 - nope.
2014 - borrowed my parents' camper van.
2015 - camper van not an option, didn't want to camp in the same place where the previous year peoples' tents had blown away.
2016 - nope.
2017 - B&B again.

Ah look, I literally only camped at a BJC once! The only reason I kept going was being either by paying for accommodation myself, or being offered non-camping options for performing various acts in various shows.

Premier Inn is not a cop out, it's the only way sensible adults will keep returning to a camping convention in the winter/early spring!

Squibly - - Parent

This seems to be a wall of evidence that you have very little experience of camping at a BJC, but didn't enjoy it one time 7 years ago.
Doesn't seem fair to the British scene to spend so much time and energy discouraging others on that basis Luke.

lukeburrage - - Parent

It's not just the camping. It's the general wet and cold atmosphere. In 2009 the convention was in the summer in Norfolk. I went to the FIRE SHOW. I sat outside and watched the fire show and it wasn't the most miserable moment of my entire year. Do you know how amazing that felt? A BJC fire show which wasn't utterly unbearable to watch. Wow. And in the evenings we were hanging out on the grass between the gyms. The renegade show tent didn't need space heaters. Nobody was wrapped up for winter for no reason at all except the sun had gone down. We could watch the Sharpe brothers do their street show, just outside one day, and it wasn't remarkable that the wind wasn't so bad they couldn't do any diabolo tricks.

Then my next BJC, when hosting the games, I had to make announcements that people's tents were blowing away, and they should go check on them before we left for the gala show.

It's not about my camping experience, it's about having a relaxing time at a convention.

Again, the Berlin convention miscalculated with holding it in September last year, and the very next year it is back to June, based ENTIRELY on the weather and how soon it got dark. How did it take them one year to learn the lesson but the BJC keeps at it?

I hope that after the Catch this year and the EJC next year, people will finally learn, and the BJC can be a summer convention from now on. Or at least a late-May to late-Augst convention.

Orinoco - - Parent

It is true the BJC fire show is consistently unbearable to watch, but I have never attributed that fact to the weather.

The Void - - Parent

*Tries to donate a fiver to The Edge, for that comment*
*Finds out there's a minimum £10 donation*
It wasn't *that* funny. Cash at BJC do ya?

Little Paul - - Parent

It’s no Crawley fire show that’s for sure

charlieh - - Parent

As others have said, you've hardly ever camped at a BJC so I don't think you're really qualified to comment. I've camped at BJCs since 1993 (Birmingham) with a few gaps and I've never felt particularly cold, been woken up by bad weather or had a leaky tent. It has *been* cold, I agree, but with decent clothing and a good sleeping bag that's not a problem. Yes, it can be cold & wet outside but I've also sat outside on the grass in a T-shirt some years. In fact the one time I've been flooded out was at EJC Ptuj (which was the very definition of wet and cold and miserable).

Of course the BJC could be in the summer. It has been, in Norwich, after plans for the usual time fell through, as you said, and it was lovely and warm. It could be any time from late May (but don't you dare schedule it against Bungay, otherwise I shall be *really* scathing). It could be at Christmas. But someone has to stand up and volunteer to run it at that time and this bid has to be voted through at the business meeting - you know how this works. They'll then have to contend with competing with other festivals (including non-juggling ones), university exams and all the others things that may not have such impact in late March/early April/Easterish, availability of venues not in the Easter holidays and lots of other factors.

There's no point writing 'people will actually learn' in the hope it will happen - it will take someone to stand up and come up with a concrete plan for a summer BJC. As you know, there's no British Juggling Association running BJCs <nails lid firmly back on big can of worms> just whoever stands up and volunteers a year of their life.

I think we have an interesting situation this year with Catch! which is kind of an alternative BJC-ish thing in the summer with great acts in the show. This may well prove that a summer BJC-ish festival could work, in which case I look forward to many more bids of this kind.

lukeburrage - - Parent

No, I think I am qualified to comment. The point of my comment is that the bad weather has been the deciding factor in why I decided not to go to the BJC. And not just once. After York and Cardiff, I didn't go back to the BJC, and went somewhere else instead. Same in 2010. Same in 2015. Same in 2017.

The people who are happy to camp in the ice/snow/wind/rain/etc of the UK in March/April? You don't have to worry about them. But what about all the people whose first BJC was Derby in 2004? How many people didn't bother coming back the next year? Even though I didn't camp, I drove home to Newcastle with two people who did, and the stop in a pub on the way home for dinner, and sitting in front of the fire, was the first time they had felt properly warm and comfortable for the previous five days.

The people who don't go to the BJC are the ones qualified to talk about why they don't go, and are 100% correct about the reasons the numbers might be down... at least for the number they represent.

The people who DO go to the BJC, by the fact they can cope with the stress of bad weather, are not qualified to talk about the reasons the people who don't go aren't going.

Daniel Simu - - Parent

I've gone to the BJC once (I think 2015?). I had to sleep inside on the last night, it was a rainy festival.
I'm going again this year, very happy to bring my campervan!

pumpkineater23 - - Parent

That's a good point, no one likes going anywhere when it's cold and sodden. Why don't they hold the festival mid-summer?

It's Him - - Parent

The historic reason for the BJC being at Easter rather than in the summer is that performers are much more likely to not be working at that time. Whether as a performer in the show who charges less than their normal fee or as an attending performer who doesn't want to miss out on the lucrative summer months Easter makes much more sense. Touring circus often runs from after Easter until sometime in Autumn, so the timing would help them to attend. Nowadays BJC does not have as many professional entertainers and so this is not as good an argument as before. It still might mean that it is difficult to get the best professionals, although Rosie seems to be showing that a summer convention with enough funding can do that anyway.


lukeburrage - - Parent

If you get 2,000 people at the convention, you can pay professionals to be there. It’s how the EJC works. There is no reason a BJC in the summer can’t attract 2,000 people.

It's Him - - Parent

I wasn't arguing in favour of an Easter BJC. I too enjoyed the summer BJC (although it cost me earnings). I was giving one of the traditional arguments for an Easter BJC. It makes sense for professional entertainers. I'm not sure it makes much sense for the majority of people who now attend the BJC.


lukeburrage - - Parent

Yes, I understand. My first BJC in 2000, it seemed that the main influence on a large portion of the jugglers there was street performers and circus performers. These days the largest influence is other amateur jugglers. Why would anyone have a pair of stilts or a unicycle to take part in a parade? Why does the parade even exist? Does it still exist?

Little Paul - - Parent

Oh god. Parades. Please make them stop.

I know it's quite often a hook you can dangle towards the local city council to get some money off a venue, or land some other source of funding, but when you promise them a "colourful entertaining parade of jugglers acrobats and circus folk!" they picture an old fashioned circus parade. They picture tumbling acrobats, sequins and clowns. They picture free facepainting for the public, they picture ringmasters and jugglers and absolutely everything you can't deliver.

What they inevitably get is a bunch of people half heartedly walking along juggling 3 clubs or spinning a diabolo while talking to their mates and shuffling down the local high street. At best you might get one or two people wearing balloon hats, or a teenage unicyclist trial riding on every park bench or raised flower bed they can find.

Parades are at their absolute worst when everyone is only there because you made them attend the parade as a side effect of getting the bus into town for the evening show.

Parades are shit. "Because we've always done it" isn't a good enough reason.

Stop it



(and.... *breathe*)

lukeburrage - - Parent

EJC parades can still be good fun if the weather is nice. There's often an open air show on a specially build stage at the end of it, and those are usually worth seeing, like Smashed by the Gandinis in Almere (though not like 8 Songs by the Gandinis in Lublin).

Little Paul - - Parent

Is it the parade which is good, or is it the "show on the open air stage" bit which is good?

Because I would wager that of the two, the open air show is the bit that could stand on it's own. Do that, do more of that. Advertise it locally, get the public in as well, make a big deal of the fact that there's a show in town!

Who is the parade for?

If it's for the locals, then we're doing them a massive disservice (even EJC parades are closer to the atmosphere of a protest march than they are "rio carnival")

If it's for the jugglers, then what's in it for us apart from a show or "the games" at the end of it? If it's a show/games then why do we need to wander round the streets for an hour first? Why can't we be dropped off next to the show and just get on with the good bit?

Want to do something for the locals that actually shows jugglers in a good light? Put on more shows, run a street performing competition, run free-fringe style events in small local venues...

Just please, not a bloody miserable death march through town.

Daniel Simu - - Parent

As a young juggler I really enjoyed my first 5 parades or so.. Now after 15 at least it gets a bit unexciting yes..

charlieh - - Parent

I've really enjoyed the EJC parades I've been on, simply due to the amount of jugglers taking part - I think there's a critical mass. EJC Almere was particularly fun (especially our Ben occasionally pausing to show the crowd his single diabolo trick and getting rounds of applause - he was 6 at the time) and EJC in Carvin was mad, as it was at night and there was fire (health & safety??). I agree some BJC parades can be damp and disappointing.

peterbone - - Parent

I have exactly the opposite logic. BJC is my preferred convention because it's much cooler than in the summer. This means that I can juggle a lot without getting too hot. I don't care much about being outside. At most EJCs I've been to I'm unable to juggle most of the time because of the heat and I don't like to be outside in very hot conditions because of sunburn and other risks. I normally only go to the more northerly EJCs, although Joensuu didn't work out as I expected (40°C).

peterbone - - Parent

Also no fun when you have to leave your tent at 8am because the blazing sun is hitting it and roasting you alive. I've camped at every BJC I've been to and the only time I was cold was 2003 in Brighton because of the ice/snow.

pumpkineater23 - - Parent

You're not a tropical creature like me. Give me the early morning roasting sun anyday. I'd just go and find a nice shady spot and finish my sleep there. Or go to bed earlier. Camping in the snow.. are you quite mad? I went 'wild' camping at Brecon Beacons after the green man festival. It was horrible, damp and miserable.. couldn't wait for it to end. The only enjoying part I remember was when I was sitting in my car with the heating on.

furlisht - - Parent

I'm going for the first time from the continent just because it's close to the border! Don't kill my hype :P

Llama_Bill - - Parent

You'll have a great time. I've enjoyed every BJC I've been to. I am excited for this one.

charlieh - - Parent

You will indeed have an excellent time. Sadly I don't think I can make it this time (due to foreign travel for work the next week) but I'll certainly miss it.

Dee - - Parent

Enjoy - and if you have any questions, I'll probably be at the registration / information desk!

It's Him - - Parent

Given I barely saw you out of the kitchen, did BJC feel significantly smaller to you than previously? I understand that total numbers were around 700 but hadn't been properly counted when I heard Anna discuss this with Owen Morse after the business meeting.


ChrisD - - Parent

Nigel, in your current thread "For several years now I have been suggesting a juggling competition for older…" you wrote "If the BJC doesn't happen next year (or even if it does)". May I ask if there there is any particular reason for suggesting there may not be a BJC next year?



Orinoco - - Parent

No bids to run it so far :(

It's Him - - Parent

During the Sunday meeting nobody stood up and said that they wanted to run a BJC in 2019. During the BJC I heard on several occasions people saying that there wouldn't be a BJC because EJC was in England next year. I am not strongly optimistic about a BJC next year because I haven't heard any great enthusiasm from anyone although I have now heard rumours about people thinking about it 'up north'.


duncanh - - Parent

I know one person who has an excellent venue and good plans for putting a bid together for 2019. They've never run one but assisted, so know what's involved. Just looking to put together a local team I think. Hopefully their initial thoughts and ideas will come through and they'll make themselves known soon.
Another team was interested and had ideas of a venue but nothing firm.

Monte - - Parent

Seemed similar in size to the last one I did (Pickering). I did do very well but I put that down to being inside and having a full sized kitchen rather than my truck. Plus the excellant quality of my crew...

Sergei -

Hard way learning reverse cascade
While learning reverse I still put each next toss higher and higher and after 3-4 throws everything falls apart. Today I tried the 1st ball throw much higher and at the same side which made no sense in throwing second ball higher than the first ))) somehow fooled myself. Got 20 catches. What do you, guys, think about this approach ?

bad1dobby - - Parent

The key to learning reverse cascade is to think about throwing into the middle, rather than to the other hand. Think about the point between the hands, and aim each throw to drop into that space. Escalating higher and higher throws usually come because you are throwing to the other hand, and you need to throw 'over' the incoming throw. Good luck!

bad1dobby - - Parent

Just to clarify, the balls shouldn't actually be dropping down on the centre line, because that would require too much hand movement for the catch. You want them to drop about midway between the centre line and the hand's rest position. However, it's useful to think in terms of dropping them into the 'gap' rather than into the hand. Hope this helps.

Sergei - - Parent

Thanks a lot for this idea (throwing into the center) It really helps to understand the dynamics

Monte - - Parent

You know, it's nice to hear all this enthusiasm for juggling. Takes me back to when I was excited about new tricks. I might even drive into Norwich for Matt's workshop tomorrow night,if it's still going.
Thanks, from a cynical old has been.

Sergei - - Parent

"Cynical old" )))) I guess I am older than anyone here (67). But still very motivated to learn new skills. In year 2016 made "International Chess Master" online blitz FIDE, last year learned Italian to B2 level according european standards, started learning juggling December 2017 )))

The Void -

Bungay Balls Up 2018. It's on again! Feel free to add yourselves as attendees at .

View the flier in all its glory at
#BungayBallsUp Flier now with yellow text & drop-shadow! Pick 1 up at #BathUpchuck on Saturday. #juggling #upchuck
— Bungay Balls Up (@BungayBallsUp) February 14, 2018

(Oh, damn, forgot that twit pics don't embed here, click the "pic.twitter" link.)

Check the website for directions, etc.

All the usual fun of the fair, juggling space aplenty, games a go-go, cafe on site, a possible return of the trebuchet, and Charlie's volunteered to run a Taskmaster at some point. All of this and more.

If any FightNighters want there to be one again on the last Sunday this year, then volunteer to run it! I don't fancy it this year, myself, so someone else can run it. (It's quite easy to run, really.)

See you all at the world's longest juggling convention!

Monte - - Parent

Trebuchet will return. The old frame will be extended and a new stronger beam will be made.
This may even be the year when we don't manage to break it.

The Void - - Parent

That's a bold prediction!

Monte - - Parent

Did ''may'' need to be in bold capitals to convey it's meaning accurately for you? (:

The Void - - Parent

I was talking about your second sentence. ( <--- This may or may not be true. I'll tell you in May.) :-)

Monte - - Parent

PM May may ban trebuchets, by May we may know, otherwise it may be true that we may rebuild the frame and beam.

Monte - - Parent

The meadow is currently under about 8 inches of snow. Looks really pretty with totally virgin snow, apart from the rabbit and crow footprints criss crossing it.
Absolutely freezing though, no way the stoves would heat the tents right now.
Roll on May and the lovely warm weather.

Monte - - Parent

.....and the lovely warm weather is here.
The meadow is now under a blanket of bright yellow buttercups.

10 days to go, don't forget your suncream.

The Void - - Parent

Essential supplies for #BungayBallsUp .
— Bungay Balls Up (@BungayBallsUp) April 4, 2018

Monte - - Parent

White balls no good, bring brightly coloured balls.

The Void - - Parent

Bring highlighter pens. :-P

The Void - - Parent

Meanwhile, with you away for much of it, does that mean no trebuchet plans?

Monte - - Parent

Not necessarily. Depends how many people are interested in helping rebuild the arm.
Mike has moved back to Cornwall, John won't be there and I don't know about Dave TB. Those three have been the most help during construction in the past.
I don't think it is likely that the frame will be enlarged but a repair is still on the cards.
I need to buy an electric winch for cocking it safely and some timbers and screws for the arm.

The Void - - Parent

I don’t know how we all stand it, to be honest.
Another terrible terrible day at #BungayBallsUp.
— Bungay Balls Up (@BungayBallsUp) May 21, 2018

The Void - - Parent

I made a crossword for BBU. Have a go, if you like. Don’t post spoilers, please. I won’t reply about it here, but I’ll tweet the answers on Monday.
I made a #crossword for #BungayBallsUp. Enjoy(?)! Answers on Monday. Ish. Don’t tweet spoilers, please. @BungayBallsUp
— The Void ザ・ヴォイド (@TheVoidTLMB) May 23, 2018

The Void - - Parent

When you leave things ‘til the last minute...
Oh no, there are 2 MISTAKES in my crossword. Sorry. Atom not molecule. Platonic is incorrect. How annoying. :-(
— The Void ザ・ヴォイド (@TheVoidTLMB) May 24, 2018

Monte -

Montegriffo's frying circus returns for BJC 2018. First time since Pickering convention. See you all there.

The Void - - Parent


Monte - - Parent

Looks like a great castle in Canterbury too.
Anyone been to see it?

Richard Loxley - - Parent


As I no longer own a caravan, this is the first BJC in about nine years where I'll be back in a small tent, and so will be completely reliant on the catering.

This is excellent news, and you have made my day :-)

Monte - - Parent

Aw shucks.

steph - - Parent

This seems a good place for a little reminder that pre-reg is ending in a week...

Cedric Lackpot -

What ever happened to ... ?

So, I found myself thinking about Jouni Temonen, a fabulous juggler from Finland who I met maybe a dozen or so years ago, and he's one of those really great jugglers who seems to have dropped completely off the radar. And I started wondering whether it's because he's doing better, more professional things, or perhaps he's got a proper job/life/baby or whatever and doesn't really inhabit the juggling world so much any more.

And then that got me thinking about Joost Dessing, and wondering what on earth he's up to now. And the more you think about it, the more gifted talents you will remember that seem to have disappeared off the scene for one reason or another.

So who do you recall, who was infuriatingly talented but has since moved on with their lives?

Mike Moore - - Parent

Maybe Michael Falkov. One of the best 3b jugglers ever (IMO, top 3, arguably the very top), but is super off-grid. Not sure if he's juggled in the last ~2 years.

Orinoco - - Parent

Reuben Cohn-Gordon, Arron Gregg & Anthony Gatto (obviously!) are the names who immediately spring to my mind.

Similarly, is it my imagination or is the 'lifetime' of a juggler getting shorter? For example I feel that the more recent BYJotY competitors have not remained as visible in the scene as the earlier competitors (Norbi, Tiff, Tom Derrick, Arron Sparks, Jon Udry, Matt Pang etc.). Has the increased average skill level & easier access to the 'next big thing' made staying in the community's consciousness harder? Has the top level of juggling reached the point where physical limits are being hit & injury is forcing people out sooner?

Mike Moore - - Parent

Oof, I definitely miss Reuben Cohn-Gordon. I had a brief chat with him May 2014 when I was getting into squeeze catches. At that point he implied that he was still juggling some. Maybe there's hope.

It's an interesting point about youngins not staying on the scene as long these days. I got curious about IJA juniors winners...and I wish I knew if more of them still juggled. Below are some of the winners and whether or not they still juggle (to my knowledge)

Komei Aoki - Yes
Takashi Kikyo - Yes

Tony Pezzo - YES
Billy Watson - ?

Nate Martin - ?
Teruki Okamoto - I think so

Ben Hestness - ?

David Ferman - ?
Jack Levy - ?

Noah Malone - Yes
David Ferman - ?
Lauge Benjaminsen - Yes

David Ferman - ?
Jack Denger - ? (stopped making videos)
Patrick Fraser - Pretty much stopped

Kellin Quinn - YES
Jack Denger - ?
Ashley Ellis - ?

Ashley Ellis - ?

It's Him - - Parent

It seems to me that the number of people entering BYJOTY has reduced and that the average skill level is also less. Whether this is because the people attending BJC are getting older (and hence less youngsters are around to compete) or the general skill level is higher and so the good youngsters don't stand out so much or some other reason I couldn't say. Still at least a few of the recent winners are still very much on the scene and in the community consciousness. It was only about 4 years ago that Arthur Hyam won.


peterbone - - Parent

As well as other things in life getting in the way, one thing I've noticed based mainly on myself and is that as you get older you tend to seek praise from others less. This is why we make juggling videos of ourselves. As I get older I'm juggling just as much but making far fewer videos. People therefore think I've stopped juggling. I was recently asked to film a section for a video about people who've stopped juggling!

Dee - - Parent

What Joost is up to is very easy to find [he is based in Queen's in Belfast]. His research seems to have veered towards football rather than juggling (probably related to sources of funding).

Monte - - Parent

I miss Brian, nobody does a 5 cheese showers like he did.

Little Paul - - Parent

You’ve just reminded me of “Charlie Cheese and the wheel of cheese!”

It’s cheeky as cheese Charlie!

Monte -

Merry Christmas everyone. May your turkey be moist and your roast potatoes be crispy.

Little Paul - - Parent

Merry Christmas Monte, it was and they were :)

Monte - - Parent

Duck fat? (Not a spoonerism)

Little Paul - - Parent

Good old fashioned lard :)

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