nine ball flash
The 14th British Juggling Convention 2001 in Cardiff
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BJC2001: 19-22/04/01 - Review by luke burrage: 29/04/01

Wednesday and Thursday, Friday, Saturday at the games, the main show, the last renegade and Sunday and some final thoughts.

Wednesday

I caught the train down from sunny Scarborough and arrived in Cardiff Central at about 5pm. I could have caught a later train with a fellow Scarborough juggler but he finished work mid afternoon sometime and I wanted to pitch my tent while there was still daylight. After walking round the bus station for ages I finally found the right place to catch the x91. I asked the driver if this was the bus that went past Fitzallen High School and after a bit of confusion she said it was. I asked her if she could tell me when we were getting near the stop as I had no idea when to get off and she agreed she would.

I thought the bus journey would only last about ten or fifteen minutes so after about twenty minutes I asked how long it would take. The driver then said "Ohhh, I'd forgotten about you, we passed it ages ago." I said not to worry, just drop me off at the next stop and I'll catch the next bus back. I was told that I was on the next bus back.

At about 7 o'clock I finally reached the school after a nice trip out to the airport, further out to an army base, then even further before the journey back into Cardiff. I should have just caught the next train from Scarborough and got there earlier. I don't really mind though, for me I class it as a life adventure rather than an annoyance.

I put my tent up and went to register. When I arrived back at my tent someone had put up red and white stripy tape to mark off the fire boundary. My tent was now outside the camping area by about 50cm so I had to move it and pitch it again.

I met up with Mini and Nicole and we headed off to find some food and drink. A few pints and an Indian later a big group of eager conventioneers were sitting down two sides of a long line of tables with a space heater blasting hot air way past our legs. Every time someone stood up and left everyone moved up one place to fill the gaps. People next to the heater were just wearing tshirts while at the other end people were wrapped up in coats and scarves.

Later I went to bed.

Thursday

In the morning I was up way too early. I think it was because I had slept all the day before on the 5 hour train journey. Lots of people were very cold in the night but I had thought ahead and brought along two sleeping bags. I wasn't cold. Dave Barnes and I were the first in for breakfast and the first people in the main hall juggling. It took Dave about ten minutes to smash one of the glass light fittings. By the time most people arrived the rest had been taken down and hidden somewhere away from flying diabolos.

Why is that every single tv reporter at these events goes down exactly the same line ... "Here I am at the juggling convention, and this man here is going to teach me how to juggle" ... cue footage of reporter dropping the balls, oh the comedy ... "And if I can do it, anyone can do it!"

Here is an invention I wish I had thought of. If I had, maybe I could get more than 3 catches with 4 bouncy balls before I have to run about like an idiot trying to catch the last one. I think it's called "The Passing Zone" and was invented by mr oddballs, who ever he is.

Camera crew number two. I won't end up on TV but my props will. I was photographed by a a guy for some national papers, apparently. It was quite amusing, juggling 7 balls above a guy laying on the floor with his camera. "Now can you juggle it with your hands wider apart?" he asked ... er, not really ...

Tom Baker, star of the halftime show, doing some nifty 3 basketball juggling. I tired with 4 basket balls but had a bit of trouble. And I have no idea what halftime show I'm talking about.

I ran the first of my numbers juggling workshops. I wasn't really sure what I should do because I've never even been to a juggling workshop before, let alone run one. I was quite surprised when I was told I was running 3 workshops in all but didn't mind because that meant I would get 3 times as much free drink. I was quite bemused to have people turning up at the numbers juggling workshop asking how to improve their 4 ball pattern. Maybe the definition of "numbers juggling" I have in my head differs from theirs.

Soon I was passing 10 clubs back to back with Bibi on stage while Bichu stood by ranting at me to give him his costume back. After a while some beautiful young ladies came and spirited me away to therir tent and we sat around eating icecream off of each others bare bodies. Then I woke up.

I must have done something else on Thursday but it was ages ago so I'm not sure... At one point I had a bad encounter with the shower block which put me off personal body hygene for the rest of the convention. I must have stunk by sunday but I'm sure everyone else did too. Lets skip forward to:

Thurday Night Renegade

Peewee, our compere for the first two nights in the renegade tent.

Bill and Ben. Two guys doing tricks with globalls. I think these two also performed at the birmingham university juggling thing a month or so ago. Then I said "juggling with glowing props doesn't make a bad act good, it just makes it a bad act with glowing props" I stand by my comments.

Owen and Malta in "Spot the Drop"... there were plenty but I think that was the idea. They just messed about on stage doing some really hard trick until they got the right. Dom Jolly made an appearance. For all you non-british readers, Triggerhappy TV is a treat you are missing out on. Though many of the things he does for camera on that show I have done just for the fun of it. Maybe I'm weird.

Me! A varied act, if you can call it one. After a bit
of trouble getting my bag undone I went though a slowfire succession of bad tricks.

Lindsey. Well, what can I say... the most boring tightrope and courdelise act ever? You betchya. Look, the only reason us jugglers put up with ladies hanging from ropes above us so we can look up their tops instead of down them, and get away with. Lindsey, though also a girls name, was a guy who did the grand total of no tricks on the tightrope and sort of clung to a vertical rope for a bit and wriggled. Ok, maybe he did one trick (hulahooping) the length of his act was sooo long and the amount of tricks so few that on average during the act it works out that he didn't do anything.

A girl doing some lovely one ball juggling. I can't remember her name. She was the last act of the night, I think. I very fun evening had by all, if a little short. I think I went and juggled in the 24 hour gyms, via the bar.

Friday.

2001 Luke Burrage