EJC 2009 day 3

Late blog post… last night the internet cut out mid-email checking. Not many people cared though, as it was about four in the morning. I cared a bit though, as I wanted to upload some photos and make this blog post.

Here’s what I wrote:

This morning I had some boring things to get out the way. Washing up, more shoe shopping (I left my walking boots in Lisbon), hair clippers shopping (lost the comb attachment somewhere), bread shopping (fresh hot bread…. hmmmm), then cutting my hair.

The weather today wasn’t so good as yesterday, so the plan of sitting in the sun wasn’t going to cut it. Instead I went to the gym to juggle. The slight wind and overcast sky drove not only me inside, but loads of other jugglers too. yesterday the hall felt a bit dead, but today it was rocking. I had a good ring juggling session, but broke one of my “how not to hurt yourself while ring juggling” rules, and threw a stupidly high throw for no reason. I caught it wrong and hit the bone in my thumb really hard. Juggling suddenly became un-fun.

Thankfully Wes and Patrick turned up and began juggling right in front of me. This meant I could hang out and watch some kick-ass routines and skills. I can’t wait for their show on Wednesday evening. It’ll be worth it if only for the mind-boggling 5 club routine they practiced this afternoon. Oh, and they almost got 13 clubs passing on ultimates for 26 passes caught. Bonkers.

See all the photos so far? No? Well, I forgot to take the camera to the hall.

I juggled a bit more, sticking to two and three ring tricks. Soon I felt to hungry, so I returned to the van for food. At 7pm I headed over to the show venue with Emil for the “Special Show”.

I can’t remember what I wrote about the venue so far, but it is quite strange. It is a sports hall with loads of seating, which is great. Unfortunately the ceiling has huge windows that have no curtains or blinds, so light just pours in. This creates a very strange atmosphere, as the audience can see each other as well, if not better, than what is happening on stage:

View of the stage, show in progress.

I enjoyed the show last night, but tonight’s show left a lot to be desired. For a special show, there really wasn’t much special about it. I’m not even sure why it happened at all, as the acts wouldn’t have been out of place on an open stage. Some trapeze artists opened. A football juggler followed. Neither act really grabbed me.

Footballs, dancing, juggling and chewing gum.

Seb, from France via Bristol, did a smooth club juggling routine. I liked it, though he could have had less drops. Next on stage appeared two female contact jugglers, who performed two tightly choreographed routines. I said to Emil: “The people at the front of the auditorium will love this, and those at the back will hardly even clap.” My prediction proved half-true, everyone clapped at least a bit, but the visibility of the act made a big difference. Such a huge hall is hard to accommodate in your act, especially if you’re using transparent balls. I’d like to see the routine, but sit a bit closer to the front.

Next up was “a performer from a country that is both in Europe and Asia”… Kubilai, a friend of Pola’s from Turkey, suddenly perked up… “from Moscow, please welcome on to the stage…” Kuilai’s shoulders slump. The juggler used silver sticks. I saw him in the gym, and liked his style. On stage he did very little that couldn’t be done with clubs, and what he did do resulted in too many drops. He took 5 or 6 attempts at his final trick: a numbers juggling feat. Yawn…

Lorenzo! Fantastic, as usual, and got a standing ovation. Of course he did, he’s a real professional.

Ok, remember the photo above? The one that showed how light the hall is? The next act was a solo club juggler who used glow clubs. And again he did nothing that couldn’t have been done with normal clubs. And even those tricks weren’t that interesting. Final trick: 5 club backcrosses. 5 attempts, but for some reason kept trying the trick after getting it dropless on the third attempt. Not sure why.

Final act: a tedious ball juggling and acrobatic act featuring three men and a table. I’ve no idea why this was the last act. It started dull and went nowhere. A collection of tricks and and moves does not a routine make.

And that was it. One great act that I’ve seen maybe 8 times now (Lorenzo and his hats), and two acts that were quite nice. Oh, and because the host, Jon, is also the EJA President, we had loads of business announcements between the acts. I guess some of it has to be shared, but it could have been shared a lot quicker. Overall, not really worth seeing.

Pola and I cooked and ate spaghetti cabonara.

I decided to skip the open stage show tonight and head back to the gym to see if I could get a game of combat going. Turns out I didn’t need to start anything, as a large game was already in progress when I arrived at 10:10 pm. I stopped playing at about 3 am. This is why I love the EJC: 5 hour games of combat are not only possible, but they stay fun throughout. I only stopped because my forearms were absolutely knackered. Here are some photos…

View of the hall from the balcony.
JJochen playing combat.
Knocking out ladies.

– Winning three games in a row many times.
– Jochen (JJ) turning up, and re-enthusing the players.
– In JJ vs Luke two-player-remaining situations, winning more than I lost (I think).
– Coming up with a new objective in each game: finish and win after stealing enough clubs so you are no longer juggling any of your own clubs. Jochen managed this, I didn’t.
– Saying to Matty “I’ll finish playing once I’ve won two more games” and then winning two games in a row.
– Matty said “Everyone says they’ll stop after a few games, but stay for loads more.” I proved him correct, and stayed for another game… and won it!
– Did I stop playing after three wins? Nope! I played a forth game, and dropped second or third last.

– Just me and a young female juggler remaining, and she wins by hitting me in the mouth with her club. I didn’t drop, but had to stop. Actually quite funny.
– Various other injuries. Some mine.

This is after a few minutes playing. By the end of the session I had five cuts, not just two.

I popped into the bar tent where, unlike the past few days, the party actually looked fun. For the past few nights there’s hardly been anyone in there. I didn’t stay to party though, as I was knackered from combat, and not drinnking tonight. The plan was to drive over to Pamplona for the Running of the Bulls. It starts at 8am every morning, so we’d have to drive over and find a good spot to watch it late in the night/morning. Pola decided to stay and party, and I’m not about to go by myself.

Instead I sat at the fire spot and watched people play with burning stuff. If you set anything on fire it looks cool…. not sure my photos do the sight justice.

Fire poi.
Fire place.

Then… I wrote this blog post.

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