EJC 2009 day 4.

Pola came to bed at nine thirty this morning. I think that beats my latest EJC bedtime record (except for the nights I just stayed up until the next night). I’d got to bed and sleep at about five thirty though, so it resulted in a quite short nights sleep. I got up at about ten. 

Once I’d got my morning routine over with, I tried uploading photos from yesterday. This turned out to be impossible yet again, as so many people were using the computers the upload speed really suffered. I guess tonight there’ll be two blog posts. But I did get some work done, unrelated to my EJC duties (hanging out). Here are some photos of the internet computers, the workshop boards, the volunteers desk and the registration desks.

Computers for internet.

Workshop board for Wednesday.

Volunteer desk.

Info and registration desk.

I spent the afternoon in the gym. I planned a full ring juggling session, but my hands were aching from the epic combat session last night. All the knuckles on both hands felt swollen somehow. I soon put the rings down and sat around chatting to friends about what I’d missed in the open stage show last night. A few good acts, it seems, though opinions differed on which were the good and which were the bad acts. 

Priam is organising the open stages later in the week, and asked me if I’d host a show. Due to high demand (about a hundred plus people asking me when I’ll be hosting or performing) I agreed to host the Thursday show. 

After some shopping and eating pola and headed over to see the ” Experimental Show”

The special show last night wasn’t special, so I was quite nervous about this one. Thankfully we had no reason to worry; it was by far the best show of the convention. By far. 

The host of the show didn’t give his name. But he rocked. Between every act he did a character sketch or physical comedy bit. Every one was entertaining and, very importantly, quite short. He took the piss out of the acts, and took a pop at the previous nights compare. He danced, played with a skipping rope and got a standing ovation for climbing around a chair. Most importantly he very clearly introduced the acts. More show hosts like this, please! It’s a very simple job…

I sat in the main seating area, not up on the raked sating at the sides, so today’s photos will have a real “in the stalls” feel to them. In other words, they’ll mostly be of the backs of people’s heads. Here’s the host:

The host of the show.

The acts themselves were all very good, if not excellent. The opening act was strange; Alvero did a very non-experimental ring juggling piece. Maybe they put him on as a comparison to more traditional acts. 

Next was an act that, while good, made me a bit angry. It started well, a man juggling balls using a stool. Unfortunately the second half consisted of him sitting on the stool, juggling three balls around his legs and feet. In silence. Yeah, just like Morgan. He even did the same tricks as Morgan at similar points. And then, when he dropped and a ball rolled towards the front of the stage, he threw himself forwards in a panicked dive, exactly the same “dropline” as Morgan. It isn’t as if we haven’t seen Morgan at the EJC before, did he think we wouldn’t notice the blatant ripoff? Because that’s what it was. I don’t mind people letting themselves be influenced by others, but thos act crossed the line. 

Other acts included Marco Paoletti and Wes Peden, who were both very impressive. But two other acts stood out for me. One was a Belgian ball juggler who also manipulated a thick rope.  Very nice indeed. 

In this photo; the Marco asked the host to ask everyone who could balance a ball on their head to do so. A lot of people could do so. If you know Marco, this request will make sense. If you don’t know Marco, he pretty much started the recent trend of balancing a ball on the top of the head:

Marco is now ready to enter the stage.

And here’s Wes rocking the five clubs:

Five club Wes.

The highlight was Fabian from France (I might have that name wrong). He did a perfect act. Club juggling and a walking stick. Also a great character. And a great costume. And the music choice was excellent; an abstract soundscape that didn’t cross overbro obnoxious noise. And he did acrobatics too. And only made on drop. And the tricks and other skills were awesome. I stood up for his standing ovation as soon as I thought he’d finished, but I was nowhere near the first person to do so. Book this guy for your convention now!

Last night Pola complained how so many people leave the shows before the end, walking out before the bowing finale. I didn’t blame the for getting out, as I felt like doing the same. I said “if the show was good, people would stay for the end.”

Tonight only a tiny handful of audience members left early, and the overwhelming majority stayed. The show was simply amazing. It had everything the audience wanted, and they didn’t just feel obligated to stay until the end, they really wanted to show their appreciation with another standing ovation. A compare who actually took charge at the end and made sure the artists had left the stage before the applause died down also helped keep the energy up even as the audience walked out the doors a few minutes later.  


For dinner: pancakes. I ate too many and felt sick.

I skipped the open stage for the second night in a row, and went to hang out in the gym. I wrote this blog post on my iPod Touch, and reached this point here.

After writing the above, I decided I wanted to play combat. I warned some jugglers about me, in an empty-ish part of the gym, that it might get a bit crowded. Then I banged my clubs together really hard. Nothing happened, even after repeating myself for a while.

But then DJochen turned up, and we started a two person game. Still no-one else joined in, so we played another. Then, for the third game, about 15 people joined in. By game number five or six we had about forty jugglers playing, all hitting each others clubs with wild abandon (but not too wild).

To be honest, combat tonight wasn’t so fun as last night. I’m not sure why, but the general vibe was a bit more… serious? Not so sure. In one-on-one matchups with JJochen and I, he won 8 out of 13 times. Not so good as last night.

Someone hit my left hand at some point, I don’t remember when, but juggling became a bit too painful. I decided to stop after about 2.5 hours of play. Of course, I thought I’d try to go out on a win, and mentioned this to Joerg who happened to be watching from the side. After winning once, and mentioning my “Just one more win…” situation last night, I went for a second win in a row. After the second win in a row I went for a third. After a third win in a row I went for a forth. I should have ended one three in a row. The added pressure of this challenge makes me play really hard, but you can only keep going for so long without making a mistake.

After a shower, I dropped Pola off at the van, and I’m currently making a third attempt at uploading the photos from yesterday, as well as those from today. In an hour we’ll be driving off to Pamplona to see stupid American tourists get chased by some bulls. Should be fun.


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One Response to EJC 2009 day 4.

  1. jelen says:

    the host of the special stage was MAteo from France… he guy of the chair Margallo, His first EJC… just seen morgan once he came to spain and he had the show before…perhaps just similar ways to think…

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