EJC 2009 day 5.

Yesterday blended into today. I’m not sure where to draw the line. Certainly not midnight. 

At 4 AM Pola, Emil and I met at the van, packed our stuff, and I drove us over to Pamplona. We arrived at about 6, and found our way to a spot I judged might be good. We stood close by as the carpenters built up the fences, and quickly scooted in to hold our place.

That done, we just had to wait for about an hour and a half for the bulls to run. If we’d have got there even a slight bit later we’d not have seen anything. As it happened we had about as decent a view as possible with a complete lack of inside knowledge.

Luke and Pola in Pamplona.

The medics and police and photographers turned up and spread themselves in between the layers. Also thousands of party-goers dragged themselves to the fences. I didn’t realise just how huge this festival was as a drinking/dancing carnival.

Police inside the double fence.

With about ten minutes to go the route filled up with runners. Again, there were a lot more than I expected. At eight exactly a cannon sounded, and the runners started freaking out. Some bailed immediately, and scooted under the fence to safety. Maybe they only joined the run to get a good view, behind just one fence instead of two. Who knows.

Then the bulls arrived, rushed past, with runners sprinting out the way. It looked a lot less dangerous than I imagined, but there are a few reasons for this: most video and photos are from the start of the run, where the bulls are less tired and faster, the road is narrower and the runners closely packed, and the photos are selected for drama anyway.

Bull one!

Bull two!

Pola took these photos without looking, but they capture the action quite well, I think. The entire event felt like a theme park ride; you wait for two hours for a two minute experience. I wouldn’t bother going to see it again though. Not just to watch, I mean, I’m thinking of going back in a few days to have a go at the running myself. As I said, the spot where we watched seemed pretty safe… comparatively.

So, then I drove back to Vitoria for the EJC. Or tried to. After half an hour I was just too tired. I’d had just 4 hours sleep in the previous 48 hours. I pulled over for a short power-nap, telling Pola and Emil I’d drive the rest after about half an hour.

Two hour later I woke because the sun was too hot on my face. Pola and Emil had similarly slept, and hadn’t even thought to wake me. Pola drove the rest of the way, and when she finally parked the van I jumped into the back and slept until four.

So… breakfast, a chat to the Aerotech guys about using a Macbook with their programmable balls (I’m thinking of buying a set of three), and a bit of hanging out later, it was time for the Wes and Patrick show. Funnily the program states “Wes Peden and Patrick Gyllenburg” but I think they mixed up their Swedish jugglers somewhat.

Photo: Felix and Malte swapping tricks before the show.
Malte and Felix.

Incorrect billing aside, the show was fantastic. I could go into lots of detail about what I liked, but it would take far to long, and I liked pretty much everything. Standout sections were the four ring part, Wes’ “No Propstand” piece (3 rings, 3 clubs, 3 balls; see Expectations for more details), the drinking bottle, Patrick’s 3 club piece and the “clapping music” part. At one point I teared up a bit because I found the juggling so moving, but that could also be due to lack of sleep.

I don’t think words can really say what the show was like. Maybe photos?

Wes and Patrick.

Standing ovation.

11 club encore.

Actually I just think you needed to be there. Not everyone agreed; some non-juggler friends of ours left early, and a few people fell asleep. I just know that for juggling geeks like myself (and a few thousand others in the audience) the show was simply juggling creativity and choreography porn.

Patrick and Wes.

Food: basil-heavy pasta and sauce (due to a herb jar accident) and more nutella pancakes.

Pola cooking.

Then, for some reason I can’t remember, I went to the open stage show instead of going to play combat with Wes and Patrick in the 24 hour gym. The show had some nice moments, but really wasn’t worth my time. I took some pictures anyway:

Dekal glow diaboloing.

Double ended poi.

Belgian handstand.

Spanish Rola-Bola.

Belgian acrobatics.

Following the show I did play some combat in the gym, but stopped after just a few minutes due to my hurting hand. It’s swollen a bit, and I don’t want to damage it further. I’d have played longer, but it lacked interesting players, and I kept winning about one in four games.

Following that I worked on some material for tomorrow night, as I’m hosting the open stage show. Jon, tonight’s compare, said “Tomorrow is the last open stage show, so sign up if you want to perform…” Great! This means the show will last something like four hours. So maybe I won’t do much of my own material, and instead just get the acts on and off stage as quickly as possible. I guess I’ll find out tomorrow.

Ummm… then I wrote this blog post.

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