27 Aug 2009
Saturday afternoon and evening was the public show at the BJC. This year was the 22nd BJC show, hence Catch 22.
I was in an unusual position as I got to see both shows; in my self-appointed “I’m taking photos” role. My plan was to try 2 angles of shots, 1 at each show.
In the end it worked out that I ran out of battery during the second show so I got more from the first. This was a shame as the lighting seemed to be less helpful to getting good pics in the first show. Mind you that probably serves me right for having a camera with rubbish low light capabilities and a cheapish lens.
There were a few notable differences between shows but the main two were that show 1 was quieter but show 2 was generally more droppy but the better atmos gave me a better time.
Act 1 – The Juggling on Tap Orchestra
I’d seen one of their number (Stuart Pemberton aka Heston Blumenthal) at the previous BJC on one of the open stages (what became known by me as “The Italian Show”) and commented that he was bloody good. I’d heard before this BJC that he was in the show but what I was surprised by was that he had a pair of friends on stage with him.
He did bounce juggling and tap dance whilst one pal was a bongo player and the other a flautist. I’d say this was my fave act. Wasn’t the most technical juggling but the packaging was excellent. Bounce juggling, drums and tap dance served us well for a few mins before the addition of flute added a little extra. Very very good indeed.
Act 2 – Ronan
Poi from someone who realises that movement and choreography is key to a poi routine. Some nice contact stuff included and I’m told some of the stuff he did was very hard (not a poimonger so I don’t know). If you “don’t like poi” then I’m sure there was something in this act that appealed to you. It did me.
Act 3 – Audrey Decaillon
From France. Despite having been around the juggling world for some time I have to admit I’ve never heard of her before. Technical stuff was very good. Loads of club manips and some nice foot rolls and catches. An act with more personality than most too. I rather liked it. Strange combination in her character of vulnerability (particularly highlighted by her choice of costume), anger and assertiveness.
Act 4 – Komei Aoke
Be afraid! Contact and body popping at first and then into balls and dance and then rings and that. All very “street” it was. Very nice indeed. I’d be surprised if Komei isn’t a lot of people’s fave act of the night. He was the only act that had the majority standing at the end of it anyway (that I remember). Well worth seeing him if you haven’t. Whisper it quietly though, he could have maybe cut down the rings section.
Act 5 – Witty Look
I’ve seen bad clowning in my time and the first 2 mins of this act had me worried. Luckily I was as wrong as I’ve been in some time. This pair of clowns and unicyclists had me in fits of laughter. The skills they showed off weren’t half bad either. Doubles unicycling as I’ve never seen before (see pics). Whoever came up with booking these 2 deserves a pat on the back.
Act 6 – Tempei Arakawa
Very snazzy diabolo routine. More droppy (as most of the show was) in the second show which does leave me able to legitimately use the line “He’s good but he’s no Tempei” again.
Act 7 – (Belgian) Martin Heasman
His very snazzy 3 ball routine. I’ve seen this routine 4 times now (now I think of it, quite possibly every public showing of it) and I still love it. Also the only act I remember being less droppy in the second show.
Act 8 – Strictly Dumb Prancing
An act I’ve heard about but never seen. And the word of mouth wasn’t wrong. Funny and skillful acro with 2 well developed stage personae which worked very well. It’s this act that showed me that it’s possible to wear someone like a belt.
Act 9 – Koba
Clearly skillful juggling but it didn’t seem up to the standard of the rest of the show. Probably pleased a lot of ring jugglers (although we did also have Komei and Toby doing rings too)
Act 10 – Toby Walker
Ludicrous hard technical juggling. 7 balls with head bounce and more. I’ve never seen Toby do a whole act on stage before so this was a real treat to finish off the show.
I thoroughly enjoyed this show. Void kept things going (again better with the later audience) and managed to confound the odd expectation.
Even the bits in the show that didn’t quite live up to what else was there wasn’t bad stuff; just not as good as the rest. When the worst you can say about a show is “the worst bits were good” then it’s been an awfy good show. A fantastic evening.
26 Aug 2009
I’m firmly of the opinion that the BYJOTY show is one of the highlights of a BJC. I’ve seen 4 of them now and all 4 were notable shows. This one was helped out by being in a theatre; indeed it was the first show of any kind in the new venue. Nice.
The show’s compere was Nina (ex of last year’s BYJOTY). If you’d only known her as “that girl who did a cigar box routine whilst wearing high heels” then you’d not have recognised her. Clearly still new to the compering game and apparently nervous. Use of a prompt card all night was a negative (as was her inability to correctly name English cities!) but she got on with it and introduced acts well enough.
On to the acts then. NB The show was all very ball and diabolo biased. There wasn’t one clubs act there, shocking. Oh and back to only one girl again too. (NB My spling may be well off on some of these – don’t worry yourself)
1 – Ken Carlile – Diabolo.
A man with an act. A great start as he did what looked to me as pretty hard diabolo stuff with a character and humour. This guy ended up as my choice for BYJOTY but at the time I was thinking – wow this is going to be a good show if they all live up to this standard. Top stuff.
2 – Brook Roberts – balls.
When he came on my first thought was “ooh another Reuben”. Good skills but not so sure of himself as he could be with practice. One to watch, certainly.
3 – Joe Marks – diabolo
One of the younger competitors. Some attempt at a character and costume but I think nervousness made him sort of get his head down and get through everything without too much interaction with or recognition of the audience.
4 – Boosh – Balls and telephone
Another “act” with some thought behind it. It didn’t move me much though and the skills weren’t as “look at this!” as some of the other acts. But then understatement can be a virtue sometimes.
5 – Rob Wooley – Contact
Odd schoolboy thing going on here. A different act this one with crystal contact stuff and some balancing on sticks going on. Nicely thought out and some decent skills.
6 – Danny Cooper – Diabolo.
Another young one. He didn’t so much as perform as run through his repertoire. Basically he got his head down and ignored the large audience in front of him.
7 – Sarah – Balls and rings.
This looked like Sarah but she seemed to be wearing a dress. A spangly black number. It can’t be Sarah surely? But that’s what the woman said. Coo. maybe it is then.
She did her thing with style and looked like she was proper happy to be up on stage. I do like watching her perform. It’s so nice to see a girl up there doing technical hard throwing and catching rather than poi or hooping.
8 – James Laurence – Balls
White balls and black tee shirt. It’s a cliche for a reason. Nice 3 ball work and some character. Still needs some work but he’s got the seeds of something good there.
9 – Folkert Erkelens – Diabolo.
More diabolo madness from a young Turk (sorry Nederlander). I didn’t quite get how he qualifies for BYJOTY entry but he wouldn’t be there if he didn’t. Confident stuff but again more a string of tricks thrown together than an act. Another one to watch I reckon.
10 – Mats – Footballs
Clown from Wales! Points for picking a slightly diffent prop from the rest. An odd style of doing some stuff and then “ta-daa!” with arms outstretched with a “there look at that, applaud scum” look on his face.
11 – Ben Morgan (aka The Notorious B E N) – Diabolo
I thought this was the second cross-dressing act at a BYJOTY but it turned out he was just acting a hip-hop style rapster type gangster thing (am I out of my cultural reference comfort zone? you bet I am). Floppy hat and a big smile endeared him to the crowd and he then managed some tricky stuff with no major worries. Very nice. Not sure about the costume though.
12 – Reuben – Balls
We’ve seen Reuben before. BYJOTY before, Crawley and a variety of vids online (where he uses actually interesting music rather than whatever’s on his iPod at the time). The act was the same “standing still whilst managing ludicrously zippy ball tricks” as he has done before. But he looked more confident and happy up there this time. The assembled jugglers loved it. Rousing noise by the crowd at the end and you knew where the smart money was for the overall BYJOTY title.
So to the awards:
Silvers, golds and Judges choice awards are by a panel of judges.
BYJOTY is by audience vote.
None – 5 years of zilch in gold then.
Silver Awards – (none of which I would disagree with, nor would I add anyone else)
As I said earlier I didn’t vote for Reuben for BYJOTY. He’s certainly a worthy winner but for an overall act with character and style I put Ken above him on the night. I know at least one of the judging panel agrees with me on that. But hey ho. That’s the fun of this game, we all find different things to like more.
Many thanks again to Luke for running with this.
Finally got some time to write stuff and edit pics!
Wednesday was a work day and I was to pick up Mats and teh Biskups in Leicester before heading to Norwich for the delayed BJC this year.
Mats has been local in the past so “knows Leicester”. Hah! At 5.30 he was supposed to have them both at my work (taking an hour off the trip should I have had to go home and then to Norwich). Quick phone call and they’re miles away in the wrong bit of Leicester completely. Still not as far as they would have been if they’d gone to my house tho.
After a decent drive and registering I went to put my tent up before it got too dark. At least 1 person approached me for advice on twinges before I’d even got to the campsite. Nice to know I’d be useful at least.
Met a few bods and pitched near to some nice folk. Whilst putting the tent up Mini was stomping around letting us all know that “The Sharpe Twins”(sic) were going to do a show. Looking over from the tent they seemed to be performing in the dark. I got there more or less as they finished. Ah well, an evening of hugs and hellos ensued.
That was day 1 really. No open stage and I didn’t stay up for renegade.
Thursday – Woken by 2 annoying teen boys in the next tent. Wittering about “Meat slurry” and trying to sound big and clever by using pointlessly over-long words. V tedious (and yes it did remind me of my teen life).
Day was spent alternately chatting and snoozing and with a big wodge of clinic time being done.
I was down to do a gym ball workshop too but this didn’t happen due to me not having heard I was doing one and thus hadn’t taken any gym balls along. As it was a few folk turned up and we did a basic Pilates thing instead until the combination of Mandy and Liz (stars) came up with 1 gym ball and a pump between them so we did a few of the sillier exercises to round off our session.
I briefly managed to say hello to Duncan (from Canada) too just before he disappeared off to move home from Edinburgh. Sorry to see you go Duncan, hope to catch up with you again some day.
After a day wandering through the site (one tent had the very large words “I piss myself” daubed on it) the evening was spent with the Lugeburf crowd (a good lot of them were there) chatting and ta to Kate for supplyage of beer. Best decision of the day was when we all thought “curry after BYJOTY then!”
I avoided renegade again but there was the fire show. A decent number of people I chatted to were going along to have a look but weren’t expecting much. It turned out to be better than most were expecting. There were still rather a lot of pointless body moves but a couple of the poi acts were bang on with their pairs moves and there were lots of pretty shapes being made. The finale was quite nice too with fireworks and flames shooting off all over the place. Definitely a step up from many fire shows I’ve seen but still not sure that it holds my attention that well. I don’t have the “ooh fire” factor any more so it’s just pretty lights moving around. I’d rather see that in a theatre rather than in a courtyard. Mind you Luke did make the point that it was fun to see a fire show and not be freezing whilst watching. The man with the fire wheelbarrow was quite fun too (if a little limited).
Friday – woken up by annoying teen boys in the next tent. This time they were cooking bacon and seemed to be bollocksing it all up right royally (and noisily). And one of them kept sniffing which is so bleedin’ annoying. I dragged myself out of bed and handed him some bog roll, much to his surprise. But he did accept gratefully and apologised for his sniffing. Ta.
More clinic time but no workshop afterwards so more napping done.
In the evening me, Kate and Graeme went into town for the BYJOTY show. I managed to wangle my way up into the balcony on the pretence of doing the photos. The show was ace but there’ll be another post for that.
Afterwards a whole bunch of us found ourselves a nice Indian place (Ali Tandoori) – thanks to the man in a pub for the recommendation. Again a lovely evening with nice folk but this time with excellent food.
Back to the site for renegade, chatting and more beer. Later I was introduced to some of Lizzah’s new southern pals and we played a bizarre dice game.
Renegade started off with Jay hosting but after a couple of uninspiring acts I gave up and went to bed.
A short while later I heard Jay announcing Ben Beever to the stage. Ah well that’s the problem with renegades; you have to endure the rubbish to find the odd nugget of worthwhileness.
Saturday – woken up by annoying teen boys in the next tent, complaining about the mess in their tent – for about an hour. Note – not “doing something about the mess in their tent” just “complaining about it”.
As I was woken early I needed yet more nappage through the morning.
Wandered into town with Lizzah for the games and then the show.
We did get to Pizza Express for lunch but they totally failed to live up to their name and we left before they got round to coming to ask us for our order. We ended up in the Norwich market where we found a chip stall – it just did chips. And nice ones they were too.
The games were a surprise for a few reasons. Firstly I was watching them, second I was in one game, third I came about 2nd or 3rd in it – it wasn’t very obvious to be honest. I was sat next to Luke and we watched the first round of club distance passing. They were all pretty awful and Luke seemed actually offended at how bad the first round was. “Come on we can do better than that” so he got me involved. It was the first time I’ve juggled for months and we came about 2nd. Not bad I reckon.
I left shortly afterwards thus missing what turned out to be the shortest 5 club endurance game ever when a sudden gust of wind blew up at the exact moment of the start of the game meaning only 1 person got more than a flash.
The games were ok. The compere was audible (credit due for not succumbing to the usual problem of not being heard easily) but I didn’t think the order of the games was too hot. The first one took some organising whereas maybe a quick and easy round of unicycle gladiators would have been the ideal “splash” intro to the non-BJCers in the audience.
Later he put the hardcore ball games together so we had first up 5 ball endurance. Followed by 7 ball endurance followed by 9 ball endurance. The problem with this was that the only people who could take part in the 7 and 9 ball games were also in the 5 ball game and were very good at it so were in it for a long time hence getting tired. Maybe it’d have been better to split them a bit to give them a rest before the harder games.
Anyway I’d gone shopping at this point to find myself another memory card for my camera. I was hoping to get lots of pics from the show later so thought a card for the show would be a good idea. Unfortunately I hadn’t reckoned on the cost of the larger cards. I would have needed a mortgage extension to get the 16Gb card so I settled on a 4Gb card instead. Big enough for something like 1400 pics so that’d do.
To the show venue at 3.30 for the early show. Show description coming in another post though so I’ll leave the show there for now. Oh apart from one item of non-show note. I got a text message telling me that 2 lovely people (Rob and Annette) had had their baby (welcome to the world Nico) and the text was written in a “just happened” style. I dashed downstairs to share the news with other folk. First person I met who’d know them was Lynne who responded with a blase “Oh yes that was yesterday”. Thus stealing my thunder somewhat.
After the late show me and Lizzah were both starving and looking for food. We ended up at 3 Ways Lebanese restaurant which turned out to be rather good. Recommended.
Back to site for beer and renegade. I left when the uninspiring acts just carried on being uninspiring. Tired so to bed. As I was walking there I heard them announce Komei to the stage. Ah well again.
The night was very difficult to sleep through as the show seemed to have energised everyone. Shame it couldn’t have energised them away from the tents though. So I had to put up with lots of shouting and screaming and drunkeness – part of the deal I suppose. At about 4am the annoying teen boys in the next tent came back shouting something about a man who gave them some sort of chilli flavoured foodstuff. “That man is awesome! I’m going to give him a Dr Pepper!” This last sentence had someone else coming back at him (from inside a different tent) with “Dr Pepper is minging – urgh!” Thus began a spirited discussion between opposing world views.
Later they moved on to chatting about Haribo and how the word should be used by Hari Krishnas instead of Gouranga. They eventually concluded that shouting “Haribo” would cause more happiness than “Gouranga” does. Hard to argue with that I suppose.
Then one of them got into an infinite loop of worrying that every time he swore he’d lose the game and swore about this therefore he lost so swore again etc etc… Ad nauseum.
After this they moved onto phoning one of their friends, giggling at how funny it would be to wake someone up. Har har.
After that interlude they went onto a “Who can sing the highest note?” competition. This was annoying but it turned from annoyance to entertainment quite quickly as these 2 drunken fools’ contest degenerated into 2 boys squeaking a lot and giggling even more. I was in hysterics. Ah bless ‘em.
Tired on Sunday morning I was. And I don’t think the man ever did get his Dr Pepper.
Sunday was a very quiet day of mellowing and packing. I’d managed to get teh Biskups and Mats to pack up before 12. We weren’t going before 3 as Pol and Freddy were to do the closing show. It was originally due to be on in the big top, then as we were sitting there we were told it was on in one of the gyms. The gym was packed but the 3 of us managed good seats on a table at the back.
Pol and Freddy were excellent. Lots of 2 person manipulation stuff with a very thick layer of clowning on top. Clearly very well practised and very entertaining.
A very fitting end to a very good weekend.
Thanks to all who contributed, even those 2 teen boys in the next tent.
Pics here (show and BYJOTY pics to come later).
25 Aug 2009
There is loads to write and loads of pics to sift so there’s not much from the weekend here yet. It’ll get there sometime this week.
So in short.
- BJC was excellent.
- BYJOTY was excellent.
- Catch-22 was excellent.
- Weather was excellent.
- Company was excellent.
- A sizeable bunch of US Christians don’t seem to realize that Jesus’ schtick was the forgiveness and mercy thing.
- England cricketers can actually play occasionally.
- Lebanese food is excellent.
- as is the food at Ali Tandoori, Norwich.
- There is no 10th thing.
16 Aug 2009
As P and C get ever closer to being parents it was noted that P would have fewer time to go off and do his own thing in the near future. Thus was born the plan of me and him charging up and down a stonking great hill.
We decided on Snowdon as I’ve never been up it before. No really.
We headed off later than planned on Saturday but ended up at the correct camp site around 4pm. The plan was smaller hill on Saturday and then Snowdon on Sunday.
The camp was under the minor hillock known as Tryfan. The weather wasn’t wonderful but that was expected. So off we went.
After a good while of off-route scrambling we figured that we’d not have enough time to reach the summit and get down again before dark so we reluctantly headed down before we’d planned. We did manage to get to a high ridge between two peaks though. No idea if it’s called anything, prolly.
So down we went. Quite a steep route down but for the most part pretty easy.
But then. Oh then.
My legs were a little worn out and were trembling a touch with the effort when I missed a step and my body went further forward than my legs. There was a large stone to my side that I tried to grab and vaguely managed but I couldn’t stop myself sliding further forward and down. At this point I was still confident that I was going to be fine. My head seemed to be coping happily. Unfortunately for it (and the rest of me) it was mistaken.
My chin smacked into the stone with a mild thwack. It hurt a bit but I was more worried that I had hurt my jaw. I’ve had problems with it before and don’t want the bother of dealing with it again.
(Incidentally, while I’m typing this it’s making my chin and jaw ache a tad.)
P saw me on my face and shot back up from where he was to make sure I was ok. I felt not too bad but was bleeding a bit from my chin.
P didn’t look too impressed when I showed him the cut.
But no matter there was no other option but to carry on walking down. The next hour was tedious descent whilst noticing that the bleeding hadn’t stopped. By the bottom of the descent my shirt was mildly gory. P looked at it again and thought that it now looked worse than it did when I first cut it.
So off to A&E to get it looked at. I did wonder whether this was an over-reaction but I preferred to get it at least checked.
Once there the triage nurse thought it might have been ok to just tape together but was concerned enough to ask me to wait to see a doctor just in case. I think our A&E plan was justified right there.
After some waiting I was called in to see the doc and he said just one word (other than pleasantries); “glue”.
So my chin wound was superglued together!
Well not actual superglue but something very like. The stuff they used is not water-proof. Meaning I can’t wash, shave or shower (that bit) for a couple of days.
Main concern now was “what about Snowdon?” We’d come all this way and I didn’t want to let the side down. We’d already wasted our one evening there waiting in a bleedin’ hospital.
We’ll see in the morning I guess.
Now we needed food. We’d had to come to Bangor to get to an A&E dept so we found ourselves a sit-in Chinese place called The Garden. Very nice it was. I’d changed from gory shirt to “near-rags” shirt but they had a big mirror in their waiting area and when I saw my chin I wanted to walk straight back out again.
It looked like it was still bleeding badly. One of the waitresses gave me a paper napkin using which I discovered that the big blob of blood on the chin was set solid, rather than still oozing.
I still wasn’t best pleased sitting in a public eatery looking mildly gored up. Never mind they found us a quiet place. Food turned out to be rather good too.
Back to the camp-site via some extremely strange directions from P’s satnav. We finally figured it out when I used mine instead.
Windy night in my new one man tent. It worked fine. I may be a touch too tall for it however.
And then to Snowdon. Started at Pen-y-Pas and headed up the pig track (PYG track). Harder work than I’d thought it would be and took ages. Oh and the weather was quite close so once a certain height up there the visibility dropped right off. We walk these things to get the views yes?
I rather liked the gallows humour of the other walkers and it was a proper sense of achievement getting to the top. Woot.
Coming down P had picked the Miner’s track. Some fools seemed to have chosen to try and ascend this way. It’s far steeper than the PYG and that’s after a long slow incline to the start of the scramble. I did feel quite sorry for those at the bottom of the scramble who asked how far they had to go.
“Well about 300-400m straight up and then you’re about half way”. Seemed a rude answer to give those who were already struggling.
I should note that P had originally planned to go via Crib Goch. But the weather conditions really did suggest that this would be a more bad idea than it already was. The combination of very strong (to 50mph) winds and poor visibility meant that only the loons would bother this route on this day. But there still were some folk trying it. Idiots.
As we headed back along the easy end of the Miner’s track we saw some very unfit looking folk heading up the hill. I’d say a good few of them should have turned straight round and gone home. The depression they were setting themselves up for didn’t seem worth it to me. These were people red-faced and wheezing up a mild incline with 1km to go before the really harsh bit.
At the other end of the fitness scale there were a few lunatic fell runners. One of whom passed us 3 times. Once on the way up and again coming down (as we were still going up). Later, on our way down, he passed us again on his way up again! Fool.
There was a couple who made it to the top with a baby being carried in a rucksack thing. Fools.
And back to the car.
Pics of the weekend (including mild gore) here. No summit shots though as it didn’t seem worth getting the camera out in howling winds and no visibility.
09 Aug 2009
Most of the locals know by now but I’d like to make a welcome to the woman who shall be known as R on here now and again. She lovely and I’m happy.
[edit: just spotted that this pic looks rubbish in IE. You should be using a decent browser anyway but there's a better version of this pic in the weekend photos, link at end of post]
Anyways we went away this weekend. We ended up camping near Edale in the Peak District. Beautiful place and we had stunning weather.
The field we were in had rather more than the average amount of sheep poo but was well located near an ice-cream shop and some wonderful scenery.
The owner seemed to be an very old man who lived in a decrepit farmhouse. The house itself didn’t look too habitable but he seemed to manage.
On Saturday we walked and walked. We started going up from the site to Edale and then up Mam Tor and along Rushup Edge before getting lost and finally making our way back to the campsite.
We’d bought barbecue stuff and a crappy portable BBQ. We managed adequately with food but that was enough for us.
Sunday was spent de-camping (slowly) and then more walking, including a trip down Blue John Cavern. Nice guide by the name of Brian and worth a look.
Then it was back home via rellies (hers) and more food.
07 Aug 2009
Yay! After my call for liftees to the BJC this year I got a call from one Ms Biskup and Mr Mats.
Looks like I have myself a pair of hitchhikers. Huzzah!
03 Aug 2009
I’m a heading to the BJC in a couple of weeks and after travelling types to come with (since my usual liftees ain’t going this year).
I’ll be heading there, from Leicester, on the evening of Wednesday 19th and coming back on the Sunday afternoon.
If you want to come along then let me know soon. Can pick up on the way if necessary.