Scottish 2003

Scottish Juggling and Face Painting Convention 2003

I was getting excited! A year after going to my first ever convention (last year’s Scottish), it was time for my 4th (this year’s Scottish)! Having became a lot more confident and less shy throughout the year, coupled with the fact I would already know a stack of people at the Convention, I was sure that this was going to be a great Convention for me.

115 people attended the convention this year, and the farthest away traveller was Wayne van Wijk from Australia.

The downside was that my companions for every other convention, my trusty band of juggling mates from Stirling (Stirling Posse) could not make it at all. Our Stirling Juggling Project has many jugglers, all of whom would have loved to attend the Convention, but as most of them are unemployed or just able to get by, they couldn’t afford the trip to Glasgow as well as the tickets. For the others in the juggling project, they were disappointed that they could not attend the Convention for free seeing as they were going to be part of the Show on the Saturday night, so they were not attending as a matter of principle. All of this meant, that none of my usual travelling companions would be making that journey with me.

But at least I would not be travelling alone, as I had arranged for two of my Youth Group to accompany me. I am a voluntary Church Youth Worker and take young people for football every Monday and general Sports every Thursday, and about a month before the Convention, I decided to ask the two lads (Chucky and Tim) who have shown the most promise and enthusiasm for juggling if they would like to join me. These two, have been buying up equipment from my juggling store and I have been teaching them little bits of juggling on a regular basis, and so it was hoped that they would learn loads at the convention and want to start coming along to Stirling Juggling Project and attend more conventions (and of course buy more equipment from me)!

And so it was, that I (Steve Thomson), set out to Glasgow by Train at 5pm accompanied by Timmy (Tim Hamlet) and Chucky (Rab Donald). On the way there, we practiced some card tricks and magic (the two boxed sets that are on sale at my juggling store). My map reading is not all that good, so it took us an hour to get to Glasgow Science Centre from Queen Street Station, at which point, we sat down and realised that we were meant to be at a place called Kinning Park! Thankfully at this moment of realisation, as if on cue, Graham and Marie arrived to put up some posters to show people how to get between venues, and we walked with them back to the hall (10 mins walk).

SJC 2003 - Jigsaw pass

On arrival, we were asked to choose a piece from a map of the world jigsaw. This was to be our passes for the Convention. Zoe and Chirlene then showed us around the community centre, and we found a place in a corner of a corridor that the three of us could call home for the weekend. Friday night was spent reuniting with friends from last years convention, trying out my shaker cups (Gandolf taught me a few tricks to practice), and poi (Ruth showed me a few things to practice). I was tired after my hectic week of work, so I didn’t stay up too long. The only way I could sleep while stretched fully, was by keeping the door to the attic open and putting my legs up on the steps (very uncomfortable, but I was tired and soon dropped off)!

Horizontal Rule - Jugglingworld Logo


Breakfast supplied in the morning, and everyone slowly woke up and the juggling began to happen. Tim, Chucky and I decided on what workshops we wanted to attend throughout the weekend, and I explained to them that they would probably make it to one or two workshops if they were lucky, because you always set out to attend as many classes as you can, but invariably fail and end up doing other things! We waited around for the facepainting workshop at Kinning Park. 20 minutes after it was supposed to start, we were told that they were holding the workshop at the Glasgow Science Centre instead! We quickly packed the juggling equipment and stuff for the day ahead, and walked out to the Science Centre.

Steve with Facepaint

When we arrived, Chucky and I decided to watch a face painting class, and got asked to be models. He was made into a green tiger, and I became a lion. When it came to the ceilidh later on that night, I wore my brown and gold waistcoat so I had a fantastic look!

Chucky with Facepaint

We were under the impression that we had a pass to the whole Science Centre, but we are only allowed on the ground floor ( £6.50 to go on the other 3 floors and try the 300 interactive experiments). We put all our stuff in the juggling area where all the other jugglers had amassed. We were a good showcase in the corner of the Science Centre, as people coming in to the Centre could watch us practice. Jamie took a devil stick class, and I learned a couple of new tricks from him. Tim bought a flower stick, and Chucky borrowed a stick, so they learned the basics. Chucky had an idea of how to combine Poi and Staff Spinning, so he sellotaped the poi to each end of the staff, and did an impressive routine, that many others were amazed at and wondered how he did it! We then headed to the UV room to do some UV juggling which was fantastic. Ruth joined us, and showed us her UV poi sticks she made, which were fantastic! I then went to the Beard Stall, where I bought the Fire Staff that Greg had brought down especially for me.

The show was followed by a haggis supper and free beer (only a month out of date!) Then it was time for the ceilidh at which a new dance was introduced  “the Jugglers Jig” ! There was far more room to fling your partner about the hall floor this year compared to last year, and most people had a dance at some point in the night. Rerr Terr Ceilidh Band as always were fantastic! Chucky and Tim preferred to spend most of the time outside with the fire jugglers and practice fire staffs. I saw Larissa use a fire diabolo (which I had never seen before). It was impressive. Got chatting to a lovely girl called Mirabel, until it was time for the Renegade, by which time most people had crashed out somewhere.

CLyde Auditorium

Public Show

The show took place on the Saturday night, and I got front row seats with Chucky and Tim. I took quite a few movies (e-mail me if you want a copy and we can arrange something), and just a few photographs. The following is the order of acts along with a brief comment/review:

1) Intro Charles
2) Dangerous Graham Fuzzy with some club juggling and some more dangerous props – funny
3) Song Marie & ??? very well sung
4) Diabolo Wayne & Scott Two diaboloists from New Zealand with some freestyle diabolo – entertaining.
5) Contact Juggling Andy very mesmerising and great facial expressions (especially the eyebrows)!
6) 3 Club Juggling John some entertaining 3 club tricks that I hadn’t seen before.
7) Glo Club Swinging Bridgit & Larissa Glow stick routine choreographed
8) Songs (2) Laura Woman who sang Young Hearts Run Free and another song
9) Unicycle Roger & Leigh Roger and his daughter dancing whilst on unicycles.
10) GloBalls Charles same act to same music as last year. Entertaining for those who hadn’t seen it before.
11) Whip Graham & Emma Card/Bullwhip trick, same as last year
12) Devilstick Jamie fantastic as always (looked more professional and less chaotic than last years)!
13) UV Poi Ruth Highlight of the whole show. Choreographed routine to Rammstein heavy beats, and it was breathtaking. The body paint was fantastic.
14) Magic Scott C. Scott the Magician and his wonderful assistant. A great act. He did the Sticking knives through Fuzzy’s  head, then made a large wand appear out a small pocket, and then did the infamous MAGIC BY TAPE – Bandana/Banana trick. Very entertaining.
15) Announcements Charles he said thanks to the organisers and to everyone in the show.
16) Glo Finish Jamie, Andy ,Graham, Bridgit, Larissa & Charles All the glow acts came on at the same time and performed to music.

To summarise. it was a great show and everyone performed well on the night, it was just a shame that the Stirling Posse couldn’t have livened the show up a little with new material (we would have taken up another 20 minutes onto the show, and made it a decent length also), as there were several acts performed that were done exactly the same as last year. Very entertaining night for those who hadn’t seen most of the acts before. Ruth’s UV Poi dancing to Rammstein music was the highlight of the show for me.



The highlight for most people was a very talented Spanish flamenco type guitarists who played some solos and accompanied one of the acts. There were a few other musical acts, and, I finally decided to get up and do a renegade, so I did the Bird Impressions Ball Juggling Routine of Gordon’s (which I later found out was Gordon’s first ever renegade act also)! It went down reasonably well, and I persuaded, Chucky to get up and do a quick show of his Poi/Staff combination that impressed people earlier. An 11 year old boy got up and did a shirt bounce 3 ball trick (that I had taught him yesterday), and Ewan did his escapology whilst on a unicycle (except he was so drunk that he couldn’t stay on the unicycle, so he cheated and stood on it whilst it lay on the ground!) There was an astrojax versus jitter-ring showdown also between more danger man and Richard. The renegade then finished and I headed off to catch some Zzzzz’s!


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Sunday 9 February

Chucky had been awoke by Zoe and Chirlene at 11am, when they persuaded him that he had slept in and missed half the days events! He soon got up quickly! Chucky, Tim and I grabbed breakfast and headed to Science Centre. I went to a 3 ball workshop and learned some fancy pauses. Tim then went to a contact juggling workshop, and Chucky and I decided it was time to chance getting up the escalator into the exhibits without a ticket €¦ When we reached the escalator, we told the woman that the supervisor had said it would be ok for us to go upstairs, and she let us go! We couldn’t believe it, and made the most of our hour upstairs going round as many exhibits as we could (too much to get round in so short a time), before the Juggling games commenced. Captain Duncan and Delphine turned up and headed off wall climbing with Ewan.

Ewan Colsell

Juggling Games

I teamed up with Gav for all the club passing games, but he dropped everytime. I teamed up with Chucky for the stredging, and we were fine on the practice, but he just couldn’t flick up during the real game! I did ok at Gladiators, and even drew with a girl at devil stick gladiators! It was then time for the WORLD RECORD 3 HAGGIS JUGGLING. About 20 of us took part, and after 2 minutes, for some weird reason, only me and “more danger” man were left! We wandered around and chatted out loud to each other and told jokes to keep ourselves amused, as it is quite a boring thing to do and watch. I managed to last for 6.5 minutes (world record was 8.5 minutes), and the more danger man (Andy Blackett) managed 9 minutes 47 seconds and got the new world record! I was surprised I had gotten so far. I had been getting cheered on from the sidelines and I thought I could win it. There was diabolo in a box game, but no diabolo’s got in, then there was the throwing diabolo up, and catching someone else’s diabolo (I was out in the first round). There was some more gladiators, then it was time for the raffle, and we ended with the TOSSUP!

And then it was time to begin our journey home, approximately 48 hours since we set out for Glasgow! We had crammed a lot in to our time at the convention. Tim and Chucky had a great time at their first convention, and I hope they will want to come along to our Juggling Project and indeed more conventions. I had a great time, although I did miss not having all my juggling posse from Stirling there with me. I am already looking forward to the British and European Juggling Conventions so watch this space.

Find out about more Scottish Juggling Conventions.
Scottish Juggling
Pass from Scottish Juggling Convention

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