BJC 2010 – Huddersfield

British Juggling Convention 2010 – Huddersfield

DATE: 7-11 April 2010

LOCATION: New College, Huddersfield

Back to the usual time period of Easter instead of last years August. Now that I live in the East Midlands, these conventions are always quicker to get to than when I lived in Central Scotland! This year was in Huddersfield, Yorkshire.

My Tent! I found out from the other Scottish people where they   were all camped and I pitched up beside them at the back of the campsite. A good turnout from Stirling Juggling Project alumni Captain Duncan (accompanied by the wonderful Avril), George the Juggler, Gordon Riddoch, Allen Goldie & myself.

RENEGADE WEDNESDAY: Allen Goldie compered. Dunc did his sea shanty balancing a contact ball on his head while perched on top of a walking globe, playing  drunken sailor on the accordion! Another guy did 3 diabolo’s which was impressive as the Big Top wasn’t that high! The final act of the night was someone who set his pubes on fire (I looked away at that point, but I am guessing he actually did it, as the audience winced collectively at that point!)

Statue of Prime Minister Harold Wilson THURSDAY: It was a very cold night, so I was up and showered by around 8am. No decent workshops for me today, so I decided to catch a bus uptown into Huddersfield and have a wander around for the day. It is a beautiful Town Centre. I went to the Art Gallery which is inside the town Library, and wandered the shops. I bought several Wii Games (including Guitar Hero III) and several DVD’s, CD’s and Books.

On my return, I was able to have a good wander around the whole convention area, and discovered several workshop rooms tucked away, and also a cafeteria which is where I spent most of my time for the rest of the convention chilling out, planning and writing new juggling routines and basically procrastinating from actually doing any juggling!
NEW PRODUCTS FOR MY JUGGLINGWORLD STORE: I was able to purchase several new items for my Juggling store from my traders who were at the Convention, so I now stock several Duncan Yo-yo’s, the Book of Staff Spinning, Babache Body Rolling Ball, Trailblazers Women Who Juggle DVD,   Pro Poi Rainbow and Rainbow Junior Poi.   Gravity Control Shaker Cups coming soon when my supplier gets them back in stock as they were snapped up very quickly!

Babache Body Rolling Balls Duncan Phoenix Diabolo Duncan Yo-yo's with Learning CD's

CIRCOMEDIA SHOWCASE: 6 Acts including a Hat & Cigar manipulator, an aerial act, another hat juggler, Cigar Box Duo (inspiring), a female ball juggler, and my favourite act which was an interesting routine where a guy juggled while on the phone to a call centre. He kept the phone beside his ear while doing lots of different tricks! At the end, I stayed seated as I could see a huge queue of people outside so I assumed that Renegade was starting soon. I then realised when the female ball juggler came on stage and repeated her routine, that it was a repeat performance as the venue was too small for everyone to cram in. I made my escape!
RENEGADE THURSDAY: Compered by Stumpy and Devilstick Matt. 2 people continued their chess game on the stage throughout the whole show which annoyed many people and distracted the acts.   Pete Gamble eventually came on stage and used his whip on the chess board and sent them packing! A good ball rolling routine from Tiff took place, which used 2 of the wavy benches from the beer tent. HIghly original & probably devised earlier that day which makes it even more impressive! There was also a dual devilstick propeller guy able to take people on at club gladiators. Norbi & Jon Udry passing 11 rings was another highlight.

Workshops I Attended
RING JUGGLING BASICS with Norbi: He has revived my enthusiasm and expanded my horizons for what is possible with ring juggling, by taking me back to the basics of how best to throw a ring, pancake flip and side on ring throw.
RING MULTIPLEX with Norbi:Norbi's Ring Juggling Workshop A good follow up session, where I learnt lots of techniques for getting into and out of 3 and 4 ring multiplex patterns.
PERSPECTIVES ON PRACTICE with Donald Grant (trampoline expert), Dave (animal behaviour consultant), Tiff (violinist): Emily hosted a thoughtful discussion between these 3 top-class jugglers as to how they have been able to use their other passions/jobs to help them to enhance their Juggling practice sessions. It was considered that this would be a great workshop to host again at future conventions.
GAMES TO PLAY IN WORKSHOPS with Circus Eruption:

Games to play in Workshops

As well as a great chance for adults to play many variations of tig and parachute games, the guys were able to show lots of all-inclusive games that can be used during Circus Skills Workshops. Some great new ideas for me to consider!
PARKOUR with Leeboy (aka Tintin) from Newcastle:

The Parkour/Unicycle Trials course!

My favourite workshop of the Convention. After a 30min warm-up, Leeboy had arranged for us to use the Unicycle Trials course to practice our newly acquired skills! In no time at all, I was vaulting, leaping and climbing everywhere, becoming more daring as the session progressed! It’s scary stuff, but very rewarding!
British Young Juggler of the Year (BYJOTY):

Organised by Tom Derrick and hosted by the wonderful Nina, this was a great chance to see lots of acts who are miles better than myself at an age where I hadn’t even started to juggle 😉   The act I voted for (#7 – David Haslam) didn’t win, but I did enjoy the winner (Johnny Malcolm’s) act! Drop count for all the acts was a respectable 57 (worth remembering for when the competition takes place next year!) Best trick competition was won by someone who did a flip while juggling (if I remember correctly!)

BYJotY (British Young Juggler of the Year competition

Fire Show(s)

This happened immediately after the BYJotY competition. There was one fire show, then after a break featuring some high-energy African drummers, Flame Oz did a spectacular Fire Show with an awesome firework spectacular to end it all!

Awesome Firework Finale to Flame Oz Fire Show!

Juggling Games compered by Allen Goldie:

A good variety of games, with Allen’s banter and commentaries keeping things running smoothly. Plenty of prizes for the winners thanks to the generous traders. Glorious weather also! I didn’t win or come close to winning anything, and stupidly forgot a pair of diabolo handsticks which ruled me out of attempting the diabolo in a box game!

Juggling Games

Public Show

20 buses were laid on to take all the jugglers to the Town Hall, which was a great venue for the show. The usual ballooning mayhem occurred while everyone waited for the show to start, and it was accompanied by some of the best Organ playing that I have ever heard. The guy is called Chris, and he played non-stop for around 30mins keeping us entertained with all genres of music from Super Mario to Toccatta and Fugue in D Minor!

Compere The Compere was a Character act called Vladimir Dimitri Kockov. I didn’t expect to like him, but he was a very good host, and did some great filler routines in between the acts which were as entertaining as some of the Public Show acts!
Spot the Drop: Excellent to finally see this duo perform their very well synchronised routine featuring ball juggling to club passing.
Frida: A beautiful and very fluid ball juggling routine where Frida contorted into all sorts of positions while still continuing the simple 3 ball cascade pattern. She sat one seat from me for the rest of the show!
Norbi: I am a big fan of this fantastic ring juggler, and it was good to see him using a different prop in the first of his 2 performances tonight. He declared his love of the diabolo, and it was very funny, and expertly performed. His ring juggling routine in the second half was awesome, but we had another ring juggler on the bill, so it may have been good for just one Norbi act? Great knee pocket catches though!
Gee: Ring Juggling act. Very slick and expertly done.
Trevor: The best act of the night. It’s good to have at least one act that speaks to the audience and doesn’t just perform silently to music. This routine seemed to last for around 20mins! Through much comedy and plates smashing on the ground, he did manage to get 6 spinning on poles at the same time, despite almost picking a volunteer out the audience who was due to give birth today!
Markus Furtner: Excellent tricks with 2 devilsticks. I have recently mastered dual propellers, so I can appreciate how much effort it would take to be at his skill level!
MCP: Scotland’s own Meghan Pike from TePooka. Contact Staff routine. Lots of original and impossible looking moves!
Jon Udry: Brilliant to see yet another BYJOTY winner command the stage, with a high energy routine. Excellent choice of music (James Brown etc) and great comedy moments throughout.
Tiff, Josh and Lewis: Great technical juggling. Good use of the classic mirror routine. A bizarre choice to finish the show though as it didn’t seem like a headline act? A lot of their performing was at one side of the stage which was out of my viewing range from the balcony, so I missed a chunk of their act.

All in all, a great show, but not as good as previous years.  Trevor’s plate spinning and the Organists intro were my highlights! There may have been other acts, but this is done from trawling rec.juggling trying to piece together the names of the acts to jog my memory!

I spent a lot of time working my way through various ideas of new juggling routines and developing them this week instead of actually juggling. The main reason for this is because the 24hr juggling hall was way too small and cramped with even the snakeboarders not really having much space to weave   round everyone.

Steve the Juggler (me!)
Sunday: I had to pack up everything at 8am and head to Birmingham NEC where I met my wonderful Wife and we spent the day at the Gadget Show Exhibition! It was a shame to miss the final day of the convention, but this was too good an opportunity to miss. The Live show was awesome, and I even bumped into another juggler who hadn’t been able to attend the Convention (hi Dom!)

Fantastic weather = lots of juggling outdoors!


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HighLowCrushGoalBane (HLCGB)


The weather (other than the very cold first night!) The Canteen (great place to hang out and socialise!) The Organist at the Public Show and Trevor’s Spinning plates routine! Catching up with lots of juggling friends who I haven’t seen in ages.


The  renegade tent was way too small. The 24hr juggling hall was way too cramped and muddy, which made it easier for me to decide not to juggle as much as I would have liked!   No lights in the campsite.

Crush: Norbi for enthusing me to improve my ring juggling! His routines were awesome too!

To develop some new juggling routines
To gain an enthusiasm for regularly practicing juggling
To catch up with lots of friends I haven’t  seen in ages

Bane: Loudness in the campsite. It’s quite bizarre that many people don’t realise that there are people who actually want to sleep during the night and do their juggling and socialising during the day. Plenty of places for these people to hang around if they want to make lots of noise!
Well done to all the organisers! I wonder where BJC 2011 will be. I am looking forward to it already!

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