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Messages - GbH

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General / Re: Your worst moment in diaboloing
« on: July 19, 2009, 10:29:49 PM »
I've had plenty of dodgy shows, either because things just weren't going well or because of finding myself in wholly unsuitable venues.  One particularly memorable example of the latter was when an already-low-ceiling venue, that I'd been in before, had been decorated into a Carribean theme, with streamers and decorations hanging down to about waist level covering the stage area.  Somehow, I was supposed to do my routine in amongst it all, without getting the diabolo string caught up in all the hanging stuff.  I got through it somehow, but it must have looked a bit odd.  It was certainly a show I won't forget in a hurry.

I guess the most disappointing, in recent times, was the premature end to my BoB routine earlier this year.  I'd been very unsure about trying that routine, as the practice beforehand hadn't been going particularly well.  As such, I was pleased when, on stage, things seemed to be turning out OK.  Then, just as I started to think that all was well and that the finish line was in sight, my head strap came loose and...bang: a rather humiliating end of show that I could do nothing to rescue.

In actual fact though, the genuinely worst incidents both involved high-throws with Renedgade diabolos (hard plastic, for those that are too young to remember...).  At one local fete many years back, I mananged to completely total the P.A. system with a misdirected throw.  However, the most scary was when, at one of the early Bristol conventions, a high throw landed neatly between Charlie Dancey's arms as he was juggling in the field.  I shudder to think what would have happened if he'd been stood just slightly closer.   :o


General / Re: Is diabolo a sport?
« on: May 31, 2009, 03:48:07 PM »
A diabolo is a toy.  Using a diabolo in it's most basic and common form is merely a physical activity.

Diabolos offer the POTENTIAL to be used within both art and sport, but they are not naturally a part of either.  I feel fairly certain that the majority of diabolo owners that I've met have been kids who've purchased a packaged set from a toyshop and learned no more than 5 tricks.  They don't compete, they don't read, they don't create anything, yet they're most certainly the largest user base.

General / Re: What has diabolo done for you?
« on: April 07, 2009, 10:50:28 PM »
What a good question.  I instinctively want to answer it, yet when I try to think about it, my head just explodes in a big jumble of stuff. 

Diabolo wasn't the first type of juggling I tried, neither was it something that particularly interested me to start with.  But thanks to that now-legendary workshop at the Bradford EJC in 1998, a chain of diabolo-related events were set in motion that would have a profound impact on my interest in juggling, my willingness to perform, my self-confidence and many of things that have happened in my life since then.  I realise this might sound a bit over-dramatic - it is just a toy we're talking about here, after all.  But that really is how things seem to have worked out for me. 

General / Re: Competition for diabolo?
« on: April 01, 2009, 10:34:58 PM »
i was i know its all a joke

Yes, sorry about that.  We were having a fun April 1st joke.  Mr Heathcote Snr was just pretending to be hurt - in actual fact, he's in fine health and enjoying his Myachi as much as ever.  Don't let the mean people on this forum ruin your fun.  They're only jealous because they haven't got the skills and vision to be a Myachi master.

General / Re: Competition for diabolo?
« on: April 01, 2009, 10:51:20 AM »
Following my post from yesterday, I have some rather unfortunate news, as it seems that Heathcote Snr has been involved in a rather serious Myachi incident.  Apparently, he was trying to develop his new Ultra Combo Extreme move, but lost his balance and disaster struck...

I think he's now decided that Myachi is far too extreme and exciting for someone of his senior status, so in the future, will be returning back to his diabolo and other such gentile passtimes.


April fool?

General / Re: Competition for diabolo?
« on: March 31, 2009, 06:34:29 PM »
I doth my cap to Heathcote Snr....

That's a very kind thought, but I'm not so sure he really deserves it.

General / Re: Competition for diabolo?
« on: March 31, 2009, 05:25:26 PM »
OK everyone, whilst I don't particularly rate these Myachi things myself, it seems that Mr Heathcote Snr now likes them a lot.  After first hearing about them on this very forum, he's managed to make himself a special 'signature' model out of an old cloth case previously used for his reading spectacles.  Into this he inserted 469 uneaten* lentils, safely cocooned inside a recycled supermarket groceries bag.  As you can see, he's even developed his own special Triple Hook Combo move, where he lands it on his walking stick several times in a row**.

Apparently, he's now considering adopting a special Myachi street name, much like the young people in the previously linked videos.  He suggested "Arthur Killa Ninja Dogg", but I'm not sure if that's really appropriate.

Personally, I think he should just start acting his age and take up a more sedate hobby.  After all, the excitement of trying to ride the unicycle in Bath a few weeks back nearly put him back in hospital.  Anyway, here's his Myachi promotional picture... 


*   He suspects this is quite important.

** In theory, this should be three times, but his memory isn't as good as it was, so he gets confused after the second one.

General / Re: Competition for diabolo?
« on: March 29, 2009, 11:23:49 PM »
Can't believe they're still trying to flog these things!

I had a leopard skin one about eight years ago, don't know where it is now, must have sunk to the bottom of my voluminous toy box.

Anyway, everyone knows that kendama is the skill toy of choice at the moment...


Ha, I might have guessed that you already had one.  In fact, now I think about it, I'm wondering if this wasn't something you tried to explain to me, a long while back.

Anyhow, yes, kendama still rules of course.  Just had a fun session with my giant 16" kendama and didn't manage to break anything at all.  TeamKD!


General / Re: Competition for diabolo?
« on: March 29, 2009, 09:49:06 PM »
There was mention of these on one of the yo-yo sites some time ago - probably a couple of years back, if not more.  It was supposed to be the great new thing back then, too...

General / Re: Creativity discussion
« on: March 13, 2009, 11:45:01 PM »
Hmm, reading through this thread, I can't help but notice that there seems to be a general assumption that the point of diabolo-creativity is simply to create new tricks.  I don't see much mention of using creativity to build complete routines, yet surely that's the aspect with the most possibilities and the most satisfying conclusion?

Personally, I also think the process of creating a unique routine is a much easier process, as you have more elements to throw into the mix (theme, story, auxillary props, music, movement, humour...) and thus a better chance of coming up with something that's uniquely your own.  Also, if you're concentrating on building a routine as a whole, it's also quite possible that you'll find yourself doing something new technically, not so much for the sake of it, but because the structure of the routine seems to demand something that you might never have considered worthwhile.


General / Re: In which country diabolo is most popular in? -Finland.
« on: February 26, 2009, 12:09:07 AM »
Surely the true answer to the original question is a country that's not actually been mentioned yet - China. 

Performances / Re: Requiem for a Diabolo
« on: February 04, 2009, 09:55:16 PM »
Regardless of what might have gone before, I enjoyed that.  It's always cool to see someone putting some serious thought into what their tricks actually look like.

Also, respect for getting through the whole routine without having the mask fall off and mess the whole thing up.  Not all of us have been so lucky.   :embarassed:

Performing / Re: Blog post Tijn #8 | Music in live performance
« on: December 03, 2008, 11:07:45 PM »
Lots of worthwhile advice there - good job.

One thing I would like to add is, when performing live*, choose music that people are going to understand on their first hearing.

You'll all be familiar with music that doesn't really start to mean anything to you until you've heard it a few times.  In pure musical terms, this can often be a good thing, as it suggests that the music's got some hidden depth.  However, for a juggling routine, this isn't a whole lot of use, as it's likely that your audience will only ever watch your routine once and will thus only hear the music on that occasion. 

So instead, you need to find something that's going to get the audience interested and involved upon first hearing.  This isn't necessarily easy to achieve, as everyone's different and will have differing reactions.  However, a good place to start is your own reactions when you first heard it.  If it affected you right away, then that's as good a start than any. 

Perhaps another approach is to choose music that contains strong generic components that are sure to be familiar, even if the track itself is new.  Techno/trance type stuff is always strong on this front, although this can in itself be a too-obvious and tedious choice through sheer over use.  Tunes based on standard trad/folk forms may also have a strong sense of familiarity, regardless of whether you've heard the tune before.

Finally, perhaps the most obvious approach is to choose something that's popular and which everyone's familiar with already.  For me, this isn't something I like to ses, unless there's clearly a strong and novel reason for choosing such music.  To me, it just gives the impression that the performer hasn't really given put much thought or imagination into the process.  Also, when a track is already familiar to me in other contexts, I find it much harder to associate the music with what's happening on the stage.


* Obviously, if choosing music for an online video, then the need for instant understanding of the music is slightly less, as people are more likely to watch it several times.

General / Re: another guy heathcote
« on: November 21, 2008, 07:03:54 PM »
How do you go about judging a contest like this? Is it just thickness of the beard or something else? And what´s up with the clothes? Do they also count into the score or is it just gimmick?

The sideburn and full beard freestyle were the coolest. Can´t imagine how many years it would take to grow something like that (Although the hair on my head grows fast I shave once a month and even then it´s hardly needed :P).

To be honest, I don't really know how the judging actually works.  None of the UK entrants seem to take it too seriously.  It's more a social event, a fun thing to be a part of.  I suspect that members of the German beard clubs have a much better idea about it all, though.  They seem really into it and are the ones that seem to administer much of it. 

The clothes tend to help put the entries into some sort of context, but I don't think it's essential to have the absolute best costume in order to win.  I suspect it's just part of the culture of it all, something that people do because most others are also doing it too.

The partial and full beard freestyle categories tend to be the most creative, although most, if not all, entries in these categories only style their hair like that for competitions.  On any other day, they just look like ZZ Top members.  The really dedicated ones are those with the huge curled sideburns, which can't really be hidden into any regular sort of style at all.  As to how long it all takes, that's different for every individual.

General / Re: another guy heathcote
« on: November 21, 2008, 12:06:42 PM »
how long do you think it takes to get anywhere near a recognizable handlebar
and how do you go about getting the shape do you just let it grow or do you trim certain parts?
any help appreciated

You get the handlebar shape by letting ALL the hairs on your upper lip grow long, using wax to 'train' them to sweep to the sides (rather than into your mouth).  When the shape is well established you might need to trim the tips occasionally, but other than that, don't trim.  Some people try to hide the initial 'messy' stages by growing a temporary beard too, which helps distract attention away from the partial handlebar - not a bad idea and something I did myself pretty much by accident.  For much more information, including where to get wax, have a look at The Handlebar Club's website -

As to how long it takes, well, that's different for each person.  Mine took several years to properly mature, as my hairs grow very slowly.  Others can achieve good results in a matter of weeks/months.


General / Re: another guy heathcote
« on: November 20, 2008, 10:24:26 PM »
Hello all.  Yes, there's only one Guy Heathcote.  Well, actually, I do know of another one, but he's not got a moustache at all, let alone a handlebar.  We both have identical suits, though, but that's another story entirely...

awesome i want a handlebar like his but more like a dali

Well, if you wait long enough, it will come*.  Making it more like a Dali (or English, or any other style...) is mostly just a case of applying the wax differently, at least to start off with.  Go for it!


* well, unless you're a girl.

General / Re: Blog post Tijn #1 | Being creative without being original
« on: October 23, 2008, 05:48:43 PM »
To answer the questions above, the diabolo routine that I became known for was mostly performed during the early-to-mid '90s, although I've done variations on it on-and-off since then, when asked.  It featured on a number of convention videos at the time, but I don't think it's ever been uploaded.  To be honest, I'm really not convinced that it would be of any particular interest to the juggling community now - things have developed so much since then.  The routine's structure always stayed pretty much the same, but the finer content and the way it was performed naturally developed over time, as you might expect.

For a long time now, most of my shows have been in looser, walk-about type environments where I change what I do according to the situation I'm in.  There seems to be a lot more demand for this type of performance in the UK, so I do what's required.  Having said that, over the last six months or so, I've been developing and performing diabolo stuff that's very different to what I've done before, taking advantage of both regular and single-sided bearing diabolos.  So maybe you'll get to see some of that at some point.   Thanks for taking an interest.


General / Re: Blog post Tijn #1 | Being creative without being original
« on: October 22, 2008, 10:50:57 PM »

But hmm I do have to take some words back.. Yes I DO CARE WHAT OTHERS THINK! Why else am I asking everyday to my parents hey watch what I learned new! Or to my friends, sister.. But the only problem with that is I care about their opinion and I want their attention on my new things.. But they DON'T care.. They already say WAUW greet! When I'm just speeding up..


OK, then, think back to what I said previously.  When you're showing your friends and family your stuff, are you really thinking about what it is that you're actually showing them, or are you just thinking about your own delight in learning something new?  Most people have little interest in raw diabolo technique.  It's just not on their radar - there's too many other things in the world to be thinking about.  What's more, even for the few that are interested, figuring out which tricks are hard and which are easy, just by seeing something once, is often not straightforward (I know I've been caught out with this on many occasions).  So, if you're showing people something that you've spent a long time learning and are excited about, can you really be surprised if they don't understand what the big deal is?

The probable truth of it is that your friends and family would love to care about what you do and probably would do if you gave a bit more thought about what it is that's going to interest and entertain them.  They might not appreciate technical diabolo technique, but there's a good chance that they'll understand humour, surprise, danger, style and other such ideas.  Thus, it then becomes your job to figure out how you can package up the technique into something that gets the response that you're looking for.  And, funnily enough, that's exactly where the creativity thing really kicks in...


General / Re: Blog post Tijn #1 | Being creative without being original
« on: October 22, 2008, 09:33:19 PM »

Marijn I do diabolo because I think its fun! And I don't really care what others say about it.


Hmm.  This attitude is fair enough if you just diabolo on your own.  However, if you're at all involved in presenting your skills to others, be that by video, stage performances or any other means, then it might very well be seen as being rather selfish.

Any time that you present something for others to view, you're effectively asking them to give up some of their time for you, time that could be spent doing something else.  This is fairly apparent when performing to a live audience, but the significance is probably even greater when putting something online for the whole world to see.  As such, it seems only fair that in return for winning your audience's attention, you stop thinking only about your own enjoyment and start to think about what it is that you'll be offering in return.

Also, if you really didn't care what others thought of your work, why would you even bother showing anyone in the first place?


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