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Topics - Chiok

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Community & Events / Bristol Convention News
« on: January 15, 2009, 02:53:36 PM »
For those that haven't heard (I only just read it recently):

Quote from: Jay Linn
Hello chaps,

I've just got off the phone from John Carter, the legend in his own
lunchtime who for the last twenty years has been head honcho of Bristol
Juggling and Circus Skills Convention. It is with great regret that John has
decided to cancel this years event.

Yes, that's right, Bristol will not be happening this year.

John is in his sixtieth year and has been working hard running a
marquee hire business for a very long time, but now he has decided to retire
from the marquee game, and that means that he will not be expending the very
large amounts of money needed to maintain, insure, and license his vehicles,
marquees, business, and so on and so forth. Consequently running Bristol as a
stand alone project is simply not viable for him. Boo.

At some other time it might be useful for the UK juggling community to
consider whither Bristol? But that is a debate for another day, and John
himself needs some time to reflect on and absorb his decision. Consequently,
the prospects of Bristol happening this year, under any flag, are slim to
none, and Slim's outta town.

There is a great deal I would like to say about Bristol over the years,
but this is not the time or the place, so I would like to conclude by
offering my great thanks and gratitude to John for all his good-natured hard
work over the years.

I hope that there will be other commendations to come, and if anyone
has anything to add - thanks, memories, pictures, stories, anything really -
then please respond to this thread, and in time perhaps we can rustle up an
online memory book for the daddy of 'em all in the UK.

Requiescat in pace, Bristol. You will be missed.

Jay Linn
Semper eadem.

Community & Events / Bath UpChuck Convention - 28th Feb
« on: December 30, 2008, 11:51:22 AM »
Letting you guys know about a new one day convention being held in Bath, UK next February organised by the University of Bath juggling society, Gravity Vomit in conjunction with Bath Spa University

Breakdown is, Saturday 28th February, £3-6 entry, up on the University of Bath campus.  Regular workshops, dicking around, food, drink and a show in an actual theatre!  Juggling is in the Founders' Sports Hall which is more than high enough for anyone, plenty of flat outdoor space and the evening's show (acts TBC) will be in our purpose built Arts Theatre.

Full details (bit sketchy at the moment) can be found at:

This is the first convention GV have organised and alot of fiddling and backhands have been done to get it where it is.  So a big turnout and your support would be great so we can do it again the following year!


3 Policy & Feedback / Forum page layout issues
« on: December 27, 2008, 03:43:03 PM »
Having taken a hiatus from the forum for a while, I come back and see some nice changes and everything still looking nice and swish (thank you Sean).

However the changes seem to have done something funny to the layout I see on my screen.  Firstly, people's posts seem to appear underneath a break line below their avatar instead of alongside their avatar.  If the member doesn't have an avatar, the post shows up in the right place, but if they do, then it skooches all the way underneath (i.e. taking up more vertical space).

Secondly, the quick reply box seems to have lost it's right hand side off the end of the screen so that when I type into it, the text disappears off the right for about 20 characters or so and then goes to the next line.  It's as if the reply box is too big to fit (my screen resolution is 1200x800, so no lack of space there).

I will say that this might be an issue due to myself still using Internet Explorer 6 (I feel no need to upgrade).  It looks fine on Firefox though.  It used to all look fine, but now it's gone a bit skew-if like the layout isn't as backwards compatitible?

Anyone else have similar issues?  I mean, a fix would be nice, but I can live with it, just wondering what is making it do this.


General / A certain someone on BBC2...
« on: November 03, 2007, 02:40:36 AM »
Boy, I don't start many topics, but I thought this might be interesting to someone.

I was watching the ol' tube and on BBC2 (a channel we have in the UK) and for some reason, "Passion for Plants" was on at 8pm as narrated by Alan Titchmarsh.  Not sure of the situation but I managed to catch a glimps of a sprinkler by known other than Zack Turner.  On national TV nonetheless.  There was also another fellow with some low 3 ball stuff dressed as an invisible man too, but that wasn't what caught my attention.

Probably not worth trying to look for any footage but some guys might be interested to know.


Hello again everybody, welcome to another installment of Diabolo Insight.  Following the success from Donald Grant's interview, I had chats with a few other guys for interviews and hopefully will get to talk to a few more as well. 

This week we have one of the "old guard" legends who was the first to self-start a 3 diabolo low shuffle all the way back in 1993.  An eccentric and fascinating character who I had the pleasure of interviewing at the British Juggling Convention 2007 just after the British Young Juggler of the Year competition (which meant I missed the Brit-o-vision, didn't realise it was gonna rock so much).  I speak of none other, than our own British legend, Guy Heathcote.

Where do you origins with circus skills and juggling come from and your history with diabolos?

My origins?  The first time I did anything related to juggling came from the fact that my grandmother’s house backed onto a tennis court.  When I was younger, I used to collect the tennis balls that had strayed over the fence and take them back home.  Sooner or later I tried to juggle with them, but didn’t get anywhere.  Then I saw Kris Kremo on TV and realised how it worked, so I went off and started practising with 3 balls.

What made you think that you would try and juggle them?

It wasn’t something I had seen much beforehand.  However, it was something I'd read about and which intrigued me.  I was always terrible at sport and was never involved in anything athletic unless I had to be.  I started juggling properly when I was 18, so it must have been 4 or 5 years previously that I had started fiddling with the tennis balls.  To start with, I didn’t think anything of it, but it was just enough to start the interest.

Other than diabolo and yo-yo which you are well familiar, are there other props you enjoy and why?

I use a lot of different props.  In the past, I’ve gotten into different things at different times.  Some of the props I tend to use now would include 3 balls (not particularly into numbers), clubs (3-5), devilstick and lasso.  Shaker cups is something I use when performing - I don’t practice it much, but it’s still a nice routine to do.  The Guy Heathcote Ball and Stick thing is something I use quite regularly, Kendama likewise.  I've done a lot of unicycling and stilt walking.

In the BJC show in Birmingham, I did a routine with balls and ladle. It would probably seem a bit rubbish now, but I did it anyway.  I used to do a thing with a plumbing quarter bend pipe, with balls rolling in and out of the top and side.  I’ve tried most props at some point, perhaps because of the walkabout jobs that I do.  I’ve found it’s been good to be flexible and do different things. You can’t do 3 balls, say, for hours on end and expect people to remain interested.  You need to be able to mix it up and show a bit more variety.  There’s probably a load of props I’ve forgotten as well, I go through phases when I’m into something and then not anymore.

With yo-yo, it’s one prop but there’s lots of different styles and techniques, such as the 5A freehand stuff which is my current interest and what I’m practicing most at the moment. I still feel I’m starting out with that, still figuring out the basic techniques, but beginning to find out my own stuff too.

What yo-yo are you using at the moment?

It’s a Yoyo Jam Big Ben.  It’s more visible and takes the abuse of being chucked about all over the place.

Do you have any ambitions or dreams you’d like to achieve that you haven’t already?

I’ve very rarely had any proper ambitions. Most of what has happened has been far beyond what I thought I could ever do.  When starting out, I never expected that I would be able to perform or be in a convention show. I’ve never really had any self-confidence.  It probably sounds weird, but it’s only because of other people convincing me that I should do something that I’ve gone ahead and done it.  I’ve rarely put myself forward for anything.  Back at the second BJC, people started taking notice of me and were asking if I could do a show.  The thought of being in a convention show just seemed stupid to me, like, “Why would I do that?”  However, people persisted and so I thought “Alright, I’ll do it”.  I did my first convention routine the following year.  Anyhow, I guess my aim at the moment is to come up with something interesting using the 5A yo-yo style.

What do you think are the key requirements for a good moustache?

*laughs*  You’ve got to put a lot of effort in and train it.  A proper handlebar requires you to let all the hairs grow long and not give up and be tempted to cut the little ones above your mouth. Hairs naturally grow down, so you’ve got to use wax and a comb to train it to grow sideways.  If you can get past that and get it starting to work, then that’s the makings of a good handlebar

How long has yours taken you?

Oooo, over 4 years now.

You’re known quite well for a historic 3 diabolo shuffle, how long did that take you?

Oh, there’s no clear answer to that.  I purchased my first diabolo at the first BJC (1988).  I didn’t make a lot of progress until I went to the EJC in Bradford the same year. That was the year when Jochen Schell made a big impression at the diabolo workshop.  Todd Strong was running it and the big thing people were talking about was 2 diabolos.  Back then you had little wooden see-saws where you put the second diabolo on and kicked it so that it jumped up and started going round, that was how people had been doing 2.  And then people started talking about self-starting, so Jochen stood up and blew everyone away.  People hadn’t seen 2 diabolos done like that before.  These days it seems a bit basic, but it was revolutionary at the time and that was the point when diabolo became interesting to me.  So I bought a second one straight away from the traders stall and went home to practice what I’d seen and started figuring it all out. 

Somewhere between then and 1993, I began working on 3 in some way, but I can’t remember when I first started putting a lot of work in.  At the Birmingham BJC in 1993, I realised it wasn’t just working a little bit, but that I was having good runs with it.  So I went and hid behind big gym mats, as I was scared of people seeing what I was doing.  I couldn’t say when I first threw the third one in though.

Was it an independent progression, when you thought “Two is working now, can I throw a third one in?”

Well, there's something more behind this.  The second time I saw Kris Kremo on TV (this must have been pre-1988) was on a circus show where the concept was “China versus The Rest of the World”.  In the juggling part, Kris Kremo represented the rest of the world and China presented a diabolo (i.e. Chinese yo-yo) troupe.  That was the first time I’d ever seen a diabolo.  They did their Chinese-style 3 diabolo shuffle and that was the only diabolo trick I saw that remotely interested me.  As I thought it was cool, it stuck in my memory.  Eventually, once I'd started doing diabolo myself, I figured that if people were doing 2 regular diabolos (i.e. not 'Chinese yo-yos'), there was no reason not to be doing 3 also.

Apart from performing and your historic shuffle, what else do you think you would like to be remembered for?

To be honest, whilst the shuffle thing is significant to me, what surprised me more was the amount of time it took before other people were doing it too.  I think it must have been nearly 10 years after I’d got my first good runs that I saw others doing it successfully.

Aside from technical things, I think the real pleasure of juggling for me is the fact you can entertain people and make them smile.  If people remember that I did something they liked, be it diabolo, yo-yo or even just something I said, then that's great.  It means I've been given the chance to do something that other people were able to derive pleasure from.  That’s more unexpected and meaningful to me than just learning a trick.  I never dreamt of doing the performing thing, it didn’t occur to me that I could ever do it.  Anyone who knew me earlier in my life would never have believed that, with my poor coordination and sporting ability, I would ever have ended up doing something like this.

I’ve got Aspegers’ Syndrome, so this certainly effects how I look at things.  I think that it’s affected my confidence a lot but has probably given me the ability to concentrate on things that others probably wouldn’t have stuck with.  The people I’ve seen that pick up juggling easily are often those that give it up quite quickly too.  I’ve got a lot out of it from constantly surprising myself, so perhaps that's a part of it.  I think that eventually, you figure out that most tricks are possible if you approach them the right way and have the right facilities and environment to learn them in.  This shouldn’t be very surprising, but it took me a long time to realise that.

Being one of only three people to have attended every British Juggling Convention, how do you feel it has changed over the years?

The very first one was drastically different to any of the others.  It wasn’t a residential festival, it was two days in a sports hall in London. There was no camping and little of the stuff you expect now.  The difference between that and anything else that followed it was quite substantial.  Apart from that, the hobby juggler thing really didn’t seem to exist so much when I started.  The earlier attendees seemed to be involved in performing; not necessarily to any high level but still seemed to be more affiliated with being a performer than many jugglers that I see now.  More recently the Internet has changed a lot of things [which is actually one of my next questions].  I think some things are just about me changing and getting older and having different interests.  It’s always been variable, some of the conventions earlier on were really good and some weren’t so successful.

What makes you come to a BJC every year?

Nothing makes me think “I’ve got to go every year”.  Just, “Do I want to go this year or not?”  Some years I’ve been asked in advance if I could come to do a workshop or show.  Even some of the conventions that weren’t as successful still had, for one reason or another, good reasons to be there, stuff that came out of it you didn’t expect or a chance to see new equipment.  These days, for me, it’s not about seeing new tricks - the Internet has taken over for that.  However, it did used to be very much a “fact-finding” thing - learning the latest techniques and seeing new tricks.  I used to take a notepad around making notes of things I wanted to do.

Every juggler should have a notebook,

I don't do it anymore, but I certainly used to, it helped me remember stuff.  Going to the workshops was important to me.  Also, there were usually people I knew who were going to the conventions and there was never a reason not to go along too. I’ve been lucky with the dates though, which haven’t clashed with other things.

Is 20 years lucky?

To some extent it was.  Illness and things. I’ve not been seriously ill, touch wood.  That could have screwed me up one year.  And I’ve not had a job that I couldn’t get out of.  Any of those are down to luck.

What effect do you think the Internet has had on the juggling world?

It’s taken most of the mystery out of it.  Before, you had to travel and make a big effort in order to see who was doing what.  Now, you’ve got people around the world posting videos and exchanging ideas.  You can see stuff from the Far East, the USA, South America or wherever it is that people are.  Ideas are invented and exchanged within a few days.  You don’t really have to hunt for inspiration anymore, it’s more a case of thinking about what you're going to filter out. 

Would you say it’s better of worse in that respect?  Did you get more out of it back then, or has the wider networks allowed for greater and faster progression?

For me personally, I’ve not played a big part in any recent developments and haven’t properly attempted to keep up with what’s going on in the diabolo world.  I’m not currently getting out of it, for whatever reason, the interest and enjoyment that I was when I first started out.  Whether that’s due to the Internet, other circumstances or just because it's something I’ve done for too many years, I don't know.  It’s just not as interesting to me now.

You say you’ve not been able to get a lot out of it recently but I guess it’s because we’re just about catching up to where you were.  There are still a lot of young people that start out with Donald Grant’s books and your contribution to those that put a name to things.  When you used to look up 3 diabolo shuffle, your name would always be at the top. would have your video there, Barnesy’s website would have your video there.  So I think you’re still very much at the forefront.

I think it’s more a history thing.  The things that are going on at the moment, I don’t really feel a part of.  There are still techniques that I learn because I like them, but I was always more interested in 2D and 3D, so it tends to me more of that.  Almost from the start, I had a 1D routine that I'd put together, but my repertoire of 1D tricks was always poor.  I had enough stuff to make a routine that would work for me (which I still do every now and again, though not for jugglers), but soon after I'd got that sorted out, I didn’t learn much else.  Whereas with 2, I still might learn new things if I’m in the mood.  Since I moved from Renegades to rubber diabolos and changed from using thick nylon string, I’ve learned some more.  Previously, the equipment wouldn’t let me do any string wraps but since the change, I’ve managed to learn vortex, fans etc.

My first experience with multiple diabolos involved Renegades and I thought to do more than one, you had to have a solid Renegade.

At one time, most of the UK people that were practicing diabolo seriously were using Renegades - Donald Grant, Dave Proctor, Andy P and many others.  They were always really stable - they could have almost no spin and they’d still quite happily sit on the string.  They were great for doing 2 without a great deal of effort, but styles have changed and tricks with wraps didn’t work well with them.  Plus they would destroy everything in their path.  For a long time I did very little diabolo practice because I didn’t dare do it indoors and outdoors often wasn’t practical.

What made you move from Renegades to Circus?

I just wasn’t practising or doing anything with Renegades.  I saw that people were successfully doing 3 with rubber diabolos and I felt it time to do something about it.  I was always sketchy with 3 because of the situation with the different string.  The string wouldn’t be right when you first put it on, then there would be a sweet spot and then it wouldn’t work anymore, which was always frustrating and difficult to perform with.  Also, the nylon string seemed to get badly affected by temperature, which didn't help either.  So, I saw that people were then doing a lot better with rubber diabolos and I wanted to practice it too.   Also, I needed to get something I could work with indoors.  I guess this was about 3 - 4 years ago.  I found the transition from Renegades took me a long time.  I found I couldn’t use my old wooden sticks with the rubber diabolos so I switched to the Henrys aluminium sticks, which I’m happy with now.

What effect do you think competitions like Cirque De Demain, WJF, FEDC or IJA has on diabolo?

I think that most of the events that you mentioned probably have had fairly minimal effect.  I might be wrong, but I think most of the recent progression has been due to things like Diabology and the general French influence, which I don’t think was based on any competition.  The WJF thing maybe played a little part, but the diabolo part didn't seem to be publicised very well.  People talked about what they’d seen the first year, but without seeing it myself, I’m not sure how much difference it made.  As diabolo has been promoted via competitions (along with yo-yo) in the Far East, I suspect that a lot of the Far Eastern styles and tricks probably came about as a result, since that was clearly a focus of their scene.  With the BYJOTY (British Young Juggler of the Year), its good to see diabolo represented, but I don’t think its specifically influenced the scene, well, no more so than a Renegade stage or public show.

Who would you say are you juggling heroes?

First one is obvious, Kris Kremo.  That’s what started me off.  The second one is also obvious; Jochen Schell.  He gave me that strong initial interest in diabolo.  However, for diabolo  performance, Jean Manuel Tomas (as featured on the Diabolo Folies videos, with Jochen) made a big impression on me.  He was a great entertainer and I really liked the way he made his tricks matter to his audience.  Thierry Nadalini, also on Diabolo Folies, was inspirational too.  On the occasions I met him, he taught me a lot.

Is there anyone in the current diabolo scene that a close eye should be kept on?

I really like what William Wei-Liang Lin does.  My own stuff tended to be fast and dynamic, so I like it when I see that in others.  I’ve known John Booth (JGherkin) for a couple of years now, he used to live near to me and came to the Southampton juggling club a lot.  I’ve known what he does with tricks and suchlike, but having seen what he did at BYJOTY and the way he performed, that surprised me a lot, it really impressed me.  I’ve seen him do little bits of informal shows but tonight was a big, big change and I was, like, “Whoa”.  I’m really pleased for him.  BYJOTY was the first time I’d seen Pete Tomsett perform and I enjoyed that a lot, too.

And finally, is there anyone you’d like to thank?

In general, anyone that’s encouraged me to go out and perform, because I would never have done it without people pushing me.  In terms of diabolo, I’d like to thank Donald for all he’s done for me.  Although I had much of my routine sorted out before I met him, he did a lot to promote my name and certainly helped boost my confidence, so I can’t thank him enough for that.  In more general terms, I’d also like to thank Rut Harwood, Barney Bay and Arron Sparks, local jugglers that have greatly supported and encouraged me over the years.

Thank you very much Guy, I look forward to seeing more of you in the future.

That's all folks, a bit more lengthy than before, but some great stuff in there that I hope you'll all find interesting.  Next time, it's gonna be Sheffield's Dave Proctor (when I sit down to transcribe it).


Welcome one and all,

After a bit of work and alot of slacking, I've been trying to rustle together some interviews with "legends" of the diabolo world so that you can all gain an in-depth look at the people who have shaped the diabolo world into what it is today for us all.  As a first installment into these interviews, I was able to track down Donald Grant, diabolo master supremo, to tell about his past, his present and his future and how he is the man we know today.  Known widely for his series of incredibly useful diabolo books, Donald invented and named many of the tricks we use today.

More interviews are to follow in coming weeks, when I manage to transcribe them.  Big thanks to Seán_, Sean and others for helping with this and without further ado, I present Donald Grant...

Hi Mr. Grant, thank you for taking the time to give your thoughts, first things first though; why is diabolo your prop of choice?

Well, from a performance perspective, it allows you to have a much better contact with the audience compared to other forms of juggling.  It’s also much easier to change tempo, hit accents in the music and move around the stage.
On the fun/ creative side of things, you’ve got so much to play with: diabolo, sticks, string, body, three dimensions…’s a prop which begs to be experimented with.
Oh yes, and ‘cos my seven balls sucks :-)

Where do your origins with circus skills come from and your history of performing with diabolos?

I had a boring summer job when I was 16, checking tickets on a golf course.  To keep myself amused, I taught myself to juggle golf balls and balance clubs.  I’d never seen another juggler before, but managed to work out a couple of dozen three ball tricks and how to do four.
Somehow I got invited to perform at the Streetbiz International Street Festival in Glasgow in 1989.  I had a fantastic time, saw my first real juggler (Oliver Grozer), met lots of great people and I was hooked.  Street shows and local galas ended up being my summer job when I was at university.
About the same time I got very involved with trampolining, which ended up being my main sport while studying.  My first contact with a circus school was actually as a guest trampoline coach at the Circus Space in London!
Once I graduated, I applied to train at the Ecole Nationale de Cirque in Montreal.  I was out at the New Zealand juggling convention when I heard (via several relayed messages in those pre-internet, pre-mobile phone days) that I’d been accepted and started training that summer.
I got my first diabolo in the summer of 1990.  For a while it was just another prop that I did in my half hour “balls-sticks-boxes-diabolo-clubs-axes-fire” street show.  I’d learned (like most people back then) from the tiny section in The Complete Juggler.  Having exhausted that fairly quickly, I started trying to come up with new stuff.  Big influences were Pearse Halfpenny who showed me lots of new stuff, Guy Heathcote and a forty second clip of Jochen Schell taped off the telly.  Bruce Wilson was just getting into diabolo at the same time so we pushed each other creatively chucking stuff around in his kitchen in Edinburgh.
My first purely diabolo performance, believe it or not, was in the Public Show of the EJC in Leeds in 1993.  I did one night and Fritz Grobe (freshly crowned IJA champ) did the other two.  Twas a scary experience, especially as I’d crammed the whole thing with the hardest tricks I could do.  I can still remember running through it in the gymnastic hall with Ben Richter: five drops, four drops, seven drops, six drops……eventually I just said what the hell, see how it goes on the night.
One drop, lucky dog.
The number I perform nowadays is a development of the one I created in Montreal in 1995.  Much has changed, but the bare bones are still pretty much the same.

You’ve already published a fantastic set of diabolo books several years ago, how are your other two books coming along (Suicidal Tendencies and Grante’s Inferno)?  Any chance of a sneaky insight?

Oooh, the next two books.  Originally finished writing them years ago, but with Circustuff being a small publishing house, they always ended up being pushed down the schedule because of the other books being reprinted.  I revamped them a couple of years ago, but they still never quite came out.  The good news is that yes, they will finally appear this year thanks to Butterfingers (who now print all the others too). They’re both on one diabolo: Suicidal Tendencies is on all the new suicide tricks, Inferno is about all manner of weird string tricks and body moves.
All the extra stuff which has been edited out might end up as a freebie on a website, we’ll wait and see…..

From what I understand, your act is well-established and finely tuned, how have you managed to market your six and a half minutes around the world for so many years?

That’s a tricky one.  I guess it’s a combination of good promo material, act in a professional manner, be friendly, stay positive and occasionally get lucky.  It gets easier the longer you do it, as you get seen by more people, make more contacts and learn from your mistakes.

Do you have a pre-performance ritual that gets you in the “zone”?

It all depends on where I’m working.  I always used to do about ten to fifteen minutes warm-up before going on, but then playing at the Wintergarten there was no space backstage so I ended up just doing a couple of minutes.  After a week I hardly noticed the difference.  I usually just plod through the number once to warm up, do a few non-number tricks to get the cobwebs out of my head and that’s it.
Strange traditions include:
1)  I always do the jump over two diabolos to behind the back three times just to be sure.
2)  I always do exactly sixteen catches of two high to finish, even though I only do eight or nine in the show.
3)  I always do the “flick the stick off the floor” trick a dozen or so times.  Maybe because it doesn’t take up too much room, maybe because if I ever miss it on stage (it has happened!) it can be rather embarrassing to say the least.

I’ve just re-read all that and I sound like a freak.

What was your worst performing experience and what did you learn from it?

Where to begin?  Broken props, broken costumes, fallen off stage, fallen over on stage, wrong music on a live TV show, butter on the props (don’t ask), crisp bread crumbs in the eyes (ditto), attacked by mosquitoes, the list goes on and on…..
After doing the number some 2500 times, you realise that anything can happen when you’re live on stage.  What I’ve learned from it is that you can’t take it too seriously, nobody died and you always get a chance to do it again tomorrow.

Being the “daddy of modern diabolo”, are there any tricks you like to do that you *didn’t* invent yourself?

There’s *so* much great new stuff out there.  Mini-gens, infinity gens, vertax gens are all very cool and fun to do.  Slack string stuff too: totally nerdy and yet I fear that I may be addicted.

Throughout you career, you’ve experienced a lot I imagine, what do you wish to achieve in the future/ what ambitions do you wish to fulfil?

I’ve been very lucky to achieve most of my goals and ambitions.  I’d still like to go to and do a bit of diabolo in China one day, y’know “back to the roots”?  I was invited to perform at the Wuhan Festival back in 1998, but unfortunately it clashed with a cabaret job in Germany and I had to cancel.  One day…..

What do you enjoy which isn’t diabolo related?

Well, my trampolining and snowboarding days are over due to a dodgy knee and cowardice.  Golf, good whisky and cryptic crosswords are a few of my vices these days; oh god it sounds like I’m seventy  years old or something!  One of my worst habits is old video games.  I have an entire room packed to the ceiling with old consoles and stuff, and there’s always about half a dozen wired up to the telly.

How many convention t-shirt/ passes do you own?

Just went and had a look and there’s about thirty five convention passes, plus loads of backstage, festival and tour passes hanging  in a bundle on one of my office bookcases.  I don’t usually buy convention t-shirts but having had a look, I seem to have about eighteen, some from festivals I wasn’t even at (Montreal 1991?!!?)

And finally, is there anyone you would like to thank?

For sure!  Pearse Halfpenny, Jochen Schell and Guy for friendship and inspiration.  Bruce Wilson, Dave P, Barnesy, Robert Biegler, all the old guard.  Plus of course a big thanks to anyone who’s bought the books, shown me something new, and all of you at for continuing to push the envelope.

That's all for now folks, check back in a couple of weeks when our next guest under the spotlight is eccentric entertainer and experienced 3D shuffler, Guy Heathcote.


Gear / Balance of Handsticks
« on: April 02, 2007, 08:43:01 PM »
I was wondering, as a wide range of diaboloing enthusiasts and professionals, I thought I'd get a census if possible.

After making a few of my own handstick designs, there have been good and bad aspects of each.  The most important point I'm concerned about however is where the balance point of a handstick should be.  A lightweight stick is all well and good as is a heavy stick but where the centre of gravity lies is also important as it determines the "swinging" characteristics of the stick especially during stick releases and other such moves.

Some say CoG near the handle end is good as it gives more swing, some say near the tip for better accuracy, and some say in the middle for all-round goodness.  From all your various stick experiences, where is the CoG on your sticks and where would you like it to be for what reason?  I'm just finding my new sticks to be a bit on the feeble side when it comes to mini-genocides...

Thank you people,

8 Policy & Feedback / Ranking of positions
« on: January 22, 2007, 11:51:45 PM »
I was just wondering, the small description that get placed under some members usernames such as "VOTW Contributor", "Donator" or "Administrator" etc., is there a ranking placed on them?  Does being another rank bump the other one off or does whatever occurs latest count?  If you're a VOTW submitter and a donator, which title do you get?

And are there any secret ones...?


Tricks / Basics I could not be bothered with
« on: November 10, 2006, 10:19:06 PM »
I was just wondering, after a session today, what tricks have people never bothered to learn in their progression through diabolo-dom?

Things I could have learnt, but never did:
Wrapped mini-genocides
2D left sun
2 high
Monorail stuff, generally things around the body.

Have other people skipped over some "basic" tricks and not realised it to only come back to it later and find it difficult?  Just a point of interest...


10 Policy & Feedback / "Show unread posts" button
« on: September 27, 2006, 01:34:54 PM »
I've been trying to use this show unread posts button to look at any posts that have come up since I've not looked at it last doesn't seem to work for me.  I leave the sight, I come back later, I click on the link, and it says that there are no new topics, or new posts.

This means I've had to search through each forum like some sort of neandathal looking for what's new and remembering what the date was yesterday.

Do I need to log out and log in again?  Because that didn't work either.  And it says I've been logged on for 1hour and 44minutes, even though I've not.


Performances / Bit of E&A's Sur Le Fil on YouTube
« on: September 19, 2006, 10:18:03 AM »

Noticed this after watching Kapis' S-fan exits.  Someone added it yesterday, apparently they've been on TV somewhere that speaks French.  Can anyone think of a better diabolo show to be seen on TV?  I think not.

And this whole Caucasian afro thing is becoming very popular, I came back to Bath to discover my flatmate has suddenly grown one.

(off to Bristol soon, don't rain yet...)

Videos / Collaboration
« on: June 30, 2006, 12:40:09 AM »
It's not been cross-posted yet, so I'll give it a go...

After the success of the Rec.Juggling Collaboration video, Olivier (devilsticker) with (the French Juggling Forum for those that don't know) have done a similar thing.  Definitely a much more European feel to it, but still great.  Some nice diabolo bits too from some well-known faces like -Fred- and Belgians Gaelle and Tom.

Well worth a look, watch out for a vertax infinite suicide and a whip catch of *2* diabolos out of a 3D shuffle.


Videos / Wes Peden's WJF 06 Promo
« on: June 27, 2006, 01:08:39 PM »
Hey people,

Now some of you may know Wes Peden or know who he is (top technical juggler), but something that I didn't know, that he was also a diaboloist!  Good enough to keep 3 Jumbo Harlequins up in the air!

Didn't know he did diabolo, bastard, he's just too good at everything.


Videos / Diaboloist on Taiwanese TV
« on: April 02, 2006, 08:49:19 PM »
Here's a post from MuTsun Tai on Rec. Juggling

Quote from: MuTsun Tai

This is a clip recorded from the recent TV show. I hope you'll enjoy it.

P.S. Translations of those screamings in the video:
"Oh my god he's terrible!"
"He's no human!"
The last big subtitle:
"Too superior!"

Definitely a performance piece (looks like he's been watching Tony) but some very cool unwrapped infinite suicide genocide bits which are very very fast.  No idea who he is though.


General / Unfortunate neighbours downstairs (diaboloing in your house)
« on: February 13, 2006, 03:51:17 PM »
Mod edit: These messages were split from the MB Extreme thread... hence the lack of a cohesive starting post. SA

I actually remember that (wasn't that long ago, but I'm sad enough that certain "triggers" make me remember things).  It's a wise suggestion though.  I definitely won't try either.  I think the guy downstairs is getting awfully angry.  Not sure how loud a dropped diabolo is.  I know he doesn't like dropped clubs, rings, or balls.  Beanbags are ok.

And yeah, prop up the post count.  I'd like to know how many words I've expelled onto here and rec.juggling in the past 12 months.  Probably amount to a large dissertation...


Gear / How do you carry your diabolos around?
« on: November 29, 2005, 12:53:04 PM »
I've been trying to think of ways to carry around all my juggling equipment in the most functional and most protective way possible and wondered how other people carted theirs around?  I used to have a case that I made to hold every piece of kit I had, but was almost the size of my desk and unliftable when loaded.

I've had a lil look around, and these are the standard holdals,
The Mister Babache Diabolo Bag
The Spintastics Diabolo Sling

I've been trying to think of a way of having something like this but more diabolo related instead of loads of clubs.  All these bags are nice, but what happens when you want to carry more than 2 around?  Which I guess many people do.  Just wondered what suggestions people had, and an Asda carrier bag isn't really sufficient enough unfortunately...


Gear / Query bout an Old MB diabolo
« on: June 20, 2005, 04:09:05 PM »
I went along to an event during the Bath Fringe Festival that promised circus skills type activities (which meant alot of balloon modelling).  The guy pulled out all his kit (which was mostly random stuff) but I took a look at some of his diabolos and he had ones that resembled Henry's Circus in their size and shape with white plastic hubs.  I thought it might have been a Henry's but embossed on the rubber cups said Mister Babache.

They were obviously quite old and the rubber was starting to crack with wear and age which made me think they were quite old.  But I have no idea what they were.  Weren't bad to use either in terms of weight compared to their Harlequins.  Wonder why MB stopped them?


General / Better equipment - Better Diaboloist?
« on: May 28, 2005, 08:22:31 PM »
I've been using Henry's Beaches for 2D all the time (apart from the short time with Harlequins).  I'm soon to get 2 Finesse G2s with wide axles and am very excited about it as I hope my fans and vortices will be smoother.

What I was wondering, if someone started off with the top end equipment, would they advance quicker in the learning process (excluding factors such as environment and personal ability).  Conversely, would someone with inferior equipement (Flare Jumbo's perhaps) not fair so well in their improvement.

Or what if someone had practised with inferior gear and then moved to high end gear, would they be better almost instanteously.  And would someone who'd practised with good toys (Circuses) be able to have the same level of skill when using cheap tat.

All in all, could better equipment help quicker?


Tricks / Is there a record for High Toss? (29.55m)
« on: April 30, 2005, 11:08:25 PM »
After some googling on bogleg and other sources, I wondered whether there was an actually record for the highest throw of a diabolo by an individual.  A guy I know got some arlequinos (or piccolinos, not sure) for christmas, and we've just been chucking them high into the air.  Tried it in our sports hall and it ricocheted off the roof (what other times does an object go that high in a hall?)  And being outdoors now, it just gets thrown higher.

Is there a record for this?  Possibly with people standing on different levels of a hotel or something.


General / How many people can do X*Diabolos?
« on: April 16, 2005, 09:18:35 PM »
Just pondering today about my small existance here in the universe, and wondered;

What are people's estimates of how many people can do 5, 4 3 2 diabolos?

We know that there are 2 people that can do 5d with video evidence, maybe 10 people that can do 4d, 100+ people that can do 3d, who knows how many 2 diaboloers, and a very high number for 1.
By "do" I mean just get it going, so the basic pattern, high or low.  Just wondering how me and my 2d shuffle stand in the grand scheme of things.  And I hope this makes people feel special that there is something they can do better than most.


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