CV Cycling Recumbents Unicycling Juggling Other Links
After realising that I wasn't sure just how many juggling and unicycling conventions I'd been too, I decided to write a list. There might be brief reviews where I can remember enough about them, too.
If you remember seeing me at any conventions that aren't listed, please let me know
(NB - BJC = British Juggling Convention, BUC = British Unicycling Convention, EJC = European Juggling Convention, BMW = British Muni Weekend)
Crawley (14-15 August) - My first convention, very hot and sweaty. I slept in the car, as I hadn't realised camping was available and hadn't planned to stay overnight. When I was hot and sweaty mid-afternoon and showers were unavailable, I enlisted the help of the guys who were hosing down the car park. I am still in regular contact with some of the friends I made at this convention. I was inspired by Guy Heathcote's devilstick routine in the public show.
Bath Bedlam Fayre (3-5 June) - Organised by Fay Callow of the Boggle juggling shop, I didn't camp at this one because I lived across the road from the convention site. This is where I first heard the Lost T-Shirts of Atlantis, sadly no longer with us, but partly resurrected as Spin2.
Wessex (1-3 July) - I got my first unicycle on the Friday, spent about 24 hours practising over the following 2 days (thanks to PJ and Di for their help) and was riding fairly solidly by the Monday.
Crawley 2 (13-14 August) - Even better than the first one, because I had my tent with me this time.
Bristol 6 (17-25 September) - In my final year at university, I had a project deadline to meet the week after this convention. So I made a point of finishing it before I went. I handed the project report in on Wednesday morning and arrived for the second half of this 9 day convention. I finished the convention feeling more mellow than I'd ever felt before.
BJC 8, Norwich (20-23 April) - My first national convention. It was cold and windy. I swore to get a better tent and sleeping bag before camping in April again. I tried and failed to ride a geared up giraffe - the seat was just slightly too high and couldn't' be lowered.
BUC 3, Cardiff (20-21 May) - Made a good break from revision just before the finals. My abiding memory is Sammy Hellwig refusing to let me take part in his workshop because he didn't think my flip-flops were appropriate footwear for unicycling.
Bedlam 2, Bath (27-28 May) - I only got to a few bits of this one, because of my finals. Still, at least it was in my university city.
Wessex 2 (1-2 July) - 3 days after I graduated, I got very drunk on Ash Vine ale at this convention. The faffing (and Claire Jackson's heckling) leading up to my unicycle firestaff routine gave me a nickname that persists to this day. The barman was so impressed when I performed the routine after 7 pints that I got another pint on the house.
Crawley 3 (12-13 August) - Pearse Halfpenny was probably in the show at this one. Now there's a good, entertaining act.
Missaltoad, Bath (7-8 December) - Just before Christmas, Claire Jackson hired a gym and a bunch of jugglers spent the weekend there. No camping, everyone slept in the gym. The most memorable part of the convention was the chocolate fondue.
BJC 9, Edinburgh (11-14 April) - It was cold. I got dehydrated because my water was too cold to drink (I bought a kettle soon afterwards). I missed the parade because I couldn't be bothered to get out of bed on that cold morning. I was very glad of my new tent and sleeping bag and of the curry van on site where I bought breakfast. The guy who gave me a lift to this convention had his car stolen during the weekend, and was particularly upset because he'd been looking forward to seeing it go around the clock on the way home.
Wessex 3 (6-7 July) - Oh god, everyone remembered my renegade act (and nickname) from last year. Weather was interesting this year, I'm sure I saw at least 4 nested rainbows over the marquee on Friday.
Unicon 8, Guildford (5-12 August)
- The world unicycling
convention came to the UK for the first time, I couldn't possibly
miss it. Lots of fun unicycles to try, and lots of merkins I knew
from the internet but had never met before. No camping though, and I
couldn't afford accommodation, I spent the week sleeping in my Mum's
car. It stank by the end.
Crawley 4 (10-11 August) - This clashed with the last 2 days of Unicon, but I didn't want to miss either. So I commuted between the two.
Bristol 8 (14-22 September) - I missed it last year due to injury. It was good to be back.
BJC 10, Nottingham (10-13 April) - A great convention. The convention site and campsite were separated by a deer park. It would have been a nightmare if it had rained (and probably would have been cancelled if foot & mouth had happened 4 years earlier). But the weather was good, the convention was fun, and comet Hale-Bopp was clear in the sky at night.
Wessex 4 (5-6 July) - The same as ever, good weather, good beer, great convention. And everyone still remembered that nickname.
BUC 4, Brockworth (2-3 August) - BUC didn't happen last year because of Unicon. This year, I was best man at Dom's wedding the same weekend. I got to the convention just in time for the business meeting at the end (does this count)? Ali handed me a convention t-shirt along with a pair of scissors to cut the sleeves off.
Crawley 5 (8-10 August) - This convention has been described as 'getting drunk in a car park'. It actually rained this year during the games, but never mind, still a good convention.
Bristol 9 (13-21 September) - The usual Bristol fun and games.
Tunbridge Wells Juggling Fun Day (27 September) - Not a typical convention, this one-day event was organised by the Tunbridge Wells jugglers with council and lottery funding to spread the joy of juggling. Beginners workshops were run all day (I ran a few unicycling workshops) and discounts were given to children from local schools. This event also celebrated 5 years of the Tunbridge Wells Juggling Club.
BJC 11, Bristol (9-12 April) - Very wet, the plastic duck pass was most appropriate. Still a good convention, particularly given that a new venue had to be found at short notice when the original one pulled out.
Wessex 5 (4-5 July) - Sadly the last Wessex convention, I cycled the 140 miles from Crowborough towing a very heavy trailer (including a unicycle, as I'd been booked to run a workshop). I left at 21:30 on Thursday and arrived at about 18:00 on Friday. This was my last convention of the year. There was no Crawley because it would have clashed with EJC in Edinburgh. BUC was also in Edinburgh at the same time, and I couldn't afford to go having just been made redundant. For the same reason I couldn't afford to go to the Bristol convention this year.
BJC 12, Durham (8-11 April) - Catherine's first convention, very well organised but marred by the noise. After driving for 6 hours to get there, and facing a 6 hour drive home again, some sleep would have been nice.
BMW, Blandford Forum (15-16 May) - A great weekend's muni around the Inside Park campsite.
Crawley 6 (6-8 August) - With no more Wessex, this is undoubtedly the best convention on the UK calendar. There were some concerns that it had died a death after it didn't happen last year. Good to be back.
BUC 6, Mostyn (3-5 September) - The Clocktower, a circus school built with lottery funding, was an ideal venue. Camping on the ploughed field of stubble was surprisingly comfortable.
Bristol 11 (18-26 September) - The usual muddy frolics at the scout camp.
BMW 2, Blandford Forum (12-14 May) - Another great weekend's muni around the Inside Park, with a good photo opportunity in the bluebell wood.
Crawley 7 (11-13 August) - I didn't win the unicycle race this year! To give everyone else a chance, I raced my 20" wheel against their 24" wheels. After being taken off and finishing the first lap near the back, I changed unicycles and finished the 2 lap race in second place.
BUC 7, Mostyn (2-3 September) - It was so good last year, we went back for more. There was a different field for camping this year.
Bristol 12 (16-24 September) - A very relaxing convention, as ever.
BOB 2, Bristol (18 November) - I missed it last year, the Bristol university convention. A good one day event.
BJC 14, Cardiff (19-22 April) - The best organised convention I've ever been to, and certainly the best show. I thought the first act was possibly the best I'd ever seen - and there wasn't a bad act throughout! Then the Russian kids came on at the end and wowed everyone. Noise on the campsite was nearly as bad as the last two years, though at least it didn't go on quite as late. But this year Catherine and I remembered to take our earplugs. We were still woken up a couple of times (we heard a lot of other people complaining about the Jungle Book too), but at least we didn't have a long drive this time. Toilets and showers were particularly memorable. The unisex showers were a great idea while it lasted.
Eurocycle, Plymouth (21-22 July) - Organised by a bunch of sixth formers as part of their Business Studies course, their school made an excellent convention venue. A two day convention wasn't really enough to fit everything in, but a good time was had by all. We'd hoped to do some muni on Dartmoor, but sadly it was only reopened a couple of weeks earlier after the Foot & Mouth crisis and there was no time to recce a course.
Crawley 8 (10-12 August) - Another great convention, though sadly the show didn't live up to Crawley's usual high standards. The lesson to be learnt by UK convention organisers must be not to ask the General Manager of Circus Space to organise your show. 2 acts from Circus Space or Circomedia has to be the maximum for any show - more than that and the show just gets far too arty. Although each act was excellent in its own right, with 5 Circus Space acts in a row they got a bit samey and the show really dragged. Apart from Sam I Am (who was great as compére), there was no dialogue throughout. Crawley has always had at least one comedy act in the past, which this year was sorely missed. The Russians (Vova and Olga) wowed everyone throughout the weekend and were really nice kids to boot.
Mostyn Mayhem (31 August - 2 September) - The BUC was at the Clocktower, Mostyn the last 2 years. We didn't have a BUC this year because Eurocycle was in the UK, but the Clocktower wanted us back so they did Mostyn Mayhem. It was more a circus skills event this time than a unicycling event, but there was still some good (and very tiring) muni, and of course the usual tat buying competition.
Bristol 13 (15-23 September) - I did the full 9 days for the first time. And I didn't want to leave at the end. I spent lots of time playing games, and juggled for about 20 minutes in the middle of the week. The event was marred by the theft of Barnesy's palmtop, though I thought scrambling the police helicopter on Saturday night was a bit OTT.
BJC 15, Whitstable (29 March - 1 April) - This was Jenny's first convention, and as she was only 7 weeks old we only went for a day. We discovered that Jenny's nappy contents looked green in the gym light - Tarim suggested changing one in the UV room. Overall we had a great time, but the impression I was left with was that, though the weather was great, toilets and showers were crap, catering wasn't properly organised and we were glad we weren't there for the weekend.
BUC 9, Kidderminster (19-21 April) - The timetable looked packed, but this turned out to be the most relaxing unicycle convention I'd ever been to. I enjoyed it probably more than any other convention for years (though of course the weather and my new Gazz tyre, which I took off road for the first time, played their part). I completed the IUF obstacle course on my ultimate wheel. The show was fantastic. At times it looked as though it could become quite school playish, as there were so many child acts. But most of them were superb. The acts weren't polished, but the skill level was high.
Crawley 9 (9-11 August) - Despite the thunderstorm, a great convention as always. Charlie Holland did a fine job organising the show this year. It was a well chosen mix of different juggling disciplines and comedy, with a single good acro-balance act. None of the acts had a dull moment. One of the best convention shows I've seen, the only downside was the compére, who seems to have irritated everyone by failing to introduce most of the acts.
BMW 4, Forest of Dean (14-15 September) - Agree a date and a campsite, then take about 30 unicyclists and go out riding. All the organisation that needed was planning the rides and identifying the local pubs. Great stuff.
Bristol 14 (14-22 September) - Highlight of the convention was Mark demonstrating the dangers of running with balloons. Lowlight was eating a meal at the Moving Finger - for some reason I eat a meal there every year, and I always regret it. Good news, Catherine's agreed to do the whole 9 days next year, so we'll be camping as a family.
Tunbridge Wells (6 October) - A lovely one day convention with some great games, and Jenny begging for a ride on my unicycle.
BOB 3, Bristol (7 December) - A great one day convention, and a revelation to see Richard maintain that inimitable Richard High for a whole day - I'm used to seeing him asleep at conventions! The show was fantastic, the compére was hilarious, and we won't forget stopping on the way home to jump start a minibus and LP's car.
BJC 16, Brighton (10-13 April) - Someone said something about Jenny doing her first convention. I later worked out it was her sixth, at only 14 months old. Showers were good, weather was good, atmosphere was relaxed, it seemed like one of the best BJC's I've been to. I can't really tell just how good it was though, since we didn't camp, we didn't use the caterers and we didn't see the show.
Crawley 10 (15-17 August) - For the first few Crawley conventions, the sun shone constantly and it never rained. For the tenth the organisers decided to return to those traditions, and though there was a little rain in the small hours of Saturday morning the weather was wonderful. The show was good, but not great. The two dancing doll acts were surprisingly enjoyable for acts of that type, but were far too similar to both appear in the same show. And the show had no finale, it had been hoped that Vova and Olga would appear but sadly they had trouble with their visas. Still, I have to admit to a sigh of relief when I read that the Gandinis had dropped out. The most memorable part of the convention was probably the trolley in the tree.
Bristol 15 (13-21 September) - This was my 8th Bristol, but only the second time I've managed all 9 days and, remarkably, the first time that there was absolutely no rain. Great weather, I had Catherine and Jenny with me (so lots of duddles), and I even juggled a little bit. Thankfully Jenny loves camping, and at 19 months old thoroughly enjoyed her 8th convention.
BOB 4, Bristol (6 December) - We didn't do much. Everything seemed to go well. The colour change mugs were inspired. The show was fantastic, apart from the poet (poetry just doesn't count as entertainment IMHO, although the Atilla the Stockbroker gig we went to a few years ago was an exception). I think Fiery Rob's glowclub routine was the first glow or UV routine that I've seen in 10 years of convention-going where nobody took a flash photo. And I never tire of Stickleback Plasticus, although I must have seen them at least 7 or 8 times.
Crawley 11 (13-15 August) - Charlie's first convention. Jenny enjoyed herself. Auntie Loz and Uncle Carl came for the show and stayed for Saturday night, along with cousins Akasha and Xander. Grandma also came for the show. And the show was a good one, brilliantly compéred by Rod Laver, whose ping pong ball act I never tire of. Markus Furtner's devilstick act was stunning, Tom Future's diabolo act was let down only by a costume that really didn't suit the act. Even the acro and aerial stuff was good, with the exception of the technically brilliant but really rather dull rope act at the end. Really not a good enough act to have as the finale, but it had to be last because they rained all over the stage.
Bristol 16 (16-26 September) - We did all 9 days again (well, I did, Catherine took the kids home on Sunday and Thursday nights because Jenny had playgroup the following mornings), and we were lucky with the weather again. It rained a bit, but not too much. Gazebo city was dismantled after a couple of days, after Richard's gazebo more or less blew down. But the wind died down later in the week, such that people who arrived and put up a gazebo with no pegs on the second weekend were surprised when it blew away. It was quite frightening to meet the kids I used to play with at the early conventions and find that they're all grown up.
Crawley 12 (12-14 August) - The barriers at the entrance had been lowered since last year, resulting in a damaged unicycle seat and broken straps on both roof carriers. I think the fire show should have included a ceremonial burning of the jugglers who set off the burglar alarm in the small hours of Saturday morning. The show didn't have a single really duff act, which is unusual for any convention show. Even the rope act was enjoyable to watch. With only one girl up a rope it would have been just another seen-one-seen-'em-all rope routine, but the synchronised two girl routine worked very well (what man doesn't enjoy a synchronised two girl routine?). Jenny won the pirate fancy dress competition (cute kid, no-one else stood a chance).
Bristol 17 (17-25 September) - Similar arrangement to last year, I did all 9 days (except for a break in the middle to look at a possible school for Jenny), Catherine and the kids came and went. Probably the best weather of any Bristol convention I've been to, topped off by the most beautiful double rainbow as we were packing up on Sunday.
BJC 19, Bodmin (20-23 April) - This was the first BJC that we did in full with the kids, and the first convention that we took Jenny's unicycle to. The excellent show was also the first convention show that they both sat all the way through. We didn't camp, we stayed in a self-catering lodge a few miles away with Richard. Camping facilities looked excellent, though, with the camping area and the renegade/food/beer tents separated by a large mound of earth topped with tennis courts. I think I may have enjoyed this more than any BJC so far. I even attended my first workshop for many years.
Crawley 13 (11-13 August) - Another great Crawley convention. Good show, shame about the compéres who didn't actually introduce any of the acts. You'd think Charlie would have learnt his lesson about that after the 2002 Crawley show.
Bristol 18 (16-24 September) - I think this was the best Bristol yet. We were very lucky with the weather, it only really rained 3 times and there was very little wind. The toilets were kept clean, and a threatening letter from the site owners resulted in very little late night noise. And I unicycled to Wales.
BOB 5 (25 November) - After a 2 year break, BOB was back. It seemed a bit smaller than in past years, with only one room where in past years we've used two rooms and the entire space at the top of the stairs between the rooms. Still, not a bad day out, and welcome back BOB.
BJC 20 (11-15 April) - Good weather, good workshops, fantastic show, great convention. Shame about the loud music in the sports hall.
Crawley 14 (10-12 August) - Lots of fun, as always.
Bristol 19 (14-23 September) - Just another Bristol, relaxing and enjoyable as ever.
BOB 6 (19 January) - Colour changing ducks and a good show, fun for all the family.
Crawley 15 (15-17 August) - The best weather we've had at Crawley for a few years (it didn't rain during the games, remarkably for this summer, though it poured overnight), and my strategy of wearing red Lycra for the fancy dress every year finally paid off (my red herring costume won the spy theme fancy dress competition). A good time was had by all, as usual.
Bristol 20 (13-21 September) - This was my 13th Bristol, and after the wettest summer on record I think we had the best weather that we've had for any of them. Certainly better than any other Bristol in the last 10 years. There was hardly a breath of wind all week and, apart from some drizzle while I was putting the tent up and a downpour one night while I was in bed, it didn't rain! Even the night-time noise from the Big Top at the second weekend wasn't as bad as usual. A really good Bristol.
BOB 7 (24 January) - A good start to the convention year.
Bath Upchuck 1 (28 February) - The first convention at my alma mater, and the first to be organised by the club that I used to run. Possibly the best one-dayer that I've ever been to. Let's hope there's another one next year.
BUC 16 (24-26 April) - Wet and windy, we could have done without the tent pole breakage and the tent collapsing on top of us in the small hours of Saturday morning, but mostly good fun.
Crawley 16 (14-16 August) - A super hero theme, so of course I covered the red Lycra with an overall and entered the fancy dress competition as Uniycle Repair Man. Catherine made some progress with unicycling.
Bristol 21 (18-27 September) - There were fears that it might not happen this year, after John Carter decided to take a break. But it happened, and was as good as ever, with unusually good weather again.
BOB 8 (30 January) - As usual we stayed on the fringes - sitting outside the overcrowded hall - and enjoyed socialising with friends as they went past.
Bath Upchuck 2 (27 February) - Possibly even better than last year. Catherine made significant progress at unicycling, riding around the hall several times, turning comfortably in both directions, while holding my hand (she still won't let go). At the show I was amazed at the number of people in the audience who raised their hands when Haggis and Charlie asked who hadn't seen their act before. Still, there were a lot of teenagers in the audience and Haggis and Charlie don't perform at conventions anywhere near as often as they used to.
Crawley 17 (6-8 August) - The kids are really starting to get a lot out of this convention now. Still not juggling, but Jenny made some good progress with unicycling. Some great stuff in the show, especially from Hoop La La.
Bristol 22 (18-26 September) - Good weather again (apart from a couple of heavy rainstorms towards the end of the week), some fantastic views of Jupiter and lots of fun for the kids at the weekends.
Bath Upchuck 3 (26 February) - Jenny finally cracked unicycling a few weeks ago and wowed everyone by riding around the hall all day. Charlie can ride indefinitely holding my hand and spent much of the day doing that, though he also let go a few times and managed about 20' in the morning, before the hall got too crowded. The show was a bit of a curate's egg, some good acts but also some Circus Space acts (I tend to find Circus Space acts far too arty and lacking in humour for my taste). The act by The Gandinettes was like a microcosm of the whole show - I enjoyed some of it, while some of it was far too arty. Magic Sam 'The Peoples Magician' was one of the best compères I've ever seen.
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