I travelled up to BJC a little later than intended as I actually checked the website beforehand and saw that the site was only supposed to be open at 16:00. By virtue of spending 10 minutes attempting to retrieve the end of the sat-nav charger from the cigarette lighter (no joy), a nice leisurely stop at Donnington Park services (where I forgot to pick up cutlery for my pasta and ended up eating it with a knife), and the sat nav taking me to a golf club (I passed the Dome but was curious as to where it felt like going), I got there about 15:45.
Parked up and had a wander and general bumping into people session, then unloaded the car (it took about 4 trips) and set up base camp. There had been dire warnings of snow, rain, and freezing temperatures so by the time the bedding was all piled up it looked like there was a full size mattress in the tent (and jolly warm it was too – no need for thermal undies).
All of my kit (bar my hat, which for some reason ended up staying in the tent all convention) was transferred into the main hall and promptly abandoned by some comfy seats (pulled out from the stadium seating) with a good view of the underused (whilst I was there) volleyclub net, and I went to buy wellies from Asda (having left mine behind and decided not to turn around after 10 minutes). People were said hello to, games were played, food was eaten, dances were, and so ended the first day (having missed the TeamKD spot in the big top).
Day Two (Thursday) was a big workshop day for me, though I spent all of Ian’s 3-count workshop sitting down as I had done it before and there wasn’t really space. I did get to whistle a lot, though, so that was good. I then spent a couple of hours on registration and managed to send one of the Sharpes back to his hotel room for his pass (well, I didn’t know who he was, and he didn’t play the star card). I then had to practise a bit for the main workshop I was giving, in The Roundabout. It was a hike over to the school and we arrived early for more of a practise only to discover unicycle hockey in process so we just had to wing it. It was still early in the convention so a lot of people hadn’t made it over to the school venue and didn’t budget time accordingly. We started a couple of minutes late with about 15 people, then 10 minutes later another 10 turned up, then another 10, so we got to do the intro 3 times. It seemed to go well, with most people getting the idea, but it’s not something you can learn in an hour, just bits to work on later.
I’d moved my second workshop forward to half five so that I could go dancing in the evening (it had been put as a clash with no-one telling/asking me), and pegged it back to take all of my knitting stuff up to the bar and commandeered a table and some comfy sofas. The original idea was to have a Stitch ‘n’ Bitch style session with people knitting squares for a blanket to be given to charity, but in the end it was teaching how to cast on and do some initial knitting (which I worked out how to do eventually). I then couldn’t be arsed to go dancing and had some food (and laughing at/with Rick) instead, followed by general chilling and Scrambled V-ing. I did make it to Renegade and got a good spot in front of the heater (I even got it moved to a more selfishly enjoyable angle), but didn’t end up staying that long/late. I think Fight Night was Thursday night, though it might have been Wednesday. Whichever it was I watched and enjoyed it.
Friday morning dawned with the porch of the tent having collapsed inwards during the night, so it had to be manhandled back up. I was going to attend some workshops, but went ice-skating instead and thanks to James even got moving backwards (thanks James) even if the skates were blunter than butter knives. Another knitting workshop/Stitch ‘n’ Bitch followed (pushed forwards because BYJOTY was starting at 18:00) with an hour and a half on casting on, knitting, purling, and casting off. With jaffa cakes. There then began the queueing for BYJOTY with the Peats (highly entertaining), and sneaking of a good seat (it really is who you know).
The BYJOTY show was good, and other reviews of each act are out there. Ady was a good high-energy opener, but I’m not a fan of kids jumping up and down. Freddy had the skills but lacked a bit in the presentation for me. Luke was funny and dealt very well with the heckles (very poor form, audience) and table traumas, though the Malibu bottle made me laugh and the act was slow/repetitive in some places (still got my vote). Also of note was diabolo John who was in my final 3 but a bit too droppy. The best trick competition was a bit dull and went on too long, I’d prefer it if each competitor got 3 turns on stage max and that was it.
Tom was due to make good on his Bungay bet at the renegade on Friday, but after Rossy and Ben Cornish had come and gone and there was still no sign of poi in a skirt, I had to call it a day as it was going to be an early start and long day on Saturday.
Saturday and the tent hadn’t caved in during the night. It would collapse three times during the day, however, but everything got shoved into the middle and nothing got solved. General running around setting up for the British Kendama Championships, including actual running in attempts to find Tom, which is hard to do in wellies. The kid’s renegade had been moved to be in the big top directly before the BKC, but luckily/unluckily finished early and allowed most of the set-up to happen before the arrival of the Japanese judge (and family). The competition went well, I pressed record on various cameras/changed tapes and made mostly appropriately noises and roughly appropriate times, and the right person won.
Sadly the timing of the BKC clashed with the start of the parade (shame), so I missed the opportunity to get soggy and instead had a late lunch and natter before allowing to be volunteered as a ticket checker for the show. Jugglers are an odd bunch. The front of the queue had been there a good hour before doors were scheduled to open, but then people were also wandering up as we were closing the doors (one guy even wanted to go out for a smoke as we were closing them).
The show was the best one I had seen in a long time. Highlights were Senmaru (just being excellent, and funny), Tiff (making siteswap less dull), Donald, The Sharpes. It was good to see Max’s act so polished, though the outfit elicited lots of childish giggling from Duncan and me. I liked the rope act and it was a shame that Erik’s act didn’t go well and he cut a lot of stuff because it just wasn’t working. I liked the extra bits at the end but it was a shame that the organisers weren’t brought up then for public thanks (but hey, their show, their rules). I then got to help pack up the venue, which went really smoothly, but they’d annoyingly locked the seats so there was only cold hard floor to sit on when the hall was reopened. More scrambling of Vs, some sitting around, popped in to have a quick look at renegade then quickly left, lost an hour and went to bed.
Sunday I woke up with a sore throat way too early and couldn’t get back to sleep, so got up and got most things packed up relatively early and I stumbled into a body percussion workshop/jam which was rewarding. Also meant for lazy hazy goodbyes before the drive home, which was navigated safely (and without the aid of electronic devices), with a stop for M&S goodness at Cherwell before both I and Ross fell asleep. Almost made it home without having to put lights on, which is a change that will take some getting used to, unloaded the car into the house, uploaded photos, had bath, watched Torchwood, crashed out.
Good convention. Photos at http://www.fakoriginal.com/fak’s_fotos/BJC_2008/index.html