The juggling (and magic, and rubik’s-cube-solving, amongst many other) community lost Luke Wilson to cancer yesterday at the too-young age of 35.
Many other people will talk more eloquently about his various skills and his love for those skills (a man who rips a keychain rubik’s cube from someone else’s belt in order to solve it has a clear passion for it). They will talk about his personal innovation and willingness to pass on his skills and advice through his teaching.
What I will remember Luke for though, in addition to his dazzling skills and intricately crafted routines (which were always a delight to watch), is just him being him. I can’t have met him more than a dozen times in total, but each time he was funny, intelligent, polite, quiet, and seemingly genuinely interested in talking to me. Now I’m nobody special in the juggling community. I’m a hobbyist pure and simple (and am on the path of juggling less and less at conventions these days). Possibly recognised by regulars on the scene because I’ve been around for a fair few years, but I don’t perform, I’m not an expert at anything, and I’m pretty quiet when not in a group of close friends. But Luke always chatted to me like an old friend (in person and online). He never gave off a self-important vibe that you can get with some performers, and I never felt that I was being humoured by him as the partner of a performer.
As a performer (from what relative little I saw, as with most professional jugglers the majority of his work was performed to non-jugglers) he was always professional, whether juggling in a show, organising it, or acting as master of ceremonies. As a human being he was always kind and considerate. He also had damned fine taste in skinny t-shirts (the Jack Sparrow one was a particular favourite), even if he did have tiny feet that made locating Skywalker trainers tricky.
He will be missed, for many reasons, all of them good, and by many more people than he probably would have expected.