I received an email sent out to the mailing list for a juggling club in North London. It read:
‘I am performing in West London till 7pm. The drive from North London should be ½ an hour, so I might arrive on time. But the timings are tight, I could be late!’
Eric is the key holder for the juggling hall. I texted Eric to find out where he was performing. It turned out he was doing street shows for the switch on of the Christmas lights in a local high street, twenty minutes’ walk from my house! I had never seen Eric’s street shows, so I thought I would wander down there. I decided to bring three clubs with me, thinking we might get the chance to do some passing.
The street party was thronging with people. It was easy to spot Eric though, he was head and shoulders above the crowd, standing at 9 foot 2 atop his stilts. I said hello to him, but then let him get on with his work.
For the final two hours of the event, Eric performed his street shows. He set them up by asking people to hold onto a giant piece of rope to create a performance space. He then started the show with a devil-stick routine, in which the devil-stick is a piece of metal tubing. Every time the hand-sticks hit the devil-stick it let out a glorious ringing sound. With different devil-stick tricks, Eric created different rhythms of bell sounds to draw in the crowd. Eric continued by doing some ball juggling, along with some ‘street patter’. Then Eric introduced me!
We did some club passing with tricks. Eric then called for some volunteers. He had four young children stand between us. Two of them had hats. I suggested that the other two needed some safety headgear for this trick, so Eric and I gave them our hats. We then passed to each other, so that clubs were flashing in front of their faces and behind their backs. Eric then said we could make the trick ‘more dangerous’ by passing faster. So we changed the passing pattern we were doing. This was my first ever street show! We did the performance twice more before the evening’s end.