Page 4                                             Winter 1989 - 90




By Barry Rosenberg (with embellishments from a friend)

Allo! Ca va?


Yah? Okay then, I make a story for you now.


English? Yah, I speak her like a "chimp," but after a few days at the European Juggler's Convention even a Boston boy begins to talk like this!                                                                .


So what was it like? Crowded, very, very crowded. More than 1 ,800 "chuckelers" from 'bout 19 countries showed up at the Dousberg Sports Center outside of Maastricht for the 12th annual European convention. There at the door to greet them are happy organizers, amazed as people just keep pouring in. All smiles for chief guy Lee Hayes and his helpers Bouke van Tongeren, David Marchant, Rien Hilhorst, Herman Peeren, Pieter Post and Vera Dalm.                 


Registration? Just sign your name and address here and give a few guilders. We give you a slick program and a funny little badge-puzzle that you can drive yourself crazy with. We'll see how coordinated you jugglers really are!


Sleep? Who sleeps at a juggling convention?! OK, at night you can pitch a tent a little ways up the hill. Maastricht is known as "the balcony of Europe" because it's squeezed into a tiny peninsula between Belgium and Germany. The campers woke up to a good view of both countries from their "balcony" bedroom.


During the day, most communed inside two connected gymnasium buildings. With so many people there, the inside of the juggling hall smelled like... like the inside of a juggling hall! (Do I have a gift for simile, or what?)


You want to talk crowded? So many people were smoking in the bar at the gym that it was like trying to walk through the Phillip Morris incinerator! It was a nice place for smoking (until the "no smoking inside" signs went up) and for watching videos (running constantly, thanks to Karl-Heinz Ziethen and others) and for drinking a beer with your friends before you juggled some more.


The registration fee was cheap, but there were many more ways to get rid of your spare guilders, or pounds, or francs, or deutschmarks or even dollars! The vendors took any money, and even credit cards! You want to know how much juggling has grown in Europe? Just look at how many vendors were at Maastricht. You had to be a mighty skinny person to squeeze through the crowds at their tables! Still got some change? Sign up for a subscription to Kaskade magazine (Our fifth anniversary! Yea!) or Oz Juggle, the new Australian juggling publication.


You can't expect organization at juggling conventions, but fun is mandatory. Some people get some workshops together and hold them if anyone shows up. Renegades give new meaning to Club Renegade by floating a stage in the world's largest outdoor swimming pool and the crowd counts how many performers end up wet! Many, many! One night we go to town for the big fire show in a small church square and get the official welcome from local politicians. Long-winded ones get heckled. No respect. Don't deserve it! They leave, drums beat, jugglers do fire and we have more fun.


One day we all go to town for the big parade. Traffic stops, ordinary people look at us like we're not ordinary, and we all end up about an hour later in the big Vrijthof square playing games. Lee Hayes keeps on the loudspeaker telling everyone to move back so games people can have room, but the gravity pulling them together is too great. Nobody's too strict about boundaries or rules anyway! Yum, Chocolate clubs for winners! Whee, Biggest Toss Up in the World! Long train of unicyclists weaving through, fire spitters, impromptu shows springing up everywhere. Then people go across the street to Het Generaalshuis for some real culture -- big impressive exhibition of Ziethen's posters and memorabilia. Whew! Those guys back then, they really knew how to juggle!

Right:  Obou Bambulk (Elie & Manu)


Bottom Right: Robin D. Public & Kevin Kivuli


Bottom Left:  Marchel Scholten.


Photos by Bill Glduz


Obou Bambulk (Elie & Manu)
Marchel Scholten. Robin D. Public & Kevin Kivuli


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