I am currently in Seattle, USA, doing shows at the Moisture Festival:

It is thusly named because of the rain… They didn’t lie to me.

In my big collection of VHS tapes back home are held many performers who appeared on the Paul Daniels Magic Show in the 80s and 90s. Two of the most inspirational performers to me from that era, and from those tapes, are Johnny Fox (sword-swallower) and Frank Olivier (juggler).

I doubt I would be doing this job if it weren’t for them. Really.

Last week, I held Johnny Fox’s hand in the curtain call, and last night a slightly drunk Frank Olivier jumped on a pull up bar and wrapped his legs around me.

Give me a moment, I am tearing up a little…

OK, I’m back…

Just before the show with Johnny, I was pacing around as usual, with my clubs in my hands. He asked me if he could check them out. Somehow, I managed to say “no”. Of course, he understood, and watching his prep, he clearly understands rituals and habits, but still…

I hate it when people ask to touch my clubs.

Although not uniquely custom built to my body and needs, ordering a 95mm, standard length, hard bodied, non-wrapped, extra light club in the colour of my choice (probably white) from Renegade gives me a good amount of personal connection to the club. I know the people who build them, and I have visited the small workshop where they are born.

I always do my final backstage warm-up with the clubs that I will use on stage. They need to get focused and ready too. It is their responsibility to make my juggling look good. Their weight keeps me slow and calm, and their solidity gives me one certain thing to keep hold of during my time on stage. Different stages have different heights, different lights, different floors. Even different audiences. But one thing is always the same: the clubs that come on stage with me.

I was working in the Krystallpalast VarietĂ© in Leipzig, Germany, on the night of December 31st, 2003. Just after midnight, a fire broke out on stage. My partner at the time, Ilka Licht, was one of the first to see the flames, and, as audience and artists started to run from the burning theatre, she ran instead in the opposite direction, backstage, to grab our club bag. A little later the two of us and our clubs stood safely in the cold watching the smoking building. It never occurred to us that she perhaps shouldn’t have taken that risk…!/cubecheat/status/55025807067844608