Oddballs Odd Blog

  • New Website and early Christmas Deals!

    You may have noticed a few things have changed about Oddballs, as in everything. Someone mentioned it's 2017, so we decided to get with the times and update our website (and also update our deals!).

    Some of the things we're excited about:

    It's designed to work on all screen sizes and devices

    We've improved the layout, helping you reach the products you want

    We've improved and streamlined the checkout process (especially for Paypal users). We have plans to improve this even more.

    There's much more, and there'll be many more improvements coming in the new year.

    As with every Christmas, we have a great selection of deals for you. From ball deals, such as the 3 x Juggle Dream 'Shineys' Premium Thuds + Instant Juggler - Balls DVD, club deals like the 3x Juggle Dream Trainer Club + Oddballs Instant Club DVD + JD Club Bag or yoyo deals like the Henry Lizard + Learn how to Yoyo DVD + 10x YoYo String, we have something for everyone.

    If you have any feedback or questions about the new website, please comment below, or contact us here.

     

  • Zippos Is Coming To Town!

    Oddballs Logo
     

    Zippos Circus is coming to Hove Lawns during August
    with a special discount ticket offer
    exclusively for friends of Oddballs:

    Front View seats for £7.50. Any day, any show except first day preview. Usual price £20 Adult, £16 Child

    Simply show this email on paper or smartphone at
    the circus ticket office when purchasing.

    Tickets subject to availability - please come 30 minutes early.
    Dates and times at zippos.co.uk

    Zippos Circus, Hove Lawns, Kingsway BN3 2WW

    Friday August 25th until Sunday September 3rd


     

    For its 2017 tour, family favourite, Zippos Circus, presents Jigit! celebrating the show's sensational new equestrian and fearless acrobatic marvels.

    Zippos welcomes the thundering hooves of acrobatic 'trick' Cossack riding from Kazakhstan courtesy of the Khadikov Jigit Riders and, back by popular demand, are Zippos' 21st Century 'Jigits', the Brazilian motorbike daredevils in the Globe of Death, the legendary Lucius Team.

    Plus comic hilarity, amazing feats on the swinging trapeze, real knife throwing, and more, all presented by the world's greatest ringmaster, Norman Barrett, MBE, and his mischievous Budgerigar pals.

    Globe

    Juma

    Hula

    Tumbuktu


    Oddballs is England's oldest, dedicated Juggling Company. We are proud to support Zippos in their work in furthering the greater juggling and circus community. If you're a juggler, a circus, a school or a business, we've got the right toys to get you excited about juggling.

    View our online store here, or visit our Brighton store at

    24 Kensington Gardens, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 4AL

  • Spinning Tops - Where to Start?

    The last 12 months in the skill toy world have seen an explosion in popularity in Spinning Tops, particularly in Europe. As with all great skill toys, the level of competition and sense of community has encouraged players to really push their props in to new, exciting, unexpected areas. At Oddballs we've stocked for many years the entry-level models from Duncan including the RipCord which completely removes the learning process of throwing a top - but just recently we were excited to get our hands on the Trompos Space range. These awesome Spinning Tops are manufactured in the EU by a mixed team of Pro Spinners and Designers to ensure each one is ready for complex tricks and sequences. Much like the 'Fixed' or 'Bearing' decisions that exist in Diabolos, the Trompos Space models come loaded with either 'Fixed' or 'Roller' tips.

    Fixed Tips lend themselves to more traditional tricks that involve having the Top shoot along the string when an appropriate string wrap is performed. These are sometimes referred to as 'String Traveller' Tricks. Learning this technique is only possible with a Fixed Tip Top - It could be a 'Necklace' Trick you want to learn or even the 'Cable Car'. For the beginner Spinner we recommend the Saturno Xtreme. It's a robust, aerodynamic shape that has great balance and will allow the thrower to develop their trick range. It includes everything you need to get started and the string and launcher can be easily stored inside the Top when not in use.

    Roller Tip Models not only allow the Top to spin for significantly longer, allowing even longer, crazier tricks sequences - they also make lasso and palm catching tricks much easier. In fact, we've seen the Trompos Pros perform the yo-yo trick 'Gyro Flop' with a Roller Tip Spinning Top. Using this type of Top does mean that 'String Traveller' tricks are no longer possible however, so it is a trade-off and you may want to think carefully about what style of tricks you want to learn. An Oddballs favourite in the Roller Tip department is the Jupiter - it's over-sized but has incredible balance and an internal weight mechanism which allows players to alter the centre of gravity - useful for certain tricks or playing styles!

    The learning curve with Spinning Tops is straight forward - however, Players do need to learn how to launch their tops first! Initially, this can be a little tricky - but there loads of resources on YouTube and Juggling.tv that explain the correct string wrapping technique and throw - A little perseverance and you'll have the world of Spinning Top Tricks at your finger tips!

  • Camvention

    What a day!

    Once oddballs had set up and the convention started, the large sports hall came alive with so much varied talent from tightrope walking to 7 club juggling. Gazing across the room to see so many props flying through the air and patterns was mesmerising. As always the reception we had was lovely and everyone was super friendly, collectively sharing the love of the world of circus. We had the opportunity to help teach people new tricks and be dazzled by others abilities throughout the day.

    Wow, this show was definitely one of the best I've seen. The compère Maarten willy Wils from Belgium was brilliant, his humour was on point and had many engaging jokes and never a dull moment while he was on stage. We were treated to a beautifully elegant and athletic hoop performance by Elina from Finland which incorporated very controlled handstands and gymnastic moves with technical hooping tricks to amaze.
    Ieuan evens performed his stunning ring act displaying some flowing balancing tricks and manipulations followed by a neat 7 ring flash to finish.
    We had Lili and Kenny perform an amazing acro balance and gymnastic style routine which was very well choreographed and impressed with every leap, tumble and bound.
    Ben and Fred brought a creative guitar and club juggling duet which not only demonstrated some highly skilled patterns by Frederike but also brought comedy with interaction from Ben while playing his guitar.

    The Camvention organisers not only made this convention happen but found time to work on a mesmerising ball and club passing act which was very creative and thoroughly enjoyable to watch with the whole stage alive with some very talented jugglers.
    To end this fabulous show of delightfulness we had an incredible diabolo routine which worked body popping and diabolo together to create an intense robotic creation that added isolation to make our minds play tricks. Guilluame karpowicz had us in awe and we found his skill and creations highly entertaining.

    Overall this convention had us buzzing and wanting to share and explore everything that we saw. What a great bunch of incredible individuals ever pushing their skill levels in the props we all love.

    Zak

  • Juggling clubs, meetings and jams

    Juggling Clubs

    All over the world, tucked away in village halls, bustled into squash courts and, weather permitting, on greens and parks, you might just find something very special. In venues with good ceiling height for the jugglers, good width for the hoopers and sometimes an outdoor safe space for the fire spinners you may be lucky enough to stumble across a weekly juggling club. Jugglers, spinners, unicyclists, hoopers and so on and so on all come together in towns, cities and villages to learn, practice, socialise and have an whole abundance of fun with like minded people.

     

    So, who are juggling clubs for? Who can go?

     

    EVERYONE!!!! From complete beginner to professional. From juggler to cigar box specialist. People who make a living from spinning poi and people to fancy trying diabolo for the first time.

     

    Complete beginners can go?

     

    Yes, most definitely. If you fancy learning a circus skill, going to your local circus club is probably the best way to learn. There is no replacement for learning from an other person.

     

    So how does it work?

     

    It’s quite simple really. You turn up. There is normally some equipment you can use. See someone doing something you find impressive? Ask them to teach you! In the end, they got to where their high standard because someone taught them.

     

    But I can learn so much from youtube at home. Why should I go out of my way when I have the whole of the internet to teach me?

     

    Good question. I guess the only truthful way to answer is to try to explain what juggling clubs have meant to me.

     

     

     

    Many moons ago, (year 2002 or so), I tiptoed nervously into my first juggling club as a then young tween. From that very instant I was greeted with love and encouragement. Large plastic clubs were thrust into my small hands which swiftly clattered to the ground. Diabolos made their first tentative spins. “Throw throw-catch catch” was said again, and again, and again………….

     

    Before I knew it, I belonged. We were going out for chips, doing small performances around town, even making the pilgrimage to the famous London Oddballs! We were a band of miss matched men and women of all ages and ability that shared a simple joy. We believed that circus was a very good thing.

     

    Once, a social was thrown for this university juggling club. (my very first time seeing what a convention could be like). The late great Ben Beever came down to perform, in the most “juggler” of ways, a list like demonstration of very difficult tricks. He then took the time to teach me to pass.

     

    With this merry few, I traveled all over The UK and Europe. We taught and performed. There was always room for one more.

     

    In every juggling club, convention and get together of jugglers that I’ve been to over the years, I’ve found this same beating heart. This urgency to pass our skills on. This free and loving sence of “one of us”. I’ve walked into a squash court or on a village green and found people like me. Restless souls like I. Brothers that say “I KNOW I could get just a few more throws….”, sisters that say “I’m getting this trick really clean now! Now how can I make it harder…..”.

     

    Friends that will drop everything to teach you.

     

    Nothing can ever replace the magic of circus people coming together.

     

    Now go find your local club!

    http://www.jugglingedge.com/clublistings.php

     

    See you there,
    Jimi

  • So. I had a Yoyo back in the 1990’s. What’s changed?

    So. I had a Yoyo back in the 1990’s. What’s changed? Can I still “walk the dog”?

     

    Oh, the 90’s. A time of pokemon cards, pogs, cereal chosen primarily based on the free toy, Art Attack, and yoyos. Yes, the yoyo craze. Playgrounds full of kids violently swinging “around the world”, getting all digits involved in an unforgiving tangle in a “rock the baby” and ever escalating arguments on who can throw the longest sleeper. An adolescence brought to you by Duncan, Yomega and Henry's.

     

    So, What’s changed?

     

    Everything.

     

    The leap in technology in creating yoyo has been vast. In the 90’s we were playing with a pedal go cart, in the mid 2000’s we were playing with f1 cars, today we are playing with space rockets, so to speak. World record sleepers went from a few mins to nearly half an hour.

     

    And fancy yoyos means fancy tricks. The new common style among pros and hobbyist alike is “unresponsive” yoyoing. Which means that you have to do a special trick to make it return to your hand, opening up fleets of new tricks and styles.

     

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8pmieoAi4I

    But that all still the same principle of finger-attached-to-string-attached to-yoyo. Nothing else has changed, right?

     

    Like I said, everything changed.

     

    Over the last 2 decades, new bewildering and mystifying styles of play have come about.

     

    Think 1 “unresponsive” is just on challenging enough for you? Try 2 unresponsive yoyos, one in each hand. Also known as 3A.

     

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRLXwPeA9W4

     

    Think having the yoyo attached to your finger is soooooooooo 90’s? 5A is for you! Instead of the string attached to your finger, it is attached to a counterweight, allowing for it to easily be released and swung/thrown.

     

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rg17FtXw8Q0

     

    Do you feel that having the yoyo attached to the end of the string is just too restrictive? 4A is just what you need! In a similar style to diabolo, the yoyo is not attached to the string at all, allowing it to be thrown and caught again on the sting.

     

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gy8BDmCUmX8

     

    Now that your mind is well and truly blown, I can hear you ask, “how do I get back into it?”

     

    Well, first you’re gonna need a yoyo.

    If you’re fingers still remember how to throw a sleeper, I suggest the Infinity Blaze.

    http://www.oddballs.co.uk/infinity-blaze-yoyo-p-3951.html

     

    Out of the box, you’ll be able to throw a good long sleeper and do all those awesome tricks you remember. Flags, stars, cat's cradle, rock the baby etc. But here’s the jazz: this one comes with a 2nd wider bearing. So you can modify this yoyo to become Unresponsive and learn all these swanky new fangled modern tricks like slacks, whips and rejections.

     

    You’ll need to learn to “bind” the yoyo (the mentioned special trick.) Good news! Youtube was invented since the 90’s. Youtube will be your friend and mentor as you progress.

     

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0wnN4blxII

     

    “But, Can I still still walk the dog!!??” I hear you ask.

     

    Yes. And do it with a titanium yoyo, it will spark.

     

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GLfNBkkmTc

    Enjoy.

    Jimi

  • The Uglies Family Grows

    New Additions to the Uglies family

    There has been the pattering of little feet (...well balls hitting the floor) this week as we received our first delivery of Mini Uglies!

    They’re significantly smaller than the original Uglies, making them even better for higher numbers or for smaller hands. And are still made of the lovely pseudo suede and have a very similar feel (albeit a lot lighter), they seem harder when new, however wear in nicely after some juggling.

    Another new entry to our juggling ball range is the fantastic Juggle Dream Ultimate ball, made from 6 panels of durable PU leatherette, they feel like an ugly but, (dare I say it?) better.

    I’m looking forward to breaking in my new sets of these!

    Mat

  • BJC Blog by Jimi Davson

    It’s that time of year again. The days get magically longer, BBQ’s are wheeled out wishfully in the sun (to be put back half an hour later during the thunderstorm) and The British Juggling Convention comes to town. Which town? Perth, far into Scotland, was the city of choice this year. And what an apt city. The perfect goldilocks size of Not too small and not too big. Perth was just right for our grand celebration of all thing circus. After half a day's drive and another half a day's setup of our stall, we were ready to begin trading at the BJC 2016.
     
    Having set up the night before to begin trade in the morning, this gave me an opportunity to take in the atmosphere of this year's 24 hour Juggling Hall. And what a great atmosphere it was. If you were to look in any direction long enough you were bound to see something utterly mind blowing. Luke Burrage training 5 club backcrosses, A triple stack of spinning balls by a nameless gent, some headache inducing club passing patterns from Jon, Brook and Becky, 7 balls being run as naturally as breathing by multiple people, Poi passing by some of the men and women at the vanguard of modern technical poi... I could go on. And I would only scratch the surface of how spectacular the the hall is. For every giant of the circus world training something truly unthinkable to us mere mortals, there was an absolute beginner working hard on their first 3 throws of a three ball cascade or 3 beat weave. And getting hints and tips from the pros along the way. This is what the BJC is all about.
     
    A pleasant way to end training was to sit down with some old or new friends and play a few rounds of a board game provided by the Lazy Juggler. Walk a few feet from the board game zone and you were head long into the Balloon jam area, chock-filled with Qualatex balloons of varying length and vibrant colour organised neatly for eager balloon artist to manipulate. (I passed through during the “how to make a balloon jet-pack workshop”, an essential life skill.) The volunteer run bar area nestled to the edge of the main hall offered a beer or lemonade and most certainly the best circus related view one could ever ask for.
     
    We open to a buzz and a flurry on day one of trading. The new Juggle Dream Superior clear acrylic ball sold like hot cakes of our stall. As did our Flairco Bottles, due to the fantastic beginner workshops in bar flair going on. (There was a sudden rush on the Play Contact Poi after the staggering contact poi routine in the gala show!). Amid the hustle and bustle of busy trade, Mr Max Oddball himself was always happy to demonstrate why the Oddballs bounce ball has its high held reputation by bouncing 7 from cold. Nice.
    BJC2016 Hall
    24 hour juggling hall in full swing? Check. Buzzing trade area? Check. Anything missing? The Shows! BJC 2016 went head on from day 1 with a stellar open stage featuring a mystifying puppet poi act and some pretty wild unicycling. With that clean and crisp open stage done, on to the mischievous ruff and tumble of the Renegade stage! As per tradition, from midnight onward, silly tricks were performed along side great feats of circus for big cheers. Whips were cracked, maltesers were rolled along tape measures into mouths, “More danger” was shouted. Good times all round. Fight Night proved to be some edge of your seat excitement, With Luke just edging Brooke to the champion spot during an absolutely electric bout. And the crown jewel of the British Juggling Convention, The Gala Show, was the perfect mix of seasoned vits and new blood as per usual. (Not forgetting the pre-show balloon silliness!) Thomas Bounce, fresh from delivering high level bounce routines on Britain's got Talent, opened the show with a bounce routine of high energy. Donald Grant, the absolute powerhouse of old school diabolo that he is, reminded us why he is still top of his game. Bill topping Matthew Tiffany performed feats of juggling and balance that are stuff of myth and legend whist giving giving this sellout theatre belly laughs and respectful nods to the late Ben Beaver and Francis Brunn.
     
    After the parade through town was over, the central town juggling games winners announced, the traders packed up and the hall closed, a few of us were gathered saying our “see ya next year”’s. As it became time to go home, Max quoted an old friend. “It’s not time to go home, we are home. It’s time to leave home”.
     
    Thank you to all those who volunteered to make this a very special BJC.
     
    See you all next year!
     
    Jimi

     

  • Bath Upchuck 2016

    A massive thanks to the the organisers (Gravity Vomit), for making a fantastic convention once again!

    Thanks to all who came by the stall to say hello! Lovely to see old and new faces!

    Felix casually juggling at the stall

    Posted by Oddballs Juggling on Thursday, 25 February 2016

    (Felix casually juggling)

    We had a lot of fun juggling with everyone, it was great to see the games (the skill level is ridiculous and seems to grow every year!)

    Posted by Oddballs Juggling on Thursday, 25 February 2016

    The show was incredible, it was great to see such a display of skill from so many different props, contact, hoops, rings, balls with ballet, clubs and diabolo! Our personal favorite was the wonderful mix of contact and cigar boxes from Ed Cliffe.

    For some pics from Upchuck click Here

    Next up,the British Juggling Convention!

    See you there!

  • Diabolo Sticks

    First things first! Get the right string length, even the best sticks in the world are going to difficult to use if the string is way too long or short. Put one stick on the floor, stand on it and bring the other stick parallel up to shoulder and tie off the string there (it’s also not an exact measurement, anywhere between chest and nose is fine)

    Right, back diabolo sticks. It’s a difficult choice for every aspiring diaboloist! Do I keep it old school with wooden sticks? Go heavy with Aluminium or light weight with Carbon fiber?

    Basic Wooden Sticks

    Everybody has their own preference. In my experience, the sticks are the least important part of the diaboloists kit, first the diabolo, then the string, then the sticks! That being said, having a nice set of sticks is a lovely thing.

    Almost all budding diaboloists will start with a set of basic wooden sticks, there is nothing wrong with them and some people will keep them from beginner to advanced, I played with basic wooden sticks for a couple of years, then had a fancier set of Henrys wooden sticks for another two.


    There are several reasons for people to choose different diabolo sticks (other than wanting a nice upgrade)-

    1. Strength - To an extent, Carbon fiber, Aluminium and other Diabolo sticks are stronger than wooden.
    2. Comfort - A nice foam or silicone handle is very comfortable to hold and catch for prolonged diabolo sessions.
    3. Size - Most other sticks are much thinner than wooden making grinds a lot easier (they also make a great noise!)
    4. Extra Tricks - More commonly used with Carbon fiber sticks (where the string goes completely through the stick and out the other end), though that’s pretty advanced

    Juggle Dream Coloured Ali handsticks


    The most common set to move to next (or start with for the lucky ones) are the Aluminium handsticks, these are by far the most popular set we sell! They are possibly the most durable sticks (they’ll bend but not break) otherwise the most popular are the Supergrind carbon fiber. These are great sticks under £10


    With time, and as you get to meet other Diaboloists you’ll get to try new and different types of sticks, everyone has their own preferences. I personally prefer Carbon Fiber sticks, my current favorite is the Play Deos, which are wider than most (about the same as wooden) making them a little heavier with a silicone handle which is lovely and grippy!

    You can find our full range of Diabolo handsticks here , enough to satisfy any diaboloists needs!

    Hope that helps, any questions please ask!

    Mat

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