Getting my act together

It was towards the end of 1994 after I turned 15 when I first met Mike Bonfield, who was an agent & professional clown. When he first came to the club Kevin told me who he was & what he did. I picked up my diabolo, went to the centre of the hall & showed off for a bit knowing full well I was being watched. He called me over & chatted to me for a bit about performing. I was invited to help out at his next show, just doing bits back stage & a little diaboloing at the front of the stage during the start & the finale.

I received a phone call from Mike a couple of months later. He asked me to get a diabolo routine together to perform at the TWJC Christmas Show & he'd try & come along to have a look at it. He suggested using a track by Perez Prez Prado (the one used in the Guiness ads at the time) as a soundtrack. I made up a tape with the song running back to back & listened to it whilst I practised in my bedroom. I had no idea what to do right up until the day of the show. I got home from school sat down on my bed & wrote out all the tricks I wanted to do. I then visualised what each trick looked like & put them in an order that I thought was visually appealing. All I'd do is run through the list of tricks, add in some throws & round the worlds in between each one & finish with a climatic whip catch finish. I practised my whip catch for fifteen minutes before leaving for Tunbridge Wells, all the way up I was reading & memorizing my list of tricks.

We drew numbers for the order of performance & I went on first. Everything went brilliantly, I managed to go through the whole routine with only a single mistake when it came to starting two diabolos. After the show everyone came up & said it was really good, Phil even asked how long I practised to get the routine so in time with the music, I had no idea that it was.

With very little knowledge of what I had done I had stumbled across a very popular act. I performed it at small theatres around the South East for nearly three years barely changing a thing. There were market forces that helped, it was at a time when the diabolo was becoming popular among school kids again. Everyone knew the catchy tune I performed to from the TV ads, people like familiar things. I was also young, people like to see young kids doing something good (incidently I never grew older than fifteen for all the three years that I worked with the show).

Other than that I was lucky to find some music that really complemented my style & I was also quite a good diaboloist. :-)