Qatar, The Magical Festival Village
Just two days after performing at Sport Relief, Sam Goodburn, who i’m sure you know, came to stay with me in London after having flown back from 5 weeks performing in Asia. He was just to stay for a night or two as he had commitments at home, and I had multiple university deadlines. But no good story starts with two young people being responsible, does it?
After Sam’s first night at my place, he woke up to a call from a stressed-out Romanian Magician, who had added him on Facebook the previous evening. He was searching for performers for a month of parades and shows, starting TOMORROW.
We said maybe, noncommittally, assuming that arrangements would fall through, as so often happens with last minute booking.
This time, however, that was not the case, and just a few hours later we were on the next available flight to Qatar. We had so little time to prepare that I ended up hopping on the tube to the nearest shopping centre to buy new clothes and underwear, as I wouldn’t have had time to wash my clothes…
What event were we performing at? We didn’t know.
Why hadn’t the organisers found talent sooner? We didn’t know.
What would our mothers think to such reckless decision making? We didn’t know.
Was this strange magician really some sort of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang-esque child catcher? We just didn’t know.
After arriving at Hamad international airport, relaxed from the plane’s free beer, we were met by Cezar, the Magician. (Disclaimer: Cezar is not in fact a child catcher. He’s a cool person and a great performer!) We were taken straight to the hotel, but didn’t have time to rest, as the first day of performances was due to start in just a couple of hours!
We met our fellow performers; an international group from Romania, Italy, Germany, the USA, and UK. From then on, the format was less spontaneous, but still great fun. We did a parade 2-3 times a day, as well as 1 or 2 shows. The event itself was a new venue that had just been launched, and targeted local families. This was a contrast to my last trip to Qatar where I had been performing at the very westernized Qatar Open Tennis Tournament. The attendees had certainly never seen unicycles before, let alone a parade full of unicyclists, stilt walkers, jugglers and dancers!
We were performing 6 days per week, which was intense, but managed to have some great experiences on our days off! The highlight for me was riding quad bikes in the Qatari desert, before relaxing on a beach overlooking the Persian Gulf, just a few miles from the Saudi border.
I had to fly back after 2 weeks as I had an essay deadline and a French oral exam. (Thankfully i did well in both, despite the trip getting in the way!) Sam stayed for the rest of the month and I was replaced by Esther, Sam’s performance partner who specialises in Cyr Wheel!
New Impact Unicycle!
After just over 2 weeks of riding all day, every day, my unicycle was looking and feeling a bit worse for wear. Usually, I end up replacing individual parts as I break them, so never get the Boy-who-got-a-nintendo-64-on-Christmas-day levels of excitement.
This time though, as so much of my unicycle was dying, I phoned unicycle.com and they helped hook me up with a brand new Impact Gravity Unicycle! Thanks guys!
At first, I customised it with my Carbon Fibre seat and Kris Holm Cranks, but have since changed the cranks for brand new Impact Groovys which feel AMAZING.
Officially ‘Officially Amazing’, again!
Last Summer, Mike Taylor and myself were invited back to CBBC’s Officially Amazing to attempt to break another world record on TV! This time, were were battling head to head to beat the record for then 100m unicycle hurdles!
Lutz Eicholz, a well known KH Sponsored rider from Germany held the record at 1:46.44, so Mike and I were trying to beat that time, as well as going head to head to be THE fastest. Click on Simon Below to see what happened.
It was a great day of filming, and as you can see it was so close! Some of our new projects involve myself and Mike working as a duo a lot, so we hope you enjoyed the formula!
The Westminster Mile
At the end of May, Flatland BMXer Keelan Phillips called me in for another show as he wasn’t able to, having injured himself beforehand. I spent the day riding flatland and giving riding workshops with two flatland BMXers at the Westminster Mile Vitality run! As it was a sports event, everyone was very keen to watch, and even more excited to have a go!
That’s all for now! Stay tuned for Part 4 where Mike Taylor and myself have a very special announcement!