Oddballs Juggling and History FIrst Juggling Store
Established in 1984, Oddballs juggling store owner, Phillip Maxwell-Stewart, better known as, Max Oddball to his audiences, single-handedly brought back a certain passion for juggling in London. His one and only love for juggling have made him quite the success.
Twenty-seven years ago, Oddball’s juggling was the first juggling store to open in Britain in a very long time. Today, Max has juggling stores in London’s Camden Lock, and in Brighton and sells everything you could ever think of for juggling from simple bean bags to fire sticks to Diabolos.
Max started juggling as a way to cope with life. He is dyslexic and because of this fact, he had trouble fitting in. He failed in school and did not read his first book until he was fifteen years old. He used juggling to make him feel better about himself. He would juggle 10-12 hours per day every single day. He has said, “I hid in juggling as it was the first successful thing I had done in my life.”
He put together his own show and has worked in a lot of circuses and has had quite a few TV appearances showing off his craft. BBC-TV even filmed him and has broadcast that little expose’ over 2000 times.
Oddballs are more than just a shop where you go to buy things though. It is a place that you can go and feel welcome and be able to have someone who is as passionate about juggling as you are. Max is that person. Max has been able to “really make contact” with his audiences due to opening and running the stores.
He has put juggling on a more personal level by having the stores. He does love to perform but feels that becoming a celebrity “distances you from people.” Being on the same footing as his customers has always been important to him.
Four years after opening his stores he started the British Juggling Convention in 1988. As you can imagine, the British Juggling Convention attracts jugglers not only from the London area but jugglers from all over the world as well. Everyone wants to come and see if they can learn something new or find out about new products coming out on the market.
Max carries products from at least twenty-five manufacturers, everything from A-Y, as I have not found any product in his line of goods that begins with the letter Z. The multitude of products he offers is much too numerous to mention in this short article but if you are in London you should check out one or both of the stores.
You will undoubtedly come away with some sort of beginner juggling equipment and an instructional book or DVD with Max as the instructor. You will most assuredly be bitten by the juggling bug and may even find that you are good at it. You never know until you try it.
Max Oddball, of Oddballs’ juggling, continues to pass on his passion for juggling to the younger generation and has inspired a couple of young champions in the recent past. Andrew Pole was voted The British Young Juggler of the Year in 2007, and Freddy Sheed won the Junior Gold Prize at the World Juggling Federation competition.
Both of these young men visit the shops frequently and are also passing on their knowledge to an even younger crowd.
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