Shizuoka Busking Festival, Japan 1995

It’s amazing what you find when you start looking through old boxes in your attic. This is a video that we had completely forgotten existed. The label on the old VHS tape had faded so we had no idea what we were going to find…

Well, here we are in 1995 – JoJo, myself and Mike Rolling – at an international busking festival in Shizuoka in Japan, which was an ‘all-expenses paid’ four-day event. There was no fee, but we were still a very new company, so we were delighted to be invited…

There was also however, the lure of a cash prize awarded to the best show … 10,000 US dollars if I remember correctly.

We devised a 20-minute performance, based on our existing Lottery show, suitable for an audience in-the-round, with the minimum of equipment that would fit into a travel trunk and go as luggage on a normal passenger flight … lucky then, that our 8ft unicycle was built in three sections and that Mike’s drums fitted inside each other.

It was a brilliant experience, though we were really nervous performing for the first time to a huge audience of a totally different culture. But we were enthusiastic, loud, lively and silly … and the bemused spectators were happy to join in. Though I am not quite so sure about the man we handcuffed!

And no, we didn’t win any prizes, but looking back at this video, I think we put on a decent show… and I am still in awe of Mike’s drumming – he just doesn’t miss a beat as we place his drums in position and then strap a guitar around his neck – brilliant!

Who did win the prize? Well, it was another act from the UK. Pete and Paul from ‘Skate Naked’ – two hilarious, half-naked acrobats from Bristol who did handstands with lit sparklers in their bums. No-one else stood a chance!