In 2005, my friend Howie called me up. “Do you want a job?” The last time he’d said something similar, we’d ended up running a yo-yo company together for a while. This time I thought he was offering me a juggling gig. In a way, he was – he’d had the idea for a juggling video archive, where all the great juggling videos (and the average ones too) could be stored on one website. He knew I was into juggling video, and could write, so wanted me to run the social media side of things (not that we called it that back then) and help gather videos for the site. Some development got under way slowly, and jugglingarchive.com was launched with a holding page, and the promise of more to come. Neither Howie nor I were actually web developers, but Howie slowly turned himself into one, and after getting a little backing, buying some software and throwing spanners at it for a few months, we finally launched as juggling.tv in April 2007.
While there had been other aggregator sites, this was the first juggling-dedicated video hosting and playback site on the net. We got a good response, and people signed up, and started adding their videos. Meanwhile I’d been mining all the sources I could find for juggling videos, and persuading people to join and upload. It was going well. Of course, things move on the web, and we had bugs to fix and features to add, and in 2009, we had a major upgrade (mainly thanks to having the actual programming skills of David to call on for a good while) with widescreen, increased file sizes, HD, and much more. Looking back, alas, that may have been our peak.
When it was just Howie and I again, we didn’t really have the skills for major web development, and survived for quite a while with minor bug fixes and fire-fighting. Howie was moving on to bigger things in the real world, and eventually decided to leave entirely. I was left holding the fort, with occasional help with server-side tweaks. But the web was moving on too fast. We still had Flash for goodness sake. I had a really long list of improvements to make the site so much nicer, but lacked the skills to actually implement them. Sadly I just couldn’t persuade our backers to stump up for a programmer’s time, and nor could I afford it myself. So the day came when I said, guys, it’s do or die. And the word came back… die.
Well, not absolutely. As I type, I’m a few short hours from flicking the switches which will turn JTV into a static archive, so at least 10000+ juggling videos will stay around to _be seen_ (Howie always loved those underscores). It’s a sad day for me, but ah well, we tried, we did something, and for a long while, it was good. Thanks to everyone who helped along the way, and all the uploaders too.
Maybe one day the site will rise again. I hope so, but it will be without me if so, as my time there is now done too. I’ll leave you with one of my favourite videos from the site, the elegant and skillful Wang Hong.
Antipodist:Parasol & Rugs (Wang Hong) <-- Original JTV page.