How i got into soap bubbles - at Glastonbury Festival!
Part 1 - bubble epiphany
I first attended Glastonbury Festival in 1990 at the tender age of 18.. what a life changing week that was! That week i found my inner bubble.
I was sitting on the grass in the Green Fields, on one of those lovely warm Glastonbury Sundays, my world and my mind felt renewed.
I marvelled at sheer size of the festival whilst gazing across the valley,... a city of wonder right in front of me. As far as my eyes could see, a trillion tents.. and a trillion people! Happy and free, and outdoors in the sun. Music and food, smells and sensations spread like spring water through my soul.
The Bubble Inc festival stall in Glastonbury's Lower Circus Field c.2001
** Side note - Incredibly, this was also the day i began playing percussion which became a 10 year career for me as a session musician - through my twenties i was known as Samsam Bongoman, but that's another story for another day.. **
Samsam Bongoman on stage with Kamel Nitrate
Could such a thing really exist?
I didn't think 'Oh it's a bubble' but looked at it without giving it a name, definition, or expectation. I looked at it with the eyes of my child. Life could get no more amazing than this, surely?
My first bubble
Yet even then, this single sphere of beauty had one more trick up its sleeve that would entirely push me over the edge. Without so much as a word, and more suddenly than a blink of the eye, the bubble completely and totally,.. disappeared. Like real magic!
I kid you not! It was as though this bubble had been beamed into space by some passing advanced life form that had noticed it's supple beauty and transported it onto their spaceship for further study. "How did this happen?" i thought to myself. "Was it ever really there in the first place?"
The memory of it embedded itself so firmly in my psyche that soap bubbles became a 30 year passion and career, sustaining my life forever since.
Back in Brighton
In the weeks to follow back in my home town, i couldn't get the experience out of my mind.. it was like an epiphany. A bubble epiphany. Obsessed, I started buying every different type of bubble mix i could find . Each one was different. Most hardly made any bubbles at all, but there was one that I loved.. great long streams of colourful bubbles erupting from it's wand, with nothing more than a simple puff of my breath! Exhaling life into it more slowly, i discovered i could produce a bubble the size of a grapefruit.
Some people get into coffee. I got into bubbles.
How i got the name 'Samsam Bubbleman'That September, i went to university in Bath to study World Religions and further developed my passion for these soapy spheres. On windy days I would put an automatic bubble toy machine on my window ledge and let the bubbles waft over campus. People started calling me "Samsam Bubbleman"
It was there in 1991 during a group trip to the local juggling shop, i came across the Klutz book all about bubbles - it was the first of many books about bubbles that i would come to own - i still have it on my shelf as part of my 'Bubbliography.' It taught me tricks like how to put a bubble in a bubble and some of the basic science and history of bubbles. AND it taught me that if i want to get BIG bubbles, i would have to make my own solution. I practised and experimented and over many years, it became our Supapop bubble concentrate which would help me to break an astonishing 12 Guinness World Records including for the World's biggest bubble.
World's biggest bubble - 2009
Bubble Inc - present
Now, some 30 years on, i am the proud owner of Bubble Inc - a company specialising in all things bubble related! I invented a collection of bubble toys that we sell through our website www.BubbleInc.co.uk and i've trained a team of Bubbleologists who perform at everything from kids parties to corporate events through the UK as well as to millions of people in over 30 countries around the globe.
Lady Gaga's 'Bubble Dress' - 2013
355 people making bubbles for a segment of the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony
Dumbo - The Bubble Scene (2019)
"How come you didn't?" is my reply.
Thank you Glastonbury festival for hosting my bubble epiphany - it wouldn't have happened without you! Hope to grace your sweet fields again in 2021