The balls are in Jones' court

16:00, Feb 01 2013
Basketball Jones
QUIRKY TALENT: Basketball Jones shows off his skills in Wachner Place, Invercargill yesterday.

A sun-soaked crowd watched as Basketball Jones juggled, dribbled and joked his way around Invercargill's Wachner Pl yesterday morning.

The alter ego of Wellington busker Sean Dwen, Basketball Jones is one of the quirky talents on show this week during the Southland Buskers Festival.

The "half Maori, half awesome" performer was in the city centre presenting his juggling and comedy show, which includes a stint on a 2 metre-high unicycle.

Children from Newfield Kindergarten were ready to lend a hand - and offer a few stage presence tips - when they felt Basketball Jones needed them, while a few of the older spectators watching seemed to appreciate the juggler's athletic figure.

Dwen has been on stage for more than a decade, but said becoming a father almost two years ago had changed his perspective on the "free and loose street performer" lifestyle.

"My favourite joke is what's the difference between a juggler and a park bench? ... A park bench can support a family of four.

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"You have to keep travelling to make a living. I just try to work hard and do my best and trust that the money part will work."

So far, the career choice had paid out, and Dwen hoped to continue juggling and performing as long as he could.

"When I retire, I'll spin plates - that's kind of an old jugglers' joke, because [spinning plates is] not very energetic."

Despite mounting the large unicycle and juggling with knives, the 36-year-old had never been seriously injured, but said niggles from time to time were part of the job.

One of his goals was to officially beat the world record for the longest amount of time spent juggling five basketballs, which stood at 41 seconds.

"I've beaten the records unofficially, but it's just a matter of going through the process."

The Southland Buskers Festival continues in Invercargill until tomorrow, with performances in Wachner Pl from 11am today and in Queens Park from 11.30am.

The Southland Times