Ahead of his appearance at SummerFest Abu Dhabi, Samsam Bubbleman talks to Afshan Ahmed about his world records for the largest free-floating bubble, and most people in a bubble – it encased 50 children
“Bubbles have the ability to transcend culture and age, as well as stuff that gets in the way of people being happy,” says the UK-based Samsam Bubbleman, who dropped his last name (Heath) when he decided to become a professional soap-bubble blower in the 1980s.
“I cannot stress how much it amazes me – the power of a bubble. It is a simple soap bubble, which people do not give much thought to. But it can transform them. You can never get bored of bubbles.”
The appeal, he explains, lies in helping people relive their childhoof and shed their inhibitions.
“Nothing has the ability to take you back to the time when you were carefree and young. This is what bubbles can do.”
According to the “bubbleologist”, people share a lot in common with the bubble. “Ninety-eight per cent of the bubble is water. Think about all the water in the world; we are made of water.”
Samsam’s fascination with bubbles began with a single bubble he saw as a boy. “I was sitting in a field and saw a bubble floating down the valley,” he says. “It was the size of a football. And, as I watched it, I had an epiphany. It wasn’t like I thought I’d make a career out of it at the time, but I was mesmerised by its beauty.”
He turned his interest in learning the science behind bubbles and collecting toys, equipment and solutions into a business in 2000, when he opened a retail store – Bubble Inc – in London’s Porto-bello Market. After mastering soap-and-water techniques, he began performing with a crew in 2002. He hasn’t looked back since.
“We perform with bubbles and have done television special effects as well. We take our bubbles all over the world.”
The world records
Bubbleman, who has also been dubbed the Willy Wonka of Bubbles, has made and broken nine Guinness World Records – some unintentionally.
“I did not plan to go and break records,” he says. “When I started the business, I got a lot of attention. I was first approached by a PR company to break a record.”
In 2006, he put 19 children in a bubble, and blew 49 bubbles within a bubble, breaking the records for the World’s Largest Bubble and Most Bubbles in a Bubble. The following year, he encased 50 children in a giant bubble; in 2008, he blew 66 bubbles within a bubble during a promotional tour in Qatar, breaking those records.
In July 2009 at Finsbury Park in London, he did it again. He created the world’s largest soap bubble – 500 cubic foot and free-floating – using a rope attached to sticks. He has also created the longest chain of bubbles, the most bounces with a single bubble and the most bubbles blown with a single dip of a wand.
“Once I was hired by an ice-cream company for an event. It was only to blow one frozen bubble, and I was paid quite well. That was a funny record I broke in 2010,” he says. “I am now experimenting with the largest exploding bubble in the world. It takes a lot of practice.”
Abu Dhabi’s bubble party
Samsam’s stop in Abu Dhabi is part of a tour that first took him to Indonesia.
“I have a whole new show with a lot of music and movement with bubbles,” he says. “You are going to love the finale. It is going to be a big party with bubbles.”
And will he be sharing the secret recipe that keeps those gigantic bubbles afloat?
“I normally tell people it’s yeast,” he chuckles. “But we do sell bubble solution and have links to a -bubble-juice recipe that you can make at home.”
• Samsam Bubbleman’s shows will be held at SummerFest from Wednesday until July 19, from 9pm to 11pm on the open stage at Adnec. There will be no show on July 14. Visit www.summerfestabudhabi.ae and www.bubbleinc.co.uk
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