Merton, the Improv Guy!

Meeting and performing for celebrities is quite a common thing for a close-up magician, therefore I’m not really the type to get starstruck if I see Bubble from Big Brother, or Stuart Baggs the Brand from The Apprentice.

But that all changed today! After a long flight from Las Vegas, I walked through arrivals at Gatwick to see a man in a green hoodie playing a pink piano. I immediately recognised him as the improv internet sensation, Merton! He was recording a new TV advert for T Mobile so I stayed around for a few minutes to hear his comedy songs. If it weren’t for an impatient valet driver, I’d have probably watched him for an hour or two!

Here are a couple of photos of the few minutes I spent at the airport:

Magician Interviews

One of the parts of my job that I enjoy the most is talking to other magicians and sharing my ideas with them. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been interviewed by a couple of magic publications:

I recorded an hour and a half interview about my business techniques in magic. I’d post it here, but I suspect that it’s of very little interest to people looking to hire me! I’ve received a lot of positive comments about the interview and the ideas that I discuss. The other two people to be interviewed in this series so far are Paul Daniels (in between his Strictly Come Dancing work!) and Andy Nyman; Derren Brown’s producer and writer/star of the West End show, Ghost Stories.

Last week I was also interviewed for some print magazines. Firstly, the world’s largest magic magazine interviewed me for a piece later this year. I will also be featured by a British magazine early next year so stay tuned to this blog for more info on both of those things!

In other news for magicians, I’m putting the finishing touches to the book that will come with my DVD set, am finishing off my next book for publication and am currently working on a new lecture. Busy times ahead!

Back from Honeymoon!

Yesterday was my first day back at work since I got back from my honeymoon a couple of days ago. I am a workaholic so after a week of ultimate relaxation, I was excited to get back to performing magic again!

My honeymoon was in the Maldives; the most magnificent place I have ever visited. Being a magician means that you get to travel a lot (I’ve been taken to places such as Las Vegas and many other American states, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus and more), but I’ve never been anywhere like this! The Maldives is completely magical. The island that we stayed in was so small that you could stand in the middle and see the sea from both sides. There were 250 staff to just 50 or so guests so we got treated like absolute royalty! This is the first time that I’ve traveled to the East, but it definitely won’t be the last.

Now that I’m back, I have a busy month of performances and a long todo list to prepare for the launch of my first DVD set for magicians. The hard work starts now!

My Magical Wedding

I got married on the 28th August in a lovely hotel called Dormy House in the Cotswolds. The day went perfectly with lots of family and friends there. There were many, many magicians there including my two best man (both professional close-up magicians) and the head bridesmaid (also a professional close-up magician!) and lots of other magicians!

Entertainment wise, I flew a well-known magician from America called Chad Long to entertain at the wedding and he went down an absolute storm! Many of my friends and family haven’t had the opportunity to see a professional magician at work (given that 99% of my events are private parties) so this was a real treat for them and they loved his magic.

For wedding entertainment in the evening, I arranged for Signature, the Michael Jackson tribute from Britain’s Got Talent to perform as surprise for everyone, including my new wife! It took a lot of work to get them as they don’t do many private events, but it was definitely worth it as my wife was desperate to have them there, but thought that they weren’t available!

Here are a few photos from the day. I’ll add a few notes about my honeymoon in the Maldives tomorrow!

Magical Wedding

Magicians at Wedding

Signature

Wedding Entertainment

100th Blog Post

It’s hard to believe (for me!), that this is my 100th blog post about being a close-up magician. I thought it would be fun to list some of my favourite posts over the past ten or so months since I’ve been writing this blog:

I highlighted these posts in particular because lots of them have some great photos of me performing over the past year.

Thanks for reading!

Meeting of the Mind … Readers!

I have recently been corresponding with a legend in the magic and mind reading field. David Berglas is known as the “International Man of Mystery” and is one of the world’s leading mind readers. He was president of the Magic Circle for almost ten years and in my mind, was the key driving force behind taking the club to where it is today.

David was one of the first magicians to appear on British television with his own show Meet David Berglas in 1954 and made a name for himself with such stunts as making London stand still, making everything in a small area freeze for 30 seconds or so (including the traffic, the walkers, the bill boards and more). He caused a sensation whenever he performed on television and is a big inspiration to performers such as Derren Brown and David Blaine.

A few weeks ago, David called me to invite me to meet up with him and a few friends (including some top magicians such as Andy Nyman the co-writer and co-creator of Derren Brown’s shows). We met at what seemed like a secret location in a hidden part of Charring Cross station and spent the afternoon brainstorming ideas and reminiscing on past performances.

It was an honour to spend time with this great magician and a rare treat as David seldom meets with other magicians. He’s an inspirational performer and I look forward to meeting up with him again soon!

Magician in Spain

I’ve spent the last week at a magic bar / diner theatre in Salou, Spain called The House of Illusion. My friend Rodney James Piper, the owner of the venue, invited a small group of professional close-up magicians and mind readers to the theatre for a week and I was lucky enough to be part of the event.

During the week we discussed and created new magic tricks, attended some great variety shows and lectures and spent a lot of time at the fantastic House of Illusion; one of only a few purpose-built magic theatres in the world.

If you are ever in Salou, I urge you to go to see the House of Illusion show. The night starts with some drinks in the bar, which includes performances from two fantastic bar magicians. Next up, you enter the lavish theatre for a full two-hour magic show containing mind reading, illusions, fire eating and some fantastic comedy magic. It’s a popular Salou attraction (this week, two British TV soap stars were there!) and always sells out so be sure to book tickets before you leave the UK.

I got home late last night and am now refreshed ready for a busy week of shows. I’ve also got lots to blog about so normal service will resume from today!

Here’s a small photo of the House of Illusion theatre:

House of Illusion
Penn & Teller in London

I’ve seen Penn & Teller in Las Vegas twice. They have their own theatre at the Rio hotel and perform what I consider to be one of the best magic shows in the world … and believe me, I’ve seen a lot of magic shows!

Magicians Penn & TellerThe show combines magic with political statements, comedy, fire eating, acting and much more. The duo have worked together for years and this really shows. Their magic is completely polished and incredibly fooling; even to the trained eye!

The last time they came to England was when I was eleven years old, so I unfortunately didn’t get to see them. They’re only here for a week and I managed to get tickets, along with a bunch of other close-up magicians and we all had an amazing time. The show was slightly different to the Vegas show, which meant that I got to see some great new pieces.

The duo are only in town until Sunday so if you have the opportunity to see it, I’d really suggest you do!

Writing For Young Magicians

This morning I performed at a show in Gloucester (more info on that in a future post) and have then spent the rest of the day writing my new column in a magic magazine for young magicians.

In 1996 I was invited to be one of the first members of the Young Magician’s Club; the junior initiative of Magic Circle. Now, fourteen years later, I’ve been asked to get involved with the club and write a column for their monthly magazine which is distributed to members throughout the world.

My column will be a mixture of my experiences as a professional close-up magician and my experiences of being a young magician as by the age of sixteen I had performed on international television specials and had been invited to travel to perform in many countries. I think that these experiences give me an interesting insight into being a young magician and hopefully, will allow me to inspire and excite the next generation of professional close-up magicians!

Las Vegas Magicians – in the UK

I’m just about to finish work for the night and tune into Jonathan Ross to watch Las Vegas magic superstars Penn & Teller perform. Then, on Wednesday, along with a group of other professional close-up magicians, I’m going to see the duo perform live at the Hammersmith Apollo.

I’ve seen Penn & Teller perform at their theatre (subtly named The Penn & Teller Theatre) in Las Vegas twice and have come to the conclusion that it’s the best magic show on earth. It’s funny, thought-provoking, entertaining and their magic fools even the best magicians!

There’s also rumour that David Copperfield will be performing in Manchester due to a ticket website listing that he’ll be performing at the Manchester Apollo over November. There are some mixed rumours about this so I’m waiting to hear from some friends close to David to find out how true this is. Last time I was in Vegas, I saw his show at the MGM and thoroughly enjoyed it. A few years before that, I happened to be in Chicago at the same time as David’s show and was taken by a friend of his to see the show and got the opportunity to meet the man himself. It was a great experience and I hope that the rumours of him being in Manchester are true.