Here are the posts that I've written in the "Life updates" category:
I am proud to report that last night, I was given The John Nevil Maskelyne Literary Award by The Magic Circle. The prize was given at The Magic Circle’s award ceremony in their headquarters in Euston, London last night. The official description of the award is that it is “given for noteworthy contributions by a member or non member of The Magic Circle to the art or literature of magic.”
Other award winners last night included Paul Daniels and Derren Brown, so it was a great honour to be awarded alongside them.
A few days after appearing at The Magic Castle, I traveled straight to the UK’s own Las Vegas … Blackpool! It was the world championships of magic; an event called FISM. Much like the Olympics, it is held every four years and countries bid on where it will be each year.
This year it was Blackpool! Hundreds of acts compete for the Grant Prix award, which has been won over the years by some very famous magicians (such as Lance Burton, who starred in his own Las Vegas show for many years).
The standard this year was exceptional. The winning stage act brought many people to tears at just how good it was. I watched it twice in the same day and could have watched it a dozen times more! It was an incredible atmosphere and I can’t wait for the next one, which will be held in Italy. Who knows where magic will be in four years!
I’ve spent the past few weeks on the road. I’ve traveled throughout the north of the UK, including Hull, Newcastle, Leeds, Blackpool and more to give a show/lecture for magic clubs around the country. My lecture is my way of sharing my magic with other magicians. First I perform a few of the tricks that I’ve created and then teach them. While it’s a “lecture” I try to treat the whole event as a show and make it fun and entertaining.
Immediately after the tour, I traveled to Denmark to lecture and perform at a magic conference in Copenhagen. I performed in the stage show (for about 200 people) and then the next day gave my full lecture to the magicians in attendance.
I’m now back home, ready to perform magic for non-magicians … I just hope I don’t accidentally start explaining the tricks, since I’ve got used to it over the past few weeks!
If you’re like me and watch a lot of children’s television, you may have seen the new CBBC hit, “Help, My Supply Teacher is Magic!” It’s a great new, thirteen part series where four magicians pose as supply teachers to amaze school children around the country.
Over the past year, I’ve been working with Objective Productions (the same team that make The Real Hustle, Derren Brown’s shows and The Cube) to design the magic for this great kids TV show. My behind the scenes work included coming up with several hundred ideas for tricks, then creating and building them, as well as working with the magicians to ensure that the magic looked great on camera.
It’s hopefully the first show of many that I’ll be working on as magic consultant. A few other similar projects are already underway, but as the TV world is so secretive, I can’t say any more until they air!
The shows air every Tuesday afternoon on the CBBC channel for the next ten weeks.
I was recently voted in by the committee of The Magic Circle as an “Associate of The Magic Circle with Silver Star.” That’s quite a mouthful, but also quite a compliment. I’ll break down what it means:
There are several levels of The Magic Circle. While most members stay at the default level, a few are granted access to the “Inner Magic Circle“. This can only be achieved through excellence in performance or for doing something very good for the club, or magic in general. The silver star aspect is because I received the award for my performance.
I became an Associate of The Inner Magic Circle for the lecture that I gave at the club last month. It was a lovely surprise and I’m honoured to have been granted it.
Given that there are only very few young magicians with this accolade, I am both very proud and honoured to have received it.
I released my DVD set for magicians last year. It’s called The Master Pushoff and on it, for the first time, I teach my secret sleight of hand technique. Since this is a blog for the public, I won’t explain what it is, but I would like to post a couple of snippets from two of the many positive reviews it received:
Part of my job with my publishing company, Vanishing Inc. Magic is to film and teach some of the great new magic that we release. It’s aimed purely at magicians, and is a good way of getting experience talking in front of a camera, and learning to teach magic clearly and concisely.
I spent the day yesterday filming the instructional DVD for a new trick called “Timeless,” which is a trick that I worked on with two other magicians. If you’ve seen me perform at an event recently and I performed a trick using a watch, it would have been “Timeless.” It’s an amazing trick with a very different surprise at the end.
Here’s a quick screen capture from the instructional DVD. We expect to release it by the end of September, hopefully just in time for my lecture at The Magic Circle:
Every other August, I travel to Las Vegas to attend a conference called MAGIC Live. It’s organised by the major magician trade journal, MAGIC Magazine and is attended by 1,500 magicians from across the world.
I’ve performed at the conference twice in the four times that I attended. This time, though, I was there to relax and enjoy the great magic. At events like this, magicians get to learn from other magicians and see performances and talks on all sorts of related subjects. One very interesting performance, this year, was a full show in the dark, designed to allow blind people to experience magic.
For the most part, though, these conferences are social conferences for me. I get to see friends that I rarely see (due to them living in other countries) and get to spend time sharing tricks and ideas with other magicians. In particular, this year, I attended a party held by Criss Angel (Las Vegas magician) and another small party that a certain David Copperfield was hanging out at. Both were a lot of fun!
This conference has a unique way of giving people their name badge: they print a photo of them. For fun, I’ve included a photo of my name badge in this blog post!
Now that I’m back, I get straight to work performing as a close-up magician throughout the country.
Over the past week, famous American magicians Penn & Teller have been secretly recording their series, Fool Us at the Fountain Studios in London. I have a number of friends who attempted to fool the duo so was invited along to the filming.
There were so many people trying to be part of the show that over 350 people each night were turned away from the audience. For those that did get in though, they got to see some excellent magic. For each show that will air, Penn & Teller will be performing one of their own illusions (including some magic that I haven’t seen them perform for a very long time). As always, Jonathan Ross was a great host and made his job look so easy! He’s a true professional and is the absolute perfect choice to host this show (BBC’s The Magicians, take note!).
The series will air on Saturday nights straight after this current run of Britain’s Got Talent ends. Some of my non-magician friends have asked about the two magicians who fooled Penn & Teller in the last show; I speak to them regularly and they’ll be going to Vegas in just a couple of weeks to perform in Penn & Teller’s show!
It’s great to see some excellent magic airing on TV. Congratulations to all involved!
I’m writing this blog post from New York. I spent a week here in Manhattan working on a number of projects relating to my magic book publishing business (Vanishing Inc. Magic) with my business partner, Joshua Jay (who is a professional magician in New York City).
After the week in Manhattan, we traveled to Batavia, New York (about six hours drive from New York City) where we attended an invitation only conference for the top 200 close-up magicians in the world. It’s attended by close-up magicians from almost every continent and has very stringent conditions for which you need to meet in order to be invited. Due to this, the convention is attended by many world champion close-up magicians, expert card magicians and performers that don’t travel to many other events of this nature.
I was asked to perform for the close-up magicians (photograph below … although for some reason, I look a little camp in that photo!), where I performed a few of my favourite tricks from my DVD set for magicians.
I’m in New York City for one more day and then fly home to the UK, where I’ll have a day or two off before getting straight back to performing close-up magic.