For my second day in a row, I performed in Cheltenham yesterday. This time was for a wedding at the Barceló Cheltenham Park Hotel; the first time I’d performed at this particular venue.
I entertained ten tables of guests throughout the wedding breakfast. During the meal is my favourite time to perform at weddings as I feel as though I am able to make a genuine addition to the day. Normally, when I get to a table, they’re chatting quietly between each other, yet after my ten or fifteen minute show they’re laughing, clapping and cheering, which really creates a great party atmosphere.
The bride and groom were extremely complimentary and for the rest of the wedding, I noticed them clinging onto the card that they both signed for my closing trick at the top table!
I’m performing in Cheltenham twice this weekend. The fist time was today, at the Cheltenham Cricket Festival, and the second time will be for a wedding tomorrow at the Cheltenham Park Hotel.
Today I performed during a luncheon in a private tent at the Cheltenham Cricket Festival. This is the second time in the past few weeks that I’ve performed in a marquee on the fabulous Cheltenham College grounds as I recently performed for their student leavers ball.
I entertained 50 or so guests in a VIP tent today, performing walkaround magic for an hour or so, before performing magic around the tables between the courses of the meal. A photographer was on hand to snap a few photos with the Cheltenham College as a nice backdrop:
During the Farnborough Air Show a couple of weeks ago, I was invited by AMI Metals to entertain their American CEO and some of their most prestigious clients from around the world.
I performed close-up magic in the private room of a restaurant and then moved on to perform close-up magic for the delegates during their meal. I realise that these events are incredibly important for companies like AMI Metals and therefore ensure that I performed the best magic I could to create an evening that their clients will never forget.
One of their clients noticed me from a television show that recently re-aired in America and lots of other clients were incredibly complimentary about my magic. In fact, here’s what the gentleman that booked me had to say after my performance:
“Andi, just a quick note from AMI Metals to say thank you! We set you a tough task to entertain our guests from all over the globe and I have to say your performance was perfect and just what we needed. All the guests commented what a fantastic evening they had and we are already looking to use you in Paris next year, look forward to working with you again.”
—Lee Turner, AMI Metals
Due to my past career before becoming a professional magician, I am more than comfortable being a representative of companies and talking to important company players and key clients. Therefore, please get in touch if you’d like me to represent your company too!
The ex-Product Manager in me (that’s what I used to be before I was a professional magician) likes to monitor trends of when and why people hire close-up magicians. An increasing trend lately has been people doing their own Come Dine With Me style challenges amongst their friends and hiring close-up magicians to entertain between the courses.
If you’re hiring a close-up magician for a Come Dine With Me style evening, here are a few suggestions that may help:
1. Make sure the magician suits your party
Just like you choose the best wine to go with your meal, be sure that you’re picky about which magician you hire. Find a magician that suits the style of the evening. For example, if you’re having a fun, upbeat evening, you may like to consider hiring a more contemporary magician (like me!). However, if you’re having a really high brow, posh meal, you might want to find a high brow, posh magician. Believe it or not, there are a couple of them around!
2. Have the magician between courses
I never, ever perform while people are eating. Any magician who does needs to consider that your guests are there to enjoy the meal and each other’s company and not just to enjoy the magician!
3. Make time to watch the magic yourself
Often when I perform at these kind of dinner parties, the hosts are busy stirring the gravy or putting the cherries on the cake. Try to make a little time to watch the magician yourself! For example, after the main course is always a good time if you’ve managed to prepare the dessert in advance.
4. Don’t overdo it
Magicians can really help create a great atmosphere and a really memorable evening. I’ve managed to find the perfect amount of time to perform at these kind of parties and recommend that you don’t have the magician work for hours between each course; instead leave plenty of time for your guests to chat during the meal and most importantly, enjoy your food!
If you’re organising this kind of party, good luck! The best part about organising your own Come Dine With Me challenge instead of going on the show is, of course, you don’t have to listen to your friends bitching about you and giving you low scores to show up to the cameras!
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:
A couple of weekends ago I was invited to perform onboard the King Arthur sailing from Gloucester Docks. The boat sailed along the River Severn while eighty or so guests enjoyed the party put on to celebrate my client’s 70th birthday party.
Close-up magicians often say that close-up magic events tend to blur into one, but I disagree: when you have unique opportunities to perform in different situations and venues, it really makes a show memorable and fun. The boat was full of people of various ages and it was a lot of fun to perform for the guests while the boat was sailing down the Severn.
Here’s a quick message I got from Sue, the lady who had organised me to perform on the boat:
“Andi, you were great, everyone really enjoyed your magic!! Thanks for contributing to a super day!”
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!
The 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!
About a month ago I performed at big event in a marquee and one thing that really stood out was the bar (as strange as that sounds!). The bar was illuminated with bright lights from underneath the tabletop, which was what made it really stand out. They also had flair bartenders, which is something I always enjoy as it’s a skill a little akin to sleight of hand magic.
I performed a little magic for the bar staff while we were waiting for everyone to arrive and they were all a lot of fun to perform for. That performance has now created an interesting partnership. If you hire LiquidSpirit’s mobile bar for your event, you can also arrange for them to hire me to perform close-up magic behind the bar for the evening.
Bar magic isn’t particularly common in the UK (compared to the USA, for example where it is a lot more common), but it’s a great way to create a really memorable experience for your guests. I stand behind the bar and perform a small show for people as they’re waiting to be served, or as they’re sat at the bar enjoying a cocktail or two. It’s a fun, and unique experience.
Check out LiquidSpirit’s mobile bar hire website for more info.
Here are five questions that you should always ask a close-up magician before hiring them:
1. Are you a professional close-up magician and how often do you perform?
2. Have you performed in similar venues and at similar events to mine?
3. Are there any hidden charges?
4. Are your timings flexible in case we need to change the time of your performance last minute?
5. Do you have any feedback from other clients?
I’m a close-up magician, so feel free to ask me any of those questions, and more! You can call or email me and I’d be happy to provide detailed, honest answers to all your questions about hiring me.
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!