I’m often asked what kind of magic I perform. It’s a good question: if you’ve not seen a close-up magician before, it’s hard to know.
I perform sleight of hand close-up magic using cards, coins, envelopes, rope, watches and a whole host of props that I find around the situation I’m performing in. I’ll give you a few examples:
• I perform a card trick where the deck turns to a block of glass … in someone’s hand!
• I make normal pieces of rope (which have previously been checked by audience members) transform to three times their size, even though everyone is watching incredibly closely.
• I have every single person on the table (normally about twelve people) select a card and then find every single card.
• I give someone a locked box and make a signed playing card appear inside.
Those are just a few examples. I improvise the magic I perform to make it a personal, memorable experience for everyone watching. This makes every single performance different and entertaining.
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.
A “close-up magician” is quite an ambiguous term and there’s a lot of confusion around what each variant of the phrase means. Therefore, I’m putting on my professor’s hat for a minute and providing quick explanations for each type of close-up magician:
Close-up magician is a catch-all name that covers all of the types of magician I’ll explain below. I’ve also been card a “close hand magician”, an “up close magician” and many similar things.
A walkaround magician or walkabout magician normally mingles with guests during a cocktail party or similar. I most regularly perform as a walkaround magician and it’s my favourite type of performance.
As you might expect, a table magician, table top magician or similar performs during a meal, entertaining the entire table at a time. This is often seen as banquets and weddings.
A sleight of hand magician performs tricks that require considerable dexterity. I’ve practiced for almost twenty years and thus, consider myself a sleight of hand magician.
There are many other phrases and words used to describe a magician (all positive, I hope!), but these cover those that you might hear often.
I recently performed at a wedding at Kingscotte Barn, Tetbury, which is just outside of Gloucester. The wedding photographer Matt Davis managed to snap some excellent shots, which he just sent to me. I’ve included three of my favourites below.
Your eyes will likely be automatically drawn to the lady on the right, who looks absolutely stunned as I make a deck of cards vanish from between her hands. The photos show the action unfolding:
Last night I lectured for about 150 members of The Magic Circle in London. In my lecture (which lasts about an hour and fifteen minutes), I teach a few of the tricks that I perform at events, demonstrate some of the techniques from my Master Pushoff DVD set and give a short talk on marketing. It’s a daunting, but extremely fun experience, being able to talk to your peers in that manner.
I received a lot of positive comments after the lecture, which makes the whole thing worth while. Much to my surprise, several very well respected professional magicians told me that they intend to use some of my tricks in their future performances. The lecture was being filmed for an upcoming live lecture DVD of mine and was also being used to consider whether I’ll be promoted to the next, secret level of The Magic Circle.
Here are a couple of photos, snapped by my friend Alan on his iPhone. I’ll hopefully be able to post some from the official photographer too.
This weekend, I performed at an event in Newham-on-Severn, Gloucestershire. The downside of being a Gloucestershire magician is the amount of traveling I have to do, so I love working close to home! To be able to finish a show and then be home 20 minutes later is a joy that can’t be explained in words!
Last Sunday I performed at a garden party in Newham-on-Severn, Gloucestershire. Guests were mingling in the garden and sat at tables, enjoying the buffet. Here’s a quick note that I received the next day from Chris, the organiser of the party:
Thanks for working your magic at my garden party, strolling from group to group and captivating even the most cynical of our guests. Your card tricks were stunning, and the “dice in a box” trick had everyone baffled!
—Chris Saunders, Newnham-on-Severn, Gloucester
If you’ve never hired a magician before, you might want to know how it all works. It’s incredibly simple. Here’s the process that I normally follow when someone hires me to perform magic at their event:
- You make an enquiry through my website, or on the phone.
- I provide a price, plus a few details of how I would perform at your event.
- Should you wish to go ahead, I’ll send you my booking form, which asks for a few more details.
- We then arrange for payment, which can either be before the event, or on the day.
- I contact you a week or so before the event to reconfirm the details. If I’m performing at a company event, tradeshow or product launch, before that time I will have been learning about your company or product.
- I arrive at the event (early, of course!), meet with you and then start performing magic for your guests when you’re ready.
It’s surprisingly easy and each stage normally just takes a couple of minutes of your time. So if you were concerned about the length of time it takes to hire a magician, you needn’t worry!
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:
For my money, this is the new ‘must have’ DVD if you want to perform elegant, powerful card magic. I’d put this up there with all the classics, and I recommend it to anyone interested in improving their card magic! —Joe Diamond
The Master Pushoff is more than just another disc of card magic. It’s a great teaching tool that covers a surprisingly wide range of techniques, it’s thoughtfully produced and credited, and it offers a lot of long-term value. I sincerely hope it will serve as a model for other magicians who turn to DVD as a teaching medium; it’s miles ahead of the pack in many important ways. —Gordon Meyer
Ten years ago, when in my teens, I created an original technique for handling a deck of cards that I feel makes card magic much stronger and more effective. If you’ve ever seen me perform a card trick, you will have seen me using this secret, hidden technique a dozen times or more.
I was recently asked to film a DVD set on this technique (it’s called The Master Pushoff) and since its release have been asked to give live workshops and seminars on the technique. I’ve given this workshop all around the country and a couple of weeks ago, I gave it at the prestigious Magic Circle in London (fact: every magician who mentions The Magic Circle on their website add “prestigious” in front of it, so I decided to do the same!).
As the workshop is very hands on, the numbers were limited to about 15 – 20 card magicians at time. I gave the workshop four times in the evening and everyone there left being able to perform the technique. Of course, everything in magic takes a lot of practice, so they all went home working on what I taught and will hopefully be eventually adding it to their card magic repertoires.
Of the back of the card magic workshop, I’ve been asked to return to present a full evening lecture. That’s coming up at the end of this month and is also being used as my examination to become an “Associate of the Inner Magic Circle”, which is posh magic speak for the next level up in the Magic Circle (I’m told that only a small number of people become a member of this level, but in all honesty, don’t know much about it!). I’ll update you of my progress!
This weekend, I performed close-up at a joint 40th birthday party in Great Milton, near oxford. While I don’t blog about every show I’ve performed, this is one that stands out as the crowd were especially fun that night.
I performed for two hours, mingling with the 150 or so guests. I performed magic with cards and coins and got asked back to perform for several of the groups again, which is always a good sign that they enjoyed it.
The day after the party, I received a really nice email from one of the ladies who booked me. Here’s a very small extract from her email:
We just wanted to say a BIG thank you from us both for Saturday night. All our friends commented on what a fantastic magician you were – and are still talking about “how did he…”. —Nicky, Oxford
I don’t work all that often in Oxford, but as it’s not far from Gloucester, I’m always happy to do so! So, if you’re looking for a close-up magician in Oxford, please get in touch!