It’s that time of year again; the time that companies are looking for some corporate entertainment for their Christmas parties. While many companies don’t start organising their entertainment until later in the year, many start as early as possible to ensure that they get first choice of a corporate entertainer.
I’ve performed magic at many, many Christmas parties for companies all over the country, covering every industry imaginable. That includes web designers, house builders, accountants, lawyers, auctioneers; and the best part is that I get asked to return to many of them year after year.
Therefore, if you’d like to organise some creative, original corporate entertainment for your Christmas party this year, I suggest getting in touch as early as possible to ensure that I am available. Last year I wrote a post with many corporate entertainment ideas, which may be of interest.
So while it seems as though Christmas is miles away, if you need corporate entertainment for your Christmas party, I’d suggest getting in touch as soon as possible!
If you’re looking for a great way to identify whether a close-up magician is good, here’s a tip: check out the performance shots on his or her website. Here are just a few things you can tell from a close-up magician’s photographs:
- Are the people having a good time, or do they look bored?
- Are they reacting positively to the magic?
- Is the close-up magician well dressed?
- What kind of venue does the magician normally work?
- Are the photos recent, or has the magician been using them for ten years?!
You can see from the photos on my homepage, for example, that people constantly laugh and gasp during my act: always a good sign for a close-up magician. I have dozens more photographs to upload to the website as time allows to give an accurate idea of how much people enjoy my magic. Here are just a scant few:
Poker in the Park is Europe’s largest Poker event, running this weekend in Hanover Square, London. It attracts over 25,000 people and has become a highlight of the Poker circuit. It’s sponsored by people like Sky, Poker.com, The Star and more and was packed full of card players, casino owners and other industry professionals. It started yesterday and runs all day today.
I was asked to give an interview and performance about magic and card cheating at the event yesterday. The hour-long slot was a lot of fun and while it was a little out of my comfort zone, was incredibly enjoyable. There’s a lot of crossover between magicians and card cheats, so it was great to have the opportunity to demonstrate some cheating ideas and perform some magic.
Thanks to the organisers for inviting me and for making me feel incredibly welcome at their great event! They took lots of video and photos, so I’ll upload some as soon as I get them.
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:
I like to ask clients where they heard about me. A lot of people say that they saw my website while looking for wedding entertainment ideas or for a sleight-of-hand magician, but an increasing (yet very positive!) trend is that people tell me I’ve been recommended by another magician who has seen me perform before.
Sometimes, when another magician isn’t available for some reason they recommend someone else and now-a-days that’s happening more and more. I’m very honoured and grateful that so many magicians who have seen me work are happy to recommend me to their clients and hope that this is a positive reflection of my past performances.
In turn, if I’m not available, I am also happy to recommend another magician to help ensure that you hire a great close-up magician.
Pilots talk about “flight time”: the length of time that they’ve flown planes for. Obviously, the more hours they’ve flown, the more experience they have and then, the higher up the ranks they go.
The same applies for magicians (but unfortunately, without the rankings): the more time a magician performs, the better he or she will be. It’s very rare that you see a magician who performs a lot who isn’t very good and vice versa.
If you’ve never hired a magician before, you may not consider that there are various qualities of magician. Based on this flight time concept, the best way to tell how good a magician really is, I think, is to find out how much they perform. An amateur may only perform for friends and family once a month and therefore, while they’ll charge less than other close-up magicians, they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to develop their skills in front of real, paying audiences.
On the other hand, a professional magician with a couple of years experience (or more) will hopefully be performing at least two or three times a week. Add those hours up, times them by 52 weeks and they are likely performing for at least 500 hours per year, on top of the 1000’s of hours practice they do. From the magicians I see, it’s hard for them not to become a great magician with that much performance time!
So while this rule certainly has exceptions, the concept of flight time is a good one to go by. If the magician you’re hiring (hopefully me!) performs a lot (I do!), then there’s a very good chance that they’ll be great (I try my best to be!).
Cotswold Life is a high-end, thick glossy magazine that often features the rich and the famous from the Cotswolds, usually focusing around their lavish parties or lush homes. Since I don’t fall into any of those categories, it was a nice surprise to be asked to be interviewed about a piece they were running on the resurgence of magic. It runs in this month’s issue.
According to the article written by BBC news reporter Steve Knibbs, I am “flying the flag for Gloucestershire magic.” This, they say, is down to the magicians conference that I organise in Cheltenham (which, last year was attended by people from ten countries), my performances in the area and my involvement with The Evening of Deception; a magic show that I help put on in Cheltenham.
It’s certainly nice to be featured in such a nice magazine. The text of the article can be found on their website.
I’ll close this blog post with a quote that they ran from me. It sums up exactly what I think about the state of magic at the moment: “Magic is quickly starting to evolve again; the more people we have to take it forward the better it can be. If we keep the right performers at our forefront like Derren Brown, Penn & Teller and so on, then magic could once again become an extremely credible form of entertainment.”
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.
It’s always nice to be invited back to perform at an event a second time round. That’s what happened with a leaver’s ball that I performed at Cheltenham College. I told you about it in this Magician Cheltenham blog post.
The event was similar to last year’s, with the exception that the guests were different. As always, it was a lot of fun performing in the large marque, erected on the grounds especially for this party.
The fun part, this time round, was that I noticed a menu on each table … with my name on it! The organisers had a great idea of listing the entertainment at the event so that people who know what they had to look forward to.
I was recently booked to perform at a business conference at a five star luxury resort in Portugal’s Algarve region. The event is for a premier hotel industry forum which covers the complete supply chain requirements of hotel operators within the UK and Europe. Therefore, there were high-profile clients from some of the biggest hotel, food and leisure suppliers in Europe.
I performed outside for two hours during a networking meal,in a lovely restaurant overlooking the sea (as shown in the photograph below). While it was extremely hot, I managed to not melt and instead perform close-up magic for the guests, who were a lot of fun during the evening.
Unfortunately, these international events are not as glamourous as my friends think. I flew in and out of Portugal within 12 hours, ready to be home to perform close-up magic in Gloucester! That said, it was nice to briefly return to Portugal as I haven’t been there since I performed there at a magic conference two years ago.