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News & Updates

The Associated Wizards of the South

Houdini with AWS members, Southampton 1913

The Associated Wizards of the South which meets in Hedge End near Southampton, was founded in 1911 and is the fourth oldest magic society in the U.K. At its annual general meeting last night, 3rd May 2016, I was surprised and delighted to be made an Honorary Life Member for services to the club over the last twenty years.

Houdini was an honorary member of the society and is pictured with founder members in this photograph taken on Southampton docks in 1913.The tall man to the immediate left of Houdini is Professor Harry Woodley who lived in West Wellow. Prof. Woodley was President of the Society in 1924/25 and again in 1970/71 the Society’s Diamond Jubilee year. He is still fondly remembered by many older people in the Romsey area.

Magic Show for the Nepalese Community in Andover

girls

My Magic Show seemed to go down well with the Nepalese Community in Andover on Saturday when I entertained at their New Year party with my assistant Mirrah. Here is a photograph of some of the ladies in the audience with Mirrah, dressed in black, centre right.

The magic show comprised a mixture of magical effects for both children and adults including three illusions. Mirrah acted as my assistant for two of the illusions as well as performing an effect herself and a male “volunteer” from the audience helped with the third.

The Nepalese were a great audience and I hope to work for them again sometime. I think a lot of the men present were former Gurkhas and I couldn’t help wondering what some of them had done in their lives. Having visited the Gurkha Museum in Winchester last month I realise why they are so highly respected by the British armed forces and feared by their enemies. Prince Harry was reported last month to have said that if you are in a war zone the safest place to be is next to a Gurkha.

Close up magic in Chandlers Ford

Close up magic is one of my favourite types of magic and last night I was performing it at the King Rufus pub in Chandlers Ford. The occasion was the 65th birthday of a gentleman who has spent much of his life in football management. He’s obviously a fun loving person with a lot of friends because he had planned three birthday parties, last night’s being the first. He also likes magic as the other two will also have a magician to entertain. I thoroughly enjoyed performing for a great audience so if you read this “Thank you Barrie.”

New Magician’s Assistant

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This week at a meeting of The Associated Wizards of the South (fourth oldest magic club in the country) I was pleased to meet a lady magician Mirrah. Mirrah is from Bulgaria and although fairly new to magic, shows a lot of promise. As I have a cabaret show next week entertaining the Nepalese community in Andover, I asked her if she would like to assist me with a couple of illusions. So we have teamed up for this event and perhaps more. I met my previous three assistants in restaurants so it’s refreshing to find one in a magic club.

MAGIC AT EASTER

Magic for me seems to make the time go faster. No sooner has Christmas passed than it’s Easter.

Apart from private party bookings I have two magic shows in pubs for children and families next weekend. On Easter Sunday I am returning to the Bedes Lea pub in North Baddesley, a repeat of a performance I gave there at Halloween last year. Then on Easter Monday I shall be at another pub in the same group, The Stonehenge Inn. Both are carveries so if you want a good family lunch followed by a magic show why not come along? On the recommendation of the owner of the group I also had a private party booking at another of their pubs last weekend, in Stoford near Salisbury, so I guess I’m doing something right in their eyes.

This week saw the passing of Paul Daniels, probably the most successful British magician in living memory and one of the most knowledgeable. I remember attending a seminar he ran about 12 years ago where he talked about the business of magic. It lasted from 10.00 in the morning until 4.00pm with a lunch break and the odd comfort break, such was his knowledge of the business. He will be missed by the magic fraternity.

Magic Shows in 2016

With Sooty

Magic Shows in 2016 are getting off to a good start with plenty of bookings coming in for January. Magic over Christmas and the new year has been good with some good quality bookings. Apart from my work as a magician I am also looking forward to attending the Blackpool Magicians Club Convention in February which attracts some 3,000 magicians from all over the world. Whilst it’s not until September, I am also looking forward to the annual convention of the British Ring of the International Brotherhood of Magicians which this year will be held in the delightful town of Buxton. The photograph shows me meeting the legendary Sooty the last time I was in Buxton.

To all my clients and fellow magicians I wish a happy and prosperous 2016.

Christmas is here

Childrens Entertainer_Wiltshire

Christmas Eve has arrived and I’ve finished a successful programme of Christmas shows. These included the usual children’s parties for schools, pre-school groups etc, close up performances at dinners and several cabaret style performances for the residents of various care homes, including several repeat bookings.

I’ll spend time with the family over Christmas and then look forward to performing some close up magic at The Grand Harbour Hotel in Southampton on New Year’s Eve.

Magic for Insomniacs

Corporate Entertainer_Dagger Trick

I performed a cabaret show at a day centre for the elderly today in The New Forest. It went very well. I was however surprised that as I was leaving a lovely lady called me over and said how nice it was to have me there and that she hoped I would come again. I cheerfully replied that it was up to them of course. She then said that she had trouble sleeping and that the sleeping pills the doctor gave her were no good. However she had managed to sleep throughout my show and was sorry that she had missed it!!! So a new opportunity opens up to me, performing for insomniacs.

Magic of Christmas

Magic for Childrens Parties_Southampton

Magic of Christmas is a term we hear and read a lot at this time of year. Over the years I have written several letters to the Daily Telegraph on a range of subjects but have never had one published, UNTIL NOW. It is shown below and to my mind the short story portrays the Magic of Christmas.

Sir

I am a magician and children’s entertainer. Some time ago I received an inquiry from Southampton. “We are having a Christmas party in our Hindu temple and would like you to entertain the children,” the man said.

I agreed and then remarked “I hope you don’t mind me saying this, but you are having a Christmas party in your Hindu temple?”

“Yes, we all live together in this country and should get on together.”

An example to us all.

Wedding Entertainment, Magicians and Children’s Entertainers

Close Up Magician_Table Magic 1

Wedding Entertainment – Magicians and Children’s Entertainers

For wedding entertainment, magicians and children’s entertainers are an increasingly popular choice. After choosing the venue, the type of reception, the photographer, the cake etc., many couples require some form of wedding entertainment for the guests.There is a wide variety from which to choose.

Before making a booking it is important to consider at which point in the proceedings the wedding entertainment is required and in the case of magic, the type of magic preferred.

The most popular choice is to book a table magician who will go around the tables between courses at the wedding breakfast, performing amazing close up magic right under the noses of the guests. Many table magicians will also perform a special effect for the bride and groom. This can be done either at their table or if preferred, a larger scale effect that can be seen by all the guests in which the bride and groom can rightfully be made the stars of the show but without any embarrassment whatsoever.

Most table magicians can get around between 10 and 20 tables during the time it takes to have a three or four course meal. Dependent on the table configuration this would normally allow for up to 200 guests. For larger weddings a second magician would probably be needed but of course every wedding is different. The precise arrangements would need to be discussed with the prospective magician before making the booking.

The magician can also usefully entertain guests over drinks in the bar or outside in the garden, weather permitting. In this situation magic can be a great ice breaker, particularly at larger weddings where perhaps many of the guests may not know each other. By their nature magicians are not shy of introducing themselves or other people to one another.

At larger weddings magic can also be used to entertain the guests while the photographs are being taken. Very often this can take a long time during which many guests are left standing around.

In choosing a magician it is important to consider whether any children at the wedding will need to be entertained separately, perhaps with, say, a 45 minute magic show during the speeches. This is popular where there are a reasonable number of younger children present who perhaps would get restless during the speeches. Magic shows are generally suitable for children aged 3 and above. Younger children would of course be welcome to watch the show but should be supervised by a parent or other responsible adult. In any event, it is usual to have a minimum of two adults present in the room. Remember, the magician is there to entertain the children, not to act as a baby sitter.

There are many magicians who specialize in close up magic only, which obviously would make them unsuitable for entertaining younger children. Children aged about eight and above enjoy the close up magic for adults but for younger ones special children’s effects are needed. A possibility would be to book a specialist children’s entertainer to entertain the younger ones and a table magician for the adults. It is usually cheaper however to book a magician who entertains both adults and children.Many will give a significant discount if booked for both a close up performance and a children’s show. If a separate children’s show is not required but where there will be some young children at the reception it would be sensible to book a table magician who also entertains children and ask him or her to bring a few children’s effects along.

Another important factor to consider in the choice of magician is the style of the wedding. If it is a formal wedding and the reception is held in a high class venue the choice of a young magician who might turn up in jeans and a tee shirt might not be appropriate however good the magic might be. Conversely, such a magician might be the ideal choice for an informal wedding where the majority of the guests are younger. Decide what you want and ask the magician to dress accordingly.

For those weddings where the reception is held in the afternoon and followed by an evening event to which very often additional guests are invited, a magician can also provide suitable entertainment. This can be in the form of close up magic prior to a disco or perhaps a cabaret act as a main item of entertainment. It is important to remember that close up magic should be finished before the start of any musical entertainment.

Finally, to ensure you are making the right choice, make sure that the magician is suitably experienced, look at the website for photographs taken at weddings to see the reaction of the audience (not clever photos posed in a studio.) Ask for references if in any doubt; this is your special day and everything needs to be right.

Whatever you choose, I hope this article is helpful in illustrating how booking a magician can make your special day really magical.