Yesterday I attended the last wedding fair of 2011 at Northcote House in Sunningdale. The exotic interior of the building makes it look as though it is hundreds of years old, but it was actually built in the early 20th century and given a authentic period feel. As always at events organised by Prestige Wedding Fairs it was a very well run day with plenty of free drinks and canapes for the visitors.
Over the next couple of months I will be busy with Winter weddings and Christmas parties, so won't be at any more wedding fairs until January. I'll post up the venues and dates for those nearer the time.
In the meantime if you want to see me "in action" come along to Old Orleans restaurant in Reading during November when I will be performing round the tables 8pm to 10pm on Tuesday and 12.30 - 2.30 on Saturdays.
On Saturday I spent a couple of hours entertaining at Kieran and Nicola's wedding. They had booked the Beaumont Estate in Old Windsor and walking into the main room full of guests and lit by candles was an amazing experience. I've been here before for wedding fairs, and in fact this was the location for the scenes I filmed for forthcoming romcom "The Wedding Video", but this was the first time I had attended an actual wedding here. I brought along Mr and Mrs Ballooni as a special extra and spent a very enjoyable time performing magic and mind-reading round the tables in between the speeches.
The next day Kieran was kind enough to send me an email - "We had so many comments that all enjoyed the entertainment, I heard laughter and clapping all the time where you were standing".
Many congratulations to Kieran and Nicola, all the best for your future together.
Well I had a great time in America. Met up with some excellent magicians and have brought back some fantastic new magical ideas - look out for them at my future performances!
I spent most of the time in the Orlando area driving around in a soft-top Ford Mustang. In theory this should be a great car but to be honest it was horrible! Suprisingly slow with poor handling and it got through petrol incredibly quickly (although amazingly it's still only £2 per gallon over there).
Being in the Florida I had to spent some time at the theme parks and thoroughly enjoyed Seaworld, Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios. I was particularly impressed with the Harry Potter section of IoA which had created the village of Hogsmeade and Hogwarts itself. There was also the Harry Potter "Forbidden Journey" ride which I thought might be for kids, but it was totally awesome - highly recommended!
I'll be back over in the US before too long, but for now it's good to be back home and performing magic in the UK.
Tomorrow I'm heading off to the USA for a bit of a working holiday. There will be plenty of fun and relaxation, but mixed in with that I plan to meet up with a few American magicians and search out some of the latest magical ideas and routines from the other side of the pond. Should be interesting!
Being away means that I won't be performing at Old Orleans on 15th, 18th and 22nd October - sorry!
While I'm away enquiries may take a little longer than usual to get a reply, so apologies in advance. I will get back to you as soon as I can and plan to be home in the UK around 24th October.
On Wednesday I drove to Cheltenham and spent the day at the annual Literature Festival. It was a bit like the Glastonbury Festival except everyone was over 30, there was no mud and the attraction was books instead of music.
It was a great day for star spotting and I saw Terry Wogan, Fern Britton and Penelope Keith. I also had the pleasure of chatting with Radio 6Music DJ and podcaster Andrew Collins - what a top bloke!
I attended two of the events - one on miltary history (by Max Hastings, Mark Urban and Sir Michael Howard) and another on Nancy Mitford (by Lisa Hilton, Kate Williams and Stella Tillyard). Very different subjects but both absolutely fascinating and as a result of the inspirational speakers I ended up purchasing several new books which will be good to read on my imminent trip to the USA. I tried to get a photo with Max but I don't think he was very keen - see what you think from the picture below!
On Friday I went along to Maxims Casino in Reading to provide some magical entertainment during the evening. The management had asked me to concentrate on the psychological and mind-reading side of things, understandably they didn't want me to spend the night making playing cards appear, disappear and change! It was a lot of fun and I met some extremely interesting people. Whenever I demonstrated a feat of mind-reading the hardened gamblers wanted to know what techniques I was using - so that they could identify "tells" in their poker rivals! The whole evening went really well and I hope to be performing at Maxims again soon.
After the fun of shooting my magic showreel (which will appear on this website very soon) and doing a couple of scenes with Rufus Hound and Lucy Punch for forthcoming film "The Wedding Video" (see below) my third encounter with stardom came thanks to ITV. They sent me an email asking if I'd be interested in appearing on a forthcoming TV show called "The Devil's Dinner Party". It's rather like a mix between Come Dine With Me, Big Brother and Mastermind (!) with guests meeting at a posh dinner party, having a number of discussions and gradually being voted off. The last one standing wins £7000. It sounds like a lot of fun so yesterday I headed off to the ITV studios on the Southbank for my audition/screentest.
As I sat in the reception area waiting to go up to the studio there was an unexpected incident. Suddenly 30 young people rushed into the building, jumped over the security barriers, pushed past the surprised security guards, unfurled some banners and started some very loud chanting. It was a protest about recent events in Turkey and why the British media were failing to cover it. All was chaos for a few minutes before several police vans turned up to restore order. The demonstration was very well mannered and there was no trouble meaning, luckily, that my audition was still able to go ahead.
I spent 20 minutes answering various questions while being filmed and even added in a bit of magic at the end. The final decision on whether I appear on the show will be made in a week or two and filming is scheduled for the first week of November. Fingers crossed!
On the way out of the building afterwards I had to avoid the continuing demo and this meant using the back stairs and walking past the sets used for ITV's Daybreak and Lorraine morning shows! Unfortunately no stars were about but it was a very interesting day and hopefully I'll be a guest at the Devil's Dinner Party soon.
I've been working as the Old Orleans house magician for over 18 months now and it is always a pleasure to entertain the customers. On a Tuesday evening or Saturday lunchtime you can find me performing magic round the tables while people are waiting for their food or relaxing with a drink by the bar. The staff always make me feel welcome and like one of the team, which helps contribute to the great friendly atmosphere. It was even more special than usual this Tuesday. It was my birthday but, as it fell on a Tuesday, I was working in the restaurant rather than out celebrating. But the staff weren't going to let this go unnoticed and decided to put on a special presentation half way through my stint. A group of them appeared with a huge piece of chocolate cake with sparklers in it and a megaphone! "Old Orleans - we have a special birthday in the house - it's our house magician Mike!!!" and then straight into a rousing chorus of "Happy Birthday". I was very touched and the cake tasted lovely. Big thanks to everyone at Old Orleans - what a great bunch of guys and gals!
A little while ago I was invited to a special business event being held at the Madejski Stadium in Reading. This event was aimed at the local business community and was hosted by YELL (formerly Yellow Pages). As I used to work for YELL before becoming a full-time magician it was an event I was very much looking forward to and it certainly did not disappoint. The Madejski is an excellent venue and I thoroughly enjoyed mingling with the guests doing a bit of magic for people. I even bumped into a few old faces who I used to work with a few years ago and they were rather suprised to see that I'd left the corporate world and was now a full-time magical entertainer - quite a career change!
One of the guests and speakers at the event was Gerald Ratner the (in)famous businessman now turned public speaker. He gave an excellent and entertaining presentation on the joys and pitfalls of business. I was lucky enough to grab some of his time afterwards, had a bit of a chat and showed him some card magic.
All-in-all it was a great event and many thanks to YELL for inviting me along. If you've got a forthcoming event that would benefit from a bit of magic then get touch!