On Thursday I performed my close-up magic at Leona and Laurence's wedding reception. This was held at Great Fosters in Egham - a very impressive venue that looks like a huge National Trust property. I arrived at the planned time but, as often happens at weddings, things were a little behind schedule so I delayed the start of the magic until the speeches were completed. During this time I had a chat with a few guys in the bar who turned out to be the band who had been booked to play later in the evening. They are called RollerCoaster and having heard them play I can highly recommend them if you need a band for your wedding - their website is http://www.rollercoasterband.net
After the speeches I launched into the close-up magic and worked my way round the tables doing a mix of traditional magic, mind-reading and, for some of the younger guests, a balloon animal or two. Something for everyone! The weather had been lovely all day, unseasonally so for this time of year, and it reminded me that exactly a year ago I was performing at a wedding surrounded by six inches of snow!
Leona and Laurence were very busy, as you'd expect, and didn't get to see any of the magic, but they had seen me at a couple of wedding fairs earlier in the year so knew that it would entertain their guests. I managed to get a couple of photos with them though, just before the cake-cutting, and you can see how happy they were. The whole evening was thoroughly enjoyable and I'd like to wish the happy couple all the best for their life together.
At this time of year I'm doing magic at one party after another and it's a lot of fun, if rather exhausting! A few days ago I was asked to entertain at a party for the staff of Explore Worldwide and told that it was being held at the Farnham Castle. At first I wondered if this was the name of a pub, but as I arrived I found that it really is a castle and a very impressive one at that. The sprawling building, with amazing historic features everywhere you looked, was the perfect setting for a very special Christmas party.
As people started to arrive it quickly became obvious that there was going to be a "masked ball" feel to the evening. Over 90% of the guests had masks on which gave the event a bit of a Venetian feel, quite appropriate for a travel company I suppose. I started with some magic in the bar and then moved into the main room as the meal started. There was background music throughout and I'd be warned that things would get very loud later in the evening as the disco started up, so I made sure to get round everybody before then. As my stint came to an end and I made my way to the door the one of the senior managers took the mic and said "Let's have a big thanks for Magic Mike" and I received a huge round of applause. Many thanks to everyone for a great evening!
On Wednesday I drove to Henley-on-Thames to do some close-up magic in the Loch Fyne restaurant there. It was a freezing cold night and I was glad that there was parking nearby as a long walk in these temperatures wouldn't have been much fun. There was a huge Christmas tree just outside and the restaurant was full of people ready to enjoy the excellent seafood, some live jazz/pop musical entertainment and lots of magic.
It was my first time at this venue so I wasn't sure what to expect, but every table was welcoming and gave me a round of applause after seeing me perform. I particularly enjoyed doing some magic for a group that included a D-Day veteran. He showed me a wonderful card trick that he had learnt many years ago. I had never seen this one before and he was kind enough to explain the secret and encouraged me to add it into my act, which I definitely will do as it is a really elegant piece of card magic. I also did magic for a slightly loud group of estate agents, including the suprising "water vanish" which always goes down well.
Special mention also for Susan Hill and her team at AC&E (http://www.associated-conferences.com/). They are a Marlow-based company who organise corporate events in the UK and abroad. After showing them some of my magical abilities there is a good chance that we will be working together in 2012 - more details soon.
Thanks to everyone at Loch Fyne for making it such an enjoyable evening and I hope to be back doing magic there again in the near future.
"Take a card - any card" How often does a magician say that? I try not to these days, preferring to focus on the side of mind-reading. "Think of a card - any card" Yes, that's much better, and all the more amazing when I demonstrate that I know the card that you're thinking of, maybe even before you do!
However on the occasions when I do get someone to select a card out of the 52 available it's always nice to let them sign it or mark it in some way. That way the card is completely unique and if it then turns up in some completely impossible location that is all the more amazing. These days with worries about identity theft people don't always want to sign a card with their normal signature and some want to demonstrate their creative or artistic talents using the selected playing card as a canvas. Here are a few recent examples...
When performing as a magician these comments come up over and over again. If you find yourself about to say one of them please stop for a second and think of something more original - it will be much appreciated!
"I wouldn't want to play poker with you" (OK, that's understandable)
"Can you make my wife disappear?" (Groan - I hear this at every gig, even at weddings!)
"Can you tell me the lottery numbers!" (No, the numbers are chosen by a machine and you can't mind-read those)
"It's up his sleeve!" (You know what - sometimes it is!)
"I love that Darren Brown bloke on the telly" (err, it's Derren not Darren)
"Can you walk on water like Dynamo" (No)
We're getting close to the end of the year and there are only two more weddings in my 2011 diary. That'll be a total of 40 for the year and next year already looks like being even busier. If you want to book for 2012 (or 2013) then get in touch soon, especially if your wedding is on a Saturday as they all go first.
Money is tight for everyone at the moment so I'm doing some special wedding packages, please get in touch for details but as a guideline you can get some wedding magic for between £200 and £400 depending on the date, location, length of booking and so on. It's the ideal form of entertainment for a wedding reception and provides fun and amazement for your guests, whatever their age. Check out the testimonials page to see comments from just a few of the many satisfied customers who've had a magical wedding.
Many thanks to all of the happy couples who booked me during 2011 and here's to a great 2012!
December is always a busy time for a magician and Saturday evening was my fifth party in three days. It was a special corporate event for J.P.Kenny and held at the classy Runnymede Hotel. The event had been organised by Party Point and I had been invited along to provide the magic after being seen by J.P.Kenny managing director Dave Baker at a BP event earlier in the year. I arrived early to entertain guests as soon as they arrived in the bar area and then continued performing close-up magic round the tables inbetween the courses of the evening meal. There were plenty of party hats, crackers and special extras to make the party go with a bang. Interestingly some of the crackers contained miniature packs of cards and I was asked to do some magic with them. No problem - I had the cards shuffled, asked some people to cut them into four piles and then showed that they had managed to cut to the four aces! This prompted a number of understandable "I wouldn't want to play poker with you!" comments. Later in the evening we added in a little Derren Brown magic and a lottery prediction, this time getting five of the six numbers exactly right and the other one only one away - pretty good if I say so myself. All-in-all it was a great night and many thanks to Sandra at J.P.Kenny and Debbie at Party Point for organising everything so brilliantly.
A few days ago I was performing magic for hundreds of children at a primary school and, as a contrast, I spent some time on Saturday afternoon at a Christmas party for a group of pensioners. I'd been invited along by David Hobbs and it made for a nice change of pace with some relaxed magical routines and, unsurprisingly, no balloon animals this time! There were plenty of card tricks to go with the tea and cake and I was delighted to find everyone so interested and enthusiastic. The time flew by and as I left I was given a rousing round of applause by the whole room, which was really lovely. Happy Christmas to everyone who was there!
On Friday evening I was performing magic at a special party for the staff of Sunrise Senior Living. It was being held at the amazing Burnham Beeches hotel, a great venue that has hosted the England football team, amongst others. The start of the evening had to be put back a bit as there was an accident on the M4 delaying the arrival of many guests, so I did some extra magic to fill the gap. This went down really well and as everyone arrived the party really got going. I pulled out all of the stops to perform some amazing magic and mind-reading and had some great reactions from all of the guests. It was an excellent night and many thanks to party organisers Olivia and Laura at Leapfrog International (http://www.leapfrog-int.co.uk/) for inviting me to provide the magical entertainment.
On Friday afternoon I drove to Langley to do some magic at a school Christmas party. There was a large selection of entertainment - tasty food, Father Christmas, the school choir, facepainting and, of course, some magic. The doors opened at 3pm and within a few minutes there were hundreds of excited children and parents thronging the school halls. I started off with some magic but very quickly found that most of the youngsters were after balloons - animals, hats, crowns, swords and more. A large queue quickly formed and for the next 90 minutes I made one balloon model after another, with hardly a second's break! The modelling balloons that I use are extra strong so that they last for a week or two after being made, but this also means that they have to be inflated with a special balloon pump and as the afternoon went on I worried that mine might break from all the use it was getting, leaving a queue of disappointed children, but luckily it survived and everyone got the balloon they were after. A great, if exhausting, afternoon!