I'm often asked how I got in to magic and became a magician, so I thought I'd share my experience here.
For me it started with that incredible feeling of seeing magic. I had always watched and enjoyed the TV specials from Dynamo and Derren Brown, and loved the feeling of astonishment and childhood wonder that I would be left with for days afterwards. For a long time my experience of magic was limited to TV and online videos, and I was not prepared for the incredible feeling of watching it live.
Whilst organising our wedding, my wife and I had been to the National Wedding Show in London to check out the decorations and dresses. As my wife was trying on dresses with our Maid of Honour, I was left alone to explore the huge venue of Olympia, London. During this exploration I encountered several Wedding Magicians, and this was the first time that I had experienced close-up magic in person. One magician had a playing card selected and signed, lost in to the deck and miraculously had it appear inside a closed compartment of his wallet! I watched him time and time again as he performed this to several couples, and I could not for the life of me work out how on earth he done it. Another magician had two ladies close their eyes as their friends watched on, and as he tapped one of them on the arm three times the second lady swore she felt it - she felt him touch her on the arm all three times despite him being nowhere near her!
Watching close-up magicians made time just fly by, and it wasn't long before I had to meet back up with my wife. She could instantly see that I had excitement in my eyes, and all I could say was
"Darling, we are going to have a magician at our wedding!"
Not long after, we were given a recommendation for a local magician in Thanet and I got in contact with him straight away. As well as watching some incredible videos, I was invited to meet him at a recently opened magic shop in Broadstairs, Thanet, - Wormworlds Emporium Of Magic. I didn't know at the time that this would become the start of something big for me. Excitedly, I went in to the shop and introduced myself to Clint Stevenson, now a great friend and co-founder of Spinningtop Children's Entertainment.
I can still remember the moment now - Clint gave me two cards, the Queen of Hearts and the Queen of Diamonds. All I had to do was remember which was which. I had seen them clear as day in my hands, so this seemed like an easy task.
"Would you be more imrpressed if the Queen of Hearts or the Queen of Diamonds was on top?"
Quite smugly I answered "Diamonds of course!"
As I turned the cards over to check I could not believe my eyes - they had turned in to the two black Aces!
I hired Clint as the magician for our wedding instantly. Over a year on since our wedding, I am reminded by those that were there of how amazing everybody thought he was whenever the subject of our wedding comes up. Never mind the fantastic live band, fireworks display, incredible cake and of course an actual wedding! I still think about how brilliant it is that one person can create such a long lasting impact on people - and this is why I enjoy being a magician so much.
Now I stood amazed by magic, in a shop full of magic props and full routine tutorials. What else was I going to do but buy some magic to perform at home?! This was the start of an obsession. I would spend countless hours practicing alone at home and pretty soon I was performing a whole host of miracles to friends and family. If you have an interest in performing magic, then I could not recommend finding your nearest magic shop enough. I visited the shop and met with Clint several times in quick succession and every time he got me more and more excited about magic. On one particular visit, I remember the owner, now a dear friend Sam Watson MMC, came in to store with the excitement and energy that only he can have.
"Are you a magician?!"
"No, no, I just like showing magic to my nephews and family"
I was nervous and not yet confident in my abilities, but in time I started to answer yes to that question.
Soon afterwards, Houdini's Magic Bar opened a few doors down from the shop in Broadstairs, Thanet. They told me all about it and I made sure that I was there for their Grande Opening, with magician Ettiene Pradier performing. I cannot explain in words the energy and atmosphere that that place had that evening, and I became quite a regular. With different performers and shows every night, I was obsessed with this place.
Incredible Magic and Outstanding Cocktails
The bar also hosts it's own Magic Club - The Houdini's Black Card Club. In no time at all I applied to enter, and there I have met some incredible local talent. If you are currently learning magic, then I can not emphasis enough how valuable local magic clubs such as these truly are! Sam and Claudette, along with the members there, welcomed me in to their community so brilliantly, and helped me develop my hobby in to an art form. It is here that I learned that magic is so much more than sleight of hand, but is a performance piece where the entire experience is in the hands of the performer - this is where I first learned what makes the difference between a professional magician and somebody that learns some tricks for family or friends at the pub, which is the category I would have put myself in at this stage. I learned why the magicians at the wedding fair, Clint, and the magicians at Houdini's were able to be so entertaining and leave such a lasting impression.
Thanks to the bar and the club, I learned and developed in the art of magic even further than i imagined I could. After several months of practising and training, I was given even more coaching and was eventually invited to perform a show at the bar. I was so nervous leading up to that evening, but once the show started I enjoyed it so so much! Since then, I have been performing more regularly at the bar and at venues and events around Kent. I still get excited every time I learn something new, and also enjoy creating miracles of my own. Performing is still the same buzz as it was that first evening at Houdini's, and I've now had the pleasure of performing to so many fantastic people around Kent.
Now a magician performing around Thanet and Kent
So this is my story, as people often ask after a performance why and how I got in to magic. If you are looking to get in to magic, then I really would recommend finding your local magic shop and magic club - they have been invaluable to me. I hope that someday I get to give you a moment of astonishment, and maybe even spark your interest in magic!