Category: Blog

News, views and shoes.*
*There aren’t actually any posts about shoes here. But it rhymed and the rhythm of three works well. Hence the shoes.

 

Magical workshop

It was a fun, emotionally exhausting week of workshops. And all started with a random conversation…

Sometimes, pieces of the puzzle are floating all around and I often have a knack of seeing them and putting them together. The results aren’t always satisfying but never-the-less, I’ve had some right corkers and other things, well, let’s just let them stay unsaid.

This time though, it proved to be a right corker.

A friend of mine runs a charity helping special needs children cope with sporting activities. I’ve long been associated with the charity. They were looking at other ways they may be able to help raise smiles and I mentioned another friend of mine who was running a magic workshop.

The two came together rather quickly with yours truly as the jigsaw-connector.

And so my magical mate Tim and I took his Magical Workshop programme into special needs schools over the course of one week in November 2017 under my Magic Moments charitable initiative banner.

It was enormous fun, and challenging, given the range of disabilities with the children, aged between 10 and 19. To see the sheer joy of magic on their faces as they made the magic happen for themselves was more rewarding than any show I’ve ever done.

As a magician, I often forget to appreciate the power a properly presented magic trick can create for an onlooker. Magic can be momentarily traumatic, disrupting reality. Check out any of the top magicians and you’ll see what I mean.

The sessions were very hands-on and since our first workshops we have been overwhelmed with the feedback. I have a stack of hand-made thank-you cards, notes and pictures from one class which have pride of place in my magic den. (Quick note to non-magicians reading this; a magic ‘den’ is basically a room of the house you have convinced your partner to let you have to store all of your related magical ‘crap’ so as not to clutter the rest of the house. It is also private and full of secrets, so never, ever enter another magicians den. ‘Nuff said.)

This Spring, Tim and I are back out visiting more schools and working to develop the students motor-skills, communication and confidence.

We’re also working on new workshops for schools that target many of the anxieties and fears that young people face in an ever-changing world. And magic is an amazing tool to connect with. It breaks down barriers and encourages interaction.

Funny how little things can change your direction, all from a chance occurrence and invisible pieces of the jigsaw waiting to be fitted together.

Feeling Festive!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s that time of year; looking at the usual mass produced nonsense and wondering what to buy our friends and family. If only there was something unique…

And along comes I, Festive Fortune, offering one of my unique portraits each day from today, 12th December, until the last posting day (UK) at a specially reduced price. Only one will be made available each day. To snap it up, please visit my shop here and look for the reduced price among the offerings!

A hint… all my pieces are £75, but one will be available at a seriously reduced rate. Happy looking!

 

Original Portraits now available

Online store selling my original pencil and ink portraiture is now all-systems-go-baby. Please check out (literally, with an original in your shopping cart and support a starving artist!) my online shop here. Thanks!

And, as I mention on the store front, if you buy an original from me then you can show it off with pride as you actually own an original piece of art, unlike your friends who will also claim to have ‘fine art’ on display, usually purchased from The Range. Tut tut.

Art shop – coming soon

It started as a bit of fun to get me back in the swing of doing sketching after a hiatus. The response from my fellow Magi has been most kind and after many requests for prints of my portraits of famous magicians, I’ve decided to make a few originals for sale in the coming days. They will be on a first come, first served basis and available from this here website of loveliness.

The selected works, and new portraits, will be added periodically with the initial shop launch sometime this month.

Each piece of original art will be framed within its own mount and come with a Certificate of Authenticity. And be reasonably priced of course!

Keep an eye out on my social media for details of when the shop will go live via Instagram and Facebook.

Thanks for looking!

The curious incident of the curb-stone at the convention

Having been asked to write a tribute to my dearly departed friend and mentor Eugene Burger (THE philosopher of magic), I’m indebted to Magicseen Magazine for their kind permission to attach it here.

‘Weston-Super-Mare council weren’t to know. How could they? The pavement curb stone outside of the Playhouse Theatre was just another everyday mundane slab of concrete.

The gala show at the Bristol Day of Magic was enjoyable and the conventioneers had gathered on the pavement outside to bid farewell for another year. Like most conventions being a social occasion interspersed with the occasional packet trick and pint.

I was unexpectedly shoved from behind, with a growling voice apologising profusely. I turned to steady the attacker from further onslaught and came face-to-face with a living legend. He had tripped on the curb without being intoxicated (unusual for the inhabitants of Weston) and steadied himself on my wire-like frame.

And that was how I met the man who would go on to become one of my dearest friends, mentor and adopted granddad; Eugene Burger.’ [To read the rest, please click the link below]

Eugene Burger Tribute – Magicseen Issue 77

Magink

My girlfriend Jen (www.artbyjen.co.uk) badgered me into taking part in the latter half of Inktober; namely, drawing something in ink each day and posting online. Rising to the challenge, I decided to do my own version (awkward sod that I am) and have devised Magink – magicians sketched in ink.

If you’re interested and this kind of thing swings your curiosity pendulum to ‘ohhh’ then please check out or follow me on Instagram. Alternatively, you can do one of those thumbs-up likey things on Facebook.

And here’s a sketch of UK underground magician turned super-star Dynamo doing his card-cutting wizardry. Enjoy!

 

 

Eugene Burger: A tribute

Having been asked to write a tribute to my mentor, friend and adopted granddad Eugene Burger, who was the world’s leading voice on the philosophy and role of the magician, inspired me to pick up the pencils after a sabbatical. Miss you Eugene. (Tribute will be published in November issue of MagicSeen.)

 

Is all TV good publicity?

Recently, my director and I were approached to help teach magic to a celebrity couple on a prime-time TV show. We quickly declined. Why?

Television is a platform where you, as a performer, artist or whatever, will have no control over the edit, and therefore will not know how you may be cast. The vast majority of TV production companies will not do anything to tarnish you, your brand or reputation (unless you decide to work for any of the growing number of television shows which do nothing but embarrass the participants) but you will still have no control over what will finally be displayed before the eyes of the masses.

Secondly, television rarely pays any actual cash for these kind of roles. They usually tempt you instead with the ‘publicity’ it will garner for you. Of course, this more often than not, fails to turn into anything tangible. People watch with their minds elsewhere, so they won’t recall you were even on the show (in the 2 seconds that finally did make the final cut), let alone remember your name and what you did. Most shows don’t even offer you expenses.

Thirdly, and this is a biggy for me personally, is a matter of dignity. There just isn’t that much dignity any more to the vast majority of reaility television programming. All of the popular reality shows are made cheaply, and dumbed-down to the level where we can consume it without giving a moments thought to any challenging ideas or concepts.

In the performance business people climb over each other for any kind of television exposure thinking that ‘as seen on TV’ will do them good. I argue that it can do more harm than good. It will rarely, if ever, help you raise your game as a performer, only satisfying your ego. If that’s all it takes to make you feel that you’ve done a good job, then good on you. For others, it’s a case of constantly striving to produce more meaningful and quality work.

It’s a matter of dignity.

 

Blinkers!

Goals, goals, goals… another quick reason why I think short term goals are not something to get too heavily obsessed over; blinkers.

And that’s not a swearword from the Carry-On era.

If we stay focused on the goal, aiming for that and nothing else, then we fail to see opportunities just outside of that vision.

When I reflect on the opportunities and creative projects I have had success with they have come about through a goal-less strategy. Had I been too focused on a particular goal then I’m confident I would have missed these chances to create something.

So free yourself from the never-ending verbiage from ‘get-things-done-Guru’s’ and let goals go for a while. Stay alert and just see what comes your way. You may never know what opportunities you may encounter now you have your blinkers removed. Glance sideways and enjoy the view!

blinker
ˈblɪŋkə/
noun
plural noun: blinkers
  1. 1.
    BRITISH
    a pair of small leather screens attached to a horse’s bridle to prevent it seeing sideways and behind and being startled.

Deep friendship? I think not.

The old fashioned way… I’m staying with friends and we share a meal, sit around the log fire, drink, talk and further add to our developing friendship. Later today I’m with other friends doing the same (exchanging log fire for outdoor fire-pit).

The modern way seems to be a case of gathering ‘friends’ (some boasting 5000 plus) and the conversation being a mixture of funny faces, where ‘love’ is represented by a simple ‘x’. Where is the actual love?

I’m a user of the modern way, but really count my friends as those I actually take time out to see, speak to and share experiences.

Those I invest in. And vice-versa.

A quick tale; many of us were catching up after several years of being apart. We were all around 30 years young. We played games, drank and were generally merry and having fun on hearing each others experiences over the last few years. Two teenagers joined us who both sat at opposite ends of the sofa and were absorbed in their phones and their, no doubt, many ‘friendships’ in the digital world of smiley faces. They wouldn’t join in with us, wouldn’t talk, and struggled to even hold eye contact. When we finally started ribbing them as to who they were ‘texting’ it turned out it was each other! Yep, they were in a ‘relationship’.

Oh. Dear.

Consider the depth of your real friendships with those closest to you. And how they may have drifted apart if a physical hug has become a simple emoji.

As social animals we crave company. And loneliness isn’t solved by a smiley face or an ‘x’. Do as I will now; put the digital world to sleep and go talk!