Mick joined the Leamington & Warwick Magic Society around 2003/04, after touring worldwide with a Circus company since the early 1990’s. He quickly became involved in all areas of the Society becoming Vice President and President on numerous occasions. Mick brought his business acumen and innovative ideas to help the Society move forward. Mick loves to help, encourage, and support aspiring magicians and encourages everyone to get valuable performance experience at many of the Charity Events he runs.
Q – How long were you the president of the Society?
A – Twice president and twice vice president 4 years of each.
Q – Why did you volunteer for this roll?
A – I hadn’t been a member for long when a delegation of members asked me to be Martin Key’s vice president. I declined because of business commitments but gave in after several more requests but explained it would be run like a business as I’d no spare time for committee meetings.
Q – What would you say was your best achievement for the Society during your Presidency?
A – At that time we had about £300 in the bank and around 12 or 13 members.
My first target was to get the members socialising which is why I introduced the buffet in the break hoping that they would chat whilst eating. It worked. The day of Magic was the idea of Alban Unsworth so together with help from Keith and Alan Cooper we developed it to become a thriving success, not only raising thousands of pounds for the society but, equally as important, it raised the profile of club which in turn raised the membership. With money in the bank and the help of Alan and Mark Traversoni, we enjoyed an annual lecture program that was on a par with any club in the country. Subsequently, John Needham has successfully embraced the role of securing the best lectures available.
Q – What was the biggest challenge?
A – There was very little socialising, members, after watching a lecture, would immediately go home. The remit I gave myself was to make the club as friendly as Coventry Magic Circle, boost the funds, and increase the membership.
Q – When and why did you first get interested in Magic?
A – As a child, in the days of black and white one channel television, I was mesmerized by David Nixon’s magic but it didn’t inspire me to learn because I thought he was a magician and had special powers, much like superman who could fly. Fortunately, he also didn’t inspire me to leap off the roof with one of my mum’s curtains hanging from my neck.
Q – Who is your biggest inspiration in Magic?
A – My inspiration to get into magic came from Billy Tempest, an illusionist from Leeds.
Q – Why did you first start learning & performing magic, and can you remember your first trick?
A – In the 1990’s I was taking shows out to the far East and was booked into Sunday Lagoon in Suban Jaya near Kuala Lumpa in Malasia.
Our show was a mix of circus and theatre with our funfair at the entrance. I got my trapeze and highwire acts from the Hungarian State Circus school in Budapest but at the last minute K.K.Yang, our promoter, asked if we could take a magic act as the Chinese believed in real magic, much like me as a child.
A good friend of mine was Mike Austin, a circus owner, he’d used Billy Tempest and gave me his number. In our show, the trapeze and highwire acts drew good applause which they thoroughly deserved but it didn’t come close to the applause Billy got. At the end of the show, it was Billy’s autograph that people queued for.
This prompted Tara to suggest that we developed a full magic show. My first trick was not a card trick, it was the Christmas casket.
Q – What type of Magician/Entertainer would you say you were when performing?
A – Fair to say my stage act was less David Copperfield and more Tommy Cooper.
Q – What advice would you give to anyone thinking of learning or starting magic?
A – To all aspiring magicians, I suggest you chose a style of Magic that suits your persona and equally important I recommend you put your own interpretation into any trick you buy. Don’t just copy the creator’s style together with 100’s of other magicians. Be different and stand out.
Q – What would you say is the best thing about being a member of a Magic Society?
A – Today’s young aspiring magicians have an amazing tool in the internet which is great as long as they realise it’s a limitation. Yes, it can teach the secrets and techniques of tricks which is invaluable but it’s not the finished article. Being a member of a magic club gives the benefit of experience, the collective experience of the members, members who have performed in the real world. They will teach you the difference between “Being Skilful” and “Being Entertaining” and it is so important not to lose sight of the fact that we are entertainers and magic is just the medium we use to entertain.
Q – What is your favorite effect or routine to perform?
A – My favourite routine is the Christmas casket which is the first trick I learned. I watched Billy Tempest March onto the stage, throw a cloth over the casket, spin it around before whipping the cloth off to reveal his assistant. All over in 40 seconds. And that’s the way magicians around the world perform it. My routine lasts 5 minutes and left Michael Barrymore, Gerramy Beadle, and Ant n Dec crying with laughter as well as being amazed. But
Q – How do you see the future of magic and magic societies?
A – Going forward I love our club and I love helping our less experienced members which is why I willingly invite rank beginners and pros to my charity dinners to practice and gain feedback in the real world.