Meet the Members… Charlie Robinson

Charlie is an exceptional talent. If you didn’t know he was still a teenager (at the time of writing), then you would think his interview answers were from a very wise old wizard. He is very creative, innovative, and has a very charming style of performance. He’s an award-winning Magician and Mind Reader and has been performing and studying his art since the age of 5. He has mastered all the essential elements of magic such as card tricks, coin tricks, metal bending, and mind-reading using psychological techniques! Charlie regularly performs for organisations across the country has performed on Free Radio, and has played multiple theatre shows. The future of Magic is certainly in safe hands with performers like Charlie.

Q. When and how did you first get interested in Magic?

A. I was 5. It’s very cliché but I saw a magician performing and was hooked.

Q. Who is your biggest inspiration in Magic?

A. I have several depending on what area of magic. So, for example, Manipulation inspirations include Channing Pollack and Jeff McBride, mentalism inspirations include Max Maven, Theodore Annemann, Derren, Peter Turner and Joseph Dunninger, card inspirations include Juan Tamariz and Michael Vincent. I do really like Tommy Wonder too as well as lots of my friends in magic who I’m lucky to have.

Q. What was the first effect you learned?

A. A spring and ring trick. It was more of a puzzle, essentially, the magician was the only person who could remove a ring from a spring.

Q. What type of performer would you say you are?

 A. Again this really depends, I’ve done theatre shows dedicated to mentalism, comedy magic, séance/bizarre magic (one of my favourite areas) so I’m always changing and planning shows but in all of them, I aim to come across as elegant and elusive in my performances.

Q. What effect are you working on at the moment?

A. At the time of writing this, I’m currently promoting my new séance show “Lucid Nightmare” so most of the work at the moment is structuring it and scriptwriting.

Q. Why did you join the Society?

A. It was one of the only local societies near me. I’ve found in my opinion it’s been the best society I’m part of. Everyone is easy to approach and the lectures and club nights are so much better than lots of other clubs.

Q. What would you say is the best thing about being a member of a Magic Society?

A. You get to learn from others, and you get to help others. By teaching we are learning and the more we learn the more we can teach. It’s also a great thing to be able to put on websites and social media.

Q. You have put on some stage shows, what inspired you to do this?

A. I always wanted to do something different. Every magician around my age is posting the same chewing gum type tricks on social media and I wanted to do something no one else like me is doing, on a larger scale. Stage magic is also one of my favourite genres. I also love the build-up to a stage show. The anticipation and whole theatre atmosphere. When my first theatre show sold out in just over 7 days, I knew it was going to be something I would love doing again; and it has!

Q. Did the shows go as well as you expected?

A. Yes and no is the short answer. They get better the more you do them, so, my second show was better than my first etc. I’d practiced whenever I could so my tricks and stunts were flawless and had the script, I’d written memorised perfectly. However, some things can go wrong. For example, I do a lot of stunts that aren’t necessarily magic but fit with my act and are real (making them dangerous). In my first show, when I went to hammer a real, 5-inch nail up my nose I very nearly hammered it wrong nearly drawing blood. A lot of the methods I use are very bold as well, so I also nearly had a nail impaled through my hand. This is when I realised the next shows I did; I would have to train even harder, reducing the risk of failure.

Q. What have you learnt from putting on shows?

A. I’ve learned a lot! Stage presence and confidence are the main ones. I now use these same skills I’ve learnt from performing on stage, in normal day to day life on a smaller scale.

Q. Is there anything you don’t like about magic?

A. Although I’ve grown up watching technology develop, I really don’t like technology in magic. I think there’s far too much that can go wrong (I know from certain situations) A lot of things that use technology in magic can be used without it as well.

Q. What do you like most about magic?

A. The experience. I believe magic isn’t something we see or touch, but something we feel emotionally after seeing something we can’t comprehend. The beauty of this for me is that there is no world where magic isn’t real. We do tricks, we watch illusions. We FEEL magic.

Q. What advice would you give to anyone thinking of learning or starting magic?

A. Do what you can when you can. Build a following and build yourself a style/characteristic.

Q. What is your favourite thing to perform?

A. It depends what situation and what setting. I have a nice routine for one person in an intimate setting, but I also love my stage version of bill to lemon as well as anniversary waltz for the bride and groom at weddings.

Q. What is the most difficult thing you have tried to do or learn?

A. Become more confident and how to read people to see who will appreciate the magic the most. A lot of my confidence comes from my larger shows.

Q. What do you do when someone asks you to ‘do something’ when you’re not expecting it?

A. I usually always have something on me but in case I don’t, I perform quite a lot of propless effects.

Q. What would like to achieve in magic?

A. Ideally to fool Penn and Teller and/or have my own Vegas show but realistically, I just want to do it for the rest of my life and get by doing the thing I love.

Q. What would be your ‘Desert Island’ trick?

A. Just give me a deck of cards and I’ll be sorted. In all seriousness, I’m not too sure. That’s a really hard question.

Q. Are there any other words of wisdom you’d like to leave with us?

A. I was always told confidence is key and to be bold. Although many people will look past this advice, I feel I made a good decision to use it and embrace it. I set a reminder on my phone just saying “Be Bold” so I see it every day as a constant reminder. I’ll be honest – probably 30% of what I do is luck from being bold. Also, if there’s an opportunity; take it! You never know when something could turn into a miracle.

Charlie is performing his very own Zoom ‘seance’ show on 30th October 2020 at 19.30. Contact Charlie at charlierobinsonmagician@gmail.com or go to https://www.facebook.com/CharlieRobinsonMagician for more details.

Meet the Members… Matthew Redmond

Matt has been a professional performer and magician since 1991 and still has a very deep love for magic.  He has a very lovable ‘family entertainer’ style of performing and will hit you with a barrage of jokes before wowing you with his magic. However, it is very safe to say, he is certainly NOT Houdini.

Q. When did you first get interested in magic?
A. I first got interested in magic as a young boy at about six years old when I got a Paul Daniels magic set for a present.

Q. Who is your biggest Inspiration in magic.
A. The greats, such as Tommy Cooper, Houdini, and Chung Ling Soo.

Q. What was the first trick you learned?
A. The first trick I learned was probably the 21-card trick, as cards were easily accessible to a young boy.

Q. What are you working on at the moment?
A. I am currently road testing a straitjacket escape prototype from my friends at De-Val Magic, improving my linking rings and looking into the use of a topit.

Q. You perform magic as a full-time job, when did you first start doing this?
A. I started professionally performing magic in October 1991 when I received a Princes Trust grant. However, I had already been performing magic for money for a while, but after receiving the grant it was then all or nothing.

Q. What do you enjoy most about performing for the public?
A. Definitely the audience reaction I get, regardless of who I’m performing to.

Q. What do you most struggle with when performing professionally?
A. I would like to say that I tend to cope with most situations. However, I do struggle with nerves beforehand, especially for competitions.

Q. What advice would you give to anyone thinking of learning or starting magic?
A. Read read read and read more. There is a plethora of magic knowledge in the books of the past and many youngsters coming into magic only look at the DVDs. Some of the greatest knowledge available are in books, that were written long before DVDs.

Q. What advice would you give yourself if you could go back to when you started.
A. The only advice I would give myself is I should’ve started magic professionally earlier. It was always what I loved and is still what I love.

Q. What would you like to achieve in magic
A. I would like to achieve a full-time working wage. Life can be hard for an entertainer as income can be very sparse at some points in your career.

Q. Is there anything you don’t like about magic?
A. As with all groups of people, there can be a lot of bitchiness between, let’s say rivals. It’s really not necessary because we’re all different and we would all be much better magicians and performers if we helped each other to improve a lot more.

Q. What is the most difficult thing you’ve tried to do in magic?
A. Learning new tricks or effects. Some things take a really lot of work to perfect, so you should never perform a trick for the public until it is perfect. It takes a long time to get a trick or routine just right, but once you have, it can be a work of art.

Q. What is your favourite effect or routine to perform?
A. I have many, but, the link rings, the cups and balls, and the bowling ball production rate highly in my favorites. However, I love any magic that gets a great reaction from the audience.

Q. What do you do when someone asks you to do something when you’re not expecting it?
A. You should always have some trick up your sleeve (pardon the pun). I usually have a packet trick in my wallet or I perform coin tricks. This of course blows away the theory of impromptu tricks because there is no such thing as an impromptu trick because you should have practiced it!

Q. What is the biggest and most memorable show you have performed?
A. I have two of these, I was asked to perform a close-up magic show for Prince Charles at a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace for a Princes Trust Anniversary, and when I performed as a warm-up act for Jimmy Cricket for a few events on his tour.

Q. What would be your desert island trick?
I suppose it would have to be linking rings or cups and balls as they can be so varied. Of course, if I was really stranded on a desert island, I could make up cups and balls from coconut shells, so maybe there’s your answer.

Q. Are there any other words of wisdom you’d like to leave us with?
To anyone who performs magic… You’re never too big to learn from someone.

Some of the biggest performers, who you would think to know everything, will sit there in front of an amateur thinking ‘that’s a good move, line or gag’. So everyone, no matter how experienced, should be open to self-improvement and learning from everyone.

A lot of magic societies have certain lectures full, and some lectures, unfortunately poorly attended. However, a lecture you didn’t attend because it wasn’t your thing, may have had a real gold nugget of a trick that you could have changed to improve your own act. Never stop learning.

Contact Matt at www.iamnothoudini.co.uk 

Meet the Members… Kev G

Kev G is not only a great performer but is also a creator and inventor of magic tricks and routines much loved by the magic community. Kev is a real thinking mans’ magician and whether he is reading your mind, solving a Rubix Cube in 2 seconds, or showing you some amazing sleight of hand, you will be left with the feeling of being in the presence of a real-life professor of wizardry.

Q. When and why did you first get interested in Magic?

A. It’s difficult to pinpoint a specific time as I grew up with Paul Daniels on TV followed by David Blaine and then Derren so I think I always had intrigue and it really wasn’t until I was about 17 that I really started to delve deeper and grow my love of magic after a friend had shown me a card trick, which I was totally fooled by. I needed to know how it was done, so that led me on a book quest to find my answer and it never stopped.

Q. Who is your biggest inspiration in Magic?

A. I would say it has to be Derren Brown. I remember his first show airing whilst I was at college and at the time it was incredible. I think the fact that he was British, and had also taken a different angle from everything that had come before him was a breath of fresh air. Derren continues to push the art forward and he’s such a superb showman.

Q. What was the first trick you learned?

A. The oldest memory I have is learning the ‘broken match’ trick that my Dad showed me. A match is wrapped in a handkerchief (This was in the 80’s) and snapped – you feel and hear the matchstick snap in two, only to unravel the handkerchief to reveal it is fully restored! A miracle!

Q. What type of Magician/Entertainer would you say you are when performing?

A. Firstly, I think there’s a clear difference between the two. In order for magic to be entertaining, I feel it’s important to put as much of yourself into your performance persona as however good your magic is, it’s really you that the audience needs to connect with and build a rapport. If they like you, then the entertainment levels are naturally elevated. In that vein, I would say that I’m a confident, charismatic, and fun person to be around whilst performing.

Q. You are also a creator of magic and have released some great effects, where/how do you get the inspiration to come up with these ideas?

A. Thanks! Yeah, I’m humbled that they’ve been so well received and have been performed on TV around the world, it’s crazy to think about how far-reaching and accessible things have become. I think my inspiration has come from wanting to solve problems for myself, creating pieces that I’d like to perform.

I always keep my eyes peeled for interesting items or inspiring objects that could potentially be useful for an entertaining piece of magic. I have lots of tools and bits and bobs in my office, so if I have an idea it’s likely I can come up with some sort of solution fairly quickly to play around with. Sometimes an idea may take a backseat for a while and sit on my desk, until I find that missing piece of the puzzle or I know it can be improved further to a point I’d be happy performing it.

Q. If you could go back and re-invent one of your products now, which one would it be and what differences would you make?

A. Oh that’s got me thinking! I don’t think a magic effect is ever necessarily ‘finished’ and continues to grow with performances and input from others. I see them more like babies when they’re first conceived and once you release them to the community you can see how well they flourish and grow over time.

So really I can’t say I’d go back and re-invent any of my products, but there would definitely be additional ideas and thoughts I could go back and add now.

Q. How long have you been a member of LAWMS Magic Society and why did you join?

A. The first meeting I attended was 7th September 2011. At this point, I’d already been heavily into magic for at least 10 years and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought about searching online for local clubs before. Magic can be a very isolated hobby as obviously you don’t want to share any of your secrets with people you’re performing too.

The first meeting I attended, Dave Bonsall was lecturing and he was brilliant. It was great to have found somewhere to discuss magic, learn from others and develop your skillset further so I quickly became a full member.

Q. Is there anything you don’t like about magic?

A. There’s nothing I don’t like about magic in itself. What I’m not a fan of is the way magic can get a bad name for itself due to the behaviour of some magicians or poorly rehearsed and executed effects that really haven’t been thought through.

So I guess I don’t like the miss representation that magic can sometimes get from poor performances or the stereotypes of the ‘classic magician’ which are so far removed from the magic performed by many today.

I also think that sometimes there is a general perception that magicians are out to get one up on their audience, and they can really do Harry Potter wizardry. This is evident from the posts published online with people trying to debunk effects they’ve seen on TV or YouTube, which I’m not really a fan of. Really these people are just trying to stroke their own ego and display a level of bravado that they can’t be fooled. In reality, I think they’ve totally misunderstood what ‘magic’ is and I feel sorry that they’ve closed themselves off from experiencing a moment of wonder and disbelief. It’s that moment that really matters no matter how long it lasts.

Q. What advice would you give to anyone thinking of learning or starting magic?

A. Don’t rely on YouTube to learn. I understand everyone needs to start somewhere and online content such as YouTube is easily accessible and can be useful in certain instances. But too many youngsters rely too heavily and learn either poor effects and/or pick up really bad habits from people who are, to be honest, not really very good.

My advice would be to join a magic club or find a mentor so that you can receive helpful advice and guidance, rather than wasting time looking in the wrong places.

It’s also really tempting for beginners to spend lots of money on things that they’ll never use or that are just not right for them so will save you money in the long run.

Q. What is the most difficult thing you have tried to do or learn in magic?

A. Difficulty in magic is a bit of a sliding scale based on your prior knowledge, experience and skill set. When I first started, I don’t think I’d ever have imagined having accomplished what I’ve done to date. I could list hundreds of technical card moves that I can’t do, but I think I felt real accomplishment when I first learnt to solve the Rubik’s cube – which I am now addicted too!

Q. What is your favourite piece of magic to perform?

A. It’s got to be ‘cube cards’. I’m not just saying that as it’s my own routine, but also because it has multiple moments of magic, its hard-hitting and it’s just fun to perform.

Q. What do you do when someone asks you to ‘do something’ when you’re not expecting it?

A. It depends on the location and what items may be within close proximity, it’s always fun to be put on the spot and think on your feet. I like using personal items that people care about so probably something with their mobile phone or a bit of mindreading.

Q. What would you like to achieve in magic?

A. I’d like to do some more lectures at other magic clubs around the country, but my plans were somewhat hampered by the pandemic. I’m also in the process of writing up a number of effects and ideas to be published as a booklet, so I’m really looking forward to finishing that and getting it printed. I’m also looking forward to getting out and doing gigs again once restrictions are lifted, so if you’re getting married give me a shout or contact me via my website http://magicwedding.co.uk

Q. What would be your ‘Desert Island’ trick?

A That’s a no brainer, it’s got to be ‘walking on water’. Failing that, turning water into wine would work for me also!

Contact Kev at: http://magicwedding.co.uk

Meet the Members… Stephen Folwer

Stephen has a great love of magic and probably has the biggest private collection of magic effects in the Midlands! He is always very keen to help and contribute to the Society in any way he can and is very passionate about certain aspects of magic. Stephen certainly has his own unique style of performing and always leaves you with a smile on your face.

  • When and why did you first get interested in Magic?

I am a lifelong enthusiast and I have always had a deep fascination with Magic. I have very happy and incredibly important memories of seeing Magic done on TV which has always been very special for me.  

Perhaps unusually for someone with a lifelong interest, I did not start learning or performing magic until I was an adult.

  • Who is your biggest inspiration in Magic?

PT Selbit, the great early 20th Century British Magic inventor and performer who invented many varied effects including several famous stage illusions.

  • What was the first trick you learned?

Rubber Band Jump: one of the first tricks many people learn when starting Magic. A rubber band jumps from the first two fingers to the last two fingers.

  • What type of Magician/Entertainer would you say you are when performing?

Well, I very much like to bring wonder, fun and often comedy and entertainment value! I put a lot of thought into how to present effects and what visual gags, patter and jokes I can fit in with them.

Some of the comedy just seems to happen though! I like to have a good laugh with people (when appropriate!) although I can be a bit nervous and unpredictable, I always aim to have a good rapport with my spectators. So, an unusual and informal Comedy Magician!

  • You have a huge collection of magic, what is your favourite item?

I have some books on Magic including Magic History which I find fascinating, and one which gives a good overview of Magic History is The Illustrated History of Magic, by Milbourne Christopher.

I have many Cabaret Magic items I have purchased from LAWMS auctions, other LAWMS members and some from the great late Keith Pearson. I have several items I am currently working on which include great visual items that have colour and form changes.

  • What is your least favourite item?

Anything that does not work, needs fixing, or I cannot get to work, (and sometimes are missing bits / instructions), or where I have not figured which goes with what and what it actually does. Yes, I am not so keen on these items!

  • What would you say is the best thing about being a member of a Magic Society?

I have made a lot of good friends and have many happy shared memories. Many members have been very encouraging, getting me going with performing Magic.

I speak to and see many members at club meetings and outside the club. This has built genuine friendships and a positive community. We all have different insights and areas of expertise which we share with each other and contribute, which can greatly benefit a Magic club.

  • Is there anything you don’t like about magic?

Yes: though I like and am interested in all types and aspects of Magic, there are things I feel do not help Magic as a whole and have caused a disconnection between some in the Magic Community and the Public, many of which support and are big fans of Magic.

Sometimes magicians reveal secrets (not as an actual exposure) but when proving/stating they are not using other methods (used elsewhere). This is all well-and-good within their own performance, but it’s not good for Magic as a whole!

Within the community of magicians, while we are entitled to have our own preferences, likes and dislikes, there can be intolerances of other genres and performance styles of Magic. Provided everything is ethical, performed well, with respect, consideration, and the right reasons, there is enough space for all of us in The World of Magic.

Also, some in the Magic Community do develop aversions to well-known effects. They think all audiences think this. However, the Classics are Classics for a reason. They have remained famous and memorable and are what many people instantly relate to and recognise. We may have seen/do; e.g. Linking Rings, Professor’s Nightmare many times, but many of the public will not have seen these tricks, or not that often.

This issue of aversion to doing famous Classics is especially true of Pulling-a-Rabbit-out-of-a-Hat (the real issue being: are the animals themselves OK and with no detriment to their welfare, and ensuring this) and Sawing-a-Lady-in-Half (the real issues are to make as safe as possible and respect the assistant).

When people keep asking a magician if they can perform the tricks I mention above, this means they are genuinely interested, relate to, and have an affinity to these effects. Just because some in the Magic Community have seen them performed several times, does not mean we should never perform them again. (There are of course some in this country and many abroad who still do these Classics of Magic). Of course, I am also not against the invention of new tricks and new versions of effects. Nor am I suggesting we do not do less famous effects.

I am very sad about this entire recent “Women in Magic” “issue”, with some people saying (and putting their own untrue opinions as to what they want and would like to think is the case): “there aren’t enough/where are the women (lead/solo performers) in Magic” and “they were sawn in half in the past but now things are changing” etc. This has become needlessly and incredibly toxic and not helpful to anyone. As far as I am concerned, things are more straightforward: there have always (now and over history) been lead performers in Magic who are female. It is really a ratio where it (performing solo Magic or in the title lead role with other Magical performers) is more common amongst males. Magicians that are female are not being stopped from performing! Many ladies who are magicians (solo or lead performers in Magic) perform, entertain and mix with the male magician majority very happily. It’s only recently a magician’s gender was even brought up or even an issue.

Also, support performers, especially “the lovely assistants” are seen as “less than”, by some within the Magic Community, despite them knowing that shows and tricks cannot be done without the assistants and are central to much of the Magic! I would actually go as far as to say that, although I like all genres of Magic, the Glamorous assistants are the very Heart and Soul of Magic. We need parity of acknowledgment and respect for Magic assistants, as we do for magicians, Double Acts, Stage Hands, Magic historians and trick inventors etc… likewise for our audiences. We all need to come together.

  • What advice would you give to anyone thinking of learning or starting magic?

The book I suggest is The Art of Magic and Sleight of Hand, by Nicholas Einhorn.

It’s good to see what tricks and what sort of performer (what patter, jokes, gags and style) works for you. Different people have preferences on the effects they do and how they perform. They should find their own individual performing style, persona, ideas and what works for them and their routines.

Magic is here for whatever one wants to do: mentalism, coins, cards, illusions, escapes etc and any combination of the areas of Magic.

Ask others for honest constructive feedback on what to keep or change etc.

Also, for me personally, especially as someone relatively new to actually performing Magic, stick to what you’re comfortable with when performing. Keep the effects you are “still working on” for yourself and other Magic club members e.g. on a club night: “what do you think of this?” and get feedback.

  • What is the most difficult thing you have tried to do or learn in magic?

So far, it has been considering and being sure of the angles for my Dice Matrix.

  • What is your favourite piece of magic to perform?

I will probably have a better more definite answer in a few years when I have built up more routines, although I have found that Dice Matrix is one I really like. I also enjoy performing “Prediction” mentioned in the question below.

  • What do you do when someone asks you to ‘do something’ when you’re not expecting it?

I carry 3 or 4 tricks in my wallet.

I have a version of Free Will, Colour-Changing Kings to Aces and sometimes Mystery Calculator. If I have a flat surface to work on, I do what I believe to be called “Prediction” because it’s an amusing trick (which seems like a wind-up) with an unexpected ending!

  • What would you like to achieve in magic?

I very much hope to help ensure UK TV Magic can return to how I remember from my childhood. To have a return to how it was and should be. I was born in 1982 and remember much more Magic being on and much of it being truly wonderful. But for the last say, 25 years, there has been a general absence of UK TV Magic in a full definite way.

Though there have been many smaller series and one-off specials in the last 20 years, on British TV, there is no Prime-Time, warm-hearted fully produced fun family shows with dancers, guest Variety acts and all different types of Magic.

The Paul Daniels Magic Show finished after a long run and since then we have had some series including some on Prime-Time and more recently “The Magicians” for two series on BBC 1. There has been great output from Stephen Mulhern on ITV 1, and some things on BGT (and on the US AGT that sometimes has been shown here), for examples, but the overall presence is still not here like it is around the World.

I would also like to fully heal Magic, where everyone feels welcome in the Magic Community and where there is not this disconnection with performers and the public. Where wonder and enchantment are preserved. Encouraging everyone that Magic is for everyone, whether watching, finding out about, performing or any combination of these.

Also, for myself as an individual performer: well, I am quite happy to continue entertaining people. I have not learned much complex Magic so far, and I am still a relative beginner. I may well improve and hopefully continue to learn more and keep learning. I am not really expecting to be the ultimate sleight-of-hand artist or illusionist with the biggest show!

We also need to conserve and preserve Magic for future generations and this includes the history as well as the creation of new things.

I certainly hope to continue to pursue my academic study of Magic. If I am very lucky, my big dream is creating and directing shows with other performers, inventing new effects, ideas and presentations!  

  • What would be your ‘Desert Island’ trick?

A production cabinet, shown empty (to anyone else there, but just to myself if just me!), e.g. a Tip-Up Trunk, and make a beautiful lady appear! In fact, anyone happy to join me for a Happy Island Party! Also, the empty cabinet could produce food, water and medical supplies!

Contact Stephen at: https://www.facebook.com/stephen.fowler.18062 

Meet the Members… John Needham

John is a true gentleman entertainer and always has a twinkle in his eyes when performing. John has built up a wealth of magical and entertainment knowledge over the years and is always there to offer sage advice and wisdom. John is a former Blue Coat at Pontins Holiday Camps and more recently an Art Teacher. Now retired, John enjoys his leisure time painting on canvas, honing his magical skills and organising the lectures and diary for the Society.
 
Q When and why did you first get interested in Magic?
A I first got interested in magic when I was about fifteen or so. I knew Bernard Anderson then (a former and well-known member of the Leamington and Warwick Magic Society). I went to school with his son and daughter. I often talked magic with him and gained an early interest from the tricks he showed me. I also saw a magic show at the University of Warwick Arts Centre which also developed my interest. The magician was the Great Kovari. Magic is a fascinating hobby and there is always so much to learn- either new things or just improving what you do. From the mid-1980s I went to work for Pontins Holidays where I performed regular shows. I virtually stopped doing magic after about seven years of working with Pontins when I became a school teacher. I guess the magician never left me as a few years later I renewed my interest again.
 
Q Who is your biggest inspiration in Magic?
A When I was young I watched people like David Nixon, Paul Daniels, Doug Hennings as well as David Copperfield. These were inspirations. I don’t really have a particular favourite as I prefer to be myself rather than a copy of someone else. It is the same with my artwork- I prefer to have my own style and be known for myself. When I perform magic I want people to remember me as John Needham- not someone who tries to be another David Nixon or Paul Daniels etc.
 
Q What was the first trick you learned?
A Probably the first was a rope trick where you can tie a knot in it without letting go of the ends or doing a cut and restored rope trick.
 
Q What type of Magician/Entertainer would you say you are when performing?
A There is an old saying in magic where a magician is not a magician but an actor playing the part of a magician. You play the role that is suitable for the audience you are working to. To me I am a performer first and magician second. It is my role to entertain an audience so I try to be conscious of the audience and what will entertain them. Some people like the comedy and humour while others want to see more straight magic. It is all about getting to know your audience and adapting to that. I do like magic that not only baffles an audience but has a strong fun element. Being baffled should be fun for an audience.
 
Q What are you working on at the moment?
I am doing a lot of work into the psychology of magic and how to make the magic I do even more effective and appealing to an audience. Mastering the sleight of hand and skill elements is only a part of the task- it is also about performing it and gaining and maintaining their interest to create an entertaining experience. I constantly go through all the tricks I do and improve and amend. I will even drop tricks that I feel might be getting tired and old to keep things fresh for myself. I tend to be my own strongest critic! I am fortunate that I have friends that I can try out material on (thanks Denis and Andrèa).
 
Q You’re a very talented artist and painter and was an art teacher, has this creativity helped you with your magic?
A Thank you for saying so! I have always had a strong creative streak in me from a very young. So I guess that this feeds into a lot of what I do whether it is magic or painting pictures. However, the two are usually separate. When I am doing magic I am playing that role and when I am painting pictures I am in that zone. I also am learning to play the flute. I have always enjoyed doing different things.
 
Q When and why did you join the LAWMS committee?
A I joined the Leamington and Warwick committee a few ago as Lecture organiser. These magic clubs are very important and should be supported by magicians. We can get a lot online but nothing should try to replace the actual meeting of likeminded people who can together strive to develop the art and promote magic to the public.
 
Q What is your vision for the Society? What sort of Society would you like us to be in 5 years-time?
A This is kind of answered with the previous question. I would like to see a society that promotes the improvement of the art not only within the skills of its members but as a respected group of people by other magic societies and sought after by the public as an excellent group of magicians.
 
Q What would you say is the best thing about being a member of a Magic Society?
A Again as previously stated being a member of the society means that like-minded people can get together and discuss magic, share ideas and help each other to improve their personal skills. You cannot really do this online. I am not really a fan of all this internet and online stuff- I prefer the personal approach. The society allows magicians to show each other tricks and share ideas and give positive and constructive opinions. We also have an excellent lecture programme which is generally much more useful and meaningful when done for real rather than virtual.
 
Q Is there anything you don’t like about magic?
A Not really.
 
Q What advice would you give to anyone thinking of learning or starting magic?
A As a child I was quite a shy person and magic is an excellent way of developing yourself as a person and learning to be confident. So my advice would be to not only develop your skills but also develop yourself as a person and think about how you perform as well as what you perform. The mechanics of the trick is only part of the story- presenting the trick is also very important. Also, try to be discerning about the tricks you buy. Most magicians very quickly build a cupboard full of things they have bought but will probably never see the light of day! Also learn a variety of magic- card tricks are fine but they can become very repetitive.
 
Q What is the most difficult thing you have tried to do or learn in magic?
A When I paint a picture I want people to see and appreciate the skill that has gone into doing it. Magic, however, is different. If the audience sees the hard work that goes into learning something (the sleight of hand etc) then that is a bad thing in my opinion. If something requires too much work then it may not be suitable for you. If it is too difficult then do it differently or leave it out and do something else because this will come across when it is being performed. It will look awkward and lacking in confidence and you will be more focused on the mechanics rather than the performance. You will be more worried that it will go wrong. Practice and practice but realise when something is just not working. But if I must choose something then doing coin magic is probably the most challenging.
 
Q What is your favourite thing to perform?
A So many things to choose from but I do love doing the sponge balls. Audiences always seem to enjoy this.
 
Q What do you do when someone asks you to ‘do something’ when you’re not expecting it?
A I usually carry a little something in my pocket when I am out socialising- even if it is just a pack of cards. I always wait for someone to ask what I do and then I say I do magic. Usually, that ends up with something like “ really? Can you do something?” Keep it short though.
 
Q You have entered a lot of competitions, why do you enter these?
A Doing these competitions is a great way to practice and improve my skills and performing ability. There is only so much you can do in front of a mirror! You can only practice the skills in front of the mirror anyway. You probably thought that I enter the competitions to try and win. No not really. If I do then fine but that is certainly not a priority! There is also a big difference between performing in a competition and performing to an audience- the former you are trying to impress with the skills while the latter just want to be entertained with magic and have fun. The latter is my main interest. Magic should be about entertaining people not just about displaying your skills and trying to be clever. The more you perform the better you will become- so I take every opportunity.
 
Q What would be your ‘Desert Island’ trick?
A If I am stuck on a desert island then something from a David Copperfield act to make a ship appear! That’s probably not what you mean though! There are so many to choose from. I mainly like to do close up magic but would not be able to choose just one. Maybe the sponge balls since they have already been mentioned.
You can contact John here: JNEEDHAM47@YAHOO.CO.UK

Meet the Members… Luke Jones

Luke is the type of person that always leaves a smile on your face whenever you meet him, he is one of our friendliest members and always treats you as if you’re his best friend.

He has a real love of performing whether on or off stage and is always ready with a trick to show you. His close-up up skills are on a level with any professional and I’m sure it won’t be long before he’s making a very good living performing magic and doing what he loves best.

 

Q When & why did you first get interested in Magic?

I got into magic at the age of 15. Before magic, I actually wanted to be a train driver but as soon as I saw Penn and Teller on TV for the first time I wanted to do what they did.

Q What type of magician would you describe yourself as? 

I see myself as 2 characters. On stage, I perform comedy magic with audiences’ banter, but on the streets, I’m the typical street magician using cards, coins, money and mind-reading, with a hint of hustling for free food and drinks with barbets etc.

Q Who is your biggest inspiration in Magic?

My biggest inspiration in magic was Penn and Teller and Dynamo, but after watching other magicians throughout the years, there are many, and they all inspire me in different ways.

Q What was the first trick you learned?

The first trick I ever learnt was a simple card trick where I ask them to think of a card and then I read their minds and reveal it.

Q What are you working on at the moment?

At the moment I’m working on a new comedy stage act, and I’m also working on different close up tricks to.

Q You’re always ready with a joke, how do you come up with them and remember them?

With my jokes it comes naturally, hard to explain it but some I see and put my own twist to it, sometimes I hear someone say something and I come up with a joke to that subject.

I practice by looking at a random object and I see if I can make any jokes from the object I picked. Hope that helps.

Q What do you enjoy most about performing magic?

I most enjoy the reactions I get, how people treat you and where magic can take you.

Q What do you most struggle with?

I do struggle at times. Sometimes I put on a show or performance and then after that I just go into a deeply depressing state of mind which brings me down.

Q What advice would you give to anyone thinking of learning or starting magic?

The advice I’d give any new member of magic is to find your type of magic. Find your character, then find which tricks suit your character. Don’t practice too many tricks at once and take your time learning. We all learn at our own pace.

Q What would you like to achieve in magic?

I’d love to achieve traveling around the world doing gigs. Or getting booked to perform in Italy on a yacht, or Spain.

Q Is there anything you don’t like about magic?

There are a few things I don’t like about magic. Too many magicians are way too political and think they know everything. And some are arrogant in nature.

Q What do you do when someone asks you to ‘do something’ when you’re not expecting it?

If I don’t have anything on me then I’ll find a leaf or borrow something and then do simple stuff and have a laugh.

You can get more info on Luke at https://www.facebook.com/LukeJonesMagic

Meet the Members… Mick McCreath

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.

LAWMS Club Zoom Meeting: 2-9-20 by Stephen Fowler

Hi all,

Several of us connected online for another Zoom meeting, this time hosted by John Needham, of general discussion about LAWMS matters, a catch up and meet up online, some showing of tricks and us talking about some very major things that have happened.

 

Mike Price updated us about the Leamington St. Patricks Club, our potential new venue, and that they are having their air-conditioning done. It was mentioned that this will be our first non-online meeting remembering several of our members who have recently sadly passed away.

 

We talked about when we were thinking of resuming non-online meetings in our new venue, maybe say 2-3 weeks. We are thinking of perhaps late this month / early next month.

 

The general consensus is that many members in this meeting are willing to resume non-online meetings sometime soon, with safety precautions of us wearing masks and maintaining Social Distancing.

 

Not all members are prepared to attend non-online meetings for the current time, due to the potential risks and uncertainty, which is totally understandable.

 

We also talked about this new venue itself. It was asked if anyone had any thoughts and if any of us had looked at this venue’s website. The feedback was largely very positive.  

 

This venue is also ideal for socialising before and after LAWMS events: it looks good.

 

Matt Redmond mentioned about parking: and will we have enough parking space. It sounds like there is quite a bit, though not loads, of parking space with the actual venue, and also some in the surrounding area.

 

Sergio remembers this building as being a big venue.

 

We went onto what content we might have in our new venue in the near future. John N. has a list of all the lecturers we would have had and would have if this Pandemic had not happened. He said he has contacted with them all, and all of them think of their LAWMS booking as postponed, until we can have them, rather than cancelled.

 

It was mentioned that booking external lecturers in this current Pandemic is problematic. Even if they and several members are willing to travel to our venue, travel restrictions can come and go; and policies can and sometimes change.

 

At least until this Christmas, most LAWMS events are planned to be In House. There could be possibilities of some LAWMS members doing something, so perhaps two members doing half an evening each. Both John Gordon and Alan Cooper might do something, perhaps half of a LAWMS evening each.

 

There are also LAWMS competitions including the Close-up and Stage Competitions. And also our “Fool Us” event, where Alan might be a judge as before. For competitions, we will need audience members like members’ friends and family for tricks involving audience participation, [unless only LAWMS members not competing act as audience helpers], [or competitors are limited to tricks that do not require audience participation if we have to proceed just with LAWMS members attending LAWMS Competitions in the near future].

 

We talked about our club’s Broken Wand ceremonies and as a relatively new LAWMS member myself, who has never attended a LAWMS Broken Wand ceremony yet, I asked about them. Other members explained that there is an actual wand broken for each member that has passed away. Earlier this year, David Budd and Arthur MacTier also passed away and of course very recently Keith Pearson also passed away.

 

John N. has asked members for any ideas and suggestions for LAWMS events e.g. Club Nights, and if they can mention to him, say for example by email-ing him is fine.

 

Mike mentioned having a video / DVD night on Bernard Anderson.

 

Luke mentioned having a book / DVD / trick review night, say on a trick we have done.

 

It was also mentioned that the LAWMS reserves are currently fairly good.

 

There is agreement that current President Elect Mike will act as Acting Leader of meetings the same as if and when Keith was absent from any meetings. Mike will begin as President at the next LAWMS AGM. There is no official “re-shuffle” of roles as such, until then. It was agreed this is the respectful correct course of action, and also with this current Pandemic, our LAWMS club does not need anyone to act as a Figure-Head until Mike begins his time as LAWMS President at our next AGM.

 

We talked about David Blaine’s recent stunt, of ascending with balloons. We spoke about him going from Street Magic to events that are sometimes Endurance Stunts.

 

In this meeting we also chatted about how we all are and what we have been up to. Liam came into this meeting briefly, when he could, to say hello also.

 

Philip talked about him going to Theme Parks; and about tricks involving eggs.

 

Luke Jones performed a very funny disappearing and reappearing trick.

 

I performed and explained 53 Movies by Mark Shortland, where a random movie is chosen and thought of and I tell you what movie you were thinking of.

 

John N. performed and explained a card trick from a DVD from Steve Dacri. John removed the jokers and taps a card, whose back changes colour from blue to red. Each card has the name of a famous place on it. After another spectator selection of a place, John tapped three times and the whole deck changes to red-backs except for one card (which is the selected place).

 

Charlie enquired about our new venue and where exactly it is. Kevin Goodwin will probably soon add the postcode to Facebook and LAWMS website.

 

We talked about Sympathy Messages for Keith’s family. We can pass on our messages of Condolences to Mike for him to put all together or in our own individual Sympathy Cards or more simply to post up on Facebook our messages in response to Notifications from Mick and Mike of the recent sad passing of Keith.

 

Generally it was talked about to keep messages short and simple. Keith’s funeral might not have had a date scheduled at the time of this meeting, though attendance numbers will likely be limited by this Pandemic to family and only a few LAWMS members (perhaps who knew him for a longer time).

 

We think our next meeting will be online again, two weeks after this Zoom meeting, on Wednesday 16th September, start time TBA.

 

Take care everyone, see some of you soon online and at our new venue, and keep staying safe,

Stephen Fowler

Meet the Members… David Michaels

David Michaels is a fast-paced, international comedy entertainer and professional magician. He is highly respected by other magicians and the public alike and brings his high energy, razor-sharp wit to every performance. David is highly skilled and is a mentor and teacher to many aspiring magicians.

When did you first get interested in Magic?

I first got into magic when I was 14 years old and my grandad took me to Butlins on holiday. I saw a magician do the dancing cane and from that moment I was hooked. I went and purchased quite a few tricks from their onsite joke shop, practiced and performed them that night in the on-site pub….the rest as they say is history.

Who is your biggest inspiration in Magic?

I know it’s a cliché but I truly believe we stand on the shoulders of giants. My biggest inspiration is Jay Sankey and Wayne Dobson because they were the first magician’s I’d seen who were both technically fantastic and also hilarious.

What was the first trick you learned?

Dynamic Coins (Google it)

What are you working on at the moment?

During Lockdown I’ve been spending my time studying and learning Rubix cube magic. 

You’re a magical mentor and teacher to other magicians and run the Junior Section of the Society, why did you start doing this?

Because I was bullied into it! 🤪

In all seriousness it’s because I wanted to give something back. I originally joined The Leamington and Warwickshire Magic Society when I was 14 and they were nothing but welcoming and kind and really helped me grow as a young magician. I feel it’s an hour to have been asked to represent the club in this capacity. 

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

Probably the commitment shown and eagerness to learn by the guys. 

What do most students seem to struggle with?

From my personal experience I would say it’s trying to learn every aspect of magic as soon as possible. How to focus on one particular area would be more beneficial in both the long and short term. 

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of learning or starting magic?

Study, read and consume as much as possible. Learn one or two tricks well, better then lots poorly executed. 

What advice would you give yourself if you could go back to when you started?

Great question ☺️ it would be exactly what I’ve said above. Study the classics of magic they’re “classics” for a reason.

What would you like to achieve in magic?

I’ve only ever wanted to be of a professional standard, as fame and fortune has never really interested me. I’m happy performing at birthday parties making other people feel special. 

Is there anything you don’t like about magic?

The politics of it all.

What is the most difficult thing you have tried to do in magic?

For me it was performing in the Champions of Champions competition. 

What is your favorite effect or routine to perform?

Ring flash by Wayne Dobson

What do you do when someone asks you to ‘do something’ when you’re not expecting it?

As a professional I’m always ready with some business card magic it’s one of the only professions you can do at the drop of a hat. 

What is the biggest and/or most memorable show you have performed?

Probably the audition for BGT in front of the judges.

Get more info or contact David at… http://davidmichaelsmagic.co.uk/

Keith Pearson RIP

It is with much sadness we announce the sad passing of our President Keith Pearson. He will be sadly missed by those who had the pleasure of knowing him.
Keith was truly a cornerstone of The Leamington & Warwick Magic Society, serving it as Show Director, Vice President and President on several occasions.
He was the ultimate children’s entertainer as well as performing stage and close up magic. His enthusiasm and energy will be an inspiration to all who knew him.
He loved performing and was always there when needed, patiently supported by his loving family who were always there supporting him and the club.
Keith was not just a President, member of LWMS, he was a friend to all, a real gent, a mate.
His enthusiasm and personality, along with a broad smile will be forever missed.
God Bless.