THIS SEASON HAS BEEN AN ABSOLUTE BLAST.
I obviously feel very blessed with the amount of parties both private and corporate I have been involved in but what really interests me is the variety I have seen this year.
This Christmas season has really highlighted how vast the audience for magic really is, it shows that MAGIC REALLY IS FOR EVERYONE.
A variety of parties
I have performed this year for small private parties in homes (8-30 people), small dinner gatherings in restaurants (15-45 people) and larger parties in venues (50-700 people). Each has had its own exciting moments and I really do not have a favourite. With smaller gatherings I get to perform more intimate shows engaging with everyone on a much more personal level which really does create some incredible memories we share and I create emotions as well as wonder.
I have performed my PARLOUR SHOW many times this year but for xmas created a very special version which involved many guests, lot’s of fun and ending with a very special gift for one lucky volunteer. My parlour show varies from a 20 minute spot to a full 1 hour, dependent on numbers, budget and the venue – my parlour show really can fit in very well with any requirements.
Some feedback of a recent parlour show – “Steve performed at our company Christmas party (December 2017) and he was excellent. It was very varied and interactive and even the more skeptical got involved! I think he captured everyone’s imagination and made our evening a wonderful experience. Thank you Steve!” Ellie Wakeford
When entertaining larger number, if done correctly it really can be something very very special. When I performed for Nissan at Silverstone (700 people and one of my bigger bookings), I managed to create an unforgettable atmosphere among several tables all at once, the buzz was incredible and the reactions electric. It’s very easy to get this wrong and only after years of trying out various ideas have I now felt comfortable with what could initially be quite a daunting task. To be the entertainer that everyone is waiting for is a big responsibility and I now rise to the occasion perfectly every time, I actually revel in this environment because I know what I can now achieve.
A snippet feedback from Nissan – “The party went smooth and everyone has given such positive feedback. Steve Rowe the magician was fantastic – he was funny, friendly and very entertaining !”
As well as close-up / table / walkaround style magic I also offer a stage show performance, often as a finalé to the evening and has been really popular this year. Perfect for guest numbers around 80 upwards, my stage show is 30 minutes – nothing to heavy or long and entertaining enough to keep people wanting more. I have also offered this as an addition / end to the evening – I perform close-up either mix and mingle or table performance and then finish with my stage show. This way absolutely everyone gets to experience the magic and really is a little different.
Feedback from Toddington U3A – “I just wanted to say how much we all enjoyed your show today, it really was MAGIC. Also, thank you so much for being so accommodating, you certainly gave a wonderful performance and started our Christmas off in the best possible way.” Angela Watts
So…Magic for everyone?
I started this post talking about how magic is so varied and I really have seen that full on this festive season. I have performed for small groups and large groups – in hotels, bars, restaurants, village halls, large scale conference centres…you name it. Also for children and familes, corporates, private parties and even an amazing group of elders whom really knew how to party.
I am so very grateful to each and everyone whom have either booked me or have been part of my audience this year, not only the festive period but throughout the year. I really feel blessed to have these opportunities and absolutely love what I do.
I could start every post about a recent gig with this title really. For now, I wanted to let you all know about a recent booking which was slightly different.
The magic community is built up of around 1,500 Magic Circle members all over the U.K, along with many more who are not, it’s difficult to measure the exact number as there are also many ‘hobbyists’ who love magic, perform for friends but don’t actually go out there and perform for an audience as such. This community is a wonderful place, we all share common interest and passion for magic, we chat online, in person at clubs and conventions, we share ideas and thoughts on magic and it is this that helps grow the art further.
On occasion a booking will come up that just is to large for one magician and so the booker, once decided upon the magician to hire, will entrust that magician to find a suitable team for the event. To give you an idea, one magician can handle up to around 100 guests on their own, for walkaround magic over 2 hours perhaps 150, but certainly for tables more magicians will be required for larger numbers. This firstly ensure that everyone experiences some great magic and also that the performer is at the table for a good amount of time, anything from 5-10 minutes (may not seem a lot but certainly with my style, performing fast and visual magic it really is).
So a recent booking came up, not direct to me but I was lucky enough to be invited to be part of a team to entertain guests at a wonderful event. Now this is where the AMAZING comes in. The venue, which I have performed at before was Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane, the room The Great Room (see photos, it’s amazing) and the number of guests around 600. My friend Andy Clockwise contacted me as he thought my style would be perfect for the event and given I had performed at this 5 star hotel before, knew I would make an important part of his team. The team was Andy Clockwise, Me ;), Lee Ferriday, John Bulleid, Lee Bell and Steve White. Looking at that line up, if you have ever seen more than one of us perform, you will understand we are all quite different in the styles we use but we are all fun and entertaining – Andy chose a great team.
So why the PLEASURE, well apart from enjoying what I do every step, this was a particular pleasure given our audience. The event was the Annual Ball for non-other than the The Grand Order of the Water Rats! I know! If, for any reason you are un-aware of the GOWR, please do look them up http://www.gowr.net/ but briefly the Water Rats is an organisation for entertainers around the world and is pretty much a who’s who in the entertainment industry.
Having heard the news of the event I was of course excited but also intrigued as to who would be there. When we arrived we were briefed by Andy on the order of the evening and we were to perform casual stroll-around magic for the drinks reception (which we knew in advance). The drink reception was taking place on the balcony area and so we agreed roughly the sections for each of us to perform. Once guests started to arrive and enjoy their first drink we got to work. ‘Work’ I always laugh internally with that phrase for what I do, because really, it’s not work, it is again a PLEASURE. I must say the guests were all lovely, absolutely lovely. These types of event are always fun, everyone is in a great mood but in particular as most were from the entertainment industry, I got a feeling of enjoyment and respect from them all.
We all weaved our way in and out of group, mingling perfectly and performing mind-blowing magic – the perfect start to an incredible evening. Several people suggested I should myself be on TV (a desire that hasn’t struck me yet) and the focus for me was definitely on having fun yet one comment about one of my effects really struck home. I was performing with a group of 6 people, the finale moment was me carving the shape of Supermans face from a lollypop after one lady described him as her favourite super hero….what she said hit me and made me pause and take the moment in. When I revealed what i had done, the emotions went like this. Gasp, pause, confusion, laughter….she then said “I can’t take it in, I feel all giddy, how on earth have you done that” – now, THAT IS MAGIC!
This is exactly what magic is for me and should be for everyone, it’s more than a puzzle or a moment you can’t explain, it is a feeling. That feeling will stay with you, occasionally you’ll be reminded of the moment and the feeling will come back – for this lady, perhaps now every time she sees or thinks of superman, she will be reminded of what I did with that lollypop, a crazy moment that left her feeling physically giddy.
I hope you liked reading this, I could go on all night long about it to be honest but tune in next time for another blog sometime soon.
Sam became the highlight of my Saturday afternoon.
I was booked to perform for Eddies 80th birthday at the fabulous Laura Ashley the Manor in Elstree.
If you have never been to this venue, I would urge you to take a visit either for a drink, afternoon tea (which looked amazing), lunch or dinner…why? Aside from the amazing food and drink on offer, the view of London from the many dining areas is stunning.
This party was to be a small affair, Eddie’s immediate family – 8 children and 20 adults all enjoying afternoon tea.
I first performed for the children and then for an hour or so entertained the whole room with some fun, visual and interactive magic…ending with a game where Steve managed to match chosen cards to the numbers printed on a ticket for Saturday nights lotto.
Towards the end, one of the young children came up to me with his mummy and she explained that he has started to learn magic tricks for himself, his name is Sam and he is 8 years old.
Sam is a really confident young boy and was keen to show me his latest card trick he liked to perform. He used my deck of cards and asked me to shuffle them up. Under Sam’s clear instruction I then split the cards into 4 piles and chose any card from one pile and show it to the audience. All this was said with such confidence…which for any magician is one of the most difficult things to learn. It is all very well and good learning a trick but if you cannot perform it with confidence, your audience will be lost. I on the other hand, along with everyone watching, was totally enthralled with Sam. Once selected I was asked to place it back, mix up the cards, shuffle them and hand them back to Sam, the magician.
Now, I was following so far but a few moments captured me as to what was going to happen. Was he really going to find my card after all this?
Sam went through the cards, turning them face up, almost all the way through the deck and in fact, went just passed my card. I thought perhaps it had gone wrong but kept a positive face. Sam then said “the next card I pull out will be yours, would you like to bet?” I happened to have £5 on me, so of course offered this as my wager. Low and behold, Sam then went into the pile of cards, and pulled out the very card I had chosen!!!!! That was a great magic trick!
Now, why is this story so important to me?
I started learning magic at the very same age, 8 years old. I don’t remember if I was as confident as Sam, I certainly didn’t know a card trick to the extent of that which Sam had displayed but what I did have was encouragement. When I was growing up, my family, especially mum and dad, really did encourage me to follow anything I wished. They never pushed me into a direction but let me follow my interests and dreams. I think that is so important in life, especially when so young. Later in adulthood we are steered towards certain goals for various reasons, we really do lose the ability to dream and follow our heart to an extent. To see that encouragement for Sam from his own family was really special.
I told Sam and his family about my own background and how I learned from magic sets and books and that I saw something special in Sam. I then showed Sam and his family the first magic trick I learned and gave him and the other children a set to practice themselves. If he continues along this path I am sure he will make a great magician one day.
I have suggested the family go along to The Magic Circle as a treat one day. Although the club is an exclusive club with the best magicians from around the world being members, most people to not realise that The Magic Circle is also open to public and really is a wonderful experience. Some events do have an age restriction but if you book to go, you get to see some incredible magic. The Christmas shows are coming up and you can find out more here: http://themagiccircle.co.uk/public-events
Thank you for reading this post, Sam really was a wonderful end to a perfect afternoon of magic and entertainment.
So this is about Fifi and others like her. Fifi was special in a number of ways.
Being a busy working magician I get to know an audience and I am able to read their characters quite well on approach. Being able to do that is important as an entertainer and especially as a magician.
I understand that not everyone loves magic the way I do, everyone has different experiences in life which shape what we do like, what we don’t like and what we love.
Being a resident magician on Sunday at Waterlane in Bishops Stortford has really helped me. On a Sunday lunchtime, mostly everyone enjoys and wants to see magic, they come specifically to the restaurant for the entertainment, good food and service. I say mostly, because on occasion, as I approach and introduce myself, some people don’t want to see magic. They may have had a bad day, be in a hurry, they may want to just catch up with an old friend or even sometimes do not actually like magic. They may not like magic because they saw a bad magician in the past or they might be the type of person that does not like the feeling of not knowing how something is done. I’ve learnt all this through experience over the years. Knowing this means I know how to approach people and am also not worried if people do not want to see any magic.
When I approach people, I very rarely tell them I am a magician straight off. I engage a group first, by saying hello, asking how they are etc…I dress smart, i’m polite and friendly and this helps relax people before I announce what I do. It’s at this point 99.9% of the time, people become enthusiastic and giddy at the thought of seeing a magician live and up close.
Sometimes if I have worked a room, i’ll approach a group and one of the group has already seen me or perhaps they have watched from afar and know who I am. It was just this happening as I approached Fifi’s group.
Before I could even get past hello, one of the group announced “this is the magician, he’s amazing”. That in itself is the best introduction any magician could ask for, it’s like having your own announcer on stage before a show, it sets the scene for you and from a credited source like a spectator, is even more powerful.
When that was announced, I noticed this one lady let out a little scream, literally, a bursting with excitement, then trying to hide it scream. I immediately honed in on her and ask her name, giddily she replied ‘Fifi’. I offered my hand to shake and she looked me in the eye direct, smiling and said, ‘hi’.
Asking if she had ever seen a magician before she said ‘no not a real one’. I love these reactions, I then explained I am likely to be the best she has ever seen, obviously tongue in cheek as by default that is true but also announcing to her she was going to see something special.
Being able to perform to someone that excited about magic, that has never seen a magician live is a special moment. I know that if I get this moment right, they will not only have a lasting positive impression of magic and magicians but more importantly, will never, ever forget their first time seeing one, I was blessed to be that person for Fifi.
Her giddy enthusiasm spread through the group, we had fun, laughter, shocked moments, gasps and tears – every possible positive reaction you can imagine came in those 5 or so minutes I shared with the group.
Here’s a little video I caught at the end, you can still see the excitement all over.
Fifi, you are a star, you rock and I love you.
So if you read the recent post about helping someone to propose with magic, (if you didn’t, please do, its a great story), then here is in fact the complete opposite end of the spectrum.
The enquiry for my services came after Pat and Paul had attended a wedding at Shendish Manor in 2015. I was performing there for Mel and Steve during the Reception drinks and Wedding Breakfast, and had obviously made a lasting impression, enough for Pat to mail me directly.
Now a referral is one thing, but for someone to see me and be impressed enough to enquire about thier own event really is a big compliment to me and shows i’m doing something right.
Pat was looking for a magician, specifically me ;), to perform at St. Michael’s Manor in St. Albans for thier 50th Wedding anniversary. Now if you do not know St. Michaels Manor, please take a look, it really is a fabulous venue.
After the email process of finding out date, times, numbers and plans and confirming my fees Pat decided to book me and the date was secure in the diary. This was to be around 80 people, a few children (in fact only 4) and a canopé reception drinks on the balcony followed by more formal sit down meal with 9 tables beautifully laid out. I suggested 2 hours would be a good timeframe to ensure everyone got to see me.
On arrival, as always I spoke to the staff about plans for the day and met Pat, whom I immediately recognised from the wedding, she was such fun, I could not forget. I performed some close-up reception drinks magic two small groups outside, giving them a flavour of what I can do and establishing myself among them as something fun and exciting they could all see during dinner…and talk about afterwards.
It was during this time that Paul said “oh go away…no, please don’t you are amazing, stay” – he was frustrated that I was able to read his mind so well.
The reception drink was over in a flash, around 45 minutes and now on to the main proceedings.
Understanding the flow and order of service at each table, I started off at the main table for Pat and Paul. For occasions where a couple is the main event, I always like to perform one or two things entirely bespoke to them. It’s such a specially occasion and I always feel a lasting memory, a memento of the day is a nice touch – in this instance, Pat signed a £2 coin, Paul signed a 10p coin, holding the coins in their clasped hands they glanced into each others eyes to make a wish. They open theirs hands and now both signatures are on the 10p coin, one either side, symbolising thier unity. This of course got gasps and applause and i’m pleased to say, one guest sat at the table, who had identified himself as a ‘non-believer’ shouted out, “now even I believe in magic”.
After this, I flowed around the room from table to table between courses being careful not to disrupt natural conversation. I must say the crowd was so much fun, applause and hand shake, even fist bumps, everyone was smiling and clearly enjoying the magic.
My finale piece was to the whole room in which Pat’s grand daughter managed to win some delicious chocolates.
So, why title this post ‘Something for us all to aim for’?
What really stood out for me on this wonderful afternoon, was how amazing it is that a couple can be married for 50 years and still clearly have so much love for each other. The room was filled with guests all enjoying each others company. Some knew each other for many years, some only just met, some were even at the wedding. The strength of bond was clear to see and was amazingly inspiring.
Life throws various obstacles in our way, some knock us down, some we get up from, but with the love of those around us, the love we share both near and far, life is and can be a wonderful thing. Take stock of those you are blessed to know and love and try not to let the humdrum of life, get in the way of what truly matters.
Congratulations Pat and Paul and thank you allowing me to come along and share the fun and laughter with you all….and thank you for such wonderful feedback.
The weekend of 17th September 2016 was a particularly exciting one for me. I was asked to perform at a 30th birthday party, organised a few months in advance by Emma, for her own birthday. During the initial email, the performance period was decided, in this case 1 hour for 80 people and the venue was a local pub. I was told it would be a mixture of family and friends, young an old. These are always exciting parties for me as a performer, as the different ages bring very different magic and memories.Emma was very organised and had managesd to book a balloon artist called JoJo – who I happen to know from my local magic club and is indeed an amazing talent. Along with bouncy castles, garden games, karaoke and disco, I knew this was going to be a fun party.
Now, here is where the excitement begins – the day before the party I was called by Chris, Emma’s partner, a call I will never forget. Chris had been with Emma for 8 years, they had a wonderful family together but he had never proposed. Chris decided to use the party, given there was going to be all their friends and family there, to propose to Emma. The reason for the call to me? Chris wanted my ideas on how to make this moment even more magical.
He had already thought about doing it over karaoke, but wanted something a little more special. So we chatted through a few ideas, I could have produced the ring from the inside of a kinder egg or appear in an envelope. It was decided I would perform a ring on string routine, a particular favourite of mine, which normally uses a borrowed ring. Of course, we did not want to use THE ring, that would have spoiled the surprise, also Chris explained he was not a ring wearer, I had to somehow get both up, without Emma having any clue what was happening. So we decided I would use my own ring (actually a cheap dressing up ring I use to practise with), I would explain this ring was valuable and belonged to my Grandmother and that the string routine was the first and favourite I ever learnt. When speaking to Chris we arranged that he would give me an envelope on arrival and inside the envelope would be the ring.
Once I arrived, 30 minutes early, Chris came up to me in the car park toi introduce himself, he was clearly nervous but /I put his mind at rest that he could relax, enjoy the party and I would handle everything for him from here on in. After 1 hour performing for all the family, at tables, at the bar and outside 3pm came around and it was time. I had already explained to everyone that I was going to perform one last trick to the whole room, so everyone although not realising the extent of the magic about to happen. Only a handful of people knew, which was really handy – when trying to gather a room together you always get a few that will still chat away, so when gathering, those that knew, really helped to get everyones attention. I took the microphone and asked Emma and Chris to come up for one last trick.
Emma was clearly unaware of what was about to happen, how exciting.
I started my ring routine, the ring comes away for the string, it moves from hand to hand magically and then vanishes. As the finale I explain that in my wallet is and envelope, I asked Emma if she knew what was inside and she said, “yes, the ring” – everyone laughed. I ask Chris to open it and handed it to him, he then opened and inside was a lovely small black velvet bag, which he handed to Emma and then got down on one knee. At this point the whole room erupted and I will never forget that moment. Emma was clearly shocked, overjoyed and the moment came, the room was so loud it was difficult to hear anything, even standing next to them – SHE SAID YES!
This for me was a truly magical moment and such an honour to be asked to do something so special, it reminded me just how powerful magic can be when used for something like this. The moment was about Emma and Chris, not me, but being able to use my performance to help Chris relax and also hide the pending question so well with a build up that Emma had no idea of, made me feel blessed I do what I do.
I hope you enjoyed my story as much as I enjoyed being there and please feel free to share this story among your friends.