The Journey to BGT Semi-Finals

Podcasts, The Magic Industry & Young Magician of the Year

I’ve never been one to work ‘for the industry’ i.e. making and selling tricks to magicians or lecturing but this year was a wee bit different when I was honoured to be a guest on two industry leading podcasts THE MAGICIANS PODCAST with RICHARD YOUNG and also TALKING TRICKS with CANE AND ABEL.

It was quite therapeutic being able to bear my soul to a wider audience of magicians. The starting point of both podcasts was the transition from Scientist to Magician as part of the TV show FAKING IT back in 2005. When most magicians start when they’re 12 years old I was 24! So had lots of catching up to do… I was as honest as possible about my life as a performer and I hope that the podcast acts as an inspiration for other pros and kids who have an interest in performing magic at a professional level. Was also touching to receive so many messages/emails/posts/texts from magician colleagues after the broadcast, many of whom I’ve never met before, from around the world, passing on messages of good will.

Also very proud of a young friend of mine ADAM BLACK who went down to london and smashed it at the YOUNG MAGICIAN OF THE YEAR competition at the MAGIC CIRCLE.

Adam and I met probably a decade ago when I was performing at STIRLING CASTLE with legends of magic PAT PAGE and ALI BONGO. He was literally a kid interested in magic with his amazing dad IAN. And now he’s on the path to being a proper, performing, out-in-the-world magician. Over the years Adam has performed at the MAGIC FESTIVAL in EDINBURGH and it was a pleasure to share a stage with him two years ago at the first ever MAGICFEST XMAS SPECIAL. He totally stormed it there and it’s been great to see him develop. I’ve was delighted to assist in a very small way with his magic circle act, offering him notes on his live shows that I hope helped in some way with the final show.

Being a teenager and performing in front of an audience of magicians must be one of the most nerve wracking stage experiences, but Adam smashed it and brought the trophy back to Scotland. When you look at the now famous names who have won the trophy in the past, it’s a real honour to be part of the legacy. Well done Adam!

Community Magic

One of the greatest perks of my job is being able to bring people joy and amazement, where ever you’re from, what ever your back ground. So it was a delight to be asked to perform at my old primary school ST JOHNS ROSYTH to an assembly hall full of 270 kids, P1 to P7, assembled to celebrate the 100th year anniversary of the school. Walking through the corridors Brought back fond memories and it was great to see three teachers at the school who were there when I was just ten. Of course I don’t think they were as happy to see me 🙂 I’m not really a kids performer, so I was a little nervous when I stood on the stage to begin the show. The last time I tread those boards was as a 12 year old as ‘Joseph’ in the musical of the same name. But it was an absolute joy. The kids were simply delightful and their energy lifted the whole show. It was great to get such warm feedback from parents of these kids, many of whom I was at primary school with! I

In a similar vein a career box was ticked when I was able to work alongside RICHARD WISEMAN on a visual arts project the brainchild of brilliant producer SVETLANA MCMAHON – she produces my live shows and also the MAGIC FESTIVAL here in Edinburgh. Together we put on an exhibition “NOW YOU SEE IT, NOW YOU DON’T” of visual art using kids as stars of the show from EDINBURGH YOUNG CARERS. The end product was a stunning, free-to-view exhibition on display at the SCOTTISH STORYTELLING CENTRE on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. The project was inspired by a collection of photos curated by DYNAMO and his team around London. To create the photos we worked with a whole host of sponsors and venues including MACKIES OF SCOTLAND, JESSOPS, EDINBURGH CITY COUNCIL, NATIONAL MUSEUM, EDINBURGH CASTLE, KIRANS TRUST and many others to materialise a delightful display viewed by tens of thousands over the festival period in Edinburgh. The kids were just a delight to work with and it was a real honour to play a small part in this project. On a side (and perhaps selfish) note, as a performer I’m used to being the one in the spot light, being part of this and pushing the kudos onto others was such an exhilarating and self satisfying experience, one I hope to recreate in the future!

What is Magic?

How to Break a Guinness World Record

Two days ago, the biggest event ever organised for young people in Scotland took place at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow.

A line up of superstar presenters, mind readers, leaders, rock stars, entrepreneurs and more assembled with one thing in common – to inspire the next generation of young people.

The line up included:

Gavin Oattes, Colin Cloud, Indigo Velvet, John Loughton, Kirsten McCrossan, Lucy Lintott, Alice Thompson, MGA dance, Erin Doogan, Gavin Bell, Collette Norval, Darren Connell, Skapade and Christian McLeod.

These superstars shared their stories and demonstrated that no matter who you are and where you’re from you can grow and make a difference in the world.

In amongst all these wonderful people I was invited to help break a Guinness World Record. 6 years ago I held the record for the World’s Largest Magic Lesson (see, however 2 years ago some one else beat me! It was now time to bring that particular lesson back to Scotland!

This gave me a great opportunity to smash the current record in Style and spend time with some legends.

Gavin Oattes, a lovely man and close friend, was the originator and organiser of the event. He tirelessly pulled together many of the contacts he has built up over the years with his company Tree of Knowledge to make this happen. Everyone on stage donated their time for a wonderful common purpose.

For me this was a dream come true. Over 8000 people filled this space where Cirque du Soleil, Bastille, Still Game, Kevin Bridges and many more had been in the last few years. This is the largest auditorium / theatre in Scotland. Over 12,000 at capacity. It’s a breath-taking sight to behold. Standing on stage and staring out to the back of the room (91m away as the crow flies) is simply awe inspiring.

When I first entered and had a look around I was dumb struck for a good few minutes. When the realisation that in 24 hours this room would be full and I would be on stage hit in, you do start shitting yourself.

When the day came, the 30-minute set went by in a bit of a blur. I decided to perform material that I was extremely comfortable with, funny, perspective-based magic that allows me to get folks on stage and play with them.

When the lesson part of the ten minutes began, I expected some of the attention to trail off. Again, I was completely blown away by the interest and dedication shown by the young people in the room to take part.

To break a Guinness world record on this scale is not an easy task. There are 5 pages of requirements that must be made, including having 2x timekeepers, official auditors, video records of the entrance and exits, barcoded entry systems, stewards for every 50 people taking part… the list goes on and on. In addition to the performance I wanted to make sure that we ticked every box and didn’t let anyone down.

As it stands I’m compiling all of the information right now. I have over 400 steward forms to go through, auditor reports to compile, videos to edit, and more before sending it off to Guinness. It’s a whole bunch of admin – which I’m never a fan of.

But because of the videos these young people sent me, the tweets, the Instagram messages… it’s a task I’m looking forward to.

If I can play a small part in turning 8000 young people into world record breaking young people then that’s enough for me.

I’ll send you an update soon when we have word from Guinness.