So my latest gig as a close up magician was a charity event at our local fish and chip shop. Now whenever I have told friends and family about this, there is always a look of astonishment and amazement. However most people seem to think that I was performing to the queue of people waiting to order and pay for their dinner.
However, this is no ordinary fish and chip shop. McDermotts is now officially the best Independant Fish and Chip Restauarnt in the country.
And there’s the clue. Not only do they offer the normal take-away service, but they also have a large, fully licensed, restaurant adjoining the shop to which people flock, from all over, to savour their fantastic fare.
So how did the gig come about?
Well on a quiet Tuesday afternoon, just before they closed after lunch, I got talking to Jo who works behind the counter and it came up that I am a close up magician. Immediately she asked to see a trick!
Now, obviously, 9 times out of 10, I will have a deck of cards, or some coins, with me so being the quiet unassuming type I am, I performed a couple of tricks for her and Ali, who was cooking my fish. They were suitably impressed and Jo said that she would have a word with the owner about booking me to perform in the restaurant.
To try and cut a long story short(ish),The next time I visit the shop Sean, the owners Son and the person I should speak to is busy, however the next time I visit he is free, and I am prepared with a couple of my favourite routines.
Thankfully he was impressed, and explained they had a charity event booked in aid of MENCAP in 3 weeks. On the spot I offered to perform some close up magic for them, for free, in return for handing out some business cards.
A flurry of emails later, and I was booked.
The plan was to do some magic whilst the 80 or so guests arrived and were enjoying their pre-dinner drinks. However as many will tell you, things don’t often go to plan.
The bar area got crowded very quickly, and it was difficult to get round to people to introduce myself and bore them senseless for 10 mins – sorry perform some magic for them.
Add to this that one of the ladies who was helping the organiser seemed to be following me around and butting in every 5 mins and I was starting to feel this was a lost cause!
However, help was at hand. The singer and DJ they had also booked (and who took one of my cards as well!) announced that everyone should take their seats for dinner. Now I had already spoken to the waitresses before hand, so I had a rough idea which tables were to be served first, so I would aim for them and work as many as I could before the servers caught up with me.
As it turned out though, one large group was very late due to traffic problems, so I managed to get round all of the tables, performed loads of magic, got some great reactions (but sadly no pictures) and handed out loads of business cards. Job done.
Oh, and I got “paid” in Fish and Chips – so all in all a great night.
Is there a moral to any of this? Probably not. However there is a saying that is something like: “Luck is where opportunity meets preparation”.
So by being prepared, making sure I always have a deck of cards, or some coins with me, talking to the waitresses before hand etc. and keeping eyes and ears out for opportunities to introduce myself as a close up magician etc. means that I managed to get me and my magic in front of a lot of business people.
Just HOW lucky this turns out to be, remains to be seen, but it was fantastic practice whatever happens!