Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I met Paul Daniels last night! First impressions

I met Paul Daniels last night ... and the lovely Debbie McGee. And it was a pleasant surprise as I almost missed meeting them.
I was so tired last night and had a headache as well but I dragged myself out (an hour early too) to a teenage friend's house to help him with this routine for an upcoming magic convention, and then drove over half an hour in cold foggy weather to my local club meeting feeling lethargic.

But was I glad I came out as we had a few surprise guests. The place was packed with visitors as well. Paul Daniels and the lovely Debbie McGee had arrived a few hours earlier and insisted on coming from the airport to the club to say hello to us all. That was really nice as they were clearly tired.

And to add to the mix, we had another two surprise guests - Steve Valentine and TC Tahoe. TC Tahoe was not too big a surprise as I knew he was coming for the magic convention but not Steve Valentine. At first I did not know who he was - he looked so familiar as did the name. Only later when I came home and googled him did it fully dawn on me who he was. 



I think it is funny that only in a magic club can we get excited about such as person as a magician but not as a Holllywood actor  play second fiddle. And only in a magic club can an accomplished  Hollywood actor be treated as a regular guy and "mobbed" not for his Hollywood achievements but his magic skills. :-)


I must say he was an easy going friendly person as well - no airs about him and he is an incredible sleight of hand cardician. His three card monte was very creative and very entertaining, as was his ambitious card routine. His acting skills was definitely a factor as he had us in stitches as well as in awe. Right in your face magic and the vanishes and appearances were mesmerizing even when he did a funny slow motion repeat. 


But back to Paul Daniels. I was actually in awe of him but both he and Debbie were so friendly and warm to everyone. Debbie even came up to me to greet me as I was standing there like a dummy not being sure how to approach him. The lovely Debbie McGee by the way actually does deserve that title - she is 52 but she she exudes a charm and beauty that took me by surprise. Like Paul, no fancy airs but a natural kind of "stage presence" even when she sits down. Of course Paul Daniels quipped that he actually married her for her money! :-)


Anyway I won't bore you with the details of his impromptu mini magic lecture but it certainly drove home his reputation as one of the all time modern greats of magic. He took a simple child's magic trick and kept us in rapt attention for over 10 minutes as he turned into a magically entertainment routine. And what was way cool is that I approached him to ask him about some details about something he shared some time ago on an interview related to Muhammad Ali and a magic effect.  He promptly retold the story for a group of us and then proceeded to give me a personal lesson on how he did it, the simple nuances etc using my props! :-) Pure genius. Really motivational as he makes it so simple.  I am looking forward to attending his master class this Friday and learning from him. 


He is a really funny man and he has loads of stories and had us in stitches telling us in a small group about some of the practical jokes he has pulled. And he kept toying with us too trhought out the meeting. 


For example, he walked up to the table and we thought he was going to perform some magic, but then he passed the table and went up the stage - causing even more baited breath and anticipation, but then he walked to the side of the stage, and adjusted a slightly crooked picture of the Queen! 


Then after he gave his lecture, he walked way and got up and said with a straight face - that he was going take up a collection right now for a worthy cause. Then a long pause and with a straight faced continue ... "for Steve Valentine" as he needs the money. Of course we all looked at Steve and he had a surprised look on his face. Then he waited till we naturally had to turn back to look at him and then continued "... if you notice his jeans has a hole in them. He can't afford to buy a new pair, so I think we should give him some money so he can get a new pair." (or something like that). It was hilarious as we all instinctively turned to look at his jeans (US fashion to have jeans that a bit ripped) and everyone including Steve burst out laughing


Yeah, a great way to end a tiring day. Just had to blog on it. th

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