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Last Friday Night...

If you had a look at a time line of my life job-wise it’s an interesting thing, in fact, I’d love to take you on a little whistle stop tour of my adult life, before I finally arrive at the point of this blog.  So make your eye’s go blurry, and wobble you head back and fourth, if you happen to have a harp then play the official flashback scales, as I take you back to a younger version of myself, whilst I stand nervously at Manchester Airport ready to jump on a flight to Reus airport.

I finished college knowing I wanted to work in entertainment, but not really knowing how.  Back then at school we had careers advisors, and if the you wanted career was something as exciting and wonderful then they simply told you to lower your expectations, well I had auditioned for a few different jobs, and in the end it came down to working as a Bluecoat at Pontins, or jumping on a plane and flying to Salou to work for RJP Entertainment.

Ents Team Villa Marina, Salou2004

For me it was a no brainer.  I had never been abroad before, and the idea of sunshine on tap, beaches, and incredible new places was just too big an opportunity to miss out on.  So off I went, the summer of 2006 was incredible, I went to Salou not really knowing who I was or where I fitted into the world, and I did my season.  I was also super lucky to make some fantastic friends over there, Rodney himself was a fantastic boss to me, and nurtured my creativity.  I was surrounded by amazing magicians and made good friends with Wayne Goodman, and I was looked after by my housemates Vicky and Emma, as well as making lifelong friends (one of whom messaged me just yesterday, and who. See as regularly as geography allows (as we don’t live in the same area).  I wouldn’t say I came out the other end of the season knowing exactly who I was, but I did know what I wanted to do… I wanted to work in entertainment overseas.

Friends for life... Myself and James meeting in Salou

The couple of years were a haze of self discovery, singing, magic, complicated dance routines, bingo, drinking games and being a social butterfly, as I zipped from Magaluf to Roda, Fuerteventura, back to Magaluf and ending up in Ibiza. I had the absolute best team of entertainers in Ibiza when I worked for Thomas Cook.  I also picked up some pretty good skills in Ibiza, as a DJ, and I was working for Thomas Cook during the day, and then after finishing at midnight, going to the club, and DJing into the early hours of the morning.  Of course I burnt myself out. 

Ibiza team 2008

I then moved to Portugal, and got myself a job in a bar ‘Blue Star’ which I absolutely loved. I learnt so much about life out in Portugal, and from an entertainment point of view I was probably at the top of my game working with stag and hen parties, doing a little magic here and there, singing songs, making people laugh and writing funny little one man comedy sketches .  It was an amazing few years of my life, before I moved back to the UK.

I don’t really know how I fell into children’s entertainment.   Was working at Harley’s toy shop for Marvins Magic, and I was very good at demonstrating the magic sets, but somehow I started doing little magic shows for kids.  My first one was a Christmas party, and I didn’t really know what I was doing, but somehow I got through it.

I also started performing close up magic.  I liked performing for adults, and I think close up magic is an incredible thing, when done right.

I am not convinced I knew who I was yet as a performer, and in my personal life I was struggling a lot too, which is particularly baffling, considering I was performing day in and out, as well as having spent the past 8 years or so performing, and that being my only job.

A happy day spent working with Yoni.

I ended up working of Marvins Magic on and off for a couple of years, and I met my now wife, Amy. My performances became more and more popular, and I started taking on more and more work for myself.  I had a little family by this point and a baby on the way. I ended up stopping working for Marvins Magic around 2015, after winning their award for 'Most Improved Demonstrator.' I was delighted that it had been noted that I had improved both professionally and personally. I owe that all to Amy, Zacahary and the bump, who we now (10 years later) call Georgina.

I was pretty happy, and spent the next few years just doing my thing. Kids shows and close up magic. Then in 2019 I took on a job.   Remember it like it was yesterday.  I knew I had an excellent children’s show, and I knew I could perform close up magic to adults.  However I took on a bar full of drunk people on a Saturday Night, in the hope that fusing the two things together could work.  It didn’t. I crashed and burned.  It was horrible.  I swore that I would never try to do a gig in a pub for their punters on a Saturday Night again…

Until last Friday.

I had been asked to come to O’Niells in High Wycombe to perform.  I thought, hey why not, it’ll be fun, you see, over the past 18 months I have really found who I define myself as ,as a performer, and I realise I have stepped sideways from kids shows (although I still perform at kids parties and for kids entertainment) but more into the holiday parks and really cementing myself into the UK cabaret scene.  A little magic, some comedy, ventriloquism, weird parody songs, and bits of just down to earth honest chat with audiences.  But it wasn’t until a couple of days before, that my brain started throwing in the self doubt.  Don’t you remember that awful gig that you once did, they didn’t find you funny, or magic, or anything.  They hated everything you did.  Now that might be a slightly exaggerated thought of what actually happened and the audiences reaction to me.  But I have been riding pretty high over the past month, with glorious gigs in packed out holiday parks, plenty of driving in between with very loud car singing going on.  I really didn’t want to crash down into reality with an audiences who probably, most likely were going to hate what I do, or so the little demons of anti-confidence were telling me.

Rocking Haven Hafyn Y Mor

What actually happened was quite the opposite.  I pulled on all that experience I have of working with different crowds over the years, and threw it all into my act.  I did my first 45 minutes, and I will be 100% honest it was a bit unusual for an O’Neills. That said I got really great feedback from people saying how much they were enjoying what I did, and it went a lot better than I was expecting it to, I think it comes down to being really comfortable being myself on stage, and being able to read the audience really well.  I thought I would open my next act with a couple of songs before getting the cheese monster out, but the reaction to the songs was immense.  I started with Grace Kelly, and the whole thing became a bit of a blur, as I ended up doing song after song… 45 minutes went by quicker than I could’ve ever expected, as I zipped from Teenage Dirtbag to Year 3000, McFly to Erasure, and they loved every minute of it, asking for more at the end…

I then have no idea what happened, but somehow I ended up doing an EXTRA 45 minutes! Blasting out songs, doing some magic, and this time even getting the Cheese Monster involved very briefly.

I came off the stage absolutely buzzing. Filled with adrenaline, and with the customers asking me where they could see me again.  Well, I’m back in talks with O’Neills again to come back.  I had the time of my life, and I think everyone else there did too! Perhaps I'll see if I can do this show a bit more often!

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