Pamela Anderson aiming for husband number... is anyone keeping count?

Feel my pain...

I should have known it would be a difficult show when I arrived at the Casino tonight to be told that the client was not a travel agent as I'd been told by the agent, but a telephone provider.

Annoying, as I'd made up a special travel themed trick featuring the client's name - that had to be ditched.

Then I saw the room. Very long and rectangular with a stage down one end - and a 20' dance floor between the stage and the audience.

I was scheduled to go on at 8.30pm, but people were still getting food from the buffet. I assumed that we were running late but the contact assured me they were on time. A guy from the band gave me a voice over intro and I ran up onto the stage.

Now, the staging people had said they would "try" to get some white light on the stage for me. They did try, though I'm not sure how successful they were. The production of a black bowling ball on a darkened stage with a black background didn't seem to have the usual impact.

Then I took a long hike into the audience for the next effect, and when I asked a lady her name I discovered another reason the audience reaction was subdued. They were all eating. Not just finishing off, but everyone I could see was tucking into a big plate full of the many selections from the buffet.

I brought a volunteer up onto stage for the rope routine and, judging from the reactions, I assume they could all see the white rope quite easily.

Changing a $5 bill into a $20 bill while standing on a chair in the audience went down very well, but once I headed back onto stage with a volunteer (we had to take the long way around as the stairs were in the dark at the side of the stage not the front) and did the bill to banana trick it was a struggle as people found it hard to follow what they couldn't see clearly.

Because of the change in routine, I now finished off with the Toast Routine featuring 'Healed & Sealed'. The Pepsi Can from my shoe got a moderate response (dark can, hard to see if it really came out of my shoe) but even the giant straw only got a so-so reaction.

Weirdly, the gag where I pretend to vanish the Coke bottle in the paper bag by tipping the bag upside down and holding on to the bottle got the biggest applause of the night!? Genuine applause too. They sounded genuinely baffled. They even reacted when I made the bottle "reappear".

Then I did 'Healed & Sealed' and either they couldn't see the uncrushing or resealing because it was a dark can in a dark room, or they've already seen another magician do it and now know how it's done.

I opened the can, poured the drink out and got absolute silence. You could hear a pin drop. Astonishing.

Finished up with the comedy toast which got some good laughs and that was that.

Why people think you can put a visual act like a magician on while people are eating is beyond me.

Why they think you should light a stage like a disco when you have not only a sight act scheduled, but awards to give out later in the night, is beyond me.

And dance floors.. grrrr! Hate'em!

Yes, I do have a rider but there's always surprises in store when you actually turn up... you either bite the bullet and do the show or "chuck a diva" and walk out.

Perhaps next time I'll just stand on a chair and do the show in the audience.

And yes, I'm off to get a coloured bowling ball tomorrow... my other one split in two during rehearsals a few weeks ago.