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November 2012
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16 entries from December 2012

From my wall - #3


The year was 1990 and, as a post 'Magic Week' celebration, Andrew Gill and myself took a trip to Fiji. Of course we didn't pay, a client of mine hired us to entertain at his resort so the "holiday" was on the house.

When we arrived it was more than just a show at the resort. We had arrived at the height of the annual Sigatoka Festival and I discovered that I was the special guest!

It was a river festival, so Andrew and I were paraded up and down the river in a boat as the locals cheered and Andrew, feeling he wasn't working hard enough, kept "accidentally" falling out of the boat much to the delight of the riverbank crowds.

Fiji, like may tropical destinations, has "Fiji Time", which means everything starts about an hour later than it's scheduled. So one night, when we were told the top chief on the island was coming to see our show, we decided to start even later than usual (as we knew the more important you are, the later you turn up) and to do an extra long show.

An hour and a half after starting time he still hadn't arrived, so we decided to start anyway. The normal 45 minute show was stretched out to an hour and a half and we did every trick we could think of. Then, just before we started the last trick, there was a great fuss and hullaballo as the chieffinally arrived!

He was ready to see the show.

Simple, they told us, just start again.

We couldn't do that so while Andrew was on I ran about grabbing things from the kitchen, the hotel office, the supply cupboards... anything I could think of that could be handy for a trick. Andrew and I did another hour filled with half-remembered, improvised tricks that everyone (thankfully) really enjoyed.

The chief was very happy - which meant everyone was very happy too.

Especially us - when the marathon show was finally over!

From my wall - #2


This photo (from my wall) is one of my fondest FISM memories. Back in 1997 I was honoured by being asked to appear as a guest artist on the Close Up Gala Show. Ali Bongo (one of my magic idols) was the MC, and the bill was filled with many more of my magic idols including Paul Gertner, Eugene Burger, David Williamson and an as yet unheard of Pit Hartling (as Heinz).

I was booked to do Runaround Sue and The 6 Card Rap, but I wanted to add one more effect that would make me somehow stand out from this extremely talented line up. I thought "What would I most remember if it happened in a show..." and I decided that somebody being pelted with fruit would be most memorable.

So I devised a premise that would result in about 20 audience members throwing oranges at me on cue. You can see the most recent performance of this trick immediately following The 6 Card Rap here.

At FISM we performed the Close Up Gala in a cinema (it was a GREAT venue for close up) and we repeated the show the following night. The first night, I'm pleased to say the fruit throwing was a huge success. Before the show I mingled with the audience handing out oranges and, as I stood blindfolded on stage, they threw them all in my general direction on cue to unprecedented hilarity. I would then find one lemon amidst the oranges, cut it open and discover the spectator's signed card inside.

It was the talking point of FISM the next day.

Little did I know it had a huge impact on one magician in particular. A magician from India spent the next day and almost all of his remaining money tracking down a local fruit market and purhasing several pallets of fruit!

After I went through the audience and handed out my 20 oranges, he snuck through the crowd and gave... pretty much everyone else... a piece of fruit each.

I had absolutely no idea.

When I stood blindfolded on stage later that night and gave my cue, I heard all of the oranges whizz by me and the audience convulsing in laughter... but it seemed to go on much longer than the night before... and the laughter was almost hysterical.

When I took my blindfold off I couldn't believe my eyes. The stage was covered in fruit of every variety. There was even half a watermelon sitting at my feet. 

I slowly turned and saw half the set had been knocked over and people backstage doubled up in laughter.

Suddenly, a wave of panic fell over me... I realised that whoever supplied the extra fruit might have given out lemons too! I could be there for ages cutting open lemons searching for the signed card!

Thabkfully, my Indian friend had supplied everything but and I was able to conclude the routine successfully.

But the moment of bewilderment while I was still blindfolded and the fruit just kept coming, and the moment when I saw all that fruit covering the stage are still among the best moments I've ever experienced on stage.

I was well and truly "Punk'd" and I loved it!