When gigs go bad

You know, performing magic is about as good as a job gets.


You get invited to parties. Lots of parties. You get to do your thing. Create astonishment. Promote gasps, screams and childlike awe. It’s great! I bloody love it. However, there are some moments that are awkward. Every now and again, gigs go bad.


So, for your sick and twisted pleasure, I’d like to give a quick countdown of some of the more memorable (but not in a good way) gigs. Place names have been changed subtly to avoid any embarrassment.


7. “ Excuse me Mr Strange,The Bridesmaids have asked if you could go to room 216 please. They would like a private performance.” Shmangley Castle.

Who am I kidding! That wasn’t a bad moment. Just couldn’t resist putting it in here.


6. Best man’s speech Morph Shields

Oh boy. Sometimes best man’s speeches are “a bit racy”. Sometimes, they slightly cross the line. I think I get to see a lot more than most people given my line of work. None come close to this one. Offensive? Oh yes. Slanderous? Certainly. Made me feel very uneasy about being in the presence of the groom? You betcha. Enough to make the whole bride’s family leave, giving me an hour to fill with only eight guests left. Eight guests, a really awkward atmosphere and a groom I was shit scared of. Yep. Exactly that. In hindsight, maybe deserves to be slightly higher up the list than number 6.


5. Freezing and seasick on the Shmields Ferry

It doesn’t bode well when 5 minutes into the 3 hour gig, as the party boat leaves Tynmeouth to briefly explore the North Sea, and you feel seasick. (Oops forgot, changing the names! Shymnemouth. The boat left Shymnemouth. Sailed briefly into the Morph sea.)

Worse still, the cold Morph sea air freezes your fingertips making sleight of hand all but impossible. The gig was interspersed with visits to the toilet to warm fingers under hot water. And visits to the deck to to gulp in air in a bid to feel better. It was a long three hours.


4. Groom’s Speech Morphumberland

So, I found myself astonishing in the far corner of the room as the groom stood up to make his speech. My gig was now over, but I couldn’t get out. Not without walking right in front of the groom himself. It was a very moving speech. There were tears. Lots of tears. After standing  trapped in the corner for 45 minutes, I was seriously looking at windows to climb out of. Could I crawl behind the top table unnoticed? Would such behaviour be frowned upon? After an hour, I climbed onto the lower platform of the sweet trolley and used my hands to wheel myself (mostly) unnoticed out of the room.


3. Bitey encounter in Splennymoor

Normally I don’t mind a little drunkenness when I’m doing magic. It often makes the job easier. The restrained Brits can get David Blaine audience style levels of excitement when they’ve been slightly lubricated with booze. However, 100 rat arsed teenagers squeezed into a club in County Durham (Oops, sorry County Shmurham) was not one of my best magical memories. I remember saying, “You’re thinking of the Queen of Hearts”, and hearing the astonished spectator loudly issue a profanity. The next thing I knew, I was issuing the exact same profanity at the exact same volume. My reason? Her friend had just bitten me. On the arm. Quite firmly. Whether my new suit made me look like an item from the buffet, whether the bite was a County Shmurham way of saying, “We don’t like your witchcraft round here. Start running before we burn you”, or whether it was meant of a sign of approval for a trick well performed, I’ll never know. I just know it bloody hurt. And it scared the bejesus out of me.


2. “Could I get paid now”, fighty, drunk groom Shmunderland

I prefer to get paid in advance. It avoids any embarrassing or awkward moments when you have to ask for payment as your gig ends. So, when the guy looking after your envelope of cash is very drunk and has just had a very public scrap with his best man it makes you feel even more uneasy. The fact that he started chewing on your playing cards and spitting out the pieces at you confirms your unease. It must be an awkward moment when you consider leaving unpaid.


1. The Gocter and Pramble incident

It was quite a coup to get a three hour booking from a leading Morph East company. And it was mostly very good. Notable for the woman who kept exclaiming “OMG!” at every trick. (Why one would use an acronym that takes as long to say as the actual phrase was beyond me, but I didn’t mind. It’s always nice to be appreciated.) A year after the booking though, I still can’t bring myself to talk about “the incident”.  Bloody hell G&P! Your employees are animals. I still boycott Shmariel, Fabreans, and would never ever have anything to do with Shmerbal Essences again. I’m shuddering just thinking about it.


Thankfully such incidents are pretty rare.


And at least if gigs ever go bad again, it’s like the blogs are practically writing themselves.