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Went to Dynamo‘s Seeing is Believing show at the Sheffield Arena last night. Excellent. Well worth seeing; he’s touring the UK through until April, I believe. You can check the dates here.

I’d not seen him on stage since he did a spot on one of Fay Presto’s late-night shows at the IBM convention some years ago. And as I don’t have a television I’ve not seen his TV shows, apart from the occasional YouTube clip.

I won’t say too much about the content of the show as I don’t want to spoil if for those yet to see it. There were many moments that were, engagingly and unpretentiously, truly magical. He levitated above the stage, of course, performed some technically demanding card work, and one of the nicest Gypsy Thread presentations I’ve seen.

The show was framed by cartoon and real-life clips showing how Bradford-born Steven Frayne became Dynamo, assured magician and global star.

Perhaps this was the real magic… how dogged persistence and talent turned a normal lad with a pretty tough upbringing into a magical celebrity with confidence and natural charm. And with all this success he remains likeable and down to earth.

I first met Steven many years ago when he used to come into The Magick Lounge from time to time to discuss and practice card magic with Roger Curzon and other Saturday regulars. It’s a real pleasure to see someone I remember as a quiet, perhaps even slightly withdrawn, teenager stand on stage in front of around four thousand spectators and present a full-evening show that people loved.

Congratulations to all involved, and thanks for a great evening!

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We had one of our old customers (and ex-Lounger) back in the shop this afternoon…

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Dynamo was on his way to the Sheffield Arena where his Seeing is Believing show is running from tonight until 28 February.

Click Dynamo Sheffield for more details.

“Learn How To Perform Magic Like Criss Angel and David Blaine..” Like most magicians with any kind of online presence I get loads of emails with this sort of heading. And I’m getting pretty sick of it. I have nothing again Messrs Angel and Blaine (in fact one of them has bought books from me in the past). It’s the sad concept behind the email headline that upsets me

It really is nonsense! Seems to me that if there’s a problem with magic today it is that people want to perform like Angel, Blaine, Dynamo, whoever… Surely those who take their teaching responsibility seriously should teach would-be performers to find their own style and ‘perform magic like’ THEMSELVES. There are already too many carbon copies of these people and not enough original artists.

Of course we all begin to develop an interest in our chosen art or craft because we are inspired by seeing leading performers. And perhaps it is natural at first to wish to emulate them. Although I would hope that, through our own good sense or the wise counsel of others, we quickly grow out of the ridiculous urge to copy them.

We can learn by watching the ‘stars’; and we should study them carefully. But we must aspire to move beyond copying their style or their tricks. We have our own particular strengths and weaknesses, our own character or persona. The character we play as a magician may not be our everyday self (all performers are actors to some extent?), but I would argue that it has to be grounded within and arise from ourself.

What do YOU think?

(PS. If anyone wants to learn to perform like Derren Brown, give me a ring. We’ve got a couple of books on NLP in the shop….)