Gatling Magic featured in the Key Ring Magazine

ibm-key-ring-people-page-articleThere was an article on us in the November issue of the Key Ring magazine, the monthly magazine of the British Ring of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.

The article is reproduced here by kind permission of Key Ring magazine and their editor Geoffrey Newton.

For more information on the British Ring, visit their website www.britishring.org.uk

THE PEOPLEPAGE James and Sarah Dickson (known as Jay Gatling and Amelia)

Wizardry in Wales by Geoffrey NEWTON

I was trolling through the membership list the other day and found that James and Sarah Dickson of North Wales are both members of The British Ring. Granted they are not alone in this, but it is quite rare amongst the several hundred people in our society. I am very pleased to see this husband and wife team supporting us in such a manner. Their name was already familiar to me due to their success in winning the Theo Speaker Cup and Dittia Shield for Manipulation at the 2011 Southport convention. As a direct result of this I booked their act as seen for a subsequent dinner at The Order of The Magi, in my alter ego capacity as PRO there. See it pays to enter competitions so please pay heed and have a go yourself next year.

Although James originates from Kent, Sarah was born in North Wales. They became (then unknown to each other) interested in magic via different routes. James from a book on card tricks and Sarah having seen a magician perform at a Christmas pantomime in her home town of Rhyl. They met at North Wales Magic Circle and made their first performance together with ‘Elemental’ in 2008 winning the NWMC competition. The following year they had a summer season in Llandudno, honing this act to perfection and winning their local society competition again in 2010. This clearly had urged them to have a go at the IBM competition.

James and Sarah married in 2014 with a reception full of magic, with performances by many of the North Wales society members and even adding their own digital dexterity as part of the celebration.

Jay and Amelia (I’ll call them by that name from now on) are both actively involved in the Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza, held over the first May Bank Holiday and which will be celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2016. There are daily parades throughout the event with many people entering into the spirit by wearing Victorian costume. Jay presents mix and mingle magic and the two perform on the various stages in Mostyn Street which is specially closed off for the weekend. According to what I have read it is clearly a very popular event, proved by the large numbers who attend.

I had to ask about any disasters but luckily they generally seemed to have escaped these so far. A near miss though has come their way on a couple of occasions. Once when the wrong music was playing, fortunately Jay knew the piece so battled through with no one any the wiser. The other was when Amelia forgot to unpack the Losender floating table and Jay was on stage performing with just one minute to it being needed. Talk about a high speed prop set. She just made it and Jay knew nothing of the panic until he had finished the act.

Amelia told me of her most exciting performance, on the stage of the Rhyl Pavilion when they were the interval act whilst the judges were adjudicating at the Welsh Factor competition. It happened to be the very stage where she had seen a magician all those years ago and which had hooked her into magic in the first place. Jay has another interest, as a trained swordsman and he presents sword displays with a friend Erwyd le Fol. Their performances are appropriately called ‘Two the Hilt’. I bet he can do a great Card Sword or Sword through Neck!

I have a few more people in the pipeline to write about, so keep reading as it is amazing what you learn about your fellow members.

Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tour London

harry-potter-warner-brothers-studio-tourHow could we possibly resist something so full of magic? Also, I’m a huge fan of the Harry Potter series, so we simply had to go on the studio tour.

We took the train to Watford Junction, then got on the shuttle bus to the studio itself. From the moment you arrive, you start to see items from the films, with some of the iconic giant chess pieces from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone outside the entrance to the tour.

After a short film, the magic began in earnest, and we walked into the Great Hall.

ravenclaw-school-robesI already knew which house I was in, having been sorted when I joined Pottermore, so I was very pleased to see a set of  Revenclaw robes on display.

Of course, robes from all the other houses were in the Great Hall too, including the very first set of robes that Harry wore in the first film.

griifindor-school-robes triwizard-yule-ball-costumes hogwarts-chocolate-feast luna-lovegood-gilderoy-lockhart-costumes
Stepping out of the Great Hall, the tour really started, with props, costumes, and sets from the films. Seeing everything up close really lets you appreciate the small detail that you might miss when you watch the films. For example, in the chocolate feast there’s a rabbit in a magician’s top hat!

albus-dumbledores-officeFurther along you get a chance to walk into some of the iconic sets, the Griffindor common room, the boys’ dormitory, and Dumbledore’s office.

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The phoenix that guards the door to Dumbledore’s office, Harry’s invisibility cloak, the Mirror of Erised, and the Leaky Cauldron are all here too.

phoenix-staircase-to-professor-dumbledors-office harry-potters-invisibility-cloak the-mirror-of-erised the-leaky-cauldron
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Next were cases full of some of the smaller props.

The wands of all the main characters are here, and so are the Horcruxes, the Phillosopher’s Stone, the first Golden Snitch that Harry ever caught, and the prisoner number that Sirius Black was given when he entered Azkaban.

There’s just so many things to see in this magical treasure trove that it’s impossible to describe them all.

horcruxes the-philosophers-stone the-golden-snitch azkaban-prison-number
Some of the larger props were next, including the door to the Chamber of Secrets, Professor Remus Lupin’s case, and one of the Gringots minecarts.

door-chamber-of-secretsprofessor-remus-lupins-case gringotts-wizarding-bank-minecard
 

the-burrowMore sets were next, including Hagrid’s hut, the Burrow, the Potions classroom, and the Ministry of Magic.

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There was still more to come, a full set of Quidditch balls, and a case full of Death Eater masks.

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Then it was out of the first area, and into the open-air section of the tour. Privet Drive, the Potter’s house in Godric’s Hollow, the Knight Bus, and the Hogwarts bridge were all on display.

The studio is also one of only 3 places in the world that sell Butterbeer, so I simply had to try some!

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After that, it was back inside, and a walk through the creature shop that created Fawkes the phoenix, Buckbeak the hippogrif,  the giant basilisk, and so many other monsters and magical animals.

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We also loved the quote about the team that made all these fantastic beasts!

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From there, we took a stroll down Diagon Alley, full of wizarding shops like Flourish and Blotts, and Quality Quidditch Supplies, as well as Gringott’s bank.

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Next was the design section, featuring concept art, models of sets, and some of the books and papers made for the films, as well a statue of the Hogwarts Architect.

the-marauders-map hogwarts-architect hogsmeade-village-model quidditch-concept-art
hogwarts-large-scale-modelThe last section of the tour was quite possibly the most amazing thing.

A 1:24 scale model of Hogwarts castle, measuring 50 feet across, it has over 2,500 lights inside, some of which even flicker as though people were walking along the miniature corridors.

 

hogwards-model-night hogwarts-model-detailThe model also goes through a continual day/night cycle, allowing you to see Hogwarts changing through dawn and dusk.

jay-amelia-hogwarts-modelIt’s an incredible finale to a wonderful journey behind the scenes of the Harry Potter films.

We took almost 500 photographs between us, and what you’ve seen in this post is just small selection of them.

 

London Honeymoon

jay-amelia-queen-victoria-memorialWe’ve just come back from our honeymoon in London, and we’ve got lots of photographs to share with you. In fact, there’s too many for just one blog post!

This first post gives you a general idea of what we got up to in London, and the second post is full of magical goings-on.

Where to start? Well, the beginning seems a rather good place…

Firstly, we ended up taking our honeymoon mid-week, as there was a particular show that we wanted to see (more on that later). So to make sure that we didn’t miss a performance of Seaside Special, we left on Thursday morning, and were back again the next Wednesday, ready for the final Seaside Special of the season.

jay-and-amelia-train-journey congratulations-cheesecake lucky-george-dragon-statue
We made our journey to London by train, and soon arrived at our hotel, where we were greeted by their lucky dragon statue, George.

rosetta-stone-british-museum-londonOur first stop was the British Museum, and of course the famous Rosetta Stone.

Both Jay and I have been fascinated by Ancient Egypt since we were children, and it was wonderful to be able to stand in front of the stone that proved to be the key to deciphering hieroglyphics.

 

madame-tussauds-robert-downey-jr-sherlock-holmesmadame-tussauds-bruce-willis-die-hardMadame Tussauds  was next, with its amazingly realistic waxwork figures. As you can see, Jay had great fun posing with them.

His favourite part was their Marvel Super Heroes section, as he’s a huge Marvel Comics fan. In particular, he’s a bit of a web-head (or Spider-Man fan), so he insisted on having his photograph taken with Spidey.

madame-tussauds-incredible-hulk madame-tussauds-spider-man-marvel
 

british-museum-earth-galleries-atriumWe also went to two more museums, the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum, both of which we spent hours exploring. Even the architecture of the buildings reflects the collections inside, with the Natural History museum being full of little details such as these birds carved into one of the walls.

 

dinosaur-skeleton-natural-history-museum natural-history-museum-london natural-history-museum-carved-birds science-museum
 

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We visited Baker Street, home of Sherlock Holmes, the most famous detective in the world; Trafalgar Square where we saw Yoda floating in mid-air; and London Zoo, where we spent a lovely relaxing afternoon watching the animals.

trafalgar-square-floating-yoda meerkats-london-zoo feeding-time-at-the-zoo butterfly-london-zoo
 

house-of-magic-drawing-roomAnd then there was the event that we timed our whole honeymoon around – an evening at Simon Drake’s House of Magic.

house-of-magic-bookcaseIt’s in a secret location, somewhere in London, and from the moment you step foot through the gates, you are taken into another world. The garden is filled with lights and spooky sounds, and once you’re inside you can’t help but marvel at the amazing décor and atmosphere.

There are tours of the Haunted Cellar, fortune readings in the Whispering Chair, and the fabulously themed Red Room and Drawing Room to explore.

simon-drake-house-of-magicThe finale of the evening is a show with Simon Drake himself. It takes elements from his cult Secret Cabaret TV series, as well as new ideas, and blends them together into a breathtaking performance full of amazing magic, comedy, and theatricality.

A Truly Magical Day

llandudno-town-hall-wedding-confettiAs promised, here’s the explanation for the lack of posts recently: we got married!

We moved house back in April, and between then and June, we spent most of our time organising the wedding. To say that things were chaotic doesn’t even begin to cover it, but we got everything sorted in the end.

The day itself was amazing, and we had glorious sunshine all day. It was great to be surrounded by family and friends and to share the day with them. And as you can see, Bernie played a vital role as our unique ring bearer.

jay-ameila-wedding-rings gatling-magic-wedding
 

harley-and-jay-balancingOf course, there was plenty of entertainment at the reception afterwards, provided courtesy of our friends Dean Raymond, Harley the Clown, and Roslyn Walker.

They all put on extra special performances just for us,  including Harley doing a dangerous balancing act that he normally only attempts with small children – except that this time he performed it with Jay sat on his shoulders!

It looked rather precarious, but they both managed to stay balanced and got a huge round of applause.

 

dean-raymond-magic harley-the-clown-juggling-knives roslyn-walker-stupid-bean-trick roslyn-walker-straight-jacket-escape
jay-gatling-card-trick-weddingJay also couldn’t resist the opportunity to take part too, and show some of his magical routines.

Appropriately, he chose to perform his linking rings routine, and a chain escape with a twist – instead of escaping, we ended up chained together!

We had an incredible day, one that we will always remember. We’re so happy that after eight years together, we’re finally married, and have got everything we’ve been dreaming of for so long.

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Bernie and the Doctor

bernie-tardisWe took Bernie the Bunny to the International Eisteddfodd in July, and while we were there he developed  a liking for Doctor Who. As you can see from this photograph, we had great difficulty in prising him off the T.A.R.D.I.S. doors! So when he heard that the Day of the Doctor was going to be shown in the cinema, he got very excited.

bernie-doctor-whoBut they don’t allow rabbits in the cinema, and poor Bernie got very upset. In the end, we had to buy him lots and lots of Doctor Who things, and promise that we would let him watch it on the television later.

Bernie was still a bit jealous when we set out for the cinema on Saturday evening, but he did like Jay’s Tenth Doctor costume.

We’ve all watched the Day of the Doctor now, and Bernie is already looking forward to seeing the Christmas special!

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