Review of Seaside Special in the Budget

IBM-Budget-Elemental

Jay and I are both members of the British Ring of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, and we had a lovely surprise when we opened our copy of this month’s Budget magazine.

As you can see, Maggie Tucker saw Seaside Special recently, and came backstage to chat with us after the show.

It’s always nice to know that people have enjoyed watching us,  and the shows that we take part in.

This was the best £6.00 I’ve spent in a long, long time.

Jenna Grace, a vocalist, sang (amongst others) a song from Les Misérables as expertly as that from the actual stage and film productions. She was excellent. Mel Blake is a top TV comedian and it showed… very funny. The Linzi Grace Dancers performed four times during the show and were very energetic and fast paced. Now to the magic…

Jay Gatling performed a lovely solo spot in the first half with a series of entertaining rope effects. Then, in the second half, Jay & Amelia, as Elemental, wowed the audience with their illusions and manipulations. It was good to see so many original touches that no doubt helped to secure them two British Ring prizes, in 2011, including the Dittia Shield for manipulation. Jay’s manipulative skills, on this night, were outstanding and he and Amelia worked so well together in the second half.

I was pleased to be able to chat with them backstage after the show, and congratulate them on two terrific performances. The two hours just flew by.

I highly recommend magicians and their families to see this show, especially when you realise that ALL the proceeds go to a charity that helps sick and disabled children in North Wales.”

The Budget, September 2013

Seaside Special is on at the Town Hall in Llandudno every week until the 2nd of October, and all proceeds go to Happy Faces Children’s Charity. Click here for more information.

International Brotherhood of Magicians Convention in Great Yarmouth

At the end of September we travelled all the way to Great Yarmouth for the annual convention of the British Ring of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.

The convention took place in several different locations on the seafront in Great Yarmouth, including the Britannia Theatre and  Long John’s Showbar (both on the Britania Pier), the Hollywood Cinema and the Marina Centre.

We go to Great Yarmouth nice and early, and handed our trophies safely back to the organisers.

Although we didn’t enter the stage competition this year, Jay entered the Ali Bongo Micro Marathon. The Micro Marathon is a fun, friendly competition, but Jay still wanted to make sure that he looked his best!

The British Ring have very kindly let us use two of their photographs of us at the convention:

Members of the North Wales Magic Circle in the dealers hall at the IBM convention in Great Yarmouth.
Jay performing at the Ali Bongo Micro Marathon at the IBM convention in Great Yarmouth.

For more information on the British Ring of the International Brotherhood of Magician, visit their website (www.britishring.org.uk), their convention website (www.magicconvention.co.uk), or “Like” their Facebook page (www.facebook.com/IBM.BritishRing25).


As well as being busy at the convention, we decided to take some time off to enjoy the attractions of Great Yarmouth.

We played adventure golf at Pirates Cove:

We went back in time at Yesterday’s World:

And we explored the depths of the ocean at the Sea Life Centre:

We had a brilliant time, very relaxing, and full of magic!

Trophies and Magic Conventions

It’s been almost a year since we won the Dittia Shield and the Theo Speaker Cup in the stage competition at the annual International Brotherhood of Magicians British Ring Number 25 convention in Southport.

This year’s convention is in Great Yarmouth and we’ll be taking the trophies back with us, ready to be presented to the next winners.

I wanted to make sure that the trophies were handed back in the best possible condition, so I spent a morning last week cleaning and polishing them. How do you think I did?

While I was cleaning them, I had a good chance to read all the names of the previous winners, and it’s amazing to think that we’ve been added to them.

 There are some well known names on there, including Ali Bongo, president of the Magic Circle, adviser to Paul Daniels and David Nixon, and one of the inspirations for Jonathan Creek; and John Archer, the first magician to fool Penn and Teller on their television show, Fool Us

Some of the names are probably less familiar to most people, but are greats in the world of magic – Ron MacMillan, founder of the London magic shop; Walt Lees, editor of the only weekly magazine for magicians; Roy Davenport; Scott Penrose; Brian Sefton.

One name on the trophy has special meaning for me. We have a family tradition that every year we go to the pantomime on Boxing Day. In 1998, it was Cinderella, and Buttons was played by Dominic Wood. He performed magic in the pantomime,  and from that moment on I was hooked. Fourteen years later, and I’m on the same trophy that he won!

The trophies are all safely packed away in their carrying cases, ready for the drive down tomorrow. We’ll tell you all about it when we get back!

FISM – The World Championships of Magic in Blackpool

Jay and I had a holiday in Blackpool last week. We saw the tower, and the piers and the beach. As you can tell, it was a bit windy!

But we weren’t just in Blackpool to see the sights. We were here for this:

FISM stands for the Fédération Internationale des Sociétés Magiques – and every three years they hold the World Championships of Magic. This year it was held in the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.

2012 is the first year the convention has ever been held in UK. We arrived on the Sunday, and went to the registration desk to pick up our name badges and tickets. We also got a FISM bag, with all sorts of goodies in it, including a miniature Tommy Cooper teddy bear.

The main part of the convention is the competitions – there were 100 entrants in the stage competition, and 50 in the close up. The stage competitions were held in the Opera House and were very popular, as you can see. The Opera House is a very beautiful theatre. The standard of magic was amazing. We mainly watched the stage competitions, as that is where our interests are. We watched one of the close up acts via a video link, as the actual hall it was being held in was so busy. The crowd were applauding so loudly that we could hear it through the walls of the building!

There were over 100 magic dealers from all over the world, each with their own stand. They were spread out across the Empress Ballroom, The Arena, and the Ice Room. This is a photograph of the stands in the Empress Ballroom, plus one of the ceiling. (I love old buildings, and I tend to get a little distracted looking around sometimes…)

We also went to several lectures over the week, learning new tricks and picking up interesting ideas. Conventions are a brilliant way to meet other magicians, and we met some well known magicians – Eric Jones, Shoot Ogawa, and our favourite, Topas. We also met up with some friends from our local magic club, the North Wales Magic Circle.

One evening, there was a special trip to the Blackpool Tower. There were drinks in the Tower Ballroom, and then we all went to watch the Tower Circus. The whole audience was made up of magicians, which created a wonderful atmosphere. The show itself was absolutely amazing, full of incredible athletic stunts and brilliant clowning. The show closed with the famous water finale, where the entire circus ring fills with water and dancing fountains.

The finals of the competitions were held in the Opera House on Saturday. All the acts were absolutely breathtaking, and there were several well deserved standing ovations. The winners were announced on Saturday evening, with Yu Ho Jin from Korea winning the Grand Prix for stage magic, and Yann Frisch from France winning the Grand Prix for close up magic.

We had a fantastic week, but it was very tiring!

North Wales Magic Circle Close-Up Competition

Last Tuesday, Jay took part in the annual close up competition of the North Wales Magic Circle, at the Constitutional Club in Prestatyn. There were six competitors, who each had to perform for a maximum of twelve minutes for two sets of audiences.

One of the other magicians filmed part of Jay’s performance and put it online, so we thought we’d share it with you all.

 
 
 
 

All the  performers were did really well, and winner of the competition will be announced at the NWMC’s annual dinner later in the year.