Courtesy Stuff.co.nz :
Mick Peck is a professional magician based in Auckland and a member of London’s Magic Circle, the world’s premier magic club. He was inspired by Paul Daniels to become a magician, and he contracted Daniels to attend the New Zealand International Magicians Convention in 2010. Peck shares his memory of the beloved magician who passed this week after suffering from an inoperable brain tumour. He was 77.
I’ll admit, I was totally star struck when I met Paul Daniels.
He was an inspiration not only to magicians in the UK but right around the world. And here he was standing in front of me. And he’d even brought along the lovely Debbie McGee.
One of my earliest memories of magic was seeing Paul perform the Magic Kettle on television.
A perfectly ordinary looking tea kettle could pour out any drink requested by the audience. Beer, sherry, whiskey, wine; whatever the audience called out Paul poured from the kettle and gave to the audience.
A smart alec called out “milk”, and in his inimitable style Paul tilted the kettle, milk flowed from the spout and was given away.
Hmm, I thought, maybe this magic schtick was worth looking into.
My first magic set was a Paul Daniels magic set. It caught my eye in a toy store, proclaiming “one hundred professional magic tricks”.
This was my ticket to ride, I thought, and wouldn’t leave the store until my parents had bought it.
True to the hype, yes there were one hundred tricks inside. Professional? That was debatable. Most of it was cheap plastic tat mass-produced in China decorated with rabbits.
But it was a good start. Included was a big plastic hat I could hide a toy rabbit inside.
My first public performance taught me that it was probably a good idea to avoid direct sunlight when showing it empty – the plastic trapdoor inside wasn’t exactly subtle.
Years later I had the pleasure of contracting Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee to headline the 2010 New Zealand International Magicians Convention.
He presented a day-long masterclass in which he shared his formula for success.
“Show business is two words,” he said. “If there’s no business, then there’s no show”.
I learnt so much from Paul. He oozed star quality and show business knowledge and had one of the most encyclopedic magic minds I have ever met. He was a real raconteur; when he started one of his stories he instantly had the attention of the whole room.
After the masterclass Paul was “off” for most of the convention. He could have rested in his room but instead spent the rest of the event mingling with local magicians and answering questions about magic.
I was amazed he had so much energy. Just by giving a few minutes of his time to the local magicians he could make them feel so important.
He really was a superstar of magic and a legend in our industry.
For the last year of his life Paul was the Patron of the Brotherhood of Auckland Magicians Inc, a local magic society.
I think there was a very good chance that he may have made another visit to New Zealand had his health not taken a turn for the worst in February.
My lasting memories of Paul Daniels are that of a kind man who was willing to share his time and incredible knowledge to the magic community. It was a true honour to meet him and have an opportunity to thank him for the inspiration.
And I still don’t know how the kettle works.
Article courtesy Southland Times/Stuff.co.nz :