Wedding review Keir & Louise

Just received a wee thank you email in the cyper post to say thanks for entertaining at their wedding

I must be doing something right

Woody,
Hi mate, On behalf of my wife and i, i thought i’d just send a quick mail to thank you for attending our Wedding and contributing to a fantastic day. Everyone was talking about your performance and I will certainly be recommending you to all my friend’s and relatives. Still trying to get my head round some of the tricks but I guess that’s a testament to your ability. Once again thank you for sharing your amazing talents with us on our special day.
All the Best
Keir & Lou

Sorry for the website problems

Man Shouting at Computer

Howdy folks, If anyone’s been trying to get onto the site the last few days and haven’t been able to then it’s my fault.  I’m changing webhosts and it hasn’t been as easy a process as I had first hoped.  I even tried the classic “Turning it on and off again” but the problem was still there.  I’ve also tried; hugging, praying and I got the Harry Potter wand out and tried to cast a spell.  None of it worked but shouting seems to help the most.  Anyhow, emails & site might be a bit up and down but I’m working (pestering the hosting company) as we speak so hopefully in a couple of days we’ll be back to normal

 

 

See me perform on March 9th in Glasgow

Is it too late to say Happy New Year? I’ve been a very bad magician and not been updating my blog but I’ve got some interesting stories for you.

Firstly – Come See Me Perform

On Saturday March 9th I’ll be performing my Mind-Reading routine. Basically I’ll be doing a growing head illusion, then putting a coin in a can and finishing off by putting my persuasion skills to the test in a famous magic routine involving a Spike. It’s a routine I haven’t performed for a while but I’ve decided to dust it off and spice it up a little.

Where Will I Be Performing It?

I’ll be performing it on my Sister Night. Yes, Top Class Magic is still my baby but I felt the time was right for my baby to have a wee sister and she’s called Enterteasement. Enterteasement is a Comedy, Magic, Burlesque night currently hosting monthly shows every second Saturday of the Month at The Admiral Bar in Glasgow. Although I’m totally biased it’s a cracking wee night featuring some of the best acts in Scotland. Also I’m hardly ever on the bill so it allows the audience to see different magicians every month.
Tickets and the full line-up are available over at www.enterteasement.com

Hope to see you there!

I Wouldn’t Want To Play Cards With You

It’s up there with “Can you make my wife disappear” as one of the commonly heard things heard as a magician. But is there any truth in it that magicians can cheat at cards?

Can Magicians Cheat At Poker?

Poker Picture
The short answer is yes…If a magician is in control of the cards and the audience aren’t used to seeing cards shuffled then it’s very easy for us to deal a Royal Flush or the 4 Aces. However, at the poker table it’s a different story because poker players and dealers all shuffle the cards a certain way so for us to pick the cards up and control the aces would look a little out of the ordinary. Also since the film Rounders came out people are very much aware of players working in together so the dealer isn’t winning the hand but a secret accomplice is picking up the winnings which they split at the end.

Are Magicians Good At Poker?

Well let’s ask Chris Dinwoodie (me) – Professional magician and The Autumn Nuts Poker League Poker Champion 2012.

“Magicians have high standards, are normally mathematically minded and are used to dealing with a lot of new people. Plus for those who take the profession seriously we have to learn to read people which is always a major advantage when playing poker.

The Tournament

To qualify for the event all players had to come in the top 25% of their club so that eliminates a large proportion of novices who turn up for their first tournament and get eaten alive by the experienced players.
So when it came to the big tournament there were 185 club players competing for the title and the big cheque. It was my first time there and I got off to a good start and I felt confident the way the table was playing that I was going to be knocking a few players out and gaining chips in a slow and steady fashion. But then we got a new player at the table and he played a style of poker that I hate because it’s very aggressive and hard to read.
Just before the break I lost about 1/3rd of my chips to him. I had a good hand and I made a good fold but most importantly to me I said to him “I know you’ve got pocket jacks” I folded and he turned over pocket jacks so I felt that my read was quite good and the break couldn’t have come at a better time.

How we learn

Pink DoughnutSo it was time to introduce a psychological gamble. See I can’t cheat at poker, in fact I’m not allowed to touch the cards. But we’re all trying to figure out what people have and how to outplay the other guy. But I know how people work and I also know the psychology behind gambling. The human mind looks for patterns. Let’s say you place a glass at the other side of the room and you try to throw a ball into it. If the ball doesn’t go far enough you try throwing it a little harder. Maybe the next time it goes too much to the left so you try and throw it to the right a little. But say you tried for hours and then you had a bite out of a doughnut and you threw the ball into the glass first time. Then you’d have yourself a lucky Doughnut and a superstition that you could throw the ball into the glass when you had a bite of the doughnut.
Now I don’t believe in any of that stuff which is why I don’t have a lucky hand or a lucky T shirt that I wear to these events. However, for most gamblers that’s exactly what they have. So I don’t need a lucky doughnut but I need them to believe in it.

After the Break

After coming back to the table I make the announcement that I have a magic Doughnut and everytime I take a bite out of it I win the hand. The table laugh but the message was sent. My first hand after taking a bite out of the doughnut was 7 4. As hands go…this one is pretty rubbish. However I was the big blind and no one bet so I was playing the hand. Flop 456. I check the hand because I’m thinking that an 8 would give me a straight. The next card is a 7. This gives me 2 pairs but if anyone has a 3 or an 8 then I’m in trouble. I raise and a guy goes all in. I sit and think about it for a while but I felt good and if I won the hand I would not only have more chips but I would have implanted my secret weapon of the doughnut.

I call and he turns over K7 giving him top pair and I win the hand with my 2 pairs.
Next hand pair of Kings. I win and I show the hand and tell the table again of the power of the doughnut.
So what does this mean. Well now as luck would have it everytime I take a bite out of the doughnut I can kind of tell what people have. Let me explain. See if you had a hand that you thought “is this feeling lucky” well you might play it or you might not. But see if you see that I’ve taken a bite out of the doughnut and you know that not only would you have to put up with loosing all your chips but also a really annoying guy across the table boasting about the power of his doughnut it means that you would question weather to play the hand or not.

So this means that I know that when someone plays a hand against me they are playing with something good and therefore I know how to play against them.
So anyway, this continued and after 10 hours of talking nonsesnse I was at the top table and after a wee bit of luck I found myself winning with what can only be described as the Doughnut hand 88 (the 8 has a 2 holes in it)

So was the whole thing luck?

No. Poker is a game I’ve studied over the last 10 years. I’ve read about 7 books on the subject and watched 4 DVDs and regularly watch the sky poker channel and talk to other good players. Half of poker is maths and I’m about as clued up on the maths as anyone else in the room was that day. Where my skill comes from is the ability to read people and understand their patterns. I often win hands and the person who has just lost a lot of money against me will just say I played the hand all wrong. I’m not arrogant with that I just sit back and make it look like beginner luck. As the game goes on people start playing a certain way and I change my style depending on the table.

With a bit of luck this won’t be the last time I win a big tournament.
Ironically I started playing poker again so I could develop an act that would allow me to go to the poker clubs and do a demonstration…but it’s far easier and more profitable to just play poker instead 

21st Birthday Party Edinburgh

Last week I was the house party entertainer / magician for the 21st birthday party of the lovely Esmee.  I was really looking forward to this gig because I’d chatted to the client (her mum) on the phone and she was lovely but more importantly…she got my sense of humour and liked my cheeky charm.  I knew she’d been in contact with a few other magicians and I thought it was my personality she’d fallen for but no…turns out her Daughters boyfriend is called Woody.  WTF? 2 Woody’s in the same room – don’t think I’ve ever met another Woody.
So I turned up still dying with my man flu; but, my body knows when it’s time to perform there’s no room for illness.  I’ve often joked that even when I die I’ve probably still got 2 or 3 gigs left in me.  Don’t know why – but something just kicks in and say’s “It’s show time”

The Show

 

The mum, Mary, had asked me to perform one of my cheeky opening lines which I was more than happy to do and within minutes we had started the show and as Kevin Bridges would say, “Everyone was having a good time”. However, someone was feeling a bit left out and decided to come and watch the show.  Yip I had a wee cheeky heckler – a dog!! Now I can’t remember the young pups name but he was very inquisitive and liked to watch the show and even participate on the odd occasion.  I think Pudsy from Britain’s Got Talent may have inspired dogs across the nation to move into the entertainment world

After Show

I’ve never been a ‘Gig And Run’ type of guy.  Being one of the more social magicians out there I quite like to stay for a coffee after a gig and have a wee chat with some people about magic.  With Dynamo being all the rage magic is all of a sudden interesting again.  People want to know about certain tricks, how we get into magic, who inspires us or sometimes just to learn a basic trick themselves.  So yeah, that’s all good and I’m more than happy to share my experiences.

At this show I was taken very good care of and I was even offered a bowl of soup.  I thought that might be overstaying my welcome but then I heard it was lentil (my favourite) but not only lentil…it was “Mental Lentil” How could I say no?  I have to admit…it was mental – very spicy – but just what the Doctor ordered.  So after a Q&A session and my bowl of vitamins it was time to head back to Costa Del Cambuslang.  On the drive him I received a lovely txt saying how much they had enjoyed my show and today I received the photo of the dog looking at me which i thought was a lovely touch.

 

Who Puts the fun into funerals?

It’s always been an in joke amongst magicians that we’re thinking about moving into the funeral market so you can imagine my surprise when I was contacted by a lady asking me to perform at the wake of her mother’s funeral. At first I was thinking a magician friend of mine had told someone to wind me up and I was thinking about going down the lines of, So do you want me to:
• Saw the coffin in half
• Do cards from corpse
• Contact the dead
• Etc

But there was something genuine about the girls voice and although laughing she said that they wanted to celebrate her mother’s life and therefore the colour black was banned, there would be music and a party afterwards. So a price was agreed, the gig was booked and I turned up nice and early.

The Wake

So I turn up, walk past the balloons and check with the staff and sure enough I was in the right place. When the guests arrived it met the daughters and both were bubbly, cheery and delightful.
As no one knew who I was or what I did it was time to introduce myself to the first table and there was no other opening I could use other than…”Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. My Name’s Woody and I’m here to put the fun into funeral” It’s just one of those lines that you have to convince yourself that there’s an autobiography in everyone of us and in mine there’s a chapter dedicated to weird gigs and this currently sits at the top of all the unusual events where I’ve performed. Anyhow, the gig went well, people laughed, clapped and I ended up doing about 4 hours. I was even hit on by possibly the campest man in the world which we’ll just say was an experience, performed magic for a girl who knew Dynamo and another girl who is sisters of a guy from magic club – weird.

Overall experience

I’ve always said; when you have a venue and people – you have an event. When you have me at an event, you have a special event that will stay in the minds of everyone forever as – “oh that was the event with the magician”.
With the funeral market it’s basically exactly the same as a corporate or a wedding. People are dressed up, they have a few drinks and they meet people they haven’t seen in a while. Where it can and does go differently is that you can either have a sad funeral or a happy one. We all mourn differently and if by me being there kept everyone upbeat and in happy then I done my job.
Thankfully I made a difference in this girls life and I’m only sorry that I never met her mother as she sounded absolutely amazing. RIP BABS.

Would You Date A Magician?

Here big man you must get your Nat King more than The Hoff” That was the cry from the drunken man at the back of the room.   Now I’ve translated this from Glaswegian into English for you but the question remains: Is magic a sexy profession?

The Game – Using Magic To Pick-up Girls

Years ago when I was learning my trade, I went through a phase of everyone saying

“You’ve read Game”

After a while I finally asked about The Game and it turns out it’s a book written about how a magician called Mystery used magic to get women to be attracted to him.  Reading the book I realised this wasn’t a book about dating at all, it was a book about group dynamics, conversation and how to be interesting.  The weird thing is – Women who haven’t read this book hate it because they think there’s a hypnotic code to trick them into bed.  But women who have read the book have said to me – “I wish more men would read the book – we need more men like that out there.

What Makes A Sexy Profession?

After a wee bit of research, and by research I mean I checked Google for sexy professions, there seems to be a trend and fireman, pilot, personal trainer, architect. What most of the sexy professions have in common is that they have to have a healthy body to complete the task or the intellectual ones such as architect means they have to be intelligent.  However this contradicts the most attractive traits what women look for.

The number one trait for a women is “Good Sense Of Humour” However, comedian isn’t on the list and neither is any other form of entertainment and the last time I checked there weren’t any super models going out with comedians.  But this wasn’t always the case.

2 Of the most famous Magicians in the last centaury are undoubtably Paul Daniels &  David Copperfield and check out there partners (please not Claudia and David have sadly split)

 

Sexy Magic CouplesThe Ex Wife Of Illusionist David Copperfield - Claudia Schiffer

What Did Paul Daniels & David Copperfield have in common.

Ok well they’re both millionaires with their own TV shows but that wasn’t always the case.  Granted David Copperfield is a big Stud But Paul Daniels is 5ft 5 and he claims to have slept with over 300 women in his 30’s and that’s when he wasn’t famous.

How did Paul Daniels attract women?

There’s a phrase in the whole pick-up industry that’s called being an Alpha – the leader of Men.  And although Paul Daniels is a bit cheesy.  He created his own style of magic.  Whereas so many other magicians followed this style and copied it – Paul done his own thing and that shows that you’re the leader of the pack.  Other attractive qualities include; ambition, confidence, sense of humour and he certainly had these in abundance.

Conclusion – Magic Is Sexy…Magicians Are Not.

 

Playing the guitar, singing a song or doing a bit of magic can really help separate you from everyone out there.  However, women need to connect with their men and if all you’ve got going for you as your magic abilities then you’ll always be the magic man and never the partner, boyfriend or husband.  So anyone reading this would like to add a bit of magic to get girls then that’s the right plan – do a trick or 2 but don’t rely on magic instead of having a personality.

7 Reasons To Date A Magician

1)      We’re good with our hands

2)      We’re funny (debateable)

3)      A lot of our time is dedicated to learning new things – this means you can go leave us to our own devices

4)      When you’re playing your sexual top trumps with your girl friends a magician beats an accountant any day.

5)      Women love secrets and dating a magician, mason or secret agent gives you that power amongst your lady friends

6)      We’re constantly buying gadgets and gizmos that we never use so we can’t annoy you when you buy another pair of shoes.

7)      We’ll actually take you out to live theatre productions…and we can call it research.

 

Scottish Conjurers Association Close-Up Magic Contest 2012

March the 14th is a day a lot of men celebrate with a steak and some private time with their misses.  Not for me though.  Oh no, it was off to the magic club to compete in the annual Scottish Conjurers’ Association Close-Up Magic Contest.

What is The Scottish Conjurers Association?

Better known as the SCA, It’s the oldest and biggest magic club in Scotland.  It’s been going for 89 years now and has had some of the Uk’s top magicians as members.  Most notably I believe Jerry Sadowitz was a member at one point.  If you’d like to join the SCA Checkout their new website at: http://www.scamagic.org/

What is the Close-Up Contest?

Well it’s a lot easier to carry a pack of cards than it is to carry the Sawing In Half Illusion…So essentially, everyone in the club performs close-up magic so the contest is of a good standard.

The Story

I’d put my name down for the contest but I didn’t know what to perform.  I always like to perform at least 1 new super trick at each contest.  And this year’s winner was The Ninja Rings

Ninja Rings

The Linking Rings / Ninja rings are my Nemesis.  It’s not the version you’ve probably seen on the TV it’s the small version popularThe Linking Rings with the elite magicians in Japan.  I’ve been working on this trick for 4 years.  It’s so complicated that after a few day’s I always throw it back in the box and a month or 2 later I pick it up and play with it until the point of ultimate frustration at which point I make the decision of where they should be placed: In a box, on Ebay or in the bin.

I’d almost given up on it when I got to see the man who made the miracle famous-  Shoot Ogawa.  Shoot is a world legend and will be for eternity as he’s simply amazing.  So to see him perform anything live is always a treat and an education. And there I was at The Blackpool Magic Convention watching him and I couldn’t believe my eyes for 3 reasons:

  1. Even though I knew how it was done I was still fooled.
  2. Shoot Ogawa, the guy who teaches the trick, took 4 attempts to do one of the moves.
  3. I was on tequila (kidding)

At first I felt cheated that he hadn’t put this in his DVD but then I felt happy because I didn’t feel like such an idiot every time I got the move wrong.

But then I realised something.  I’m not Shoot.  He’s a magician with a mentor who’s been at it 14 hours a day since he was born.  I’m a magical entertainer.  So I decided to perform the linking rings my way.  I changed the presentation from a demonstration of magic to something more entertaining with a lot of my performing style in it.  So I locked myself in the garage with the camcorder and proceeded to practice till my hands couldn’t hold the rings anymore.  After 3 days I was happy with it and had scripted the routine and had it on video.  Finally finished practicing but was thinking about the contest and didn’t get to bed till 7am

Day Of The Contest

8am: The phone rings…. It’s my business mentor Stephen,

“Just thought I’d give you a call so you’d get up and start practicing”

At this time in the morning I couldn’t make a cup of tea never mind make magic happen.  But, by 8:40 I was up and having my first practice session of the day.  It was terrible.  I couldn’t perform the opening move.  Tried it 50 times and only hit it 2 or 3 times.  Decided I was too tired so went back to bed.

11am Practice session: I’m even worse! 200 attempts and I’m not even close.

1pm: I’m in a bad mood now so retire to my happy place Facebook.  I moan about how crap I am at it and take some words of wisdom from some people on board and try again.

3pm: With a little more self belief I’m hitting it a little more often but I’m considering taking it out of the act as although it’s a really beautiful opener, it isn’t required; But, then I saw this poster of Richard Branson on my friend Jacquie’s wall.

  • Calculate the risks and take them
  • Believe them
  • Enjoy the moment.

I was starting to believe that this poster was sent to find me and I remembered what Stephen Hendry ,the Snooker player, has always said.  He’d rather lose walking away from the table knowing he’d went for it rather than playing it safe.

With that in mind it was off to practice one last time, I broke the move down and BOOM.  For the first time in 24 hours I got it 5 times in a row.  I wasn’t getting it every time but about 60% which I could live with.

Magic Contest time

As it’s a contest and magicians are pretty picky I decided to make a new set of ropes so they are super clean, polish the shoes, press the suit and it’s off to the contest. They’re not magic ropes, just really nice silky rope but you need to glue the ends so the ends don’t fray.  After turning the house upside down looking for glue, it was off to the shops only to discover nobody was selling any.  So after a few detours it was off to the club.  I got there and discovered I was on 4th which gave me just enough time to glue the ropes and have a last practice with the rings. Managed to hit the move I’d been struggling with 2 times in a row so all happy J

Please welcome to the stage – Woody

I’ll be honest, I was sh***ing it.  The 3 acts on before me had all done really well and no one had made a mistake.  I on the other hand hadn’t done my act without mistakes J

Woody is my magic character,  this might sound arrogant but…I was born to perform magic, when I’m in character I feel like I’m one with the universe.  The rings were brought out and the opening move…BOOM! First time I hit it.  Was very happy.  Most the jokes went well and then came to the second danger bit.  The bit Shoot Ogawa, the legend of the rings got wrong 4 times.  First attempt I missed it.  The way I’ve set it up I can actually disguise that and make it out as if I’ve missed it on purpose the first 2 times.  Second attempt: I hit it! Pfew.  All happy. Continued with the ropes and some audience interaction and all went well.  Finished with a big applause

In the second half 2 new club members got up and both did really well.  I have to admit, I thought one of them was the favourite for the trophy, then the next act came on and did even better.  The general feeling in the room was, “I wouldn’t like to be a judge right now” as there really was very little between the top 5.  When this happens, small details like, who had the shiniest shoes comes into play.  I was happy I’d used clean ropes J.  My thinking was, that they had performed without any mistakes but although I’d made 3 minor mistakes I had more entertainment in my routines and a stronger performing character…plus unbeknown to the others…I’d been praying for the last 5 minutes.  So I also had God on my side.

The Results.

The guy who I thought would win came 3rd so took a bit of the pressure off.

The Spanish guy’s name was announced next.  As he was my main competitor I was not more confident but by no means would I have been betting myself for the win.  Out came my name as first place.

I walked up and was tempted to hug the trophy but decided against it.  Walked off and gave the judges a big hug which looking back on it…probably wasn’t my best idea as people will no doubt think it was a fix and walking off someone said, why don’t you kiss them, so I saw a guy on the front row and decided to plant one on his cheek which got a big laugh.

Took the trophy home and went to my happy place – Facebook.  At the time of writing this my update got 89 likes – which I believe is a record for me.

Final thoughts.

This is the 4th time I’ve won this contest and they all meant different things.  The first was special because it was the first time I’d won it.  The second was special because so few people defend their title.  The 3rd was special because no one had ever won it 3 years in a row.

However, this one is probably the most special.  I hadn’t prepared or performed very well at the last 2 contests and deep down I was wondering if I’d maybe lost something.  Also, the standard at the club has really improved and this year’s contest was the toughest by far.

Also I’m now only the second person to ever win the cup 4 times.  Not bad when you consider the clubs being going for 89 years.   The only other person who has done this was the guy to hand me the trophy, who’s not only a great magician he’s a friend of mine as well.  So that makes it all the more special.

 

Magic Show In Feb 2012

Howdy, would you like to come see me perform some magic?  Last year I decided to open up a wee variety night called Enterteasement.  It’s a combination of magic, burlesque & comedy.  It allows me to try out some new routines jokes etc and it also allows me to work with some of the best entertainers in Glasgow.

The next show is Friday 24th February and it’s in The Pony on Bath Street. The Pony was voted best cocktail bar last year I think so it’s a nice wee modern place.  Tickets can be purchased via an online booking system called Event Brite.  It takes Paypal as the credit card charges were a little too pricey.

It’s a fantastic bill.  I managed to Secure 3 top comedians most notably Scottish Comedian of the Year 2009 John Gavin but to be honest the other 2 are just as good it was a toss of a 3 way coin to decide who would be comepere, headline and Middle Spot.  I also have a Dundee Burlesque troupe coming through.  I asked these girls to send me a video and one of their routines had me literally jumping up and down shouting. “I need these guys they’re amazing!!

So I’ll be opening the show with 20 minutes of a new routine and then I get to sit back and enjoy the show and mingle with the guests.

If you want to come checkout http://www.enterteasement.com/ or go to http://feb24pony-esearch.eventbrite.com/?srnk=2 to buy tickets.

 

Can You Make My Belly Disappear?

Can you make my belly disappear?

It’s one of those questions magicians get asked a lot it’s up there with;

1)      Can you make my wife disappear?

2)      What do you think of Dynamo?

3)      How did you get into magic?

4)      Can I be your Debbie McGhee?

And my personal favourite… “Do you know Harry Potter?”

 

However, my answer to the ‘Can You Make My Belly Disappear?’ has always been.  “If I could do that I’d start with my own”.  However, it’s true…I have actually managed to make my belly disappear…well some of it anyway and I have to say it’s been easier than expected and dare I say fun?   Let me explain; it’s my 30th in April and at New Years I decided that I wanted to be a healthy weight for my birthday.  So I started running but I managed to pull my hamstring and no I can’t “magic it better” and that’s when it hit me I needed something else, something special I needed a magic assistant…well two to be exact.  So I’ve enlisted the services of Jen & Elle – 2 female Personal Trainers from Forward Fitness Glasgow and I’ve been taking their Pilates classes out in the west end of Glasgow and WOW.  I’ve done Pilates before but nothing like this.  It’s friggin amazing and it’s a full body workout as well as a good laugh.  So yeah it’s unfortunate that I can’t do my running as of yet but I’ve lost 8lb this month and the girls have taken good care of me.  Also, my magic shows as of recent times have been going amazingly well and at these shows I keep getting asked if I’m single which I can only conclude means that I’m wearing way to much aftershave (that joke got 19 likes on my facebook so I thought I’d throw it in_

So I’m not going to give you all weekly updates on how my health is going because who knows I could give up next week and then I’d feel stupid.  However, I have a funny feeling I won’t.  I have a feeling that I’ll actually stick with what I’m doing and lose some weight in the process.  Here are my secrets

1)      Eat when you’re hungry

2)      Eat whatever you want

3)      Stop when you’re full

4)      Go to pilates classes at http://www.forwardfitnessglasgow.com/pilates/

 

I was going to do this for charity but I’ve decided to be totally selfish and do it for myself.  I’m hoping to lose another 8-10lb in Feb and the same again in March.  Wish me luck folks!!

 

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