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Performing magic for Billy McNeil

Thursday night brought my magical abilities to Hamilton for the opening of a solicitors. Normally, I would go into telling you about wee bits and bobs that happened (including my driving down a 1 way street antics) on the night; but, this blog contains something far more interesting! Midway through a card trick, I looked up and saw Celtic legend Billy McNeil. Now, if ever perfect misdirection existed it was performing magic to a bunch of Celtic fans when the Lisbon Lyon Legend walks in to room. “Wow there’s Billy McNeill” I said, and the whole audience looked over to him. I could have walked a rainbow coloured elephant onstage to the music of a brass band and no one would have noticed.

Billy was in a small room and was being harassed by people for photographs and autographs. I started performing for 2 people next to him only to be asked if I knew who I was performing for. I didn’t recognise the face and was informed that it was Scotty McClure from the radio. Around 1994 Scotty McClure was a total radio phenomenon. His quick wit and outrageous comments made him the thing on everyone’s lips. He will probably be the last person to make radio more popular than TV to a young audience. So Scotty was great fun and it was a pleasure performing for him.
Next up was Billy McNeill. So how did I manage to get to perform for him when no one was around? Simple…Neive Jennings (Former Miss Scotland and Miss Uk) walked into the building. Billy was brilliant and loved the magic. He kept walking away and coming back in disbelief. I briefly thought he was going to have a heart attack and I panicked a little but the show must go on. I asked him to name a card and was certain he would go for number 5 (his shirt) but he said he was looking for Jimmy’s number (Jimmy Johnstone) and picket the 7 of hearts. What a gentleman!

So next off was Scotland’s own Neive Jennings. Neive and I both work in events so we bump into each other quite often – I like to think she’s stalking me but unfortunately she’s not. My random Neive Jennings story is that I performed in her flat when she was in the audition process for Miss Scotland. Neive has always been an admirer of close-up magic and she loves my rope routine so I showed it to her again and it’s always nice to see her jaw drop and reveal those big pearly whites.

Random story of the night: Sometimes when performing for girls they don’t understand that I am paid to be there and I am not just flirting with them. So it’s important to address the issue in a humorous manner. So I’d dealt with this and about 5 minutes into the act just before I got to a punch line one of the girls blurts out, “she’s only 14” Now bearing in mind the girl looked about 14 and I was talking about the 10 of diamonds at the time I asked her why she felt the need to tell me the other girls age, She replied, “I’m 21”. This totally confused me beyond all belief. It was as if we were in different time zones.

Overall; A fantastic night, lovely office, lovely people and a night I will never forget.

Compering at the Bier Halle on Suchiehall street Glasgow

Well I recently turned 29 which is scary as I had just got used to the idea of being 28. The day after my birthday I was suffering a little with a hangover, this combined with my 6am return home from the casino, I won 100, left me feeling a little shattered. Then my phone rang and it was Malky from Pop-Up Comedy. He asked my plans for the night. My plans involved trying to remember the night before and watching a movie over a nice earl grey; however in an attempt to sound more 19 than 39 I said I was considering going out. He said great and offered my first fist compering spot.

Woody the compere

I’ve been performing magic and comedy to a high standard now and always fancied a shot at compering. It’s a real challenge as you have to be on your toes the whole night. It’s something I’ve said to people I could do but haven’t actually done before. Could I talk nonstop nonsense for a whole night and have people like it? I said, “yes Malky” and that was it, in 4 hours time I would be a compere at the Bier Halle on Suchiehall street in Glasgow.
However, then I heard who would be headlining – Des Clarke from the radio and T.V. This was intimidating – as I’ve gigged with Des before; but that was 8 years ago when I was doing my first ever gig for the Glasgow University Medical Ball. Back then I was scared of everyone but there was no way I was going to entertain I professional entertainer. Let’s zoom forward 8 years and now I’m compering for the first time with a hangover, 3 hours sleep and for the first time in a long time I’m feeling pressure.

The gig

I arrive at the Bier Halle on Suchiehall street for their comedy night. To my delight Allan Park, the comedian, was performing and we work well together. I spoke to the acts and asked Hamish how long he would be performing for. He said, “between 5 and 7 minutes”…I wrote down 6 which made me laugh. As I was about to start I was nervous as the room was a bit dead and empty. Mothers’ day had reduced the audience to around 12 people – normally around 60.
So I did my sound check which I managed to turn into a piece of comedy so I was happy. One of the acts, Jordan, was going to film his act and make it into a video blog. I couldn’t quite understand this as the room was empty and his stuff works better with a busier room. So he gave me a convoluted thing to say about him – “google the amazing adventures of a stand-up comedian” the next day he changed this to his name doh!
All the acts done ok, nothing spectacular but I could feel myself running out of steam, the magic was going down better than the comedy to be honest and by the time I introduced Des, I really should have been fast asleep.

Light bulb moment

I remembered, I hadn’t told anyone how I was too nervous ( how I S&AT IT for the Glaswegians reading this) to perform for Des and he wouldn’t remember me anyway. So I proclaimed to the audience that after the break there would be more magic, free pizza, a confession from moi to the headliner and an amazing headliner. The idea would be that I would create a priest and a confessional box type of environment and that would create lots of moments for comedy…it didn’t. I was too tired and my brain was numb. So I built the crowd up with magic and then totally killed the audience with the confession – doh!

Conclusion Compering is hard work!

Lots of people said I done I really good job and the next day my Facebook had lots of nice comments which is nice considering there were hardly any audience. Magic works really well in compering but I needed a little more comedy just to let it fly by. But this is the first step in a long journey for me and it’s a step in the right direction.

Speak soon
Love Woody
“You feel the way you do because of the thoughts you are thinking”

New Website almost done

Howdy folks, I know it’s been way to long and I really should be blogging more than once every few months

However, I hired this evil web company, who went bankrupt sold my website to another web company who also went
bust. So I’ve had my fingers burns and now I’ve decided to do my own site.

It may have some problems at the moment but I’ll sort them out.

Please bear with me till I get the badboy live and then I’ll tell you all my exciting news

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