There’s 3 letters I love more than anything else. BBC. When the BBC call asking for me to perform that wee “I want to be a celebrity” voice in my head get’s louder. The amount of doors it could open, the bragging rights and above all – it makes a great facebook update.
I was asked if I could perform a trick for the McCauley & CO radio listeners on BBC Radio Scotland. Now the tricks I perform are all very visual but I thought “BBC, I can do it”
So I said, “Yes I could do that”
Then BBC Paul said, “And could you teach that trick to the audience at home?”
Even the books I learn magic tricks from have pictures in them but teaching a trick over the radio – that’s a challenge. However, my brain said, “BBC, I can do it”
So I said, “Yes I could do that”
And then he said, “And it will be performed close-up to Fred but also to an audience of 200”
By that point I was in for a penny in for a pound.
So I replied “ No problem”
Then he asked if I could teach a trick to Richard ‘The Challenge Guy’ Now this is something I love doing so I was really looking forward to it.
Choosing tricks to perform on the radio
I’ve heard about 5 magicians perform magic on the radio. All 5 have performed mind-reading and 3 have performed the same trick. Why? Because mindreading works on the radio as it happens in the person’s mind. Whereas magic is more visual. So I decided I would perform a card trick (as requested) but I would perform it in a mind-reading style.
Teaching a trick for the radio
I was told I had an hour with Richard. As Richard has performed lots of challenges and even a good few magic challenges, I didn’t have to worry about him dealing with stage fright or performance issues. So what was my goal? No disrespect to the other tricks that he’d learned but they are what we refer to in the magic business as “Self Working Magic” These are similar to the trick I taught in the original piece. So I had the option of teaching Richard one of these tricks in 10 minutes and play it safe. But that’s not what I wanted. I’ve spoken to a few magicians who have changed careers and I’ve asked them if it was hard to re-learn. They’ve always answered with…”It’s not like learning how to do x shuffle or y move” And this is what I wanted to do with Richard. It was my goal to push him and show how complicated magic can be to learn. So I taught him one of my favourite tricks. If I had 40 minutes I wouldn’t have taught him it but I knew I could teach him it in an hour.
30 minutes in and I wasn’t so sure but by the time we were on the 40 minute mark he had it and the last 20 minutes we polished it up and added some showmanship and presentation.
Showtime – Woody On The Radio
I arrived and met the team which was weird as the co-host was my friends ex-girlfriend and I met 2 comedians I know as well. I then Met Fred McCauley who said it was nice to meet me, I informed him we had met before and I could sense his embarrasement at not remembering my face but I put him at ease by telling him he wouldn’t remember me as it a) it was only a brief encounter b) it was 8 years ago and c) I was dresses as Santa Clause at the time.
When the show started I walked on and started telling my magic story. When It came time for me to teach the trick Fred semed surprised and asked if the Magic Circle would be annoyed and I replied by saying, “Only if you pay your fees”. I’d just received a letter saying mine are due so this got an audience laugh. However after performing my magic and teaching the effect he asked if I could perform some mind-reading. This caught me off gaurd as it wasn’t in the script at all and I’d given away the pack of cards. I did however have a dowsing pendulum with me so I brought that out but to be honest I don’t think it’s the type of trick that works on radio.
Push a 10p into a can of irn-bru. Unbeknown to me at the time, you’re not allowed to say products name’s over the radio but I must have said it 5 times – oops
It was time for Richards performance – we were told we were really short on time and that the piece may be cancelled. However, we were told we had a maximum of 2 minutes. More pressure on Richard so he started the trick and he hit the coin into the can and rather than the coin go in the can the can shot halfway across from the stage – Doh!
Now for those of you who know me will know I’m Mr Back-up so behind Richard, I had a spare can of Irn-bru or as Fred referred to it – “A can of a very popular Scottish fizzy drink”.
Richard continued and performed the trick really well and got a great reaction from the audience. Afterwards Richard said he had performed 900 challenges and this was the one that made him most nervous. So I feel like I’ve done myself proud and whenever Richard talks about his challenges he’ll always talk about how complexities of sleight of hand.
As the link to the radio will die in the middle of December I’m not going to post it but hopefully I’ll have a link up soon.
In conclusion, magic on the radio was fun!!