First off, I apologise because this has a to be a quick post. I wanted to type it now, before I forget, so forgive typo’s and grammatical errors.
Last night, I met a gentleman who I can only describe as a “class act”. Truly class. Let me explain…
I was working an event for 80 doctors at a lovely venue in Warrington, where I was performing as a table magician between courses of the meal. When I approached one table, and introduced myself, one of the ladies shouted “You’re a magician? Jamie (not his real name) here is a magician too. He does really good card tricks. You’ll have to be good to impress him!”
Now, whenever I find out that someone does magic, I always try to move next to them, just for a few moments, to have a bit of banter (usually to see if they are going to be a friendly spectator, or one that provides a directors style commentary of my act as I go along: “it’s up his sleeve”, “it’s in his pocket”, “that’s not his real face!”). On this occasion he seemed ok, so, after breathing a mental sigh of relief, I started my act. However, as I started the first card trick, Jamie suddenly (and rather loudly) requested to shuffle the cards, “How do we know it’s not a trick deck unless we see them?”.
Fair enough. Now, I never EVER use a trick deck when I work, however, on this occasion, I had secretly placed the four aces on top of the deck before I came to the table, for a new trick I was trying. No matter I thought, as I handed him the cards; I’ll just do something else…
I saw Jamie looking through the cards, checking for the usual magic gimmickry: duplicate cards, trapdoors, Puerto Rican midgets, and I noticed that he saw the top four cards were Aces. Before I could think of a line to combat his soon-to-be-uttered “Hey! You’ve put the four Aces on top, you big cheat!”, he said,
“They all look fine”, and shot me a wink.
What started as a mild heckle was now becoming a stooge situation!
As he was just motioning to give me the cards back, he drew back, “just one more shuffle…a proper one this time! Watch!”, and gave the cards a riffle shuffle. Everybody at the table “ooooh”ed at this (I’m always amazed when this happens). Now, without breaking too much of the magicians secret code, it’s very easy to keep the top cards in place during a riffle shuffle and I saw that Jamie did just that – he shuffled so that the Aces were still on top, and then he handed the cards back to me.
It was a really surreal moment for me. Here was a guy that had a chance to make himself look good by making me look bad. He could have a done a trick with the Aces himself, or pointed out to everyone where they were. Instead, he’d seen the set up, clocked it, and kept it there for me, all while displaying the challenging attitude of a heckler. It was as if he was a stooge in the audience, building up my act. In fact, if it was a perfect world I thought, after shuffling the cards and keeping the Aces on top, it would be great if he would say….
…”Tell you what, bet you can’t find the Aces in that shuffled pack!”
But he did. And he said it loud, so everyone at the table could hear.
It was great.
His friends asked him not to be so mean to me, to let me get on with what I was doing, but with the coordination of a well constructed double act (I’m thinking Cannon and Ball, but it’s probably more accurate to compare it to The Krankies), we had some byplay about how it would be impossible to find them, as he had shuffled the pack himself. He played the part brilliantly (thank god, because my acting was appalling) and, when I finally found all the Aces, the table went nuts. No one more so than Jamie though. He was gobsmacked. Speechless. Amazed.
Or at least he was acting gobsmacked. Speechless. Amazed.
He looked at me and said “I have no idea how the hell you did that”. Boy was this guys selling this act (I’m clearly the Jeannette Krankie of the pairing).
And then the main course arrived. I thanked them for their time and left.
I was hoping to see Jamie on his own, so that I could thank him for making my night and I got my chance. As I spoke to him, he spoke with some much passion that I could tell he had a genuine love for magic and he thanked me for letting him get involved. I couldn’t lie. “It was an absolute pleasure”.
I told you, a truly class act.
P.S. The photo at the top of the Jeffrey Archer book seems a bit out of place, however, after meeting Jamie, I immediately recalled the story “The Perfect Gentleman” from the book. If you’ve read the book, you’ll know why. It’s a tenuous link, I know, but it’s MY blog. 😉