Sometimes I’m a very lucky magician. This past weekend was one of those times. As part of my work as the resident magician at Everton Football club, I met with one of the managers at Paddy Power to discuss performing in their hospitality lounges for their customers and staff at the big Cheltenham racing festival.
There are some fabulous benefits to having a hospitality magician, but this was a real treat for me, as I’d never been to a racetrack before, so I got to see things like this…
Of course, as an amusing man who does card tricks, I’ve seen this kind of thing many times before…
Knowing that I was going to be at the races, my mum (bless her) decided to have a bet on a horse called “John’s Spirit”. This provided one of the best moments of the afternoon for me. As a magician, there are certain questions I’m asked. And I mean A LOT. “Can you make this bill disappear”, “can you vanish the wife”, “can you get out of my garden” (OK, maybe the last one is just me), but, on a race day, I knew people would be constantly asking me to pick winners. Normally, I just kind of make a quick joke and move on, but today I thought I’d play for my own long shot…and it worked.
All through the day, people asked me to pick a winner. Every time, I politely refused and said that I was saving my powers for the Handicap Chase and making sure that John’s Spirit (presently 7-1) would come in first. I did this with all the seriousness I could muster and in hushed tones, as if I was the super secret spy I always wish I had been. I did this all day. All. Day.
You wouldn’t believe how many people came up to me after John’s Spirit won the race. It was like being a new boy at school with a lot of sweets. Everybody wanted to be my friend.
The day was long and tiring, but great fun. Magic can be a really great way of keeping your hospitality guests happy and laughing in the lulls of the day, when nothing else is going on. It can help build (or keep) an atmosphere and can make all the difference to the whole experience.