On Feb. 1st I watched the SuperBowl like most Americans. It’s the only football game I watch each year. I honestly didn’t know who was playing until I turned on the TV that day. It was a good game, but the ads were depressing or silly. That may have been the last one I watch. Sports or watching sports has never really done it for me. This month I celebrated my nephew Landen’s birthday, Valentine’s with my wife and had a nice lunch in East Texas with my grandfather and a past high school teacher. Those are more of the moments that mean something to me.
Besides my many shows I spent the month preparing for my big return to the UK to lecture and perform at the Blackpool convention. Blackpool is the world’s largest magic convention. I lectured, performed, taught a master class, did something called speed dating (which was basically walk around magic), manned my booth with my good friend Graeme Smith and hung out in the Ruskin hotel bar with many of the world’s top magicians until the wee hours. All went well and I was enamored with the compliments. I felt like a rock star with people constantly stopping me for an autograph, a photo-op, or to tell me a story of how my magic helped or inspired them. It was truly overwhelming. One mom told me that her son came home and watched my videos every day after school (See that young man in the center of the pic attached). Others told me how my first book got them started in magic. Since I don’t have children it is nice to know that my work will hopefully live on in others.
The best part of Blackpool for me, beyond all of the new contacts I made, was meeting up with the older ones. It was nice to see many folks from around the world, people who I’ve stayed in their homes, in Norway, in England, in Finland, in Italy, in Sweden, in France, in Germany, in Belgium and reconnect with them again. It was literally like dying and going to Heaven and seeing old friends that I thought I might never see again. There was 3500 attendees this time. See the pic above of the room I worked for my lecture.
Before and after the convention I met up with family in the north and south of England. It’s always great to see my extended family and bond with them more. My cousins Russell and Paula showed me more of Leeds and we took in the museum there. My aunt Lorraine and uncle Ralph in Leeds were kind enough to put me up for a couple of nights. After leaving Blackpool I hopped 3 trains and 2 Underground rides to make it to Chelmsford. My cousin Adrian picked me up to greet his lovely wife Laura and their cute daughter Harriet. Laura’s parents Graham and Geneen kindly put me up again and I visited with Laura’s always amusing brother Robert. The next day we took in a beautiful park and hit a couple of pubs that night. Of course I had fun with some of the locals by doing magic and pulling some pranks. Good times were had by all.
On the way home I upgraded to first class. It was so nice on that 10 hour flight to “completely” recline and enjoy all of the amenities. 10 hours flying home usually feels like 20 when traveling in coach, but this time it felt like 5. I enjoyed drinks, great food, lots of movie choices, free noise-cancelling headphones, a chocolate Sundae, priority bags, priority boarding, etc. It will be very hard on my next trip to resist the urge of upgrading to first class.
Once home I had one day of rest and to unpack. The next night I had a gig and the following morning I awoke at 4:30am to leave by 5:30am and drove down the icy highways of Dallas to make my 4 hour drive to Houston. Once in Houston I arrived a the stadium there and worked a booth for a regular corporate client at The World’s Largest Bar-B-Que Cook-Off. Over 100,000 people came through this event! I was scheduled to do 6 hours but was hired to work 4 more. 10 hours of performing straight has got to be a new record for me. I love my job and I’m impressed that I can exceed even my own expectations.