snow-blackpoolI arrived back home on March 1st from my two weeks in the UK.  My internal clock is still on British time and I keep waking up at 3am because my body thinks that it is 9am.  Today is Thursday March 4th and I am packing my bags for my next tour that starts tomorrow!

I began the month of February by performing at the House of Blues in Dallas for an event held by the Red Cross, and another event for the Children’s Hospital in Plano for a group called Project Sunshine.  I helped to celebrate my nephew Landen’s birthday at Shenanigan’s in Rockwall and celebrated Valentine’s with my wonderful wife Kathy by eating at one of our favorite restaurants called Pappadeaux.

I flew into Manchester on the 18th and shared a cab with the famous card man / lawyer John Bannon on the way into Blackpool for the convention.  That night I met up with many fellow magicians at the Ruskin hotel where many pints of beer disappeared.  Blackpool is an amazing town with its famous tower, lots of shops and restaurants along the coastline, and has become an entertainment mecca featuring lots of unique street performers.  To add to the charm it began snowing while there and the town was blanketed with white for a couple of days (seen to the right).

graeme-n-iMy friend Graeme Smith (seen to the right) shared a room with me at a little B&B and the next day we kicked off our 3-day work-around-the-clock schedule.  My lecture that Friday night was well attended and I received much kudos from my colleagues.  See a video review here and another review by clicking here.  Saturday was a feeding frenzy at my booth (see the pic) and I performed a close-up show in the VIP room.  The next day was equally hectic and I performed 9 close-up shows in the famous horseshoe arena at the Winter Gardens.

I can now say that I was a headliner at the world’s largest magic convention in history with 4000 in attendance!  I had a blast.  I made many new friends, saw many old friends, and practically sold out of everything I took.  I performed along side the likes of David Williamson, Shoot Ogawa, Yigal Mesika, Mark Mason, etc.  My head is still spinning.  The convention was over the top with over 125 dealers from 34 different countries (seen to the right).  See some more pics by clicking here.

Luckily, a colleague named Ed Ellis, that I hadn’t seen in twenty years, shared the same B&B and we were able to catch up a little bit.  In the picture to the right you can see me teaching Ed my Diamond’s Dazzler move.  Ed is one of the top card men in the country and is billed as the “World’s Fastest Hands”.  He’s a hoot to hang out with and a great guy.

After the convention I went on to Liverpool and stayed with my friend Richey Smith.  Richey holds the Guinness World Record for performing the longest magic show (31 hours straight) without repeating a single trick.  Richey is like a hamster on crack that never stops thinking, talking or moving and I love that about him.  He and his wife made me feel at home and showed me around the town.  Richey has the gift of gab and knows many fascinating stories, especially ghost stories, like the one about Little Grace and William McKenzie in Liverpool.  Ask me about these spooky stories sometime.

The next day my buddy Graeme picked me up and took me to his home is Derby.  He and his wife made me feel comfy for the next two days with his kids, who call me Uncle Diamond, and we just  relaxed.  Graeme’s help at the convention and hospitality where a Godsend.  Graeme and his wife Shirley showed me around the neighboring towns, where I tried a turkish delight, a cornish pastry, introduced me to some fine Indian cuisine, bought me a piece of Blue John when touring Castleton and took me onto Leeds to stay with my family there.

My Leeds-based family and I made the four hour trek the next day onto Great Waltham to see my cousin Adrian get married to a wonderful girl named Laura.  I was so happy to be able spend some quality time with all of my family in the UK.  I did not tell Adrian and Laura that I was coming to wedding and they were pleasantly shocked!  These people live to drink and eat.  We all met in a pub the night before the wedding.  Got up the next morning and after our full English breakfast went onto another pub before the wedding ceremony at 2pm.  The wedding was over the top! Upon the conclusion of the ceremony, around 3pm- fish, chips and champagne and other munchies were served in the church!  At 5pm we had a nice lamb dinner and at 9pm they served another course of huge hams, cheeses, quiches, etc.  The rockabilly band was great and the party ended around 4am.  Adrian and Laura are a beautiful couple, a match made in heaven, and I wish them all the best (pic on the right).  The bonus for me was meeting my new extended family, like my new little cousins Oliver, Charlie and Lotta from Oslo, Norway who were my shadows all night long after showing them some magic.

The next day I spent the day at Laura’s parents home there in Essex and hung out with everyone including her brother Robert and his girlfriend Silje who also live in Norway.  Laura parents Graham and Geneen have always made me feel like a part of the family even prior to the wedding and I now miss them all.  I’ve put a bug in their ear that they all must come and stay with me now.

laura-me-adrianSo now I’m back in Texas and gearing up for my big tour of Oz.  I will lecture in five cities across Australia (Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney & Brisbane) and then onto three cities across New Zealand (Auckland, Palmerston North and Christchurch).  I fly out tomorrow and get to look forward to over 17 hours of flying on the way there!

Somebody slap me to make sure I’m awake and then pinch me!  Is this really my life?