Card Specialist is ever so 'sleightly' mad
Clare Alexander catches up with a magician weaving his spell across the 'capital of magic'
First published in The Surrey
Advertiser - reproduced with kind permission
Now you see it, now you don't. Within moments of meeting magician and independent film maker Paul Squires, he made a silk handkerchief vanish and reappear in a £10 note in the other hand. Having had a passion for trickery since childhood, Paul from Merrow has just published his second film 'Ever so Sleightly.' The live documentary begins in Surrey and spans the country, featuring a host of magicians performing their favourite techniques. Amusing anecdotes from Joe Pasquale set the scene before Paul introduces other magic personalities including Wayne Dobson, Paul Zenon, Men in Coats, Simon Lovell and Mark Leveridge.
'The film looks at magic from the perspective of performing but it does not tell you how the tricks are done', Paul said.
However the title of the DVD provides a clue into the world of illusion and skilful use of hands in the world of magic. The film focuses on performance tips for magicians but it is also appealing to others. During our interview, Paul paused for a moment and started work on the next trick up his sleeve. From a pack of playing cards he predicted the one I had chosen. It was sealed in an envelope he had brought from home.
Paul has performed for audiences and is always perfecting his style and conjuring up new ideas. He joined the 'Surrey Society of Magicians' about two years ago after seeing one of the groups founder members, Tony Peach from Guildford, baffle guests with coin tricks.
Many members of the Leatherhead based society are hobbyists. They meet twice a month for technique development workshops which are followed by lectures from professionals. Rumour has it that the county has an impressive number of resident magicians.
'I believe Surrey is the capital of magic' said Paul.
People wanting to audition and impress judges with their talents can join The Magic Circle, an official body based in London.
A magic convention held in Blackpool each year attracts huge numbers of seasoned conjurers and amateurs eager to meet their idols. Tommy Cooper was another inspiration for the 32 year old Paul. 'He was the full package' he said. 'He was funny, unique and a brilliant magician.' But apparently not everyone can turn their hand to magic.
'Anyone can tell a joke, but very few people are funny' he said. 'Anyone can do a trick badly, but to do a trick and to entertain with it takes more than just learning how its done.'
Magicians never stop learning.
'It's nice if someone has an act which you would not incorporate' Paul said. 'You can learn from their technique and the way they are presenting themselves. It's always nice to watch. It's like listening to music. Just because you can play the piano does not stop you listening to the piano. It's still good to be fooled by another magician.'
There are many kinds of magic.
'Mentalists' tap into the psychology and body language of the audience. Then there are Houdini style escapology, illusion, hypnosis and comedy magic.
Street magic involves performing on location without a studio.
Paul said magic has no definition. 'It's based on mis-direction' he explained. 'If I did a trick you take what you want from it, and that's magical. It's about bending the laws and physics of reality. Magic exists in the eye of the spectator. If they see it, then it exists.'
As Paul was leaving he lifted himself off the ground for as couple of minutes.
Now that's magic!
Ever so Sleightly is available from all good magic dealers, independent record stores and Paul's website. For more information visit www.paulsquires.com and www.eversosleightly.com
© Clare Alexander/The Surrey Advertiser, September 2006