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Topic: Restaurants/bars in the UK
Message: Posted by: Ross W (Aug 15, 2002 07:29AM)
OK guys - help me out because this is driving me nuts.

I have lived in London for eighteen years. I enjoy a lively social life, and a successful career in the media. I eat out a lot, and go to a lot of bars and pubs.

I have never ONCE (that's NEVER!) been approached by a magician in a restaurant. I've never even seen anyone "table hopping".

I have NEVER been to a bar with a "resident magician", and wouldn't know where there was one.

I have NEVER been to a function (reception, wedding, book launch, xmas do, whatever) where a magician was performing.

I have only ONCE been approached by a magician in a bar (in fact it was a noisy west end pub and the young Moroccan guy was busking for tips from table to table).

Where do UK restaurant and strolling magicians work? What sort of restaurants? What sort of bars? WHat sort of parties?

Ross
Message: Posted by: trevorsmagic (Aug 15, 2002 12:45PM)
Hi Ross,
I too am from the U.K. and agree that it does seem harder to find the work here. I am slowly getting a reputation and gaining more bookings. I have performed at around 15 weddings this year and a number of private functions, the guests at these functions where I have been are usually surprised to see a magician unlike in the states where it is normal.
I have found it very hard to get established as the restaurant managers (in my area) do not really want to know, possibly due to their tight budget as I don't even get an appointment to show them what I can do. Luckily my work has come from word of mouth and people asking for my card.
I must say that all the weddings I have worked usually during the photo session or between courses of the wedding breakfast the guests have enjoyed and said "oh a magician..what a brilliant idea for a wedding."
Ross your post is very good and I would be interested to see the other replies from around the U.K.
best regards Trevor :righton: :cheers:
Message: Posted by: phonic69 (Aug 15, 2002 12:47PM)
I have never seen a magician performing in public either (I'm from Norwich in the U.K.) although it is something I would like to do more often.

If that is the case Ross, why not snap up the empty market? lol

:P
Message: Posted by: Andy Charlton (Aug 16, 2002 04:07AM)
Hi there.

I've only once seen another magician working tables in the UK, (Hi Darren) AND I LOOK FOR THEM!!!

As I'm contracted for 300 ish night a year as a musician, I don't go chasing too much other work. A lot of the work I do came from seeing things like a medieval banquet, or a music festival being advertised, and phoning them up to see if they could use me. I was seen at the music festival and offered the county show etc.

I also rang a local hotel that was advertising Christmas parties, sold them on the benefits of having me, and finished up doing all of their parties, that I have been available for, for the last couple of years. The assistant manager of the hotel moved on elswhere, and they have offered me work as well, sort of a snowball effect.

A very small amount of my work has come from agencies, but then again, I'm not that available, and I have to take most of my bookings on the clear understanding, that if my main employer calls, I will have to pull out. This is obviously not acceptable in most situations.

My thoughts.

Cheers

Andy
Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (Aug 16, 2002 04:32AM)
Hi,
I think one of the factors here is that most close up table work is for Private functions in the UK. restaurants and the like Just don't want to pay in my experience Restaurant will normaly expect you to work about 3 hours for about £75 - £150 therefore it just is not worth it. unless maybe you are starting out or very short of work and need the contacts.
Phillip
Message: Posted by: Paul (Aug 17, 2002 05:02AM)
re;
I have NEVER been to a function (reception, wedding, book launch, xmas do, whatever) where a magician was performing.

Time you suggested they book one then! lol.

Bar magic is not really a thing in the UK. Magical bartenders are just that, bar tenders that serve beer and do magic. I only knew of one, Cliff Cowling from Oldham did bar work somewhere.

Phillip is right, restaurants do not want to pay too much over here, also they are not as "family" orientated as in the USA. A lot of the US restaurant workers probably work cheaper but rely on tips. In the UK the "tipping" culture is not really present and it is not the done thing to use these ideas given in US books for generating tips.

However, if you get a residency, it IS regular (though you can get fed up with that), it helps you hone material and can help you make contacts for shows at private parties.

Most of the well known close up performers in the UK have probably worked a residency at some point.

All I can say to some of the other comments is thank God you DON'T see close up entertainers everywhere!!!!

I heard from one agent last year that close up magic at banquets was getting a bit passe now, and some agents were asking the age of magicians as so many teenagers were claiming to be corporate entertainers, demanding big fees, and not being able to cut it.

Paul.
Message: Posted by: Stuart Hooper (Aug 17, 2002 09:09AM)
You British seem to think that everyone in Ameica hires a magicain. In 16 years, I have never seen a magician performing. Not in the several states in the US in which I have lived, not in Britian, France, Spain or portugal, not in Panama, not anywhere. We are the last of a dying breed my friends. :stout:
Message: Posted by: Rob (Aug 17, 2002 04:30PM)
Paul - "Most of the well known close up performers in the UK have probably worked a residency at some point."

Yep. Good example: right up to when his first TV show aired (and possibly after that), Derren Brown was working at a restaurant in Bristol for what Phillip would consider to be a fee not worth working for.

From discussions that I have had with fellow magicians, most of the performers that I respect would rather work for a modest fee than sit at home. A friend compared the selling of ones services as a magician to the way that hotels sell rooms. You could get a luxury room with breakfast included for less than someone in the same hotel who only has a single room with no extras. In other words, the hotels want to fill their rooms so don't mind moving on price. Same for some magicians (myself included) - they want to work as often as possible so are happy to work for lowish fees as well as big ones.

If you don't do kids shows then restaurant work also pays the rent in quiet weeks.

In response to Ross: if you seek you will find! I don't know about London but I could tell you three places to see magic performed in my area.
Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (Aug 18, 2002 02:00AM)
HI Rob,
I agree with you,

"most of the performers that I respect would rather work for a modest fee than sit at home."

But, Once you are established and the work is comming in thick and fast, as I assume it is for most Full time pro's. then these Restaurant fees are not going to be very attractive. I was not saying don't do restaurants in the Uk, Just my view as to why you do not see many.

Quote:
A friend compared the selling of ones services as a magician to the way that hotels sell rooms. You could get a luxury room with breakfast included for less than someone in the same hotel who only has a single room with no extras. In other words, the hotels want to fill their rooms so don't mind moving on price.

True, but they would not do it if they where running at capacity.

Quote:
"Same for some magicians (myself included) - they want to work as often as possible so are happy to work for lowish fees as well as big ones. "

This is where you and I differ a little I am not looking to work as often as possible.
I would rather do say 1 hour for £150.00 than 3 hours for £50.00 an hour and work less often.
Maybe I am lazy, But I enjoy magic and I have the time to enjoy my life too.

Quote:
If you don't do kids shows then restaurant work also pays the rent in quiet weeks

But the quoted fees are Low even for a kid show any kidshow performer working for £33.00 - 50.00 per hour would not be very popular amongst the other kidshow performers in the area.

I am not putting anyone down who chooses to work "Stack em high sell em cheap"
Most Pro's that I know would not work for those sort of fees. I myself am not on Huge fees. If I was getting the sorts of fees (Regularly) that my friend Phil Jay was turning away I would be a happy man!

If suddenly work dried up I might have to do it! But for now I at least am quite happy to Cherry pick a little
Phillip
Message: Posted by: Paul (Aug 18, 2002 05:21PM)
[quote]
On 2002-08-17 10:09, mithrandir wrote:
You British seem to think that everyone in Ameica hires a magicain. In 16 years, I have never seen a magician performing. Not in the several states in the US in which I have lived, not in Britian, France, Spain or portugal, not in Panama, not anywhere. We are the last of a dying breed my friends. :stout:
[/quote]

No, I never thought that everyone in the USA hired a magician.

And I would hardly say we are the last of a dying breed with all the internet activity and mass marketed videos and DVD's.

But it does highlight there are still plenty of opportunities still.

Paul
Message: Posted by: Stuart Hooper (Aug 19, 2002 10:38AM)
Sorry paul, didn}t mean to be morbid, but it is true that aside from a few TV specials most people have never seen real magic. Most of the shows and people I do magic for in the states have never seen live magic, and 99% of people in Central America have never seen it. And I didn{t mean that you thought that everyone in the US hired a magician, but I have seen a lot of posts saying that people rarely hired in the UK. My appoligies if I offended you. :stout:
Message: Posted by: Jax (Aug 19, 2002 10:38AM)
I'm from Essex and have never seen a table magician - although there's a nighclub in Southend-on-Sea that usually has a magician and / or juggler to entertain the queue at the entrance
Message: Posted by: groovy (Aug 19, 2002 01:57PM)
Nicholas Einhorn performed at my old company in the West End and basically got me into magic, about 2 years ago. He cost £xxx for the night!

If you wanted to see Magic performed for about 1 month, every Monday around November-December time, there's Monday Night Magic, hosted by the superb John Lenahan. This is above a pub in North London.

You can sometimes catch Otiz Caleonni (spelt atrociously wrong! Sorry Otiz) and Paul Zenon performing at Jongleurs or the Comedy Store.

There was a pub off Oxford Street that used to have a magician in every Thursday night. Don't think he's there now though.

There's usually some great Cups and Balls down Covent Garden as well, who are sadly moved on by the police as they draw good crowds.

I live outside London so try looking harder ;)

Groovy
Message: Posted by: Elwood (Aug 19, 2002 02:01PM)
I just got myself a regular gig in a restaurant near where I live. So there are magicians (at least one of us!) working restaurants and bars in the UK!
Message: Posted by: groovy (Aug 19, 2002 02:03PM)
Forgot to mention that one of the nice IM staff does gigs around TGI Fridays around London.

Also, my friend Andrew, from South Africa is forever being booked for many companies in and around London.

You'll find Marvin of Marvin's Magic fame, doing his stuff at Arsenal Football Club and Mr Einhorn at Tottenham FC.

Groovy
Message: Posted by: groovy (Aug 19, 2002 02:04PM)
Forgot to mention that one of the nice IM staff does gigs around TGI Fridays around London.

Also, my friend Andrew, from South Africa is forever being booked for many companies in and around London.

Groovy
Message: Posted by: Luke Kerr (Aug 26, 2002 07:07PM)
Try to incorporate some tricks in the music exhibition,(just one),something big(in dimension) so that everybody could see it,and put it in the right music,just before your best song.
Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (Aug 26, 2002 09:09PM)
Restaurant/bar magicians in North America are still rather rare.
They generally flourish in individual areas: Chicago used to be "hot"; now Las Vegas is.
As any working performer can tell you, one of the hardest things to do is to explain to management how the thing that you do will fit in; it is often simply beyond their experience (understandably).
However, while I don't know what the UK reaction is, on this side of the pond, the customers that DO find a tableside magician are very good audiences.
cheers,
Peter Marucci
showtimecol@aol.com
Message: Posted by: DaveVegas (Aug 27, 2002 04:49PM)
I work a Restaurant in Leicester 'Houston's' most Saturday nights. I went out and got the gig more for the experience than the fee (I do get paid, but I earn more getting other bookings and IMHO, more importantly, a real place to hone my performance) - other work flows in steadily from this and I get a wealth of experience. It's all very well staying at home in front of the mirror or practicing on your famly/mates, but it's not quite the real deal! Go out and work for whatever you can at first and build your reputation and experience. Then you'll be able to, and deserve to charge a fair fee.
Is that contentious?!!
Dave Vegas

'Miracles under your nose'