Continuing our occasional series on later-in-life leisure activities we discover why professional film director and animator Graham Ralph has a passion for magic
Twice a month Graham Ralph heads eagerly for Watford to a magic meeting but in early summer anticipation heightened considerably as the Club, Watford Association of Magic (WAM), was set to host an evening with French-born Etienne Pradier, considered one of the best close-up magicians in the world. We went along with Graham as guests – very privileged and sworn to secrecy.
Pradier has performed for many celebs and royalty including The Queen but at Watford he had one of the most difficult crowds to entertain with every one of the audience members being a magician of various skills and aware of the tricks and techniques. We were just bowled over, but surprisingly so were the pros. Their verdict.. “Stunning. Incredibly slick”, “Highlight of the year”. “It’s one thing knowing how it’s done, it’s another performing it to that level and entertaining the audience in the process.”
So what attracts so many men to magic whether for fun or as a career?
“Magic is just wonderful ” says Graham, “Even reaching the age of 50 and beyond, the child like fascination in the art of magic never seems to diminish. It’s uplifting and challenging, I’ve been practising since I was a kid and doing more in recent years when I’ve had more time. It’s therapeutic, great fun entertaining kids – and baffling adults has its appeal too.
I am an amateur but I get asked to do table magic at friends and family celebrations. People love it, I enjoy the Club get-togethers, they are so varied with demos, lectures, workshops and competitions. ”
“Our club has the reputation of being one of the most active magical societies in the country.” says WAM Chairman Paul Megram, “We have over 70 members from close-up magicians, stage magicians and children’s entertainers to mentalists and hypnotists. Our meetings are always packed, It’s all about improving magic and discouraging the revealing of secrets. We welcome new members.”
Etienne let us into many trade secrets that night but there’s no danger of us telling even if we were tempted to, it was so super slick it remains a complete mystery. As it should do.