Behind the Mask

How to book a magician for a fiver…

Like so much in this life, when booking a magician you get what you pay for.

TV quality, award-winning magical entertainers like Jester Styles aren’t cheap.

The cost of hiring an entertainer is not simply the price of the time they spend with you, but the years of practice and perfecting their product.

Performing as a full time professional has all sorts of hidden costs, like insurance. (Please always check the person you hire has insurance!) All these costs have to be added into the fee of each booking.

If you have ever seen Jester Styles doing what he does, in the way only he can, then you’ll know first hand that the memories and moments that are created within the mix of fire, ice, needles (and whatever else he can get his hands on) are priceless.

I challenge anyone who’s experienced this type of entertainment up close and personal to truthfully say it’s not worth double the asking price.

That being said, most people, myself included, don’t have the budget to make every house party and social event absolutely unforgettable by adding TV quality street magic as entertainment…

Or do they?

What If I told you that you can book an award-winning Magician for a fiver, saving yourself hundreds of pounds.

How? The same way new ideas are being brought to the market place all the time… crowd funding!

It’s #Magic! #chihuahua #cards #tricks #magician

A photo posted by SocialMediaTodd (@socialmediatodd) on

Next time you’re planning an event, a summer BBQ for a family birthday, or a house warming party, why not ask everybody to contribute towards the fee of hiring some unforgettable entertainment that will really make the event special?

If everybody donates just five pounds you’ll reach the desired figure with ease, and everybody at the party will get unbelievable value for their money.

So why not try it out at your next event, and I guarantee everybody will enjoy an enhanced evening of entrainment for the price of a decent bottle of wine.

For more information about costings for booking Jester Styles to entertain at your next event contact him today on 07730615294 or email enquiries@jesterstyles.com

Mention this blog and get a lucky 13% discount on your booking!

 

 

My Final Act

My final act to close the 2013/14 season as the official Magician and corporate host for the Coventry Blaze Ice Hockey team was to perform to the guests and players at the end of season awards ceremony.

This year the Blaze had gone all out, and I found myself performing in an amazing looking giant marquee, with music filling the room at just the correct volume to create an ambiance, yet not overpower any conversations around the room.

As well as the stage that would later be in use as the awards were handed out there was a large screen that came to life with images and videos of various highlights from the season we had just put to bed.

The Coventry Blaze may not be able to match other teams in the leagues budget or funding but they sure know have to throw a party! No expense was spared and there was a good vibe in the room from the moment the evening started.

This event was the first time a lot of the Blaze fans had the opportunity to see me perform as on match nights I’m looking after the corporate sponsors and VIP guests as part of the Executive Match Night Packages.

Award

The moment I walked in I was in demand. People who had heard about ‘the magician’ all season long suddenly had me within their grasp and they intended to make the most of it! I was almost deafened by comments about hopes I would live up to the hype! I took the pressure on the chin and just did what I do.

Before I knew it, it was time for the awards to start. Grabbing a drink on the way I found a seat near some friendly faces and sat back to enjoy the rest of the evening.

Now it takes a little while to clear my head after I’ve been performing. To do what I do I have to get into a certain headspace; the space that Jester Styles lurks, and this takes a little while to come down from.

Because of this I wasn’t fully focused on what was being said by the Chairman as he addressed the room on over the PA system. I was aware he was thanking somebody for support and service over the last season but the Blaze has so many great supporters and sponsors I wouldn’t have liked to guess who he was talking about…

…Then I started to realise a few people where looking at me, then a few more… Soon it felt like the entire marquee was looking at me. Then the clapping started and I was being called to the front! The Blaze had decided to start off the awards by thanking me for everything I’d done over the season and presenting me with a very nice trophy!

I don’t think I put it down all night! It was such a surprise and an honour.

I can’t wait to get back to the Blaze very soon. To find out more about the Blaze, see www.COVENTRYBLAZE.COM

Needle

Have you ever felt the undeniable desire to do something? The need to that is too strong to be ignored, despite the fact that all reason and sense goes against it?

Some people claim that they suddenly get an urge to look in a certain place for an item they gave up as being lost years before. Some people feel an urge to visit a certain place; a place they have never been to before but they know they need to go there and they know it will be for their benefit. Much more than simply wanderlust this is an undeniable feeling from within.

That’s how I felt when I witnessed an American magician risk his entire livelihood by placing a needle through his hand. I watched in amazement as the needle pierced his skin and continued to sink into his flesh. By the time the needle had penetrated the magician’s hand without a single drop of blood, I already knew I had to try it myself. I was able to speak with him for about ten minutes that evening to try and get some advice. Ten minutes was just enough time for him to advise me against doing it, to warn me of the dangers, and to give me two needles to try it with. I think that he knew he would be unable to talk me out of it – so he at least made sure I was using sterile needles of the right size.

So that was all the “training” I had. I started to do my own research and found that each hand contains (plus or minus… everyone is different):

    • 29 major and minor bones (many people have a few more).
    • 29 major joints
    • At least 123 named ligaments
    • 34 muscles which move the fingers and thumb:
      • 17 in the palm of the hand and
      • 18 in the forearm
    • 48 named nerves:
      • 3 major nerves
      • 24 named sensory branches
      • 21 named muscular branches
    • 30 named arteries and nearly as many smaller named branches.

As I’m sure you can imagine, this information did little to help my nerves.

I also learnt that some of the early writings on the origins of acupuncture suggest that its success comes from the needles attacking our inner demons when they pierce their flesh. It’s said the reason the pain is next to unnoticeable is because its these demons who receive the damage. The ancients who first practised acupuncture supposedly possessed a sort of sixth sense to be able to tell where these demons hid and using this ability they could remove the demons’ taint from the body of their patients. This was a little more what I needed, If this sort of six sense did exist, did I have it? Is that why I was so drawn to the idea of doing this?

I spoke to a few other magicians and some close friends, most of whom were horrified and asked me to reconsider. I actually had a chat with a gentleman who swallows razorblades and then regurgitates them for his audience who told me not to do it as the risks were too high. Nothing they said could deter me though, and I was convinced I was going to do it. One thing that did stop me in my tracks was the fact that some of my younger fans and followers may try to emulate this or try something similar. This did worry me, so I decided to release this video first:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dm4Jkk5oavg

After that had been done, the only thing left to do was to attempt it myself. You can see the end result here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xooT6ytHYy4

Blaze

With the ice hockey season almost at an end, I’m taking some time to reflect on my incredible time with the Coventry Blaze. I never forget how lucky I am to be working with a team I’ve supported for years. But it took some time and effort to achieve this dream. Here’s how I did it…

I knew I wanted to use my magic in some way that would involve the Blaze, and the corporate boxes seemed the perfect way to do it. I’d worked with the club before, so the powers that be had some idea of who was. I decided to send them an email (an email I must have worded and re-worded about a hundred times to try and get it to sound right).

I knew that what I was offering would really add to the match night experience. I knew that my unique brand of magic would mix seamlessly with the fast tempo and hard-hitting style the Coventry Blaze play with. I just needed to convince them of that!

JS extra picThe email worked, and before I knew it I’d talked my way into the office for a meeting with the Chairman of The Coventry Blaze who happens to be the General Manager of the national team. He’s clearly a very busy man who has no time or tolerance for fools. I knew that the work I’d done performing at the end of season awards ceremony was going to count for very little from this point onwards. It had served its purpose in getting me in the door to his office, but right now I was very aware I was standing in his domain, and I was wasting his time. I knew I had to make every moment count, and I also knew my magic would speak louder than any words I could muster.

Five minutes later and the chairman was standing there speechless. I could see from the look in his eyes he agreed that my passion and skill matched the vibe and energy felt on a match night in the Skydome. It also became apparent that this very serious, calculated man had a serious soft spot for magic!

It was never going to be as simple as just impressing the right person, but it was agreed that the Blaze wanted what I was able to offer but they also needed more. They didn’t just want to add a Magician to their corporate match night experience, they wanted a host; somebody who could meet the guests, get them settled, and deal with any needs on the night. They also needed to find someone with good knowledge of the team history and the rules of the game.

I was able to tick all the requested boxes! Not only had my initial idea worked, it had been improved on.

175px-CoventryBlaze

But that was just the beginning…

Even in my wildest dreams I could never imagined what started to happen over the next few weeks. The reactions I started to get from audiences were out of this world. They were much louder than I was used to. I think this is down to the fact that you’re supposed to be loud at the hockey game – so there were no reservations! That and the fact the drinks are so reasonably priced.

As well as the great reactions, I started to get to know people on a personal level. After a few weeks of spending time in the bar after the game and getting to know the other fans, I realised that I had developed – or rather been accepted into – a sort of hockey family.  Children would run up to me and people would call me over to meet their friends. That alone is not too strange; being a magician, that happens a lot anywhere you perform. But before long fans who were restaurant owners had booked me to entertain their customers, and business owners had started to see how I could make them money by reaching their customers at trade shows or by doing ice-breaking at big networking events.

The real difference came when people started talking to me as a friend rather than the magician, even more than that they started to  invite me into their homes to perform at private parties, and then they invited me to attend parties.

Before long I had been given one of the biggest honours in my business. I’d been asked to entertain at a wedding for a Blaze supporter, and then another, and then for friends of Blaze supporters. Being entrusted to perform at a wedding – one of the most important days of a couple’s life – is an amazing honour and no magician should ever forget that.

It wasn’t just fans either. The players started to take notice and enjoyed getting involved in the magic I was performing, as well as asking me to perform to their families when they’re in town. One thing that’s stood out this season is just how hard the Blaze office staff work behind the scenes, and it’s been a pleasure being part of the team.

I’ve loved performing for each and every one of you and despite the season having many ups and downs I’ve enjoyed every game, event and after party.

Here’s to next season!

Out to lunch

Most people will know me for being a street magician who also works for the Coventry Blaze ice hockey club entertaining the VIPs and sponsors on match nights to add to the already adrenalin-pumping experience that comes with attending a Blaze game. Some people, mostly business owners, know me as a corporate entertainer who can draw them bigger crowds at trade shows and engage their customers in ways they won’t forget – increasing sales and brand awareness. Local businesses might know me as an ice-breaker who can really make a networking event a success. My magic has a (un)natural way of bringing people together and getting strangers talking.

I’m also often trusted to entertain at weddings. Being booked for a wedding, for somebody’s big day, is one of the biggest compliments you can ever receive as a professional performer. The rest of my bookings are mostly private parties and events – however a new trend is starting.

I’ve recently been talking to restaurant owners about working with them to enhance the dining experience of their restaurant. Working with restaurants means I’m working out in the open – so if you want to see me perform without booking me for a private event this is a great way to do it!

Restaurants have been using magicians in this way for years and years, but it was becoming something seen less and less recently. I’d like to change that! The reason magic works so well in this situation is that, unlike a musician or singer who plays to the entire room, a magician performs at one table at time, making everybody on that table feel included and involved.

The main advantages of having a magician at a restaurant are obvious; long waiting times are made entertaining so diners (especially young ones) don’t get restless or bored. A good magician will bring customers back to a restaurant but also may well ensure they bring new customers with them to share the experience. Week day evenings are often quiet for restaurants so a regular magician working on a set night can increase midweek business.

That’s just the start of the benefits though. I’ve had great success working at an Italian restaurant that changes its specials board every day. I was able to memorise the specials and tell the customers about them as I performed. I’ve also worked for restaurants that have used diner’s club cards. I was able to inform customers about the features and benefits of these cards without the information being mistaken for a hard sell. Also having a regular night that has a magician means that night suddenly becomes a great night to book in a party or celebration for. I update my Facebook page with my upcoming gigs, so keep checking my page to see what I’m up to: www.facebook.com/jesterstylesmagic.

For me it’s just a great way to share my magic with more people; people who wouldn’t normally come into contact with what I do.

Magic is a gift that needs to be shared – I’ve never seen it as anything else.

Some people see it as a puzzle for them to try and work out, some like the freedom it brings; the way it can stop you thinking about the stressful hustle and bustle of the real world, and others just like to get lost in the child-like wonderment that it brings.

Me? I just want to be seen. I want make that moment for that person, create an extra special memory for somebody to think back on. The magic is in the moments and the memories. The rest is just tricks.

Plan

Looking back I never really had any sort of plan. I never had a dream job that I aspired to. When people around me were picking their life path and choosing what to study to reach their goal I didn’t even understand what was out there. I had no idea about business, and I was unable to academically achieve, so university would have never been an option – even if I did have any sort of idea what I was aiming for. I also never really had any career dreams. People would ask me: “If you could do any job, what would it be?” I could never answer; I couldn’t even think of anything that really appealed, even in a dream.

As I got older I floated from one job to another, and every time I ensured a slight promotion and pay rise but never found anything I could give my heart to. I was always searching for that job that made me want to tell people about what I did. I wanted a job that made me feel the same way as people who enjoyed talking about theirs. People kept telling me I’d be happy in sales, I’d enjoy leading a team, and that recruitment would give me a buzz. I tried all of these roles with an open mind and a desire to succeed.

I’d sit on rush hour trains, suit on, replying to emails as I travelled to meetings, and I’d look around at everybody else doing the same and think – this isn’t for me. I’d sit in offices of sales professionals high fiving each other about more stuff they’d sold to people who probably didn’t need it and couldn’t afford it, and I would think, “This isn’t me”.

The trouble was I could always find stuff that wasn’t me, but no matter how hard I tried I simply couldn’t find something that really jelled with me. That was until the first time I found enough confidence to show people what I could do. Those first few bits of magic that I shakily worked my way through changed everything. When I saw the reactions on people’s faces and the pride in my father’s eyes, and when I felt the buzz it gave me, I knew I’d found it. The plan I never had and the dreams I could never imagine had all come together. Maybe 15 or so years later than I would have liked! But nonetheless it was there; I had what I had been searching for.

Once I realised that I had found something I truly loved, I grabbed it with both hands. Suddenly I had a use for the strange talents I’d had since I was a teenager. I had a purpose, and things that I thought were just freaky little things most couldn’t do were in fact the beginning of my journey into magic.

I was offered an amazing opportunity to work in TV – helping produce a prime time TV show, working with a fantastic team of people. Although it was a role I really enjoyed, I couldn’t give it my all, as the desire to be a full time performer was too strong. Once you discover an ability to make people forget their problems, if only for a moment, it becomes very hard to do anything else.

So now I have my path and my direction. It’s not an easy journey, but it is made easier by the support of people close to me. Everybody says that hard work pays off, so with fingers crossed and for the first time, and with my head held high, I’ll keep going. Your positive comments and feedback make all the hard work and financial uncertainty worthwhile, so thank you.

Inspiration

People often ask me how I come up with the ideas and the tricks that I perform. Let me be honest from the start; a large percentage of the magic I perform is not my original idea or concept; some of the stuff I perform is simply my spin on a classic passed down from hundreds of years ago. Some of it is the work of talented friends who are constantly working to move magic forward and keep it modern. I also look for inspiration in day to day life. The desk I sit at is surrounded by images and items that inspire me; images of street art, carnivals, harlequins, jesters and superheroes all inspire both my performance and creative style.

How do I come up with ideas? Things just happen that get me thinking. For example, the other day I witnessed a man approach a bar to order drinks for himself and three friends. He had left the table only 30 seconds before but had already forgotten one of the drinks. So I wondered if I could do that – could I force somebody to forget information they had received only seconds before. This idea stayed with me for a few days, so I started off doing little tests on visitors over Christmas, and started to get results. I didn’t  tell them I was doing anything, I didn’t make a performance out of it, I just kept on working at it. When I was convinced it could be done, I reached out to professionals who perform feats like this. I needed to know that what I was doing would not only work, but wouldn’t risk any long term effects for the spectators.

My initial idea was to make somebody forget information they had just been given, but I needed this to be more of a performance, so I thought about making somebody unable to fully remember their mobile phone number. But often I perform for people who have never met as I’m often booked as an ice breaker, so I would have to make a stranger give out his mobile number to strangers… would you? I needed to think of something less personal but just as effective.

It took some time but since settling on the performance I do now, I’ve achieved amazing reactions from it. Much better than I ever dreamed I would. I’m able to freak people out, but in a way that they still feel safe and never have to give up any personal information or be embarrassed in any way.

I’d love to know what you think, please comment below.

On Reflection

I’ve had slightly more time to reflect over the last few days. I’m grateful for the people who have taken the time not only to read my words, but also to get in touch with me to tell me that they’re enjoying my words and want to read more. So now the enjoyable but frantic work schedule has eased after Christmas it’s time to reflect on everything I’ve taken from the past few weeks.

I’ve been working large venues, performing to hundreds of people every evening and teaming up with other magicians. All these experiences have helped to shape me as a performer, increasing my confidence and teaching me more about a side of the business I’d never seen before.

This sort of corporate experience has been amazing and I’m extremely fortunate and proud to have been invited to perform at such large scale events. I was a little bit apprehensive at first though. I was concerned that working the corporate scene would in some way water me down or restrict me. I’ve never wanted to be just another black tie magician; I like to think I have my own style – my own twist on everything I do. As it happens I was still able to be myself, and still do things in my own style. I did have to tone some stuff down, as some of the stuff I normally perform is simply not suitable for that sort of environment, but I was still able to be myself and perform my own stuff, in my own way.

Your comments and reflections are welcome.

 

The journey so far!

The journey so far!

I’ve been asked to produce a blog as apparently you guys want to not only know about what I get up to but actually want to know more about me?  I’m not sure what I’m supposed to write, so I’ll just keep telling stories of what I’ve been up to until you guys stop reading it.

I’m still finding it a little surreal, I’m sat here writing a blog post, to go one my new website. It’s a website I never really believed I’d have, or dared to dream I’d need. It’s been one hell of a journey to get to this point, and I’d like to take this moment to thank each and every one of you who has helped support me. Also, thank you to the people who have said I’d never get this far – your words have helped me achieve more than I ever thought I could!

As well as the support of friends, I’ve been extremely fortunate to gain the support and more importantly friendship of some true experts in magic; people who have not only mastered the secrets of the past but are helping shape the future of magic. Most importantly, they know how to perform in ways that make you, the spectators, enjoy it as much as possible – and that’s what truly matters.

I don’t know how it happens for all magicians, but I didn’t simply wake one morning and become a magician. I also didn’t have an owl tapping at my window, or find an old book in the loft that filled me with dark secrets. I worked hard to be able to do what I do now. I sacrificed a lot of time to my art, mostly at the cost of social gatherings and other interests. The further I walked down the ever-winding road into magic, the more lost I became. I watched everything that I thought I knew shift and change in front of me. Things that I had truly believed in for years not only no longer gave me comfort but now lay broken in front of me. I’d gone way deeper than simple card tricks and the so-called magic tricks that somebody who knows somebody could do down the pub. I’d gone further than I think anybody, perhaps even me, thought I would – and even today when I talk to others who have also walked this path, they are shocked at how quickly I’ve walked and how far I’ve already got.

It’s true that a magician sees the world differently from others. Maybe that’s why magicians often end up forming close-knit groups or societies. These little groups (or rather the people in them) are what has really made it possible for me to learn my craft – thank you!

So a little more about Jester Styles

Jester Styles has been with me for many years now; much longer than you would believe and much longer than my ability to perform magic. Jester Styles started out as a mask – a persona I could become to battle my low self-confidence.

I can’t deny that I can no longer really tell where Jester Styles ends and I begin. These lines became blurred very long ago, but what I can be sure of is that without that side of me – without that mask – there would be no magic. The often uneasy partnership we have formed is what you experience when you see me perform; that mixture of calm, controlled metal-bending or vanishing of people’s rings vs. the flashy creation of items in balls of fire sums it up better than words could. 

Working with others

With Christmas just around the corner, I’ve been working at lots of large festive events. Some of these have been so large that I never wouldn’t have been able to work them alone, so I found myself sharing gigs with other magicians. At first the idea of this made me uneasy. I created a thousand scenarios in my mind that I wouldn’t be as good as them, and the people I performed to would feel hard done by as they didn’t get the other magician. In truth, this has been an amazing opportunity and it has shown me that not only can I hold my own with any other magician I might be working with, but actually having the support of somebody who is in exactly the same shoes as you is priceless. Not to mention it makes long drives less boring, and the trading of advice and swapping secrets is great. The best thing about teaming up with other magicians is that I know nobody will miss out on seeing a performance that night!

Welcome to Jester Styles – Behind the Mask

Welcome to Jester Styles’ blog – Behind the Mask.

Here we’ll be sharing information on where Jester Styles has been performing and information about the industry. We’re patiently waiting for the man himself to reveal his own thoughts, exclusively on this blog.

Keep checking back for updates.