Children's Entertainer | Party Magician Kids Party Entertainers | Children's Entertainment

Children's Entertainer | Magician | Andy's Magic

"The Magician, The Magic Shows and The Entertainment"

31 December 2011

Happy New Year...

I'll take this opportunity to say Happy New Year because in 10 minutes I'll be on the road heading towards the first of three gigs I have on this New Years Eve: I will, however, with any luck, be arriving home in time to see the New Year in with good friends and family but before that I have a long day ahead.

I will be starting with a birthday party in central Birmingham. Two hours of fun here and it's off across the Midlands to Solihull where I will be entertaining at a private New Years party for both children and adults. And finally, I'll be shooting down to Bromsgrove where I will be again entertaining young and old at the New Year Celebrations party at the Holiday Inn, Bromsgrove.

Once all this is done, I will race home to do some Celerbrating myself. So here's wishing everyone a very Happy and Prosperous New Year.

29 December 2011

Tommy Cooper: The Untold Story (Updated)

Tommy Cooper: The Untold Story turned out, for me at least, to be the best piece of television over the last festive season -2011. It was, excuse the pun,  a real Christmas Cracker.

Cooper and the fez
This superb Channel 4 documentary tells the story of the real Tommy Cooper: the abusive, alcoholic comedian who had a long term affair with his personnel assistant, Mary Kay, whilst married to Gwen - the woman he frequently hit, but loved and could never have lived without.

This fascinating, if not sad, account was pieced together using recently unearthed letters, unheard audio clips, interviews, rare footage and, most importantly, Miff Ferrie's (Cooper's agent) meticulously kept diary which seems to detail his every interaction and involvement with the great man and lays bare the facts about the very troubled life of one of this countries best loved comedians.

It seems that Cooper had a love-hate or even a hate-hate relationship with his agent. Apparently, he wanted to break free of this man he, and others, thought was a controlling idiot with no sense of humour, but he never did: perhaps he realised that this was the only man who could hold everything together for him, when he himself was letting it fall apart. Bruce Forsyth, who was also managed for a short period by Ferrie, also felt the same way about the agent. Forsyth, However, did make the break.

"I went to the doctor the other day, I said, 'It hurts when I do that.' He said, 'Well, don't do it then.'

Tommy Cooper never failed to make us laugh. He was a respected member of The Magic Circle and adored by the British public. He was famed for his magic act where tricks intentionally went wrong for comedy purposes. A giant of a man (6 foot 4 inches) with a gruff voice, flat feet, crazy hair and a red fez would lumber on stage and get a laugh without doing a thing. He looked a disaster waiting to happen and that's what made him so funny. He was a one off and his like will never be seen again. But his professionalism and perfection on stage were far from matched off stage.

His alcoholism led to wife beating. Gwen, his wife, threatened to leave him on several occasions but she never did and, even though he continued his affair with Mary until the day he died, he never considered leaving her.

Glass, Bottle, Bottle, Glass
His heavy drinking and smoking did, in the end, take its toll on Cooper's health. A heart attack, in 1977, while in Rome performing for IBM executives, should have been the warning to slow down his self destructive habits but it did not. Three Months later he was back in a television show but now his heavy drinking was interfering severely with his performing ability, he had become a shadow of his former self, and 1980 Thames Television refused to give him another starring series.

"I went to the dentist he said my teeth are okay but my gums have got to come out"

On the 15th April 1984 millions of views - I was one - watched London Weekend Television's variety show "Live from her Majesty's" not realising that this was to be Coopers last ever performance. And this Channel 4 documentary -The Untold Story - shows for the first time since his death portions of his last performance including his collapse.

Tommy Cooper - Just Like That

In Conclusion

Despite this programmes painfully honest profile that exposes the destructive demons that drove Cooper to drink and violence there are also moments when celebrity fans including Ozzy Osbourne, Roger Moore, Johnny Vegas, Damien Hurst, Bruce Forsyth, David Hamilton, Eric Sykes, Ken Dodd, Barry Cryer and more all talk about their love of Cooper and they also remind us of the real magic and genius of the man that was Tommy Cooper.

I'm not sure when Channel 4 will be repeating this programme but when it is I really recommend you take peek. It is, however, available, in five parts, on You Tube. Below, and for your convenience, are all those parts. So, sit back, relax and watch this gem of a documentary at your leisure.

24 December 2011

The Turkey on a Sun Bed...

It's Christmas Eve, so it's best to prepare your Christmas dinner in advance. But don't try cooking the turkey with a sun bed...

20 December 2011

Generosity: The poem what I wrote...

Worcester Literary Fesivals Poetry Tree
WLF's Poetry Tree in Worcester
This is the poem what I wrote last December for the Worcester Literary Fesival's Poetry Trees which were on show in The Crown Gate and Reindeer Shopping Centres in Worcester.

December is always a busy time and I was unsure as to whether I could make the deadline. But with the theme being "Generosity" it certainly sparked some idea's. Below is the poem - I hope you like...


From the first thing in the morning to the last thing at night.
Twenty-four hours every day to offer help to put things right.

A random act of kindness is something everyone can do.
It doesn't take much time but it's really up to you.

Raising money for good causes, being sponsored to walk a mile.
Generosity without agenda will raise cash... and a smile.

We're asked to dig deep but not always in a monetary way.
We can be generous with our labours and things we do and say.

To those who are less fortunate and have no one by their side.
We should as generous as we can with the help that we provide.

So, when you hear the awful news of some terrible atrocity.
Don't think that you can't help just remember... Generosity!

By Andy Kirk

P.S: Don't forget you can quickly and easily share this article by using the share buttons directly below this post.

28 November 2011

The All-New Look Andy's Magic

The New Logo
Where has the time gone? Eleven months has disappeared without a trace, and in two days we will be into the Festive month of December and I am, as usual, going to be very busy entertaining at Christmas parties for both Children and Adults – and I am really looking forward to it. But as the final month of 2011 approaches and we head towards 2012 – a year that will make the twenty year mile stone in trading from Andy’s Magic - I have decided to change a few things.

Firstly, I commission work on  a new  Andy’s Magic Logo  (see above) from a company called look-designs,  and what a great job they've done – ideal for the children's entertainment side of the business -  hope you all like it, too.

Rainbow Stripes
Business Cards
I also wanted to freshen up my own look. So, out came the credit card and new clothes, waistcoats, trousers and shirts were purchased and I’m really pleased with the end results... 

And I’ve also had some new business cards designed and printed. Hope you like the new changes? Stay well and look out for the next blog…

Close-up Magician

22 July 2011

Andy's Gigs: 17th - 22nd July

Rory and Lois' Party

Rory and Lois' joint party was held at the Lickhill Memorial Hall in Stourport. My mission was entertain a 25 strong group of 4 year-olds and keep them happy for an hour. I think I succeeded.

Starting with Name that TV theme tune, the kids loved guessing the tunes and being first to shout out the correct answers and win a prize. Then straight into the magic show, loads of fun and magic and both Rory and Lois became my Helpers, and they were both great.

The whole hour was rounded off with all the kids getting a balloon animal of their choice. It was lovely to meet everyone including their mums, and may I wish a big Happy Birthday to Rory and Lois.

Theo, Jack, Nell and Frayer's Party

It wasn't just one birthday that was being celebrated at the Bentley Heath Community Centre, today, or even two; it was four. Yes, a joint birthday party for four, five year olds -Theo, Jack, Nell and Frayer (see photo's). They, and all their friends, were very quick to join in, dancing in the bubbles and trying hard to win prizes.

All four youngsters helped me in the magic show. Frayer helped me magically join four coloured handkerchiefs together. Theo was transformed into a pirate with a balloon sword, parrot and hat, while Jack waved the wand and made the black and White pictures in my colouring book, turn into nice, bright and colourful ones. And last but, certainly not least, was Nell who said the magic words and produced a whole load of sweets for everyone to share.

Everyone went home with a balloon animal and party bag; a great way to end any party. Happy Birthday to Theo, Jack, Nell and Frayer.

St Oswald's School Funday

I really enjoyed being part of the St Oswald's School fun day. At 10.00am, ninety odd children, accompanied by their parents, all entered the school hall where I was ready and waiting. I started with the popular Name that TV Theme tune, and these kids were right on the ball. Within seconds of starting to play a tune, someone would get the answer - very quick indeed this bunch.

With lots of prizes won, it was on with the magic show and I think all the kids would have gladly volunteered to help me in the show, but unfortunately the show just was not long enough for that. Those that did help where fantastic, and very funny too.

The audience, and I include the adults here, were very responsive and joined in with everything. An hour of magic, fun and laughter flew by and it was lovely to get so many "Thank you's" from the children as they filed pasted me, on their way to their next, fun-day, activity. I look forward to returning to St Oswalds soon.

The Calsot Road Playgroup leavers Party

It's always nice to get rebooking's, and it was a pleasure to return to the Calsott Road Playgroup in Great Barr. Though young, the 22 children that attended were all ready to party. They loved the dancing in the bubbles and loads of them won prizes during the games. A great selection of party food was available during the break including good-old jelly and ice-cream. The party was rounded off with the magic show, featuring Max the Magic Dog and balloon animal for all. Great fun and thanks to the Staff for refreshments provided. :)

     KinderCare Day Nursery Leavers Party

It was my first visit to the Kindercare Day Nursery, in Stetchford, Birmingham and it was great to see so many lovely, smiling faces. I just new from the outset that I was in for good session, and I was right.

Forty plus children can be a hand full at the best of times but there was no problem here. Well organised and ready to join in, these kids loved very minute of the party. An hour of entertainment, kicked off a game and a chance prizes. This was followed by the magic show. The kids laughed Long and loud as I got hit on the head with the wand by the little girl who was helping me. max the Magic Dog got more laughs and applause as he performed his trick. It was great session and as I packed away the kids were being presented with certificates and they all looked very proud. I wish them all luck with their  move to the big school.

The Whizz Kids Community Nursery Leavers Party
Whizz Kids is charity based, Nursery and great job the staff do, giving the kids a safe and happy environment to be in.The leavers party went superbly well. I was impressed with how well everything was organised and thank the staff for all their help.

The Two Hour Package was ideal for this group. They absolutely loved jumping around in the bubbles and they went crazy during the magic show, laughing and clapping all the way. Loads of fun was had, I'm sure everyone, Including the staff, enjoyed it. I look forward to seeing you all again at Christmas.

15 July 2011

Who to book: Full-timer or Side-liner?

As a full-time entertainer, one question I get asked a lot is:  "Would I be better off booking a full-time entertainer rather than one that does as a side-line?"
I don't think it matters. What I think you should be looking for is someone who is professional in their approach to his or her business and this should in turn lead you to a good and competent performer.
So, to get the best entertainer possible for your party follow these guide-lines:
  • Firstly, get a recommendation from a friend or relative; if they've seen a good, reliable and professional entertainer and enjoyed his show, the likelihood is, you will too.
  • Nowadays, most good entertainers will have their own website and this should give you plenty of information, not just about what services they offer, but about previous and satisfied customers; check their guestbook for customer feedback and comments.
  • Those who are professional, and understand the business, will try and offer you the sort of entertainment you require, tailored for the age of the children they will be entertaining, and they should also be able to offer advise on varying parts of your party planning.
  • They should be fully insured (public liability insurance), CRB Checked and have all their electrical equipment P.A.T Tested — it's not in your interest to book an entertainer without these. And don't take their word for it, ask to see the certificates. If any or all of these aren't forth-coming think carefully before you book.
  • You should also expect to get some sort of contract (where practical) confirming the entertainment you'll be receiving; this way you will both be clear on what was agreed.
  • If you are paying a deposit make sure you get a receipt.
  • Ask if they're a member of any professional organisations like: Equity, The Magic Circle or any local magic society; this will show an on-going commitment to their careers.
  • Children can be a tough audience, as you will know if your a parent. Working with children requires patience, understanding, flexibility, and versatility. Performing for kids is no different, but not all entertainers understand this. Just because they perform magic it doesn't mean you're automatically guaranteed a great show.
  • What you really need is someone who will entertain them, make them laugh, amaze them and hold their attention from start to finish; a skilled entertainer will be able to do this.
  • The more you pay doesn't necessarily guarantee a better quality of entertainer, but you should expect to pay more for one who has got all the correct checks, insurances and who is paying tax on his earnings.
  • If you're unhappy with any aspect of their performance, don't be afraid to complain; a professional entertainer will do his utmost to put things right and should welcome constructive criticism. But remember,  you're booking an entertainer and not a baby-sitter and, as such, you should always be aware, and ready to deal with, any distressed or disruptive children.
If you follow these guide-lines then you should be able to book someone who is professional and who will supply a good service. I believe a professional entertainer will always make your party a success — simply because they love what they do.

4 July 2011

Penn and Teller: Fool Us

Back in May I was lucky enough to get hold of a couple of tickets for the live recording of the new smash hit ITV series Penn and Teller: Fool Us - and what great day it was. Filming, at the Fountain Studio's in Wembley, took nearly four-hours, for what evntually becomes a one-hour TV show. But it certainly didn't feel like fours hours, the time flew by, with a great warm up comedian (can't remember his name, unfortunately) and lots of audiance interaction from Host, Jonathan Ross and Penn and Teller.

The show see's master magicians and experts in the art of deception, Penn and Teller, throwing down the gauntlet and challenging magicians from all over the country to appear on the show and perform their most mystifying magic in an attempt to fool them.

The pilot episode saw Ben Earl and John Archer succeed, as they managed to fool Penn and Teller. The reward to anyone who accomplishes this feat is a five star trip to Las Vegas where they will perform on Penn and Teller's world famous magic show at the Rio Hotel and Casino. Ben and John have already been over to the city that never sleeps and it all went very well for them; especially for John Archer who managed to get a standing ovation. So congratulations to Ben and John, and also to Graham Jolly and Mathieu Bich who in this new series have also managed to fool Penn and Teller. And you can catch up with how all the winners did in Vegas. on the Christmas Special in December.

You couldn't have a show like this without a big name host and Jonathan Ross fits the bill perfectly here. Ross, introduces the acts, links each part of the show and even becomes magicians assistant, where required, and all done in Wossy's own inevitable way. All in all, it's a great show and, in my humble opinion, it's the best magic show to hit our tv screens in many a year. Not since The Paul Daniel's Magic Show or the Best of Magic have we seen such a high profile magic show. But not all are agreeing with my point of view...

Some, mainly magicians, are upset by the exposure aspect of the show. Penn and Teller do, indeed, explain how the tricks are done, but for me, I don't feel there is enough detail for the lay audience to fully understand what is being said. In fact they do try and keep the explanation to a minimum. It's not exactly a cut-throat exposure show like the Masked Magician did, so I for one won't be worrying about that side of it. I've also heard magicians saying that this show is in danger of turning magic into a puzzle. Instead of watching the show and being entertained, the audience may become too tied up with figuring out how the trick was done and won't be able to concentrate fully on the actual act itself. Again, I disagree! To me magic is a puzzle, the audience are always trying to catch the magician out. It's up to those magicians to make sure they aren't caught out; If their acts are entertaining enough the audience will soon forget about solving the puzzle. Thankfully, the vast majority of people seem to be enjoying the chance to see the great magic show, which encompasses a wide range of performing styles and varieties of magic.

In the main, most of these acts will not fool Penn and Teller, but they will certainly have a chance to impress the tv audiences, raise their own profiles and further their own careers. Take for instance, Piff the Magic Dragon. His dead pan, comedy magic act was so totally different and original that he stole last Saturdays show; it's seems everyone loved him. So congratulation to Piff - a star in the making.

The culmination of each show, see's Penn and Teller perform their own brand of magic and they also get their chance to not only fool us, but prove exactly why they are at the top of their game. it's an hour of great magical entertainment, so don't forget to tune in next week and every week for Penn and Teller: Fool us.

 P.s. If you'd like to follow Penn and Teller:Fool Us on Facebook or Twitter you can do that as follows:



On Facebook search FoolUs, send a friend request and it will be accepted.


29 March 2011

The British Magical Society's Annual Dinner and Dance

President: Liz Warlock

0n Saturday 26th March, the British Magical Society held its Annual Dinner and Dance at the Ramada Hotel in Sutton Coldfield. The dinner, for those of you who don't know, is the culmination of the society's year, and Saturday evening saw Elizabeth Warlock round off her second-term as president in fine style.

After a lovely three-course meal, and the obligatory speeches - including a very humorous one from our President - it was time for the BMS Awards Ceremony. Jay Adkins, Norman Smith and George Symes received awards for various competitions they'd won over the last twelve months, while John Jeremy won the Fred Walker Memorial Award for outstanding contribution.

David Berglas
The final presentation was the, much coverted, David Berglas Award which is always presented by the man himself. A star-studded list of previous winners include: Paul Daniels, Wayne Dobson, Geoffrey Durham, Ali Bongo, John Fisher, Peter Warlock, Elizabeth Warlock, Paul Kiev, Pat Page, Alex Emlsley, Terry Herbert and David Berglas, himself. This years recipient was Derren Brown, the only magician currently with his own show on television (Channel Four) and, without doubt, the most popular magician in the country at the moment.

Derren Brown

 David Berglas, a Past President of the Magic Circle (1989-98), and a legend in the world of magic, was once again in attendance, but unfortunately, Derren could not attend the dinner due to his gruelling tour schedule. We did, however, get to see him receive the award via a video presentation. Derren expressed his deep gratitude and said that: "It is a great honour to receive such an amazing award". The huge silver trophy will take pride of place in his magic den at his studio. Everyone agreed that this was a well-deserved award.

With the presentations over, it was straight into the cabaret which was compared by, society treasurer, John Jeremy. The opening act was Joe Swing, aka magic dealer, Zane. It was an unusual act that Joe Swing presented - a sort of a magical tribute to the Rat Pack. He sang a range of songs, made famous by the Vegas stars, whilst at the same time performing magic.Brian Shefton followed with his suave manipulation act. Appearing cards, coins, thimbles, billiard balls and a beautiful presentation of the classic "Floating Zombie" effect, perfectly timed to classicial music. High Jinx closed the cabaret with an act that was like a mini-variety show, including: magic, illusions, juggling, unicycle riding, an optical illusion and a straight jacket escape performed to "Duelling Banjos" - a wonderful piece of music that was used, and made famous, by the film - Deliverance. 

The evening was rounded of with some live music and the oppertunity to dance; most took the chance to catch up with old friends and acquaintances, discuss the evenings events and, of course, have another drink.

Whilst it is sad to note that the attendance was significantly lower than the last time I attended (four years ago), those who did attend were treated to a very enjoyable evening. I look forward to next years event which will be held at - a yet to be announced - new venue.

22 March 2011

The Magic of Writing

Andy working his Magic

You may have noticed  a few changes in my blog-page. The new name and appearance have been designed  to reflect the two passions in my life — magic and writing. I hope you like the new site.  And I thought this would be a good point to tell you how I became a magician and an author...

The love of magic, and the dream to become a magician, started with "A Box of Tricks" given as a present one Christmas, and that love has never left me. For many years, magic was an obsessive hobby but at the age of twenty-seven I finally decided to take the plunge, and leave my secure job in the insurance industry, and move into the daunting realms of self-employment. It was a risky decision but, nineteen-years later, I have no regrets.

The writing bug hit me much later in life. Just two-years ago, we took a family holiday abroad, and whilst there, and for something to read during the long wait for my partner to get ready in the evenings (I hope she doesn’t read that bit), I picked up an old tattered book which was full off very short stories - they were absolutely awful. I jokingly said that I could write better stories and get them published. The idea stuck in my mind and with loads of ideas buzzing around in my head, I decided to put pen to paper (finger to keypad, actually).

It was by no means easy and my first attempt was quite poor. I quickly realized that I needed to revisit and brush up on my grammar and punctuation skills which had, over the years, become very rusty, indeed. An English course at college helped in that department.

A few months later, and determined to learn more about the writing business, I joined the Worcester Writers’ Circle. Getting published is not an easy task and I was constantly told by members to ‘Expect lots of rejections’. My first submission was indeed rejected but I guess I got lucky because my second submission—a short story called: 'Framed with love’— was accepted (published in First Edition Magazine, July's Edition, 2009). It was an amazing feeling to have achieved my ambition so quickly, and to be able to see my own story in print in a national magazine. More success followed with three more pieces being accepted and published; most recently I entered a "Flash Fiction Competition" and was amazed when I was informed that I'd come 2nd out of 150. Of course, I have had just as many rejections as acceptances but that's just how it goes in the writing game.

It's fair to say that I have, well and truly, caught the writing bug and as a magician I think that writing is as magical as any trick I have ever performed. I love the whole process of putting a story idea together, the research, the first draft and then the many edits that follow—until finally your piece is ready to send to that unsuspecting publisher.

There are a lot of comparisons to be made between a magic act and a short story. Each must have a strong start to hook your audience. Both must continue to captive their imagination, hold their attention and make them want more. And, finally, it must always have a memorable finish. And if I'm comparing the two arts with one another then it could be said that — If writing is the magic, then getting your work published must be the trick.

1 January 2011

Happy New Year - 2011

Happy New Year everybody, and I'm hoping that 2011 is going to be just as busy and successful as 2010 - for you as well as me. I've made plenty of New Years resolutions that I intend to keep and one of those is to update this Blog a bit more often.

December is always the busiest time of the year and normally there wouldn't be any chance of a day off. But, winter came early bringing with it piles of snow and the Chaos that damned White stuff causes. I ended up with three straight days off. I could have made it to the gigs, and my customers were willing too, but it was the venues (mainly council run) that refused to open - cars parks and walkways too dangerous, apparently. But despite the bad weather and loss of income, my spirits remained high and, thankfully, all the other gigs went very smoothly indeed.

My last gig of 2010 was New Years Eve at Holiday Inn Birmingham / Bromsgrove. And, as ever, it was a real pleasure. Everyone was in party mode. I started my two and a half hour stint with some close-up magic; walking around and performing mini miracles at my audience’s very finger-tips. And I couldn't have wished for a better audience with great reactions, loads of laughter and great compliments. With the adults all happy and entertained, my attention was switched to the children. I'd set the disco up in the Bellbroughton Suite earlier that evening, so everything was ready to go. Just over an hour of disco, games, prizes, magic and ending with a balloon animal making session at the end. All the kids went away happy, and again they were a great audience.

I've got a busy start to the New Year. Tomorrow will see me entertaining at The Elms Hotel, at their New Years celerbrations party for thier guests, and I'm really looking forward to it. I've got lots of birthdays, a few more post Christmas / New Year parties, Mother's Day is already booked out as is November 5th, Bonfire Night and Decembers diary is looking pretty fully as well. So, 2011 looks to be a very busy year already.

What else will I be up to this year. Well, in February I'll be off to the Blackpool Magicians Convention, the biggest and best convention in the country. It's been a few years since I last went and I'm really looking forward to catching up with old friends and acquaintances, and buying some new props. I’m hoping to take a nice holiday abroad as well. I didn’t manage a holiday abroad last year and really missed the treat.

So, a busy year ahead, for me and hope for you too. Here's wishing you all a healthy and prosperous New Year.... now what was next on my long list of resolutions.