Don Moses Comedy & Magic Blog - A light hearted look at life, comedy and magic.

Archive for December, 2007

Sunday, December 30th, 2007

Revisited part 2 more clips

It is that time in between Christmas and New Year when I should be wasting my time watching the telly.  But no, not me, I spend my time pretending to write new material for my stage act, while really surfing youtube clips to colour my blog, who is the loser now? (its rhetorical, thank you) .

August revisited with youtube clips – part 2

 Well, did you watch “Barry Ryan – Eloise” on “youtube”? And do you think the cape will ever come back as a fashion item? Everything these days is retro, so why not? I reckon, that if they found the video of the cape wearing Elvis, and released that video along with the Eloise video, then people would start wearing capes. Who knows, it may even encourage people to ride horses while wearing their capes; that has got to be good for the environment.

It is strange that nowadays if someone doesn’t understand my “seasoned with age” thoughts, I can simply show them exactly what I am talking about by using the internet. What I mean is, years ago, we used to pass on knowledge to the next generation by sitting them down and telling them about the past. This worked, mainly because the children had attention spans, and did not have Wii to distract them. However, today, if somebody hasn’t your vision of a particular memory, you can implant it into their brain in a “Tom Cruise Minority Report” kind of way, simply by saying “click here” on youtube to see what I used to watch when I was a kid. So now we have the ability to bring everyone upto speed, making sure the next generation’s heads, are as full as mine with useless information: you can’t tell me that isn’t progress.

Oh, I will remember anything, really, facts like, in 1977 there were 450 Elvis impersonators in the world, in the year 2007 there are over 200,000 of them and if this trend continues by the year 2057 one in four of us will be an Elvis tribute (I strongly advise buying shares in cape manufacturing firms).

Talking again of Elvis, the question“which Elvis did you like?” is almost as perennial as the James Bond preference one. There was of course the holiday camp blazered Elvis (only shown above the waist) or the very pretty, all black leathered, Elvis – which after Sharleen Spiteri did that video, is just too confusing to watch. No, in my opinion, it has to be the “pork chop” side burned, towel wiping, karate inspired 70’s Elvis. I mean, what could be more manly than a white sequinned jump suit – no sexual ambiguity confusion there surely?

It is coming up to exactly 30 years since Elvis died at the (kind to his memory) age of 42. 95% * of Elvis’ appeal has to be his, looking like, he was really enjoying himself entertaining those people. Charisma is impossible to break down – it is all the little things added up I suppose; the way he joked with the band, his eyes disappearing when he smiled etc (I am not gay by the way).

There are plenty of people (and comedians) who have made “ageist” fun of the fact that they would not like to see Elvis at 72. But to me, it should never be about age. No, it is about the performer still wanting to do it; and that life force can transcends age. Ok, he might have to pass the microphone over to his younger backing singer to hit that difficult final note, but as long as he was enjoying himself and he was throwing in a few karate moves, we’d all be happy wouldn’t we? I could be wrong of course.

*arbitrary percentage made up on the spot

Sunday, December 30th, 2007

Revisited (youtube links)

I have just been contacted by a friend, who wanted to show another friend a blog I had written in the summer.  This particular blog had mentions of youtube clips but I had not added links.  Anyway, I found the blog he was talking about, and decided to add the links to youtube in order to show younger readers what the past was really like.  So, think of this blog as a repeat with extra editor’s material, a bit like Bladerunner – the director’s cut.

Anyway, here is the original with the youtube links added – hope you enjoy it.

August 2007 Revisited with youtube links.

I was working the other night on the same bill as a band: one member of this band had been responsible for that “dance remix”, of the 1977 song “Thunder in my heart”, that was so popular last year. I told him I loved that record (leaving it up to him to decide whether I actually liked his little version or the original masterpiece by the great Leo Sayer).  Most of these recordings where “they” lazily choose a classic song and then, talk over the top of it, are, how can I say this? – Oh yes, shit.  I mean, my dad used to talk over “Top of the Pops” when I was trying to record it with my microphone and spool to spool, but I never thought “I must release this as a single”.

Anyway it turns out he was a very nice guy and not just because he really enjoyed my performance.  We talked in the one changing room (to be used by both sexes, it did have a sink, mirror and seat so I wasn’t complaining).  As we were ushered out of this laughable green room by the female member of the band wanting to get changed (yes, we could have just looked the other way, that is what I thought) we talked about music.  I told him of my love of the classics from the 1960’s and 70’s: for example: Neil Diamond, Glen Campbell and Barbara Streisand (oh yes, I was bullied).

I told him I also love records which have great introductions, for example, “Thunder in my heart” (he was probably still undecided which version I meant).  Yes, I love a song which starts with a massive, completely over the top, intro and then, actually has the audacity to deliver.  Records like the “Rocky theme (Gonna fly now) and *Eloise by Barry Ryan (and to a lesser extent) Macarthur Park, open brackets, someone left the cake out in the rain, close brackets (it is actually just, “Macarthur Park” but I know you like doing a Jimmy Saville impression).  And talking of impressions, don’t even get me started on the fantastic “The wonder of you” by Elvis.

Imagine being out in the fresh air, running up concrete steps with the backdrop of an industrial wasteland, listening to the Rocky theme or Eloise by Barry Ryan (there is a slow bit in the middle – perfect for getting your breath back, if you are not that fit).  Although, I wouldn’t recommend Macarthur Park, as you would probably just sit on the steps sobbing.
I can’t wait for Channel Four to make another one of those “talking head” shows (that is the industry name for that genre of programme).  It would have to be titled something like “The Top 100 “over the top” records which make you either cry or feel ridiculously optimistic”.  I will probably get asked to say something witty like “if only Richard Harris had an A4 folder to keep his recipes in, he could have made the cake again” or maybe not.
Now you will have to forgive me, I am off to buy some new trainers.

*“Barry Ryan – Eloise”, tell me how that is the best record you have ever heard.  The video doesn’t even need the Peter Kay treatment.  It is all there already, the Austin Powers’ hair and shirt – hellfire, he even has a horse and a cape.

Also to see Elvis do his karate moves, click here Elvis

Saturday, December 29th, 2007

London Magician, London Comedian or Newcastle Comedy Magician?

Ok, I will be frank with you, this is not really a blog entry, it is in fact a list of FAQs about bookings – hopefully the next blog, my first of 2008 will be a cracker – however, until then, you may want to skip this one, unless you are thinking of booking me some time soon, if that is the case this blog may be informative and useful for you.

So here goes, because I am playing more and more varied performances (e.g. stage comedy and close up magic), I thought it may be useful for potential clients to know what conditions will make their function a great success.  So, here is a list of questions I am frequently asked.

FAQ1:  What do I need to provide for Don, if I book him for a close up magic performance?
The short answer is, very little. 
The slightly longer answer is, just a set up area (i.e. somewhere to leave his case, away from the guests) and an orange juice is generally enough.  Hotel accommodation and food may be required depending on the location of the function.

FAQ2: So, what do I need to organise for Don to perform on stage to over 100 guests? 

Well, ideally the following would make the gig a great success:

A raised up platform or stage with really good sightlines.  So, watch out for those over elaborate table centre pieces or pillars which can restrict viewing.
Make sure the catering staff are informed, Don will be performing just after the coffees & brandies are served – hopefully the wait staff could also be informed to wait until Don finishes his performance, before finishing the clearing up.

For all the guests to enjoy the show, the P.A. system should be industry standard, such as Shure equipment.  Don can work with any mike with a long lead, however, a radio mike, either a lapel or an “over the cheek” type, would be excellent.  A DJ’s mike or the hotel’s mike is not good in a room with over 150 guests and should not be used.

The stage area should have good front lighting, and if possible, a spot light to follow the action on stage.

There should also be a method of playing Don’s “intro and exit” stage music (ipod).

If Don is performing to over 200 guests, a live video feed of the performance is required.  This is so the guests at the back of the room can see the large video screens of the action on the stage.

Hotel room and expenses would be appreciated – unless Don has already informed you that his price includes these costs.
FAQ3: is Don insured? – Yes, through Equity’s Public Liability insurance
for 5 million pounds.

FAQ4: How do I book Don for a function?
The best way is to telephone Don, so you can work out the details and decide what would be the best for your function.  Or, there is a contact page on http://www.donmoses.co.uk/contact_magician_uk.htm  and a form to fill out if you prefer to do that, but why would you, when you could be having a lovely chat with Don instead.

Normal blogs will resume soon.

Friday, December 14th, 2007

I am a Darwinist

I believe we came out of the sea.
Yes, I have just picked up the newspaper to see John Darwin, the Hartlepool / Panama resident (very strong arms) is still news.  People are already saying his life is in ruins.  No, not at all, this is England, a place, were doing something wrong is the best publicity in the world.  The general public are such idiots and will always buy newspapers and lap up such stories, just like I am doing now.  No, in my opinion, he has come back to England because he has spent the insurance money and is now trying to cash in on the lucrative corporate after dinner entertainment circuit, stealing the work from honest comedy magicians.  Well, I can tell you Mister Darwin it is “survival of the fittest” out there.  Ok, that is quite enough tenuous word play on his name.  It is a strange case though isn’t it?  I wonder why he did it.  Was the thought of living in Hartlepool for the rest of his life too much for him?  Where did he get the idea from?  I suppose we will never know.  I wonder if just writing a blog now I could solve this riddle.

Anyway, it is first thing in the morning – when I say first thing, I mean 9:15 a.m. obviously.  I am staying over in the hotel in which I will be performing tonight, so I have the whole day to myself, and therefore should be able to manage to write at least one blog entry, surely?

It’s a crisp day; cold but the air is still, and so perfect for my new fitness programme.  After a great breakfast (very good hotels rarely mess up on breakfast) I will work on my stand up comedy script for a company dinner at the weekend, then I will go for a walk, followed by a swim and steam at the Hotel’s Leisure Club, then prepare for this evening’s gig.  What could possibly go wrong with that plan? – hold on a minute “to buy or not to buy” is on the telly.

OK, now I am now running late, so I will go for the walk first, to see if I can observe anything on my travels which will switch my brain into comedic mode; so that when I get back I can go straight into my script for Saturday’s gig.  Now that’s a plan.

The hotel is called the confusing name of the Slough / Windsor Marriott.  It is a strange name for a hotel – I am guessing it is actually in Slough, but the hotel wanted to jazz up the title by adding the Windsor bit, so making it less Ricky Gervais’ office and more somewhere the Queen would stay. 

Anyway, outside the hotel I find myself strangely in a place called Langley.  Now, I have always thought that Eastenders was rubbish and not at all reflective of live in the Capital.  I am not wrong, it is rubbish, but Langley does have a plethora of small shops and greasy cafes (much like Eastenders) where people seem to know each other and speak Cock in knee (yes, that is how you spell it, and the spell check agrees – so shut it you slag!– sorry, just the thought of Eastenders does that to me). 

Visiting and walking around the various parts of the UK, I often wonder why some shops thrive and others don’t; I guess it is really to do with the proximity of their nearest Supermarket.  In the North of England, because there is more land we have lots of Supermarkets, and therefore our small village shops are very “hitty missy” with virtually no cafes and yet many charity shops.  There is always that strange incongruent mix of shops too (a bit like the shoe repair shops that also cut keys).  Today, I saw a bookies’ shop which was right next door to a firm of divorce lawyers, which makes sense I suppose, and not as strange as that life insurance and canoe shop I saw in Hartlepool.  Hey wait a minute…..

Saturday, December 8th, 2007

Donny Vegas

I am writing this blog travelling back on the train from London in early December, where I performed at a lavish corporate function for a Russian Gas pipeline company and its’ international directors.  More about that party in a later blog, however, I thought I’d let you know about my time in the States, particularly Las Vegas.

I have been many times to Las Vegas, but never to gamble; my theory being, great hotels surely wouldn’t get built if people were actually winning.  No, I go for the shows, the restaurants, and the sun by the pool during the day.  Sounds great and it is, although I have never chanced more than four days in a row, just in case I get tempted.

Being at the Las Vegas Comedy Festival, I found the time to see Jerry Seinfeld at the Colosseum.  As I am a massive Seinfeld fan I was really pleased to see this American icon; he did not disappoint.  I loved the fact he could make me laugh without swearing.  Strangely enough, I also saw Chris Rock, who made me laugh by swearing all the time; this shows there are no rules for comedy; if it is funny it is funny.

What really surprised me was Chris Rock’s show shouldn’t have worked.  Men are different from women – really?  Black people are different from white – well it is not 1960 but ok then, I believe you.  Airline problems – that can’t be new stuff?  In a UK comedy club that set list would have sounded like a mundane show, but Chris Rock’s show was excellent and all done on attitude.  The swearing was also needed to sell his attitude, and the F word peppered nearly every sentence of his hour long show and yet still we laughed like drains.  Chris Rock has the ability to talk about such topics with such confidence that we go with him, but he will always add a clever slant to the topic, which stops it being a rant anyone could have done.  I think this fact alone singles him out as a great writer and performer.

While in Vegas I thought I would see David Copperfield.  Now I know a lot of magicians read this blog, so let me start with the positives.  The illusions in the show were great and the audience reaction was subdued amazement – so they clearly had no idea how the effects were done.  Again, only for magicians: I liked the way the audience were randomly picked when it did not matter and, it “appeared they were randomly picked” when it did matter.
OK, now the negatives – boy, did he look bored by it all, as he walked through his illusions, not helped (or even hindered) by his low energy delivery.  His humour was lacking in comedic timing and in my opinion bordering on seedy.  His hair was unnatural and Uri Geller black; having said all that, it was still an impressive show, although for his age he would have been better in a great suit instead of his white T shirt and open Ben Sherman shirt.  Magic this classy deserves all the trimmings not a bloke who looks like he is on a stag night in Blackpool.

Friday, December 7th, 2007

“Run Forrest Run……..”

Ok, I agree, that was a bit of a holiday from the blog.  So, thank you to all the people who said they were looking forward to the blog starting up again.
I think I mentioned in the last blog (let’s face it, you have had plenty of time to read that one) that men were very bad at multi-tasking;. Well, since that last blog, I have added the extra task of attempting to get fit, to my list.  Run, cycle, swim, you name it, I fought against nature and did them all.  Of course something had to give, and it was, unfortunately, my well intentioned daily blog writing.  So for the last two months I have eaten sensibly and exercised everyday, instead of writing the blog.  

Anyway, the blog is back, spurred on by your requests to start it up again, but mainly due to the fact that filming is over. So, my healthy lifestyle has ground to a halt, thus freeing up some spare time.  It is a shame I can’t keep fit and write a blog, and that is why I have thought up a plan to achieve both.

My plan is simple- I will get as much exercise naturally, by making the exercise part of my day to day life, so that I will still have time to write a blog.  For example, if I am going into town for a meeting or gig I will get off the underground three stops before, and walk.  What could possibly go wrong with that plan?  Bad weather – no problem, no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes.  Running late – no problem – gig time 9pm, pretend it is 7pm.  Too much to carry – hire a donkey.

I was in New York in November and really got into the walking. Staying in Midtown Manhattan meant I was perfectly positioned  for walking everywhere.  One day I walked almost the length of Manhattan – I was up by Central Park and I went to see my good friend Bruce Nichol who works in the Tribeca area of lower Manhattan .  New York must be the best city in the world for walking; so much to see, and not just the models coming out of the agencies on Madison Avenue.

I felt like Forrest Gump when he just kept on running for no reason.  The very next day I was walking everywhere, choosing routes to challenge myself, taking the long way round to get to that evening’s comedy club.  I obviously got taxis back from the comedy clubs, as I am not an idiot (and I have seen the film “Ghost”- although to be fair, you will recall the “Swayze killing” wasn’t the random killing it appeared to be).

Walking everywhere is great – I don’t know why I haven’t thought of it before.  Anyway, I will let you know how I get on.  However, if the blogs tend to be very long and/or very good you will know it is probably not working and my podgy fingers are bashing away on the keyboard.


Don performs as a wedding magician, corporate entertainer, and after dinner speaker at events throughout the country. London Magician, Manchester Magician, Liverpool Magician, Birmingham Magician, Newcastle Upon Tyne Magician, Magician Surrey, Edinburgh Magician, Oxford Magician, Bristol Magician, Magician Milton Keynes, Leicester Magician, Leeds Magician, Magician Kent.