My first street performance

A life changing experience

I had walked out on my job as manager of 'The Ace Place' (a magic shop in Leicester Square that was owned by someone with the worst moral compass you can imagine) and after a few ill judged attempts at finding work I decided to check out Covent Garden, not realizing at the time that it was to change my life.

At that time Anna and I lived in Hampstead Village, sounds much more upmarket than it actually was, we rented a very small attic flat which was quite basic and we were just so happy to have a roof over our heads.  To get to Covent Garden meant taking the tube or bus, neither of which I could afford so I would walk in and it would take anywhere up to an hour.  After a few weeks of watching performers I decided I had to give it a go, I don't know if it was the lure of money thrown into hats or the sheer spontaneity of it that attracted me most.

The morning of my debut I was almost sick with fear, I had tried to have a conversation with a couple of performers on a few occasions and they didn't seem like a very inviting crowd.  But I had made up my mind and I was going for it.

Luckily, when I was hanging around for my spot a cousin of Anna's who lived in London happened to walk by and spotted me.  I explained what I was doing there and she said she would stay and give me some support, I think if it hadn't been for Celia being there I may have bottled out.

The act was truly appalling; I was dressed in a t-shirt, jeans and a tailed coat thinking that I looked very "street" and the tricks I had chosen were one's I had used for a few years, basically I was doing a Paul Daniels type of fast talking magic act.  I lasted about 20 minutes which was about 18 minutes longer than the other performers thought I'd last.

The money in my hat came to £1.56 - this was actually a big deal as it meant I could get the bus back home but more importantly I had a buzz from the fact that I was taking control of my life, the money wasn't as important as the self esteem I had gained.  I was hooked.

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