I was very sorry to hear of the death of Paul Daniels just a few days ago. I knew him slightly and admired him greatly. As a cabaret stand up performer he was as sharp as a razor and very funny indeed. And he could do some very good magic. His performing style wasn’t to everyone’s taste but nobody could deny his success. I was always highly amused to see that the TV Times did a survey years ago asking the readers to to vote for the 10 most popular television personalites on British television and also the ten most most unpopular. Paul was on both lists!
I first met Paul when a friend dragged me backstage to see him. I am a bit reluctant to bother celebrities but my friend was more intrepid than me so I embarrasingly tagged along behind him. The doorman (maybe he was the stage manager) opened Paul’s dressing room door saying to Paul, “there are two lads from the Magic Circle here to see you” despite the fact that neither of us was actually a member of the Magic Circle!
The doorman continued, “Are they here to find out all your tricks?” Paul surprised me by saying, “Oh no, this fellow has made a career out of one trick!” pointing straight at me. I had no idea that he knew who I was but responded, “Do you know me?” and he responded, “Everyone knows you. You have sold the svengali deck (a trick deck of cards) all over the place” And then he astonished me by listing all the venues I had sold them at all over the United Kingdom. I had no idea how he knew where I had been.
He then regaled us with gossip about not only well known magicians but lesser known names too. Names of amateur magicians that did magic only as a pastime and were members of magic clubs. I was quite taken aback at how he would gossip about people the public had never heard of who were simply ordinary folk who happened to belong to magic clubs.
He was also very rude about well known names in the world of magic but I shall spare their blushes and follow the path of discretion being the best part of valour. I shall merely say that some of them were (and are) celebrities in show business.
I later did some business with him regarding a magic concession I had in the Paul Daniels Museum in Blackpool.
About a year ago I did an interview with the well known mentalist and magician of the mind, Paul Pacific who asked me a lot of questions about Paul Daniels and I expressed my admiration for him. Paul somehow found out about it, viewed it and modestly told the viewers to ignore what I said about him but that the rest of the interview was “pure gold for magicians”
Here is a sample of his work: