This all started in 2004, I was talking to a deaf service user who was telling me that he used to weave baskets for a magician, and in return for his work he would get tickets to go and see the magicians show. He was forever mentioning how much he enjoyed the magic and how much he missed it now that he couldn’t see. This got me thinking….I had dabbled magic before but only in comedy magic, but I knew enough and enough people to see if this was once again an area with which I could do some re-search and maybe develop some tricks that could be used. I attend the Blackpool magic convention every year, I go with my dad and meet up with friends who know the magic world a lot better than I do. And we all sit and brainstorm and see what’s new and what can be adapted and what can be left on the shelf. I also used get regular advice from Alli bongo who knew his stuff extremely wellAnd was the only magician who knew exactly where I was coming from – everyone else seemed to look at me as if I had 3 heads, Ali understood. Everything has to be adapted as I want the service user to be fully involved in a trick that I am showing them so I want them to be able to touch from start to finish. This is a major problem as 90% of magic is to be viewed at a distance and only controlled by the magician. Although if a gimmick was discovered when they were feeling they would not know that it was a gimmick, they would just wonder what it was and if they asked i would have to tell them. there are various rope tricks and other comedy effects that work but in the whole its very difficult to find something that they can get full benefit from the other problem is that no matter how good the magician as soon as you tell them that the audience cannot see OR hear …they are stumped! one man even said to me ” if they can see and cant here then what’s the point”
Other magicians have even suggested that I cheat ” it doesn’t matter because they can’t see ” well I’m sorry but that’s not magic, that’s cheating! they need to be totally involved in the trick from start to finish, they need to be able to feel the magic happen, if not then it’s not suitable It is something that has been around for years and a lot of people who have lost their hearing or sight, or both progressively will know magic from years gone by so it is something they can relate to
I know there are many studies of magic being used as a kind of therapy and I use it as much as I can at work , because they ask me for it, i have even held a magic break where 6 Deafblind people from all over the UK came to where I work and I taught them magic…because they wanted to learn.
there are deaf magicians society and blind magicians society but as far as i know there is nothing for Deafblind so i continue with my small band of friends to research, adapt and put to test new magic tricks for Deafblind people Over the years we have developed quite a good selection of magic now, and we put together a small act which we performed at the ADBN in Denmark , there was approx. 1000 in the audience and about 20 of them was completely Deafblind. Myself and Jimmy performed our act, he was my assistant, I also used other members of the audience who was Deaf to assist with various tricks. Afterwards I went round on a one to one basis and performed the tricks to the Deafblind people To me this was real magic, as they was gaining access to something brand new. Lot of them was from different countries so they signed different, so there was no communication between myself and them, just touch and a magic trick. At first I was scared in case my techniques that I had developed only worked with jimmy, but the magic went down a storm and everyone was truly amazed So we continue to perform, research and develop with the help of some very good friends plus we have had advice from people such as David Blaine plus donations to fund trips to the Blackpool convention from David Berglas, Derren Brown, Uri Geller , Kaymar magic and Beard juggling In 2008 for the first time ever the Blackpool convention was attended by a Deafblind Gentleman Now in 2013 myself and Jimmy are touring for sense, performing our magic The show ia s mix of Jimmy’s reactions, and slowly I am getting Jimmy to perform more and more tricks the response has been amazing, and it also gives me more drive to continue and keep up my re-search
Also in 2013 extreme clowning has become a community interest company and hopes to deliver magic workshops to the visually impaired and disabled people in the near future