Some magicians ask me “Ian, what do you do in your day now that you are no longer active in the famous and original Supreme Magic Company of which you have been associated with for more than thirty five years?” Granted, things are not so busy and there’s not the money coming into the home, with no salary each month. I still present shows, though. I get and average of four per week, but in the summer months I am almost every night. How I wish the summer months would come along. The summer season down here is usually approximately 22 weeks long, and sometime I do two shoes in one evening with sales of puzzle bags after the show. Often those extras bring in more money than the actual fee itself!
But behind it all, I am a person who must always work. I miss the daily drive into the old firm, miss phoning, helping, meeting magicians and customer, and indeed being in charge of displays at the old Supreme stands (if one remembers the last Supreme stand – it was dreadful). I wasn’t part of that, thank goodness! I miss the demming, the involvement in advertising, the fact that the firm is no longer there.
Here’s what I do!
I get up early, around 6:30am – but please don’t phone me – and feed the cat and the rabbit before I feed myself. A small piece of toast is all I have with no tea or coffee. I sit down at my typewriter and I write several trick articles for various magazines, free of charge. I receive my mail and it usually contains letters and request from magicians from all parts of the world. I answer these letters.
I write scripts for one of the popular soaps on TV and so this takes up a lot of my time. Unfortunately, although I enjoy it very much, there’s no money to be made in writing up magical effects or writing for magic magazines, that’s for sure.
Over forty or more years I have found, that as someone who has encouraged magicians to share their pet effects, many don’t, some want to but cannot write, and most are lazy. That’s why most society editors have to rely upon outsiders to fill the pages. We, and I include myself amongst them, love doing it, but would love to see more members contributing. Don’t say, “It’s easy for you. I can’t write!” I was bottom of my class throughout my school life for English. Yet I went on to teach myself, and ended up writing 265 books, thousands of magazine articles, thousands of adverts and even ghosted for famous stars, writing `their’ books too. The thousands and thousands of letters I have written, some very important, has now come easy.
Except for books, and books only, I only write my copy ONCE. Books, and very special scripts, I write drafts and future drafts until I get it right. After all, they are paying me and I want to really get it right. I’ve always found that sometimes when you write the first draft, it is the best one. When you alter it for a second time, you often lose things down the line. A third and final time can sometime mean that you have lost everything, including your enthusiasm.
I’ve written for more magic magazines than I can think of, many of which are no longer in existence. Writing in the old `Magic Wand’ was one of my first. Then Abra, and Wizard before it folded up. Magazines like Budge, Magic Circular, The Young Magicians, Repro Club71, Linking Ring, MUM, Genii and lot more, plus many society magazines.
I always have a late lunch, which is combined with teatime. In my house there’s no such thing as dinner. Different days bring along different things. Last week for example, I traveled up on the train from Barnstaple to Paddington London to be part of the Kilroy TV Show, in which I appeared and featured prominently. Two days later I was traveling up to Porlock, a lovely part of Somerset, visiting a mansion where I was filming for `Collector’s Lot’ with Sue Cook interviewing me, and hopefully another promotion show (with, I may add, no exposure – of which I am completely against). Other times I may be at trade shows or advising on a TV programme.
But I don’t think I am well off. I’m not! In fact it is a struggle just to have been solely involved in magic since the age of 15, when I left school, to the age I am now. One must get up in the morning and say, “How can I make some money today? Whilst many, or most people have normal jobs and don’t have to say that.
I’ve mixed with the very famous in magic, including Channing Pollock – had a dinner with him and he has always been my idol. Stayed at Paul Daniels home on several occasions, and in more than one of his homes. He told me on the phone he has settled into his new home on the riverside near Reading. Staying with Tommy Cooper was a great experience. He lived in Chiswick in a lovely house, but nothing too grand. His wife Gwen still lives there and I know the address by heart. He was always the same off stage as he was on, and I remember when I was with him he shouted at his wife “Darling . darling (speaking to Gwen – he often called her `dove’) stop shouting, no one else wants to hear you down the street.”
I’ve been in and out of the TV studios and John Fisher was kind enough to invite me to meet the stars when he was recording “The Best of Magic, which was a wonderful boost for magic. I met my old pal Sorcar Junior, having known his great father P.C. Sorcar. “Ian . it is YOU?” he said. Of course it was. there’s only one Ian and he knew me. He went around telling everyone how famous I was – funny. Even Mandy Nixon, the daughter of the great late David Nixon, worked at the Teddington studios, which was then the Thames TV studios. Here I was last week at the same studios, which is now under a different name. Mandy came down to Bideford with her parents Vivian and David (Nixon) and we were young then. Billy Mc Comb also came down and was partly responsible for getting David down to us. David had a wonderful time. We all did. Mandy was 20 years of age. She wrote me a letter after the event, which rather confused me. She said in that letter that she wanted to come down to Bideford and be with me. I was not with any girlfriend at that time and was flustered. We met 25 years later at Thames TV studios and the first thing she said was `sorry’ for sending that letter.
| Channing Pollack|
If anyone wanted to congratulate me in anything, it wouldn’t be for the load of books, articles, and magical effects I have given and shared amongst magicians, but it would be to my recent engagement to Ela, a lovely Polish lady, on the first of January (that’s New Year’s Night).
We both send out love to all.