Back From Blackpool

Blackpool is a coastal city in northern England. The town reminds me of a rundown Atlantic City without the big hotels. Every year a giant magic convention is held in the city. It is the world’s largest magic convention, and attending the gathering has been on my bucket list for years. I was supposed to attend last year, but as we all know, just about everything was canceled last winter. So my buddy Jeff Miller and I went this year.

The convention was not as big as usual and did not have as many performers from the European continent lecturing or performing because of Covid, but we still had a great time. The organizer did some really great things, but there are a few things that could have been better. The venue, the Winter Gardens, which is one of the largest auditoriums in England and is where Brittan’s Got Talent is taped, is lovely. The audio-visual facilities in each breakout room and the auditorium were the best I have ever seen. The dealer room was massive, with lots of dealers. That’s where we get to see and handle what’s new. Dealer rooms may be the only place we have to check props out these days because so many brick and mortar stores have closed shop.

Dealer Room

The gala shows were a bit of a letdown. There were some excellent performers and some that were so-so. I enjoyed the lectures I attended, but because many events overlapped, I missed a lot. The organizers provided a great phone app that let you know what was happening and when and sent reminders so you would not miss things you wanted to attend. I also liked the badges, which contained your gala seating assignments (no tickets to get lost). I didn’t care for how the organizers set up the close-up shows. The performers were not mic’d, and they performed too close to each other so it was hard to hear what they were saying over the laughs and applause emanating from the nearby performances. The best part of the convention, or any convention, was meeting up with friends and making new friends.

I was good and did not come home with too much magic. My suitcase was too small, it was either take home new magic or my clothes. I opted for my clothes.

Before the convention, we stayed with magic friends Roger and Mandy Nicot, who were fabulous hosts and toured us around their part of the country. We got to see some great attractions, including the city of Bath, where we met up with another magic friend, Simon Lane, and we visited Stonehenge. After the convention, another magic friend Andy Clockwise met us in London and took us on a walking tour of the West End.

Roger, Mandy, Jeff, and Me at the cold and windy Stonehenge

It was a great trip. I plan to go again probably in a couple of years. Hopefully, next time I won’t come back with Covid. Yep, I got it, so did Jeff. We were lucky, though. We tested negative just before we boarded our plane, so we were not blocked from coming home on schedule. Both Jeff and I were vaccinated and boosted, so we experienced nothing more than a severe cold and recovered quickly. Let’s hope my antibodies are nice and high now; Magic Live is in May.

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