27 December 2007

"Keith Barry: The Escape - Live"

Hi folks. Just a quick post today.

First of all, I hope you all had as good a Christmas as you could and not only that Santa was good to you but also that you were good to Santa.

My main reason for posting is to let you all know (in case you didn’t know already) that a friend of mine from Ireland, Keith Barry, finally has his TV special on this Saturday night (29th December) at 9pm on ITV1. I say “finally” as this was originally supposed to have been broadcast earlier this year. There was one small problem – Keith was the victim of a horrific car crash that smashed both his legs. Well, the bones are healed and the recovery complete and Keith’s special – “Keith Barry: The Escape – Live” – will finally appear on our screens.

“The Escape” that is mentioned is being broadcast live at the end of the special and involves Keith being bound to a chair in 100 feet of rope, locked inside a garden shed which is packed with explosives and then someone will light the fuse. Yes, this guy IS a nutter!

Keith, I don’t know if you’ll get a chance to read this during your preparations for Saturday night, but all the best (I won’t say “break a leg!”) with the show and the escape. I know I’ll be watching – albeit through my fingers!!!

Happy viewing, folks!

Speak soon

The Cardman :-)

PS (added 4 January 2007) I've had one person comment on this post so far but I've decided not to publish it. The person commenting was giving away part of the method of one of the pieces Keith performed in his show and I do not like any form of exposure in a public place such as this blog. If it were in private or on a magicians-only forum, fine, but not here.

24 December 2007

Dave Robertson

Yesterday, I received news that hit me really, really hard - that of the passing of my friend Dave Robertson. Most of you won't have heard of Dave, but he was Scotland's very first Professional Close Up Magician. The one who paved the way for the rest to follow.

Dave was one of magic's "good guys" but was not afraid to speak his mind or give his opinion - no matter what people thought of what he had to say. And, unlike most, he wouldn't say things behind people's backs. He would say what he thought to their faces. If he liked or disliked the routine or trick you were doing, you knew. If you flashed a move, you knew. If he liked or didn't like anything, you knew. I was on the receiving end of his acid tongue on a couple of occasions and, although I didn't like it at the time, I was always appreciative that he could be so honest and up-front.

But Dave also had a softer, more caring side, to his character that people didn’t often see. Here’s one personal example – on the way down to the British Ring Convention in Scarborough on the East coast of England back in September 2001, I pulled a muscle in my back that caused me a lot of pain and meant that I was unable to carry the rucksack I had my luggage in. Of course, I had overloaded the rucksack making it amazingly heavy which helped me smeg up my back. Luckily, I was travelling with Dave who was more than good enough to help carry my rucksack onto and off of the trains as we travelled down.

Dave was also an excellent snooker and pool player. That same week, we spent an afternoon playing pool in an amusement arcade. Before I knew where I was, he was 7 games to 1 up. I made my excuse and said that I was going to get my own cue to play with. Dave patiently waited for a wee bit while I ran back to my hotel, got my cue and came back to play some more. We left the table when the score was 8 games each. It was an enjoyable afternoon, then we found out what had happened in America while we had been playing pool – 9/11.

Dave, thank you for everything. Your friendship, your advice, your support. I’m going to miss you auld yin. We’re all going to miss you!

Speak soon

The Cardman :-(

17 December 2007

My birthday weekend

Well, it's nearly Christmas and that means one thing - I've just had yet another birthday. Since when did I have the right to now be 34??? What the...? It's not fair! I've enjoyed my life so far, but there is the odd occasion when I look back and think "if only I had..." Still, I musn't dwell on what I haven't done, but what I can still get up to!

Honestly, Peter and I got dressed in separate houses without
any prior knowledge of what the other was wearing!

The "celebrations" started on the Saturday with a joint birthday day out for me and my good friend Emz - my birthday is on the 16th, his on the 21st. It was a small group of us - myself, Peter, Janice, Carol, Emz and Colin, Janice's brother - but it was a lot of fun. We started off bowling at The Garage in Kilmarnock (10 Pin Bowling - I'm not THAT old!!!) after which we went up to Carol and Emz's house for a bit of a party, some food and a right good laugh - all of which are guaranteed when we're there.

Carol proved to be a bit of a demon on the bowling lane while
Janice sat and laughed at the boys trying to bowl.

Peter tries to ignore Emz's Monty Python tribute

As ever at Carol and Emz's house, the games were out with all of us playing a game called "Cranium" which turned out to be a bit of a head buster but a lot of fun. There were several instances of us giving answers that we thought we knew were 100% correct, only to be told that we were completely wrong. Very funny or very frustrating, depending on which side of the question you were on.

Colin looks on as Janice is stumped trying to pronounce
a word that some poor soul will have to try to spell in a moment!

I can only speak for myself on this one although I'm sure Emz feels the same way. Thank you for a great day out. It was a lot of fun.

Emz at the end of the night

Sunday was spent with the family. I joined the rest of the family at Church - the Laigh Kirk in Paisley - so I could see Lewis being a sheep in this year's Nativity. Cameron was also dressed up as a wee star (how fitting!) but he decided that he didn't want to wear his costume any more and got upset any time anyone tried to put it back on him. It was very, very well done and had been written by the youngsters themselves in the style of a live news bulletin with interviews with Angels (very funny!), Shepherds and the Wise Men. It was obvious a lot of hard work had gone into it as the script was very funny and the costumes looked fantastic.

Speak soon.

The Cardman :-)

12 December 2007

Whatever happened to...?

We've all done it, we've all been there. Wondered whatever happened to people that were friends a long number of years ago but that, for one reason or another, you've lost contact with. And the annoying thing is that there's no real reason for you losing contact, it's just one of those things that... happens. It's happened to me a few times and I've even scoured the Internet after thinking "I wonder what [enter name here] is doing these days" and all to no avail.

Well, I had another one of those moments today but this time I thought I'd try to do something about it. "Of course" I thought, I've got a blog! What about posting it on there!?! There is, of course, the small fact that there are some 70-odd MILLION blogs in existence on the internet at the moment with another 10,000 new ones being created every single day, so the chances of the particular people seeing these are somewhat small but here goes anyway!

First off are 2 young ladies that I hung out with some 12 years ago or so - Roseanne Armstrong and Kirstie Provan (these were their unmarried names - they're probably married by now) who, at that time, were best friends. I first met Roseanne and Kirstie in what was then Monty's Snooker Club in Paisley - now called Suzy Q's - at the Saturday night Karaoke night that I used to go to EVERY Saturday night when I still lived in Paisley. I was asked by someone to show them a few card tricks and from that a great friendship was formed. Sadly, in the time between losing contact with them and now, I had heard through the immortal "grapevine" that they had had a falling out and gone their own separate ways.

The other person that's been in my thoughts of late is a young man by the name of Duncan Slater. Duncan was someone I met shortly after changing Primary School after we moved from the centre of Paisley to the South End of the town. We then went through Secondary School together and kept in contact as he went on to University and I went on to start, and then drop out of, College. A short while after moving to Stewarton, however, I lost contact with Duncan. I spoke to him all too briefly after he moved to Edinburgh with his girlfriend Kara, but since that one telephone conversation all too many years ago, I've lost all contact details for him. Bit of a bummer.

So, here's the reason why I'm posting this - anyone know these people and know where I can get in touch with them? And no wild goose chases! If I get sent on one, I will get my revenge (if you've seen "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" you'll get the idea of what I'm on about). If you do, leave a comment to this post and I'll get in touch via e-mail. It would be great to be able to meet up with some friends I haven't seen in who knows how long.

Speak soon.

The Cardman :-)

03 December 2007

Crowded House, SECC, 30 November 2007

I've been a Crowded House fan since I first heard the Woodface album back in 1991 but, for one lame reason or another, I never got or took the chance to see them live. When Neil Finn decided that it was time for the band to split up, I thought "well, there goes my chance to see them." Luckily for millions of Crowded House fans around the world, Finn put the band back together earlier this year with Matt Sherrod (aka Max Shreddor) taking the late and dearly missed Paul Hester's place at the drum kit. Even luckier for me was that they brougt out a stunning album called "Time On Earth" and embarked on a World Tour. Of course I had to get tickets and the Glasgow concert was scheduled for St Andrew's Night.

The night started with a chance meeting with Matt Sherrod outside the SECC's Box Office. I had heard that he was very friendly and very approachable and, I am very happy to report, what I had heard was true. I wished him a good show and he turned with a huge grin on his face, shook my hand and we spoke for a moment. It was only a moment out of his life, but it meant a lot to me and I appreciate that. Matt, thank you.

Support for the concert was provided by Duke Special, a band that I had never heard before but I have heard a friend of mine, Davad Steel, talking about them on his Blog. When they arrived on stage, the arena was no more than 25% full, but they filled the arena with their presence and their music. I think I may be hunting some of their material down in due course.

Then, after a wee wait, it was the turn of Crowded House to do their first concert in Scotland in some 12 or 13 years. And what a concert it was! The wait was worth it and they did not disappoint. Opening with "Private Universe" through a set that included songs old and new - even a semi-obscure album track from "Temple Of Low Men" - the band were amazing. I had always heard stories of the crazy things that can happen at Crowded House gigs and this one was no different. At one point during "Weather With You", Neil decided he wanted to get up close and personal with the crowd so he left the stage and made his way to the tierd seating and ran along the entire front row of the tierd seating high-fiving as many people as he could. I couldn't help but think whether they do that at every concert, but also that it was brilliant to watch. Another brilliant part was the introduction of mobile phones in place of the lit Bic lighters for "Better Be Home Soon" at the end of the gig. What an amazing sight!

I'm not ashamed to admit that I cried for the first half of the set. Hell, I'd waited so long to see these guys live that it was like a massive release for me. I want to see them do it all again! I want to see them again YESTERDAY!!! Thank goodness that one of the biggest cheers of the night was for their comment that they'll probably be back next year. I can't wait!

Set List
Private Universe
World Where You Live
Don't Stop Now
It's Only Natural
Four Seasons In One Day
Heaven That I'm Making
Silent House
Whispers And Moans
A Sigh
Pineapple Head
Don't Dream It's Over
People Are Like Suns
Walked Her Way Down
Mean To Me
Distant Sun

Encore 1
Something So Strong
Glasgow Jam (Improvised)
In The Lowlands
Weather With You

Encore 2
Locked Out
Fall At Your Feet
Better Be Home Soon

Roll on next time!!!

Speak soon

The Cardman :-)