My parents (as all good parents should) bought me several magic kits at Christmas, of which none were left unpillaged or unpilfered for the best (usually self-working) props, which were used on the day of opening, and often never seen again. I have always been fascinated with puzzles and things that appear to be impossible. I had learned of some very basic method for effects such as card forces to do a little better than the 21 card trick (that everybody knows!). I had made my first prop (which I now often teach how to build in my magicworkshops) at 17 and used that and a selection of old gags, to entertain my peers for 10 mins which helped me swoop a job interview at a outdoor activity centre. I worked as a cocktail barman and had a knowledge of several bar tricks and bets. This was the period of my life where I got into Bar Flaring, Juggling, clubs, poi, diablo and FIRE!
These skills and general performing I took with me on a boys road trip to Cornwall, Reading fest ’99, ’00 and ’01
My first festival performance where we managed to sneak in some paraffin and do an unscheduled fire display until we were stopped by security who confiscated our fuel!? was at the new IOW festival of which I have attended every one.
I went to the Brittish Juggling Convention which was held in Cornwall with a factastic tight group of juggly friends where we learnt so much and had so much fun in 3 days. the highlights were the Gala show, Town Square Juggle Olympics, Renegade (open mic for performers) and the Magic course, which taught me my first rope tricks.
The following years convention was held in Nottingham and only 3 of us went, it was no where near as good as being with a tight team of friends, but I did manage to attend a lecture by a cups and balls street performer. It was entitled doorway performances and how to earn a living in the craft of performance. Covering topics like how to attract a crowed, how long should a show be, how to deal with hecklers. This was facinating and at the time I had no idea, outside on a grassy knoll just 20 of us in the sunshine, how pivotal this lecture would be.
The Firegathering Festival was the next big leap in my magic knowledge where I was taught the ‘crazy man’s handcuffs’ elastic band trick by a wicked magician from Brighton. I spent a full year trying and failing to perform this correctly and managed to meet the same magician a full year later at the following firegathering and show him what I was doing, a few tweaks and adjusted angles later and I was performing this perfectly and finally fooling people.
I started work at Pizza Hut on the IOW as a waiter, and we were asked to give that bit extra to each set of customers when waiting the tables. I started to perform the rope and elastic band tricks between the courses or after the meals of all my customers. Not only did this gain me a hugely popular and fantastic reputation, but I started getting emailed and written compliments to head office and my tips went from £2 up to about £5 per table. Family’s, couples and work parties were requesting me to be there when they had booked and even the other staff would use me as their secret weapon against troublesome customers, or if a table had been waiting for way too long! At the Cambridge Folk Fest I bought a few pocket tricks from a toy stall and one in particular became (and still is) a winner of a trick, not only because it fools almost every time, but because that was the first trick I ‘Made my Own’, I wrote a little routine, and practiced and performed it in front of friends, and finally when the time was right, I performed it with an overwhelming response. Right at the end a small girl asked me what the dice’s name was, I asked her what she thought.. and thus ‘Gary’ (Hux’s take on a micro dice cabinet) was born. Followed by Magic Jeff the animated magician and the pen thru bill (standard presentation)
I met a guy called Luke Lamont who had gained a youth sponsorship from the magic circle in london, and spent many years professionally performing the art of magic. We had several chats where he seemed to like my fresh ideas and creative approach, in return he loaned me training DVDs and taught me some of the core moves I still use today. He and a good friend Tom invited me to attend the Portdmouth District Jumbo Day (a 1 day Magic Convention with lectures, dealers, demos, a huge second-hand mini market the gala show and…. Mev Coles ‘Legendary’ Auction.
Merv, (who seemed strangely familiar) proceeded to take bids for boxes of old magic props and merchandise. Often boxes from lofts of recently made widows who didn’t have a clue what any of it was and just wanted this stuff gone. I was like a kid in a candy store, I had £42 to my name and I wanted me a box of goodies! I kept getting outbidded by a 7yr old girl (her dad is the chairman of the club) but eventually managed to swoop two lots, £10 for a box of decks of cards, almost 100, with designs and styles from all over the world. The second was £14 and contained Many packets of tricks, and props but all from back in the day, such as Old 5p coin tricks but also some classics… Chinese sticks, hippity hoppety rabbits and a dove pan (all of which I still use today in Family shows). I later found out from my mum that Merv used to be the resident Magician at a holiday camp my parents used to manage when I was about 5!?
This experience propelled me forward, and I was being thrusted £50 notes by mums wanting me to entertain at their kids birthdays, and that was the start of my kids shows. a lots of rope and sponge ball work, combined with old props bad gags and usually sweets!
I then started getting caught out, often by regular customers who had seen all my main tricks that I used at work. I felt I needed to get ‘Good’ or at least better and be able to Amaze everyone. I went to Brighton and started going to Magic Nights at the Mezmerist, as well as working on several projects with several up and coming Magicians. I proved my worth and was asked to compère a few nights, this gave me a platform to be a big part of the show, make sure it ran as smoothly as possible, deal with hecklers, tell a few gags and even perform a trick or two. By then I had made my own self solving rubix cube, fire bible, fire wallet,magic mirror, nailed, nut and string trick, numerous predictions and finally a classic ambitious card routine with an omni deck finish (reputation setter!)
I came back to the island with my newly found skills and confidence and was getting bookings left right and centre. Parties, Birthdays, Weddings, Festivals, my close up card magic was starting to get the best reactions, my cheeky style and ‘teater tottering along the line’ style jokes, were causing people to talk and my reputation spread. This led me to take on this hobby, and turn it into a business and ergo… H Arts was born. A company specifically to encompass all my many talents such as Magic, Henna and Jagua Tattoo Body Arts, Circus, Music etc.
I was a key factor on the IOW Magic Circles Charity Christmas Show, where I performed a silly but very funny trick I had designed for the show. On the night it went swimmingly, however I wouldn’t even attempt that method now, as there is far to many variables for error, (thank god it worked on the night!!) I worked with Tom and Ben at the Needles Pleasure Park in Alum Bay and did walk about magic which again got a fantastic response and I have been working there on and off for all their major events (such as Magic in the Skies- Fireworks nights) ever since.
I then entered and swooped first prize for the IOW Magic Championships – Magician of the Year 2011, with an outstanding parlor WW1 routine designed specifically for the comp making use of old props, specially made old props, cards and a family tale woven from both fact and fiction. This secured me many gigs including Guildfords FISH programme, Burlesque Compère, Rookley Country Park (where tricks most DEFINATLEY go wrong!?) and of course IOW, Rhythmtree, Folkstation, VDub Island and Bestival Festivals.
I wrote to a plethora of companies explaining my love for their product and letting them know that my magic and creative skills combined with their product/packaging could be the next big magic thing, if they were prepared to take a chance on me. Jelly Bellys Jelly Beans loved my style and sent me stock and packaging to work on and develop tricks with. I developed a collection of 12 tricks for them, and filmed, edited (on the worst equipment but yet the only equipment I could come by at the time) and produced a short video which features several of these effects. All this in under a week?! The video (Click Link HERE) was featured in the JBJB world conference in Germany this year!
Along with all the festivals and pleasure parks listed above, I was approached by Red funnel to organise a team of entertainers for this years IOW fest queues waiting to get to the island. We had a fantastic few days and I was excited to have Rich, Gypsy Pink and Kai on board after working with them at the Swingtech events. I was then approached by the Bestival asking me how much I would charge to perform my blend of Comedy and Magic in the woods at this years Besti!?!? As a Bestival Veteran, attending every single one (first year I won a £1k Yurt… in a Raffle!?!?) I was privileged to get a ticket for a pirate (jack Sparrow) themed show for my ticket last year, so to be getting Paid the following year is not only an Honour, but kind of a Dream Come True!
I have developed around 2 hours of kids/family magic and a full adult show, teamed up with a magic sack of close up tricks, and a love for entertaining and amazing people that I meet. I love to teach the basics to thoes who are interested and want to have a go at magic, so designed a course of make and take home basic tricks, which I also run as a Party Workshop. I have also been working with the schools (primary and secondary) to develop magic workshops and courses which we have been successfully running for a year at Cowes and Wootton Primarys, the Cowes Enterprise Course starts this September! This teamed up with Cowes Library’s After School Magic Club – by Hux, is paving the way for the next generation of Magicians. If only I had someone like me when I was a nipper!
With a blend of Tommy Cooper’s jokes, Derren Brown and Dynamo style tricks… and knowing that there is nothing funnier.. than a magician in trouble! Hux is sure to impress, amaze, astound, mezmerise, make giggle, chuckle, throw up, swear or even run away.. but ALWAYS SMILE! 🙂
For more information, photos videos and tales of glory (and Woe – Ribeena-Gate?!- the tale of when Hux got a girl to chuck her phone into a bucket of water!?!?) feel free to visit Hux’s Facebook.com/huxleymagic page, or contact him on Huxley27@gmail.com
Lastly I would Like to Thank Lucy Boynton for some of the photography, especially my main promo shots. Please find a link to her site – HERE