Towards the end of every year, I try to practise an exercise in gratitude by writing an annual highlights post for the 12 months I’ve just lived through. It works like this: I try to list out the top 10 best things that happened in that year. Some years, like 2017, I’m spoilt for choice and needing to cut entries because the rules of the exercise dictate that I’m only allowed ten.
But this year has not been one of those years. This year, I have to say, has on many levels, been a struggle. With the exception of my Edinburgh Festival run, which was a total blast and a runaway success, I find myself with very little to record.
A few things went wrong early on and since then, progress has been slow. A couple of tour dates got cancelled in April & May, and then I gambled on a deal I probably shouldn’t have and deliberately incurred hardship in favour of longer term success. And recovering from that has been tough. If I had to describe 2018 in one word, as Maaya often asks me to do, that word would be ‘a drag’.
Being as I am in my early thirties, there’s a sort of expectation from society now that I am more or less where I want to be in life. During our teens and early twenties, everybody is talking about what they want to do and who they want to be. Our whole lives ahead of us, the world is painted as a playground overflowing with opportunity. We are not yet jaded by rejection and the frequent failings we will inevitably encounter once we get into the ‘big wide world’ and we live under the delusion that the world is a dream-granting factory. Continue reading “Why Am I Not Successful?: Mark Zuckerberg, The Millennial Pride Vacuum & How To Be Happy” »
I’ve always loved computers.
As a child of the 90s I still remember Windows 95 and the lucky dip that came with buying any type of software whatsoever. You never knew if it was going to work on your system or not. There were no guarantees. And things regularly got corrupted and nobody knew why. And at the time people (well… me anyway) just put up with it.
What else could you do? The Internet didn’t exist yet. There were no forums or social media. When I bought a computer game, I’d stand there in the shop with the extremely unnecessarily oversized box in my hands, the beautiful artwork getting me so excited. Desire like that doesn’t exist in adult life. But the first thought on my mind was always, “I hope it works on my computer!” because you never knew until you tried. And when it didn’t, I’d feel really frustrated and angry and curse my computer for not being good enough.
And then there was Apple.
I was a late convert to Apple. The cost barrier was in direct conflict with my surname. But one birthday – I can’t remember how old I was – I treated myself to an iPhone 4. And that one purchase changed everything. Continue reading “Time Machine Moment: 90s Software Frustrations, macOS Mojave & The Final Straw With Final Draft” »
It’s dark. It’s cold. It’s dreary. If winter was a person it would be Melania Trump.
I don’t feel like doing much. Which is kind of unfortunate because November and December are two of the busiest months of the year for magicians. But nonetheless, I find myself lethargic and particularly unwilling to get out of bed, much less focussed on work and more willing than usual to submit completely to the glowing warming glowing warming glow of television and endlessly binge watch 30 Rock.
And then all of a sudden my thoughts spiral out of control into an uncharacteristically negative place. To make it worse, I cannot sleep and for the first time since I started making a serious effort with diet and exercise, I’ve been craving cake and biscuits.
What on Earth is wrong with me? I have reluctantly had to accept that I could be seasonally affected. Continue reading “How I Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder” »
In March 2017, I found myself at BBC Broadcasting House in London, being interviewed live on national radio, by the BBC’s Media Editor, Amol Rajan. It was my first time on national radio and if I’m honest, I was a little nervous about being interviewed by such a journalistic titan. I knew it was going to be more than just a superficial interview. Sitting opposite me in the studio, he asked me a deep question, “Why do you do what you do?”
I paused. In all honesty it threw me a bit. The truth was I hadn’t given much thought to why. I did it because I liked it. But that’s not what anybody wants to hear. They want something deeper. What Amol was really asking is, “What makes you tick?”
I suppose the whole process of making a TV special like ‘Real Magic’, and the companion live show ‘Real Magic LIVE’ that I still tour, has caused me to dig deep and reopen a few cans of worms which, for the sake of my own wellbeing, I’d long kept bolted shut. I mentioned it in the show for the fleeting fifteen seconds you actually get to talk about yourself in a show like that and those who have already seen my live show will know it features too.
The most major of these was my experiences as a bully victim when I was teenager. So this is the first time in about 16 years that I’m going to talk about it at length. Continue reading “What Bullying Did To Me: A First Hand Account From A Bully Victim & An Open Letter To Bully Victims Everywhere” »
I’ve been quietly busy in recent months. The Edinburgh Fringe opened a lot of doors for me and changed me both as a person and as a performer.
It was my first fringe and I had not really known what to expect. Like so many things I’ve done in recent years, I’ve just gone ahead and tried not to think about it too much. That seems to be the best way to stop my mind from talking me out of it.
Surviving the festival is a challenge all of its own. Living in very cramped and basic accommodation for two weeks didn’t really make anybody especially happy. And as the days pass, little frustrations like that get amplified until what was initially just a slight annoyance, starts to drive you crazy.
Then there’s the trial-by-fire nature of the first three or four nights of the show. I had written and developed it over the past few months but it had still only had limited testing in front of live audiences. So the first few nights were highly stressful and a very steep learning curve.
And nobody needed experiences like forgetting the vision mixer (a very important piece of kit) on the first day and having to blast through Edinburgh like a getaway driver to go ‘home’ and pick it up, come all the way back, dash into the theatre, get dressed and then go on as if everything was fine.
But after a few days, both me and my crew adjusted and learned to take each show in our stride. And before we knew it, we were in a routine and starting to relax a little more.
And then good things began to happen… Continue reading “What Happened In Edinburgh” »
It is dangerous ground for a magician to review other magic acts. Which is why I’ve never made a habit of it. To slate bad magic, as a reviewer may sometimes be required to do, can come across arrogant if you’re also a practitioner. At the same time, it is more or less a professional requirement to see as many other magic acts as possible. So it’s probably worth my stating from the outset that I’m only reviewing this one because it was one of the more unusual acts I’ve seen and I liked it. I think.
One of the greatest and most rewarding things about living in London is the city’s thriving theatre scene. There is nowhere else in this country or this United Kingdom where somebody can see so much live theatre on a consistent year-round basis. And it’s Maaya’s love – no, obsession – with theatre that takes the two of us on some rather unlikely adventures to parts of London we most likely wouldn’t visit for any other reason.
Last night was one such night and took us to the High Tide Festival in Walthamstow, where I was treated to one of the most bizarre magic shows I’ve ever seen. Titled ‘The Extinction Event’, I have to say that when Maaya first tried to sell this to me, my expectations where not high. In fact, they were low. It is an odd title. Difficult to know exactly what I’m putting myself in for. And as such, difficult to develop any strong feelings either way. But hey, Maaya was arranging it, so thank God it wasn’t another play about death or honour killings and didn’t run for three and a half hours.
As a nation, even the most disinterested of us has been exposed to a lot of magic over the last twenty years. Which makes it extremely challenging for magicians to keep coming up with new stuff. In my own act, I have so far relied heavily on my life story which is in some ways quite different from most working magicians. And so far, that’s what I’ve relied upon for my unique selling point.
Starring David Aula and Simon Evans, The Extinction Event goes somewhere different. Part play and part magic show, it opens with the premise of a magician trying to accept the death of his best friend, while asking some very challenging questions about the future of humanity in the face of technology. Continue reading “The Extinction Event: A Review” »
Since I started my current range of live shows (Adam Patel: Real Magic LIVE & Adam Patel: Brown Magic), I seem to have set myself up to become a sort of curry critic. If you’ve seen either of the shows, you’ll know the bit I’m talking about and you’ll understand why this has happened. And funnily, people have started asking me to recommend Indian restaurants and curries.
I will address each city I regularly frequent in its own article. So, to begin, here are my current suggestions, in no particular order, for the best Indian restaurants in London. Continue reading “London’s Best Indian Restaurants According To Me (2018)” »
So this is it guys! The show comes out on Sunday! The media have had exclusive access to this clip for the last 48 hours. Now you can see it too! Continue reading “FIRST LOOK: ‘Adam Patel: Real Magic’ Credits Sequence” »
In 2015, I quit my day job as a pharmacist to realise my childhood dream of becoming a television magician, an ambition that has taken the three years since to realise. Here are seven things I’ve learned during the process. Continue reading “7 Things I Learned From Making A TV Magic Special” »
“Let’s just go,” Maaya said to me, stress audible in her voice.
“We can’t. He’s outside. He’ll see us. Just wait a second..”
The tension was tangible. It was do or die time. My heart was beating in my chest. We had to get out. And we had to do it now. Once we were outside the walls and on the other side of that electric gate, then I could be calm. But until then, I would be on edge.
It was the second day of our stay in Cannes and rather than making a film & meeting plan, as was standard at the Cannes Film Festival, we had spent our first night hatching an escape plan. And this was the moment when that plan had to come together.
Rewind twelve hours… Continue reading “Well This Is Booking Awkward” »
Why Am I Not Successful?: Mark Zuckerberg, The Millennial Pride Vacuum & How To Be HappyRead more
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What Bullying Did To Me: A First Hand Account From A Bully Victim & An Open Letter To Bully Victims EverywhereRead more
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