Magician, actor, writer & presenter, Adam Patel, talks about life as a 21st century man, doing the impossible, and living your dreams...

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November 15th, 2017

Changing Careers at Thirty: 5 Gems Of Wisdom From Somebody Who Did It

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career change - jumping the chasm

You’ve graduated university and got a job. Maybe you’re making good money. But the job that seemed like it would be fun when you went to university or when you applied for it straight after graduating, six or seven years down the road, is now dull, monotonous and ultimately boring. And you’re thinking, “Is this it? Is this it until I’m sixty-five?”

And then you have a mad idea, “Maybe I could change careers…?” So you think about it for a while and then type it into Google and wind up reading this…. Continue reading “Changing Careers at Thirty: 5 Gems Of Wisdom From Somebody Who Did It” »

November 14th, 2017

A Trick To Train Your Brain: How To Become A Positive Person

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How To Think Positive

There are a lot of reasons why being a positive person is, well, positive. Positive people are more attractive, they’re often more popular and you’re more likely to pursue your dreams if you believe that you can achieve them. Positive people are also happier and live longer. Need I continue?

So if you’re the kind of person who is a bit cynical when somebody talks about their lofty ambitions or your friends accuse you of being a pessimist, here’s a neat little trick based on genuine neuroscience that will make you more positive. Continue reading “A Trick To Train Your Brain: How To Become A Positive Person” »

October 27th, 2017

How To Overcome Performance Anxiety & Stage Fright for Performing Arts, Public Speaking Or Anything Else

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How To Overcome Performance Anxiety

Maybe a month or six weeks ago, somebody – a relative stranger – messaged me on Facebook for advice about how to get around performance anxiety. I did write out a whole long response in the chat window, but when I clicked send, apparently, said person had deactivated their account and could not receive messages. I have since forgotten the name of the person. And owing to the large number of random messages I receive on Facebook, trying to find it brings to mind the words ‘needle’ and ‘haystack’. So I thought it might be better to address the issue in a blog post.

So if you hate doing presentations at work, or giving speeches at weddings; or if talking to attractive women or strangers of any description delivers an overwhelming stab of stress to your gut, I’m about to detail exactly how I got over the stress, anxiety, nervousness and discomfort that for many, accompanies any or all of these situations.

There was a time when I thought I could never be a professional magician because I couldn’t cope with the anxiety I experienced when facing a crowd. Now I perform on a regular basis at weddings, parties, corporate events and, on occasion, in theatres around the country.

This article is about how I transitioned from shy, timid and virtually social phobic, to being more comfortable in front of a crowd than most. And you can too… Continue reading “How To Overcome Performance Anxiety & Stage Fright for Performing Arts, Public Speaking Or Anything Else” »

October 18th, 2017

What Happened At My First Gig

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ball table

Over the past few years since I became a professional magician, I have done magic at dozens of events from charity balls and house parties to weddings and corporate events. I’ve done magic on the radio, at the BBC, and at swanky awards after-parties. I’ve done things in the last three years I would never have believed I’d ever get to do. And on the whole, I’m not going to lie, it’s been a blast!

But everybody has to start somewhere, right?

So today I want to tell you the story of my first ever gig. Continue reading “What Happened At My First Gig” »

September 7th, 2017

How To Win The ‘Which Hand?’ Coin Game

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Coin Game Street Leeds

In this footage which ended up not making the final cut of ‘Adam Patel: Real Magic’, but did get circulated by a couple of media outlets, I play the famous ‘Which Hand?’ coin game and win five out of five times.

If you’re not familiar with it, the premise is this:

A participant is asked to enclose a coin inside one of their hands behind their back and then present their two identical looking hands in front of them. My job is then to determine which hand contains the coin. Every. Single.Time.

For such a simple game, it’s extremely fascinating.

In this article, I let you behind the curtain as I share some of the techniques I use. Continue reading “How To Win The ‘Which Hand?’ Coin Game” »

August 28th, 2017

The Tea & Coffee Story: How We Made A Short Film With A Name Actor In Two Weeks Flat For Less Than £2k

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Bhasker Patel & Shyam Bhatt filming 'Tea & Coffee' (2017)

“How did it go?” I asked as I met Maaya in Central London, “What did he say?”

Maaya’s face dropped, “He said it doesn’t work,” she replied, tangible disappointment in her voice.

Taking a knock-back on a passion project is never easy and it’s one of the things that new writers have a really hard time with. When you tell a writer their project ‘needs work’, all they hear is, “Your writing is crap and you’ll never amount to anything,” Which isn’t true and certainly wasn’t true in Maaya’s case.

She continued, “I was thinking on the tube about everything I’ve ever written and I suddenly realised I’ve never really written anything proper. I’m not a proper writer.”

I put my arm around her shoulder to console her, “Hey hey hey. We cannot have that behaviour in this establishment!” The line from a track by The Streets had become a long-running in-joke between us, “You’re a perfectly good writer. It’s just that…”

The truth was I had known that her project had conceptual and structural issues since the week we’d met when she first told me about it. I had tried to politely bring them to her attention and that, amongst other things, had given me a reputation for pessimism. And when she’d started developing it with her mentor from Channel 4, I’d decided it wasn’t my place to comment. However, as unhappy and frustrated as it had made her, I was glad he had finally told her. Once she cheered up, she would be able to move forward with her project.

However, in my position as boyfriend, it was now my job to cheer her up. So in a change to the advertised schedule, we took a U-turn away from Piccadilly and headed for somewhere I knew would put a smile on her face.

Maaya has two greats loves. One of them is pizza. And Pizza Pilgrims on Leicester Square do exceptional pizza at affordable prices – which is rare in Central London.

So we sat there eating the best blend of bread, tomato sauce and mozzarella that money can buy while Maaya unloaded her frustrations.

It Started With A Soap Star

Over the course of the week I began to think about what I could do to build Maaya’s confidence. I thought she needed to see something she’d written become real. She needed somebody who is somebody to tell her that her writing was good. Which got me thinking…

Continue reading “The Tea & Coffee Story: How We Made A Short Film With A Name Actor In Two Weeks Flat For Less Than £2k” »

August 28th, 2017

6 Types Of Spectators Every Magician Has To Deal With

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Shocked Spectator

When I’m asked, mostly by journalists, why I do magic, my common response has to do with it providing me with a means of connecting with people very quickly. After all, everybody responds to magic. But to paraphrase George Orwell, some respond more than others.

In this article, which is mainly for magicians, we count down the 6 spectator types every working magician meets on a daily basis… Continue reading “6 Types Of Spectators Every Magician Has To Deal With” »

August 11th, 2017

My 2018 Tour: Your Tour Questions Answered

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Real Magic LIVE Blog ad

Since last Thursday when I went public about my upcoming tour, my various inboxes have been bombarded with questions about the show. So it seems fitting to spend this week’s blog post answering those questions.

So here we go… Continue reading “My 2018 Tour: Your Tour Questions Answered” »

August 2nd, 2017

Breaking Down and Growing Up

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Break Down

Last Wednesday night, I was driving down the A1, a little way past Worksop on a routine trip back to London when I felt my engine was losing power. To lose power on a road with no hard shoulder was a less than attractive prospect, so when I saw a lay-by up ahead of me, I stopped. It seemed to make sense to do so while I still had some choice over where. It would be better to stop in a lay-by than a hundred yards past one and unable to do anything about it. Coming to a rather abrupt halt, between two lorries, I stopped the engine for a few seconds, hoping to simply restart it and crack on.

But when I turned the key the second time, the engine did not start. It made that noise that engines make that sounds like an eighty-five year old with emphysema coughing their guts out. But it did not start. And at that moment, I knew that I was not going to London tonight. It was just gone 10pm when I rang the AA, which made it a little concerning when they said it could be midnight before they arrived. I was stranded on a rather unattractive stretch of the A1 with no street lighting, and it would be dark in ten minutes.

Isn’t this how most horror movies start? Continue reading “Breaking Down and Growing Up” »

July 20th, 2017

A Question of Worth: BBC Talent, The Gender Pay Gap & How Money Really Works

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BBC Top Earners

I’ve never worked for the BBC (though it is certainly a dream for the future), but I have certainly dabbled in related fields and let me tell you – presenting television is not as easy as it looks. It only looks easy because it’s being done by a professional.

The social media response to this report seemed to be anger. And I really don’t understand why. They get paid a lot. Good for them. I think we have a real problem in this country at the moment of demonising the rich. And the psychology at the root of that is dragging everybody down.

Are they worth it? Well… yes… and here’s why. Continue reading “A Question of Worth: BBC Talent, The Gender Pay Gap & How Money Really Works” »

June 27th, 2017

Tech Rant

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Dying Hard Drive

Doesn’t it worry you that in a world so reliant on tech, tech is so unreliable?

It worries me.

Everything nowadays is on hard drives. Whether it’s bank records or research or my latest TV show. And from what I can see, hard drives are not really ready for this level of responsibility.

I currently possess three expansion pack hard drives. One of them has been faulty for a while. Today, I have learned that another of the drives is also being stalked by the grim reaper. This is a problem I’d better do something about sooner rather than later. Because once data is gone, it’s gone. Continue reading “Tech Rant” »

May 25th, 2017

What Really Happens In A Mosque And Why Muslims Can’t Defeat ISIS

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Blue Mosque

Everything happens in cycles. A current cycle is this one: Terrorist attack occurs. Innocent people die. Islamic State Group takes credit. Politicians and current affairs commentators commentate. Katie Hopkins says something vile about people who did nothing wrong. And a bunch of people blame the rest of the Muslim community for the existence of ISIS, terrorism and all the problems in the world.

“Why don’t the Muslims do something?”

“Somebody at these mosques must know who’s up to no good!”

The Muslim community then mostly keeps quiet. And when they do say anything, nobody listens; or at least until recently, the media doesn’t cover it.

I think we need to promote understanding. It’s human nature to fear that which you are unfamiliar with. So let me tell you what really happens in a mosque and in doing so, explain why nobody does anything. Continue reading “What Really Happens In A Mosque And Why Muslims Can’t Defeat ISIS” »

May 23rd, 2017

Manchester

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Manchester

Tonight I was all ready to have a rant about the general election and the hopeless state of British politics.

But the heart breaking events unfolding in Manchester right now have really put all that Punch and Judy politics into perspective.

Politics makes me angry. It makes me wonder how people can be so delusional.

But this – the deliberate targeting and killing of CHILDREN – angry is not the word. I’m furious to the core. Seething.

This bunch of morons who call themselves Islamic State Group have maintained a reputation as thugs of the lowest order for a few years now. Beheading charity workers. Raping women. They have always been vile beyond comprehension. But after the Manchester attacks, I cannot imagine – and I’m a writer, it is on occasion my job to do so – how they can possibly sink any lower.

What can make people do such things?

I read the news this morning with the same engulfing feeling of depression as the day I heard they’d beheaded Alan Henning. Barbaric beyond measure. Then anger takes over as I realise how powerless I am to do anything about it.

What can anyone do?

It’s so strange that we live in a world where technology has advanced so much and yet we as a species haven’t. Some of us still believe in the most perverse and nonsensical ideologies.

It has to stop. I don’t know how we can stop it. But something needs to happen. We cannot go on always having to wonder when another brain washed moron is going to blow themselves up.

What’s the answer? I wish I knew.

My thoughts are with the victims and the families of those affected by the Manchester attack and in fact anybody who has ever been affected by a terrorist attack. It may not sound like much, but my thoughts are all I have to give. I wish I could do more.

May 4th, 2017

Job Jokes & Burglary

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In hind sight I was stupid. I should have known better. Chelsea, St John’s Wood or Peckham – it doesn’t matter anymore. If you give them an opportunity, they’ll take it. And they had. Which left me standing on the street opposite The American School in St John’s Wood, the allegedly upmarket and crime free microcosm of London, with half of my driver’s side window on the road in tiny pieces. Continue reading “Job Jokes & Burglary” »

April 21st, 2017

From Paris With… Anxiety

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Paris Landscape

On Thursday I arrived in Paris. Staying at the Hilton Hotel was of course the basis for more jokes than it should have been. But that was where the fun and childish silliness ended on this particular trip. Because alongside the obligatory sightseeing and posh lunches, the city of love was under stress, as divided as Britain by Brexit. Continue reading “From Paris With… Anxiety” »

November 15th, 2016

What is Mind-Hacking?

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One of the most common questions I ever get asked about what I do is this one: “What is Mind-Hacking?”

Mind-hacking is a term I coined to describe a collection of methods and techniques that I use to create the illusion of mind reading in my performances.

Mind hacking techniques can be broadly divided into two categories: leading and reading, though there are miscellaneous techniques that go beyond these categories.

Reading is about inferring conclusions based on observable subconscious behaviours like voice tone & body language.

Common examples of stunts achieved using these skills include deducing whether somebody is lying or telling the truth; and simple mind reading tricks where there are a finite number of outcomes. ie. a thought of playing card or a number rolled on a dice.

In some cases it’s possible to intelligently guess seemingly large amounts of information about people. Others are closed books.

Leading is about psychologically nudging a participant into doing exactly what I want them to do, hopefully without them knowing that they were… well… lead into doing it. When this is done successfully it feels to them like they made their own decisions. Until they realise that I have seemingly predicted what they were going to do.

Does Mind Hacking Work On Everybody?

The simple answer is no. But that’s not to say that if it doesn’t work today it will never work. It depends on your psychological state at the time. Does asking for a favour always work? No. Sometimes people are more open than other times. And how open they are depends on a whole host of factors.

Does Mind Hacking Give Me Super Human Abilities In The Real World?

When people see me do these types of things, the common next question is whether I can use these skills and techniques to give myself an unfair advantage in the real world. And the answer is… sometimes.

My skills are primarily used for entertainment purposes only. A performance situation is a lot more controlled than a real world situation and for that reason alone, mind-hacking in real world situations is much more difficult and you can never be sure of the outcome. Do I try it sometimes? Of course I do. But my success rates vary wildly depending on environment, subject, time of day and a lot of other factors outside of my control.

It could be anything from reading a woman’s body language to tell whether she likes me (not all that useful to me since I got into a relationship) all the way up to borderline unethical tricks like trying to get a waitress to give me things from the menu for free.

August 6th, 2016

Gone Grill

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Change is inevitable. Sometimes it’s good. Sometimes it’s unwanted.

After the enormous change of moving to London and getting into a relationship and a new career, I now find myself ‘just living my life’. And I’ve got into a comfortable rut – the kind of rut you get into in your early thirties as you start to, dare I say it, settle down. And part of being in that comfortable rut, for me, was the occasional weekend Lebanese grill from my local in St John’s Wood, Kamil’s.

I had ordered from Kamil’s several times in fairly quick succession. And my order was always the same: Humus, a food I have grown to love in recent months; grilled Halloumi, and the Lebanese classic, Shish Touk, for main which consists of grilled chicken pieces with rice or chips and salad. I find that ordering the same thing multiple times is a good way to get the managers to remember you. And before long, we were on first name terms exchanging pleasantries at the lift when the delivery man comes to deliver to the flat.

And those pleasantries, however small, however polite, however normal, I had believed, perhaps naively, meant something. Not much, but something. We were, I thought, on however mild terms, friends. Well… Maybe friends is a bit strong. But we were certainly more than just strangers. We were at that level of relationship which, if I saw Mr Kamil walking down the street, would warrant a wave or a “man-nod”. Continue reading “Gone Grill” »

March 17th, 2016

A Tribute To Paul Daniels

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I was deeply saddened today to hear of the death of magician Paul Daniels.

Paul was nothing short of a legend, in the truest purest sense of the word and without question one of the greatest magicians of all time. He inspired an entire generation of magicians including myself, who was immediately intrigued by magic when I saw him on television as a young boy.

After The Paul Daniels Magic Show was abruptly axed by the BBC in 1994, it became unfashionable to be a Paul Daniels fan because of his so-called cheesy and dated image. But fashion is fickle while Paul’s magic and performance style were masterful and timeless. His record breaking career has informed almost every working magician in the UK today.

Even his fame was enduring. During last year’s tour, when I spoke to older audiences, even twenty years after going off the air, Paul Daniels was still the first magician that came to mind for most.

I met Paul at one of his shows in Hoxton, South London, only four months before news of his illness hit the Internet one otherwise unremarkable Saturday morning in mid February.

As we entered the theatre, an unassuming old man a little shorter than me, was wandering around humming and periodically throwing an orange in the air. It was Paul, who hadn’t aged a day since I last saw him on television some years earlier.

While showing a touch of frailty, Paul still had all his faculties and was still performing. I was shocked to discover a few days later that he was 77. You would never have known it.

Paul’s approach to professionalism was unparalleled. While he called himself a ‘silly conjuror’ rather than a serious magician, behind all the jokes and laughter was a man who took his act extremely seriously. It had been considered and honed over years – exactly as magic should be.

Paul did what all great entertainers do – in the words of Judy Dench, “Take the job seriously but not yourself.”

Despite his rock star status, he was a very down to Earth guy, easy to talk to, and gave advice openly and with Northern bluntness. He encouraged me. He gave me advice about performing magic on television and about being a professional magician, which I was honoured to receive and will always be thankful for.

When I heard news of his diagnosis, it blind sided me. I thought back to when we had met only four months earlier. It occurred to me that it was likely that he already had the tumour. Not a pleasant thought.

Death comes to us all. It is one of the few inevitabilities of life. Paul’s death has reminded me that life is precious and it’s important that we do, as Paul did, the things we want in life. Paul had said that since he was eleven years old the only thing he had ever wanted to be was a professional magician.

While originally training as an accountant before working in his family’s grocery shop and later setting up a shop of his own, Paul eventually got his wish and leaves behind him an enviable legacy that has genuinely affected the entire world.

How many of us can say that?

February 8th, 2016

Fame, Witchcraft And Poppycock

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Since my publicist put out the first press release for this year’s first project a couple of weeks back, I have started to receive a small amount of attention from the general public and… well… it’s a bit weird. I won’t lie. When I was younger, fame appealed to me enormously. As a  teenager I wanted to be the biggest name on the planet. But as I’ve grown and matured that has become less and less the case. Until present day where it doesn’t really appeal to me at all. I see fame nowadays as a necessary part of being a successful artist. In the eyes of the public, skill and talent correlates with fame. But in today’s world it can be as destructively invasive as it can be fun. The cons can easily out-weigh the pros.

Now, I don’t want you to think I’m getting ahead of myself. While, almost a year in to this career, I feel comfortable now at dinner parties and gatherings introducing myself to people as an illusionist, I am very apprehensive to term myself ‘famous’. There are a couple of reasons for that. The first is simply that I’m not. While my social media following is building nicely and it appears that my work is now being discussed on certain parts of the Internet, I don’t consider that fame. Fame is when you get recognised walking down the street and when/if that happens, I’ll certainly mention it.

What I can tell you, is that it is very weird to find a video clip of yourself posted on a Facebook group that you have nothing to do with, and where people who do not know you and have never met you, are forming opinions and talking about you based on video clips. But that’s exactly what happened…

Adam Patel accused of witchcraft

When I found it, as a performer, my first natural question was, “Did they like it?”

And, as I’m sure you’ll find with the response to anything, some people will like it, some won’t, most won’t care, and somebody (there’s always one) will be deliberately nasty.

But magic & illusion is unusual as an art form. There’s usually more to it than the face dramatic value.

As much as it astounds me, some people, even in the 21st century, still believe it to be ‘real’.

Now on the one hand, as a magician, in a way I’m flattered that I’ve been accused nine times of what amounts to witchcraft. It comes across as a back-handed way of people telling me I’m good, but strangely also simultaneously that they do not approve of it – which is an odd combination.

But on the other hand as a rational human, I find it unnerving. Of course, I know as fact that I did not elicit the assistance of demons or jinn as they are called in Islam, to bring about the stunts and effects seen in the video; and I appreciate that everybody doesn’t know that. But I think anybody with any common sense knows that while it’s impressive and magical, it is not supernatural in nature and to accuse me of witchcraft in the 21st century astounds me.

It reminds me of a night last December where I was performing at a function and I met an English woman who genuinely believed in psychics and spirit mediums. I *think* she thought I was the real deal too but I’m not going to push that one because she never actually went as far as saying it plainly.

I guess that as a largely secular guy I never know how to respond to what I firmly believe – and in some cases as mentioned above, KNOW – is poppycock.

Still, they were both fairly weird incidents.

August 28th, 2015

The Selfie Dilemma

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So, August has been very much the great British summer. And mine for one reason or another has been filled with traveling. In the last 28 days, I’ve visited Blackpool Tower, Stirling and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Unfortunately I have no photos of Blackpool Tower to show you. And the reason for that is what I want to talk about today. Continue reading “The Selfie Dilemma” »