Advertising

It's magic, you know: Deaf magician Michael Vincent wows Wolverhampton crowd

By Luke Bartlett | Wolverhampton | News | Published:

He has travelled the world with his act, performing for the likes of Penn and Teller and winning awards for his craft.

With video: Pic of celebrated Magician: Michael Vincent (from London), performing at the ECC Sports & Social Club for the Wolverhampton Magic Circle

But when I sit down with Michael Vincent in the back room of the ECC Sports and Social Club in Wolverhampton, it is as if I am catching up with an old friend.

The humble 54-year-old, from London, has had to overcome a lot in his more than 40 years involved in the industry.

In 2013, the internationally acclaimed magician woke up having lost most of his hearing – something that would come to change the course of his life.

Since then it has been a learning curve of having to build his act back up, simplifying where necessary and developing, as he tells me, the ability to listen in a new way.

WATCH: Magic Michael demonstrates his card tricks

Magician Michael Vincent demonstrates his card tricks

It is his third time at the ECC, but make no mistake, nothing about him or his act remains the same.

"The magician coming back for the third time is not the person they remember," he tells me. "I have grown and evolved. I lost my hearing in 2013 so I have had to adopt to a life with no sound.

Advertising

"I really have to pay attention. I have got to combine that with lip reading just so that I can trick my brain into thinking I am having a fluid conversation.

"I had to lose my hearing just so I could learn how to pay attention. The magician they are going to see is someone they have never met before.

"Michael Vincent, yes that is my name, but I am deaf and my magic has had to change with that. Otherwise I would have given up.

"The last four to five years have been hugely challenging. I took myself off the pitch, I became insular, I did not socialise, my relationship with my girlfriend broke down and I became single again. I did not give up, I just took myself out of the game."

Advertising

And if Wednesday night is testament to anything it's that Michael Vincent, the magician who won The Magic Circle's Close-up Magician of the Year award three times, is not a quitter.

He has persevered through the challenges of being a deaf magician, and remains just as enthusiastic about the craft as when he fell in love with it aged 14 in Alan Alan's Magic Spot – the famous magic shop of Southampton Row in London.

It shows as he shuffles a deck of cards. He tells me to pick one, remember it and re-insert it into the deck.

I watch his hands like a hawk, missing nothing, catching everything, trying my best to beat the master at his own game.

He re-shuffles, produces a card from the deck (which is not my card), and places it face down in the palm of my hand.

He waves his hand over the back of the card, and asks me to look at it once more. It is my card, and words fail me.

It is a reaction he is more than used to by now, and one he receives time and time again throughout the course of the evening entertaining the Wolverhampton Circle of Magicians.

"I am all about leaving the craft better than I found it." He tells me. "I always start off with a show because I want the guys to see me and how I entertain.

"I have lost my hearing, so I have had to simplify a lot of the handling and techniques of my tricks. My script has to be on point, I can not engage in too much conversation because it can throw my rhythm off.

"Although I am wearing a hearing aid, I suffer with very aggressive tinnitus. I have got that to listen to 24/7 on top of trying to be 'Mr Showman'.

"I want to inspire the magicians to look at the magic they are already doing and have a few questions in mind - 'how can I make this better?' or 'how can I make the handling more fluid?'."

But how does he do it? not just the tricks, but carrying on to deliver and inspire after having had such a complicated and challenging journey?

One of the things that has helped the Londoner along the way is his new-found love of photography.

After losing his hearing in 2013, Michael picked up a Fuji X100T and a skill for street photography.

"Photography saved my life"

"A ray of hope came my way," he said. "Photography saved my life. It got me back into the game.

"When I am doing street photography, I am engaging with life again but in a different way. I am creating images in 35mm. I am in a world of silence but I can see life.

"I take images of my mother regularly because she is suffering at the moment with the early stages of dementia so I am documenting memories.

"She sees the world through my eyes and through my images. For me, it is all about self expression. I might be deaf but it does not mean I can not be effective. My ears do not work but I have had to learn to listen in a new way.

"I think I listen better now than I ever have done. When I look back on the last five years I think it is a miracle that I can still stand up in front of an audience and entertain them.

"I might not be the best in the world but at least I hope my audience say he is one of the most effective magicians I have ever seen. If they say that I am happy."

Luke Bartlett

By Luke Bartlett
Trainee Reporter - @lbartlett_star

Trainee Express & Star reporter covering Dudley and Sandwell. Get in touch on 01902 319445 or via luke.bartlett@expressandstar.co.uk.

Advertising

Top Stories

Advertising

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News