Meet Simon South, Chester’s Stage Magician of the Year
PUBLISHED: 20:12 06 February 2014 | UPDATED: 20:12 06 February 2014
He has hammered nails in his face and swallowed an inflated balloon for Simon Cowell (but not at the same time). Chester’s young magic man explains why to Paul Mackenzie.
You know where your phone is, you’ve just handed it to the young chap in the smart suit, but in the blink of an eye he’s producing it from inside a pineapple or from an unopened tube of crisps. And before you’ve had chance to work out what just went on he’s correctly identifying the card you’ve just chosen even though he can’t possibly have seen it. And all this right under your nose.
It’s the kind of trick that won 21-year-old Simon South the Stage Magician of the Year Award in Chester. He’s a familiar face on the city’s entertainment circuit and has also performed at the Edinburgh Festival and cabaret clubs in London, as well as auditioning for Britain’s Got Talent.
A member of the Chester Guild of Magicians, Simon has been performing close up magic since the age of 14 semi-professionally, and since 16 has been a professional. He started with a magic kit bought for him when he was a young child and was hooked immediately.
‘It was an interesting thing to do and something that no-one else I knew was doing,’ said Simon, who currently holds residencies at Alexander’s Comedy club and Townhouse 1776 in Chester.
‘I was doing close-up magic at parties when I was in my mid-teens and people said I should go on Britain’s Got Talent. I did audition but it was a big stage and I only did close-up stuff so I went to the local magic shop to see what they had.
‘The man there suggested I could swallow a fully inflated balloon, so I did that. I reached the quarter finals but got voted off.’
Since then Simon – real name Simon Southerin from Puddington – has developed stage acts which have included hammering nails into his own face and swallowing razor blades. ‘I really enjoy freaking people out,’ he said. ‘My parents do sometimes talk about me getting a proper job but they are very supportive as well.
‘I would like to move away from the freak show stuff and to get as mainstream as I can, but I am also planning a one hour silent show for Edinburgh this year. My speciality is taking old tricks and giving them my approach, the linking rings trick for instance.’
In recent months he has formed a double act with his partner, Fleur du Mal and he added: ‘Winning the Stage Magician of the Year award was a particularly proud moment for me because it was voted on by other members of the Chester Guild of Magicians, and there are some very good magicians in Chester.’