Simon South is a professional magician, sideshow artist, compere and hypnotist. Now based in Hoole but originally from Rock Ferry (“plastic Scouser and all that..” he laughs, Simon showed us some of his magic and talked about his experiences so far in his career.
“It is just something that I have always played around with in school. I did a trick in primary school to one of my teachers . I showed 4 cards and they were all blank, and then you showed them again and a spiders web appeared on them.. you wave your hands over them and they go blank, then you wave over them again and there’s a big spider on the back of your hand. I nearly killed a teacher because she nearly fell down the stairs! ” he joked.
Simon started off by doing close up magic. “My first gig was when I was 14 and I got paid like £90 for 5 hours. ..That was kind of fun. I kept going and I got chatting with a guy called Chris Cross. I went on to be taught by a magician called Dee Christopher at 18 and he mentored me a little bit… He has been on Killer Magic now and is quite well known. I ended up doing Chris Cross’s Cabaret show at Madame Jojos in Soho when I was 18! I went from there onto the Burlesque circuit. I started doing that as a sideshow act, with the human blockhead, swallowing a razor blade, swallowing a balloon…Then I had a gig at Alexanders when I was 19… I’m 24 this year… I was doing their comedy night. and I suggested that I go round doing close up magic.. I have been doing it there ever since.”
Simon appeared on Britain’s Got Talent in 2009 at the suggestion of his friends. “At the time I had no stage material and I had no idea what to do. I went to my local magic shop and chatted to the owner PJ.. He suggested that I do the balloon swallow. He taught me to swallow a fully inflated balloon…” Simon in front of the cameras at the Manchester Lowry. He says that it was “one of those really weird days, when you left at 8 in the morning and got back at 10 at night… It was good fun… as soon as I walked out and said “I’m a magician” Simon Cowell instantly buzzed me!!
Cowell asked”so why are you on the show” I said “I want to get more well known as a wedding and corporate entertainer…Cowell instantly replied ” And that’s why I buzzed you!”
“They all buzzed me, but the entire crowd was right behind me, clapping along. Once you start swallowing a balloon you can’t really stop. Piers Morgan thought I was impressive, Simon Cowell relented and said it was quite good, Kelly she said it was the most disgusting thing she’d ever seen. Amanda Holden told me she wasn’t that impressed because she did it with her husband every night. That’s literally what she said !”
Simon went back to college, but didn’t get into university . “I did my A levels in case I needed them in the future, and while I did that I built up my burlesque work. Every other weekend I was doing a show, I went to Lancaster, Liverpool, Scotland , Newcastle, I have worked all over the country to get more stage time..”
Simon’s repertoire includes traditional card tricks, illusions and spoon bending.
” I do the classics of magic but with a cool twist. I will do the linking of rings, but I’ll put some Prodigy on and just f***ing go for it! Paul Dabek is another person I look up to… I have seen Paul’s shows many times and each time it makes me laugh. I’d like to get into the cruise ships and more things like that, touring around the world.” Currently Simon is doing a lot of wedding fairs, and has auditioned for House of Illusion in Spain.
Simon is part of a close fraternity of magicians in Chester, and is good friends with fellow card shuffler John Holt. See https://shitchester.wordpress.com/2015/11/24/the-magical-world-of-john-holt-2/
“I am in the Magic Circle, it is a cool thing… You’re not allowed to divulge anything, its kind of like the Masons but for magicians… No bizarre induction ceremonies! Chester does have its own guild of magicians, we meet every third Thursday at the Coach House. We just have a few drinks and show each other new tricks. Its a lot of hobbyists, but a lot of times the hobbyists are better than the professionals. In the Guild there is a lot of old guys who were professionals and want to see the next generation coming through…”
Another failed magic vigil outside Council HQ followed, so Simon showed off some more magical moves just round the corner at The Panini Press.
Simon can be seen every Friday at the new look Alexanders.