There’s a bloke in Greystones with a magic shed at the bottom of his garden.
We all love our sheds, but this is different. This really is a magic shed.
Steve Faulkner, adopted Sheffielder, part-time comedian, former street juggler, escapologist and close-up magician extraordinaire used to earn $1,000 a day juggling on the streets of Darwin in Australia.
For eight years he held audiences of thousands in the palm of his hand in London’s Covent Garden.
Now he sits in his shed most of the time making videos on how to become a magician.
And he should know.
Steve, now aged 39, was British Champion Street performer 2005 and 2009, holds a world record for simultaneous spinning tops – 22 – and was second in the Magic Circle Close-up magician of the year 2010 awards.
Not bad for a lad who first learned to juggle using balls from a ball pool when he was working in a care home.
After a career that spanned the lows of earning practically nothing for years while he developed his act via £8 a day busking in Old Street tube station and on to £450 in a day on the street at the Edinburgh Festival, Steve is finally giving up the street.
“For a while I was probably one of the best street performers in the world,” says father of two Steve who moved to the city eight years ago with his Sheffielder wife Mandy whom he met in Australia.
“But I want to come inside now and I don’t want to travel as much. I also have to be careful with my throat. All those years of shouting at people in the streets in the act has taken its toll.”
Steve, originally from Sidmouth in Devon ‘ran away’ to join a circus school in London when he was 19 after deciding A levels and college were not for him.
After long spells in the capital and Australia he came to Sheffield with Mandy and on his first night in the city did the open mic slot at the Lescar as a comedian – drunk.
“That was quite a night,” he said.
“I was asking about doing a slot the following week but they said the open mic act hadn’t turned up and did I want to go on there and then?
“I did and I had a great time. I used all the banter from the street performance and it got me through”
That was eight years ago. For a good part of that time Steve was travelling from his then home in Greenhill to Covent Garden to earn around £1,000 a week as a top street entertainer.
Steve has lived in the city since and broadened his act to become one of the country’s top close-up magicians, getting regular corporate work and making his art into a business.
Then there’s the shed
“I come down here so I can work in peace and record lessons for my magicians course that I’m doing for the internet,” adds Steve, now sponsored by Jury’s Inn.
“It’s a complete change of culture from working on the street where you work for one hour a day so you don’t have to work the rest of it. But now I have to sit down and work for nine hours and I’m learning how to run a business.”
As he chats Steve does a few card and cup and ball tricks.
Sitting three feet away from him with studio lights shining on his hands and me desperate to catch him out there was not even a clue as to how he was doing the impossible right in front of us.
With speed, dexterity and absolute confidence Steve finds cards and uncovers balls with unerring and unwavering certainty.
Steve’s talents have impressed and he’s worked with the Arctic Monkeys – Matt Helders is a big fan as is chat show host Jonathan Ross – he even made a brief appearance on the Spice Girls Who Do You Think You Are video.
But there’s no place for a big ego when you’ve got two kids, a shed and a career to map out.
“The important things are the entertainment and making people laugh, said Steve.
“It’s about the magic rather than me. The ego has gone out of it now. It’s about putting on a show and giving people something that will stay with them.
“The more it’s about your ego the more bitter you can become. The thrill when you first start is the look on people’s faces when you astonish them. That’s a big adrenaline thing but you get used to it. That buzz becomes quite normal.
“I think that’s why a lot of magicians quit. They just get used to audiences being blown away by what they’ve done and it can lose its magic.”
For more go to www.steves magicshow.com