I only met him once.
That meeting changed my life.
It also gave me a new paradigm for who I could be as a magician and human being.
Michael Skinner was an extraordinary human being who lived for one thing only.
His life was about Magic.
Try and imagine a human being who treated you like a friend who hasn’t seen you in years.
Try and imagine the joy on his face at seeing you again.
Try and imagine this human being making you feel that your presence has made him complete.
If you can do that, than you have just given yourself a tiny glimps of what it was like for me meeting Michael Skinner.
I cannot over sell this because that is how I felt meeting him and how I still feel to this day in my memory of him.
To be honest, I am blown away writing this because Michael did not know me, I was a magician who had dinner at The Lily Langtree with Alan Alan. We knew he was working that night and was very excited about having Michael come to our table and share his magic with us.
A gentle humane being he was.
He radiate a warm, friendly, easy going vibe that made us feel relaxed in his presence.
Once he joined us at the table, he took time to get to know us.
I was in awe of his presence.
To this day, I can remember every effect he performed at our table:
The Dice Routine
The Rosini Thimbles
Leipzig’s Cigarette Paper Tear
Oil and Water
Spectator Cuts the Aces
Invisible Palm Aces
The Slow Motion Ace Assembly
and he finished off with a full deck story routine like Sam The Bell Hop.
Michael later joined us for coffee after his shift. He presented another classic; Rub-A-Dub-Dub, Cups and Balls.
He then caught me by surprise.
I was quite shy and did not say much all evening, Alan did most of the talking and dominated the conversation – such was Michael’s charm, he listened.
Michael looked at me and asked me if I would show him something.
I presented my handling and presentation for Cy Endfield’s Aces for Connoisseur.
My routine combines Cy’s Four Ace Vanish with the revelations from The Henry Christ Fabulous Four Ace Routine with a killer ending from Darwin Ortiz.
The whole routine is pure visual poetry and I say this with pride because Michael Skinner LOVED IT.
The ending fooled him, he did not see it coming.
How did I know I fooled him?
His face flushed, with a beaming Skinner smile. He said;
I can tell you have done that hundreds of times
That statement told me what a class act he was.
It gave me the confidence to ask him;
“Michael, you have worked in this hotel for over twenty five years, do you ever get bored”?
No, not ever, I love it, I change my repertoire every night.
That was was the most valuable thing I ever heard. It inspired me to build a large repertoire for myself.
Our time was short and yet, I got the whole banquet in a spoon full.
Michael Skinner fulfilled his brief with me, I experienced his magic which was superlative. He was as close to meeting Nate Leipzig as I would every get in spiritual terms. It felt very spiritual to me and as I write this, I now understand why.
Michael was an open, vulnerable, giving, warm, sincere, authentic human being you could ever wish to meet. He reminded me of my dear friend Cellini in this respect.
The last thing he said to me with a smile and twinkle in his eye was;
Mike, your magic is beautful, fool your audience, fool them badly and be nice about it.
And to finish in the words of the great Nate Leipzig;
An Audience likes to feel they were fooled by a gentleman.
Michael Skinner was the epitimy of classy, style and a portrait of dignity.
Make sure read the opening profile in his book Classic Sampler.
It is the most important piece on a magician you will ever read. It will give you a lot of insight into the mind of Michael Skinner and inspire you, it inspired more than words can say.
One year to the day that we met, he left us for a celestial performance. I am sure his performance brought glory to the gods that may be.😇
He inspired me to continue….
Thanks for reading😥