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Mentalism Performance at a party

Mentalism Memoirs - Five Hours Late

I’m choosing to share the following memoir because of the lesson learned from it. I’m still embarrassed today when I think back on it, but it has helped me make specific changes to the way in which I was operating my business and as a result I have made it an ongoing target to not allow this to happen again.

 I was hired to perform a 2-hour Mix & Mingle slot at a wedding approximately 15 miles from my house. I have all my gigs in a diary on my phone, which automatically syncs with other devices in my home. That way, no matter what device I am on at the time, I am able to check my diary by accessing the calendar.

 In the days building up to this performance, I checked the details and noticed the timings. I remember thinking that it seemed somewhat of a late time to start a Mix & Mingle but also knew I had been booked this year by some pretty head strong clients who had a very definite image in mind as to when and where they wanted everything. It was – after all – their big day.

 Now ,I have a routine that I usually follow in regards to the build up to performances. I make contact with the client either via phone or email approximately three weeks prior to the gig. I want to check all the timings are still correct and if there have been any last minute changes to the itinerary, venue, etc. That way, both myself and the client can be on the ‘same page’ so to speak, which contributes towards making sure the performance goes as smoothly as possible.

 In this particular case, the client themselves contacted me just over a month before the date of the wedding. They wanted to check if they could pay the balance of my fee up front and into the same account that they had paid their deposit months previous. Their email requested this and also informed me that all the booking details were still correct and everything was in line with the planning. As a result I didn’t send out my three week verification email and that proved to be a big mistake.

 The time in the diary was showing that I needed to be there from between 9:00 and 11:00 pm and it had sat a little uneasy with me, but I remember the client emailing me and confirming all times were correct and that they were looking forward to me performing for their guests. On the day of the booking, I had some errands to run in the morning but for the afternoon, I was pretty much at home. I was sat tapping my feet, listening to the football commentary on the radio, killing time essentially.

 7:30 pm came around and I went upstairs to have a shower and start to get ready for the show. The venue was literally a 20 minute drive and I knew my way as I had been to the venue several times before. As I came out of the shower, I wrapped a towel around myself, the uneasy feeling seemed to be increasing, so I sat down and turned on my computer.

 I searched back through our correspondence and found the earlier email messages, and it was at that moment that I stopped and froze. The time of the booking didn’t match what was in my diary. I stared at the screen in disbelief; it was showing a performance time of 4-6pm. I looked at the time on my screen and it was 7:45pm.

 A feeling of panic rushed over me, what was I going to do? I hadn’t received any phone calls that afternoon and had no voicemails or texts unread. The landline hadn’t rung and I was starting to worry that I had ruined the wedding and seriously let down my clients. I was angry with myself.

 I couldn’t quite understand what had gone wrong in regards to my diary but I had little time to ponder that, I knew I had to do something to try and make it up to the couple. I continued to get ready and drove over to the venue a little quicker than I really should have. On the way I was running through what I was going to say to the couple but couldn’t quite find the words without making myself look a complete fool.

 About two miles from the venue, I decided to do something outrageous. Something that even now I’m sure wasn’t the polite thing to do, it was bold and it was daring, but in that moment of madness and panic I decided to act casual and none the wiser. I was going to go in there and just be me, like I had done at hundreds of events before. I was going to go in there with the thought that I was on time and ready to perform.

 I parked up and headed out towards the entrance of the venue, my heart was pounding but I maintained composure and controlled my breathing. I smiled and greeted those outside the main door, and continued into the reception area. I quickly found the room where the celebration was taking place and walked inside. I always look for the bride first - they’re always the easiest to spot, just look for the big white dress (top tip) and I found her at the bar talking to guests.

 I walked over, bold as brass, and said:

 “Good evening! I’m Looch, congratulations, have you had a nice day?”

 Her response was to look at me rather startled and confused. She stuttered a little before shaking my outstretched hand and saying:

 “Er, yes thank you. It’s been nice.”

 “You have been fortunate with the weather, I bet they’ve managed to get some beautiful photographs here.”

 “Yes…it’s been nice.”

 “Well…is there anywhere in particular you would like me start? Or perhaps someone who you think would be good fun to have their mind read?”

 “Erm…I’ll just ask my husband.”

 The bride headed into the adjacent room where the groom was chatting with his friends, I followed at a slight distance, still smiling and appearing upbeat. The couple had a brief chat and both looked over in my direction with a look of awkwardness mixed in with a ever so slight twinge of annoyance. The groom approached and I held my hand out to shake his, my big smile instantly reappeared.

 “Congratulations! Have you had a nice day?”

 “Er, yes thank you. It’s been nice.”

 “You have been fortunate with the weather, I bet they’ve managed to get some beautiful photographs here.”

 “Yes…they have.”

 “Well…is there anywhere in particular you would like me start? Or perhaps someone who you think would be good fun to have their mind read?”

 “Err…I think maybe you could start outside in the garden.”

 “Perfect! I’ll start out there and work myself inside. Thank you!”

 With that, I headed out into the garden, it was summertime and still light, a few guests were sat on tables and I approached as normal. The reactions were great and I thought to myself that I might have just managed to pull this off.

As I worked my way inside the venue, I could hear a band starting to play and they were very loud. I stayed in the first room and performed for a group of about 15 older members of the party. I soon learned these were the parents and grandparents of the newly wed couple and they were very responsive to my entertainment. They requested photos with me and were asking all sorts of questions. The couple walked in and saw that everyone was having a great time, I smiled at them and continued into the next room.

 Before I entered the room I had to walk into a corridor where I could see a third room where the band were playing. I was rather surprised to see that it was empty except for the band. All the guests were in the room that I was beginning to work my way through.

 I introduced myself to the first table and continued performing. I really felt that I was on form and the reactions were becoming increasingly louder and enthusiastic. I worked my way around the room for about 45 minutes before heading into the bar area to see if there were any guests there. There were a few couples, one being the bride’s best friend, I approached and introduced myself, and she smiled and said:

 “You’re a bit late aren’t you?

 I played it cool.

 “Oh, I’m sorry I started out in the garden and have just worked my way through the rooms.”

 As you can probably tell by now, I had started to genuinely believe I was there on time, which could only enhance the unethical illusion I was in the process of trying to create.

 “No, I mean you should have been here hours ago, you were supposed to be performing around the tables when we were eating.”

I looked confused and took out my phone to open my diary, I showed her that it clearly stated 9:00 to 11:00 pm and said there must have been a mistake and that the bride had contacted me a few weeks prior and advised me the times booked in hadn’t changed. She looked at my phone and invited her partner who was stood by her side to also look.

 “Oh! That’s strange, she thought you were going to be here from 4:00 pm.”

 I looked at her, then back at my phone and said:

 “That IS strange…I should go and speak with her.”


“No, I’d leave it, she’s quite upset at the moment, no one likes the band and everyone’s sat in other rooms so they don’t have to listen to them. She’s just told me that she’s very happy you are performing right now because you’ve kept all the guests entertained and stopped it from being a disaster.”

I left the venue around 11:30pm. I’d stayed a little extra to ensure that every single guest had seen me perform. As I drove back home I remember having mixed emotions about the night, it seemed to have worked out for the best, but that was more to do with luck than anything else. I didn’t want to make the same mistake again and tried to figure out what could have happened with my phone diary. The only thing I could think of was that I had either incorrectly inputted it into the phone months ago or that I had accidentally changed the times without knowing. The phone was an iPhone 5 and when looking at inputting times into an event in the diary, there is a scroll dial for the clock. It is very sensitive and thus I may have quite easily accidentally caught it with my thumb.

I still have my digital diary, which syncs up with all my devices but I am very careful when it comes to inputting anything into it. I now also have a physical back up diary that I check at the same time I send my 3 week emails out, that way I can instantly see if times or other details pertaining to the upcoming performance don’t match up.







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