It was intermittently overcast but otherwise a glorious day to be in London. The sun was out, not beating down but enough to draw a light sweat swiftly should you exert yourself.
I was in town to perform and feeling particularly chuffed with myself after having a good old fashioned shoe shine at the London Hilton on Park lane, which I cannot recommend enough by the way (http://www.shoeshineuk.com). Further to this success a lady stopped me in Chelsea to compliment my red mohair suit, the latest addition from JS Tailoring. It was a good day indeed.
The client who hired me on this occasion was having a private dinner in the penthouse suite of the Dorchester hotel, which had one of the most luxurious views of London I’ve witnessed (see below). Though it was a very curious evening it’s not the event details that are the main focus of this story.
I arrived an hour or so early and took the opportunity to introduce myself to the team organising the dinner so that everyone was aware that I was there to entertain. After familiarising myself with the area I decided it would be best to get out of the way and departed to enjoy a non-alcoholic beverage at the in-house bar. I took a seat, ordered my drink and pulled a deck of cards out to break in for use later. Five minutes pass, as does the small talk with the bar man who took an interest in my displays of dexterity with a deck of cards. Suddenly, out of nowhere a senior staff member approaches me and utters the words “Sorry sir, we don’t allow card games here” explaining that it’s against their policy. I chuckled to myself, smiling at the nice man and entertained the idea that 15 years of learning the art of magic had been summed up in to “card games” and said “I’m not playing card games, one of your good customers has hired me to entertain in one of your penthouse suites”. He soon realised that, though I may look youthful, I was there in a professional capacity. Despite my insistence on not partaking in any kind of games or gambling he assured me that I was not allowed to use my cards in the bar area and disappeared to secure a private area for me. While away looking for this private area a big security guard in his full MIB outfit approached and repeated what I had just been told previously by who turned out to be the manager. After a short wait the manager returned and asked if I would like to be escorted to the penthouse by security. This was not a question, I was being told. I exited the bar with my newly appointed bodyguard who was actually very nice and polite, explaining in the elevator on the way to the roof that it was a lot of fuss over nothing and that it wasn’t actually about their bar policy at all but rather that the way I was handling cards was making the patrons of the bar very nervous.
What a life it must be to be so conscious and borderline paranoid about being conned. I think they had watched too much of the Real Hustle.