Last night I was lucky enough to have attended a special Marc Almond event at the exclusive Magic Circle club in London. It was to celebrate the release of his new 10-disc box set Trials of Eyeliner. Tickets were limited and you had to apply to a lucky draw to be able to buy one. Only a limited amount of people would be allowed in the 130 capacity venue. Sadly I was unlucky on the first pass, however my lovely friend Kathryn was lucky and had very kindly named me as her +1. What a star!
I’d only just seen Marc perform a few nights previously at the Playhouse Theatre and was still on a high from that as I made my way into London for the second time that week. I’d been to the Magic Circle some fifteen years previously, at a corporate event when I worked at Euston Tower and I remembered it as being a wonderfully interesting place.
I met Kathryn at Euston and we made our short walk to the venue. Some fans were already outside and the time soon passed as we chatted and laughed. Finally the doors opened and we entered the building, greeted by Kate Rhodes, who manages Marc’s website and a magician herself, and were presented with a special gift of a black eyeliner in an embossed velveteen pouch.
We grabbed some drinks and were allowed to wander throughout the building at the museum which displayed interesting artefacts from famous magicians of the past including David Devant (the first Magic Club president), David Nixon, Ali Bongo, Paul Daniels and Sooty! After browsing/waiting for quite some time we were finally allowed to take our seats for the big event.
Simon Price was interviewing Marc and he took his place on stage with Kate who did the introductions. She was asked to select a magic trick to perform and chose a black cloth which she held up high. When the cloth was dropped there was Marc, appearing as if by magic and to a rapturous applause.
The interview was being streamed online and therefore photo opportunities were sadly banned, however as Simon led the interview Marc was as engaging as ever and he had the audience gripped as Marc spoke candidly about key moments in his career and what it was like appearing in Top of the Pops for the first time, the impact that had and subsequently his tumultuous relationship with the British media. Marc’s account of Nico recording Your Kisses Burn on The Stars We Are album was particularly hilarious and had us all in stitches.
After the lengthy interview we were treated to a small acoustic set by Marc, accompanied by Neal X on guitar. They performed Fun City (the first song Marc ever wrote), Untitled (from the Marc and the Mambas album of the same name), My Love (from Open All Night), Champagne (from Tenement Symphony), Friendship (from Heart on Snow) and Demon Lover (from Marc’s latest solo album, The Velvet Trail) . What a fabulous treat! All too soon it was over but what a stunning evening. As we went outside, we milled around as friends left to catch trains home. Soon after the doors opened and Marc came out. He very graciously signed autographs and posed for photos, chatting to the small assembly of devoted fans. Neal X was also there and we chatted about the forthcoming event I’m going to at Butlins in December, which should be fun.
Eventually everyone left and I made my way home on a somewhat torturous journey (people messing about on the line further along we’re causing delays) but filled with memories of a particularly momentous landmark evening.
Thank you to Marc and everyone involved in making the event happen and particularly to Kathryn for taking me as her guest.
Ange Chan ©2016