20 Apr 13th May – Battle of the Wizards – Baldini Wins
Regrettably I, the Great Baldini, am writing this weblog as my business manager, David Hoare, is presently recovering from yet another night of alcoholic excess. In many ways he is a sad figure,
Last week I was privileged to perform a magic show at the lovely Crown Hotel in Blandford Forum in Dorset. It was a refreshing escape from the endless pestering and pleading from the Palace to ‘please perform something at Harry and Meghan’s do’.
Before the show the Crown forwarded me a note from a ‘Duncan’. The handwriting and spelling indicated it was from a small child. In the note ‘Duncan’, flatteringly, said it would be ‘the best thing ever, ever in the world, in the universe’ if he could share my stage. Always happy to brighten a child’s heart I concurred. I thought he could perform between my effects whilst my 40 stagehands prepared my next super-colossal illusion. Imagine my surprise when this six foot four, unshaven, shambling, middle-aged man turned up!
Usually between my super-colossal illusions, I withdraw to my dressing room to meditate and smoke a cheroot. However, at one point went to the back of the auditorium to watch ‘Duncan’s’ performance (I use the word lightly).
Picture my horror when I saw that ‘Duncan’ had tried to turn this almost holy evening into a vulgar contest, a ‘Battle of the Wizards’. After each trick (for want of a better word) – once the audience had roused themselves from slumber – he passed among them collecting money. He claimed that if he collected more money than I, the Great Baldini, he would have ‘won’.
I was stunned. As a superstar magician I had no intention of turning my magnificent presentation of the high art of magic into a grubby little scrabble for cash. I said to the audience that if they wished to toss a few notes into a bucket for me I would cheerfully donate it all to the brave souls at the Air Ambulance. ‘Duncan’ quickly offered to do the same (had he, up until that point, planned to trouser the money he collected? Who can say?)
As the evening wore on Baldini’s bucket was overflowing. Even ‘Duncan’ donated £100 to my bucket. By the end of the evening, we had jointly raised over £6,000 for the Air Ambulance and taken Hall & Woodhouse’s fundraising to over £700,000 in six years.
I was simply gratified by this result but the audience, infuriated at Duncan, turned into an angry mob and, in a bizarre Blandford ritual reminiscent of a scene from a satanic horror film, dragged him outside and covered him with what looked like blood (it turned out to be red goo).
‘Duncan’ slunk off into the night and I repaired to the excellent bar at the Crown. Everyone there was, as ever, too, too kind. Outside the crowd were still chanting:
‘Baldini, Baldini, Baldini is best, I wouldn’t give Tuppence for all of the rest’
Sadly, in the bar, I found my business manager David Hoare, sunk in an alcoholic haze, barely coherent, spending is unearned commission and claiming that Baldini would be nothing without him. I thought, not for the first time, I must seek new representation.