How we met: Magicians Barry and Stuart
Barry and Stuart are two Scottish BAFTA nominated comedy magicians. They regularly perform wonder-invoking, laughter-inducing, awe-inspiring magic. Stylistically dark and weird they are creepy, cool, and funny. The pair talk about how they first met.
Barry on Stuart:
I first met Stuart after being admitted to a club for magicians in Aberdeen. I was quite excited to become a member because, at 15 years old, I was to become their youngest member. As a minor, they made an exception to the standard rules of members needing to be at least 18 years old but only after two incredibly frightening auditions (one involving the production of a live hamster) and a quiz to test my knowledge and enthusiasm.
I remember arriving at the club, fully expecting all the Masonic handshakes and bizarre inductions but instead noticing one individual who stood out from the rest of the inductees. He was notable for two reasons. Firstly, he was the only member there who, not only had a full head of hair, not only that but his hair wasn’t silver. Secondly, because he was wearing a ghastly suit jacket that was bright yellow. If he had a green face that night he could have been The Mask!
To say that we instantly hit it off would be a complete lie. I think we felt exactly the same way about each other upon our introduction. Thoughts like “Damn, I am no longer special. I shall no longer be applauded for my achievements in magic at such a young age,” went through my head and the big one, “I hope he doesn’t know more tricks than I do”.
We went to the bar to get our pints of orange concentrate and lemonade and I immediately started bragging that I knew such and such and knew how this and that was done, trying to get the upper hand. Stuart just nodded his head and said that he had worked those illusions out himself already, or that he was working on something better. This frustrated me because more than half of what I was boasting about was lies.
I thought that I had met my match until we started talking about not how the tricks were done but the way in which they were presented. It was on this topic that I was actually glad to meet someone who not only shared my views but also made me challenge them. We were a couple of guys in our mid-teens with not just a shared passion for magic but we had more in common than we first realised.
Bizarrely though, we didn’t become friends properly until I moved out of Aberdeen and to London to start University. I guess only then did we lower our guard and start sharing the real secrets of magic we were working on. To this day though, I’m still trying to convince Stuart to put the appearing hamster in our show.
Stuart on Barry:
You couldn’t imagine how happy I was on the day when the local group of magicians at the Aberdeen Magical Society changed their constitution of only allowing over 18 members in order to grant me access to their exclusive circle. At 16 years old I was the youngest member that they ever had, I needed a fake ID to buy a beer but didn’t have to lie my way into this establishment, I was thrilled! That all changed when, just a few short months later, some new guy, almost two years younger and two foot taller than me, somehow managed to join the same secret club. Naturally, I was suspicious of him and his weird hamster.
On the day when we first met I can remember him being introduced to the room as I sat there in my awesome yellow jacket. Barry was dark, not a full on goth but he did have that look, a ‘soft goth’ perhaps. I liked that he was into thrash metal and computers. Any time he came up with a new trick it would usually involve a human skull, often as a punchline. It was never done in a humorous way, he was deadly serious. I found it quite funny but also extremely inventive. I’d never have told him that though, at the time we were rival teenage wizards, like a socially dysfunctional Gandalf and Saruman.
We’d take part in magicians competitions and try to beat each other, it was all friendly on the surface but we really wanted to outdo one another. It took a few years, maybe four years, before we started to get on properly. It wasn’t really magic that got us talking though. On Monday nights there was an indie metal rock night in Aberdeen called the Mudd Club, whenever we saw each other there we wouldn’t talk about tricks but about music, films and other stuff like the paranormal, ghosts, and scepticism. It was that connection that ended up throwing us into writing our first material together.
The days of dressing as a goth or in brightly coloured jackets are over. However in the show that we are currently touring, Show and Tell, there is a chance to see some embarrassing old news footage of Barry and me aged 15 and 16, looking very, very awkward.
Barry and Stuart’s live tour of ‘Show and Tell’ begins on the 7th February at Jackson’s Lane
For more information about the duo visit www.barryandstuart.com/liveTagged in: Barry and Sutart, comedy, Dirty Tricks, magic, Magick, Show and Tell, The Magicians
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