It must be magic for former Ottery St Mary lorry driver

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 February 2018 | UPDATED: 11:33 06 February 2018

Magician Gavin James. Ref edr 02 18TI 6246. Picture: Terry Ife

Magician Gavin James. Ref edr 02 18TI 6246. Picture: Terry Ife

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Former lorry driver Gavin James set for the magicians’ circuit

Magician Gavin James. Ref edr 02 18TI 6233. Picture: Terry Ife Magician Gavin James. Ref edr 02 18TI 6233. Picture: Terry Ife

Little did he know it, but picking up a book of magic tricks would transform a truck-driving Ottery grandfather’s life.

David Blaine’s sleight of hand was on TV screens around the world but, in East Devon, Gavin James was starting out wowing his family and friends.

Two decades on, he’s shelving his HGV licence to work full-time as a magician.

“I started out part-time eight years ago, in between driving trucks and delivering beer,” said Gavin, who ‘fell into’ a life on the road after starting out in catering in Wales. “I’ve got a family as well, so it’s hard giving up a fixed income. I was going to do it five years ago, but my son from a previous marriage had a son, Brooklyn, who went into care so we took him in, along with his brother, Brogan.

Magician Gavin James. Ref edr 02 18TI 6243. Picture: Terry Ife Magician Gavin James. Ref edr 02 18TI 6243. Picture: Terry Ife

“I just kept pushing it back and back, but this year I’m going for it, 100 per cent.

“I started out 20 years ago. I was having my lunch in The Byes, went to the library and picked up a magic book. I started when David Blaine was on TV and everyone was into magic.

“I had a Paul Daniels magic set when I was younger, but couldn’t get my head around it. I was never allowed cards as a kid – my mum said they were unlucky.

“When I picked up the book I started doing tricks for friends and family and down the pub, and got pretty good. I joined a magic club, the Exonian Magical Society in Exeter, and learned different styles: close-up stuff, parlour, stage. Now I mostly do close-up magic with cards, ropes and elastic bands.

Magician Gavin James. Ref edr 02 18TI 6258. Picture: Terry Ife Magician Gavin James. Ref edr 02 18TI 6258. Picture: Terry Ife

“I’ve got tattoos but always wear a suit and always roll my sleeves up – there’s nothing up there.”

Working full-time as a magician, he is destined to spend a long time on the road, but Gavin has been driving all over the country for the last decade, whether he’s delivering paper to Penzance or Otter Brewery beers as far as Birmingham.

“Magic is growing,” added the father of four. “Quite a few of my friends have taken the plunge. It’s hard at first but then you start getting the bookings. If you aren’t out there, people aren’t going to knock on your door and say they need a magician.”

As well as gigs at the Book Cover in Exeter, the barracks in Lympstone and some upcoming weddings, he has also been backed by a company to film a trick he invented to teach other magicians. In short, Quantum Leap sees a card jump from Gavin’s half of a deck into the spectator’s – and Gavin knows exactly where it will appear.

Magician Gavin James. Ref edr 02 18TI 6260. Picture: Terry Ife Magician Gavin James. Ref edr 02 18TI 6260. Picture: Terry Ife

“I never thought it would come to this when I picked up that book,” he said.

It must be magic.

Visit http://gavinjamesmagic.vpweb.co.uk/Home.html to read more.

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