Everything about 29-year-old Steven Frayne is small, gentle and unassuming.
He’s just 5ft 6in, barely 8st and softly spoken. His waist is teeny, his arms are bird-like and his hands are small, pink and currently rummaging in his enormous Louis Vuitton bag for a pot of hair-styling wax.
‘I was going to put a bit in for the photos, but I can’t find it now,’ he says.
He doesn’t look the sort of man to swallow your gold necklace whole and, minutes later, pull it out of his tummy — straight through the skin.
Or to walk through glass windows and down the side of buildings. Or levitate both Lindsay Lohan and comic actor James Corden, turn Austrian snow into diamonds and Fanta into Coke, melt coins in his hands and make cardboard butterflies come alive.
Oh yes, or walk on water — he made it halfway across the Thames last summer before he was picked up by a police boat and cautioned.
But Steven Frayne is otherwise known as Dynamo, the Bradford-born street magician whose extraordinary illusions have left millions amazed, confused, shocked and occasionally scared.
Last week, he was awarded the magic world’s highest honour — Associate Membership of the secret inner sanctum of the Magic Circle — up there with Paul Daniels, David Copperfield and Derren Brown.
‘With a silver star,’ the citation says. ‘Which must be good, mustn’t it?’ he grins shyly. It is indeed. Very few magicians are awarded the AIMC with a silver star. ‘
They say it’s the highest degree you can earn for examination in the Magic Circle, and I’ve not even been examined! My mum will be so proud — they just gave it to me. Can you believe it?’
Frankly, yes. Because while he might not look, or act, like a superstar, pretty much everything Dynamo, 29, has touched over recent years has turned to gold.
His first TV series Dynamo: Mission Impossible was a huge word-of-mouth hit, attracting an average 1.7?million viewers and a nomination for most popular entertainment programme at the 2012 National Television Awards — despite airing only on the satellite channel Watch.
His second series, Dynamo: Magician Impossible, started on Watch last week.
He has performed at celeb parties in Las Vegas, Rio de Janeiro, Venice, Los Angeles and Clarence House — once claiming: ‘P Diddy ain’t got nothing on Prince Charles when it comes to putting on a party.’
Famous fans — many of whom hired him to entertain at their parties and now queue up to appear in his TV series — include Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Ian McKellen, Jay-Z, Chris Martin and his wife Gwyneth Paltrow (Dynamo blagged his way backstage at a Coldplay concert and impressed Chris Martin’s mum with his card tricks), Will Smith, Jonathan Ross, Wayne Rooney, Paris Hilton?.?.?.?the list goes on.
Not forgetting his 1.5?million followers on Twitter and Facebook, and a dedicated band of fans called the Dynamites — who follow him anywhere.
A recent personal appearance at Westfield shopping centre in East London attracted so many the mall had to be closed. And when he appeared at the Whitehaven Festival in Cumbria, instead of the anticipated 300-strong crowd, over 12,000 turned up, sending Health & Safety officials into a right old lather.
None of which is surprising given his mind-boggling tricks.
Take walking on water, for instance. Last June, in front of hundreds watching from Westminster Bridge, he walked (not waded) very carefully halfway across the Thames in front of the Houses of Parliament, before being picked up by what appeared to be a police boat.
Unless he was Jesus Christ, it is highly unlikely he actually walked on water. He did not appear to be suspended by wires, so the general consensus was that he had somehow installed a large piece of clear plastic beneath the water surface and that the ‘police’ were not real officers but on his payroll.
Whatever the truth is, it was the product of a devilishly creative mind, which thankfully was not a casualty of his challenging childhood.
‘It wasn’t a great upbringing,’ he admits. His single mother was just 16 when he was born, and his father was in and out of prison (‘I haven’t spoken to him since I was 18’).
Thanks to severe Crohn’s disease — a debilitating inflammatory condition that required him to follow a diet excluding everything from vegetables to sesame seeds — Steven was small, thin and an easy target for bullies.
‘It was tough for my mum. I had to grow up quick to look after her, but I wasn’t ready to do that job. I was ill, little and shy. I wanted to be like other kids, but I was too different.
‘To start with it was mostly verbal bullying, but then they started stealing my money and putting me in wheelie bins and throwing me down the hill.’
It was his great-grandfather Kenneth Walsh — the role model and saviour he called Grandpa — who provided the escape route.
‘He showed me some magic tricks that he’d used in World War II to supplement his bar money — any way you can make money in a dodgy fashion in a bar, he knew how.’
He also taught Steven a concentration technique that — don’t ask how — made his body impossible to lift so that however much they huffed and puffed, the bullies couldn’t shift his slight frame any more. (He used the same trick last year on boxer David Haye.)
‘These guys weren’t the smartest cookies, and once I started doing a few things they didn’t understand, they were freaked out and spread rumours that I had demon powers.
‘That stopped people picking on me, but it also isolated me. People didn’t want to be around me. But I loved magic and it made my mum smile, and that meant everything. So I spent a lot of time in my bedroom practising.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-**/Dynamo-The-council-house-boy-whos-mesmerising-magician.html#ixzz209pgLVBt
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Posted By: 33heart33 |
7/10/12 12:19 PM
What a cool trick! The only other guy that could walk on water was Jesus so he must be pretty good :)