Can you spare me 548 seconds?

“Do you mind if I smoke?”

The lady on his left laughed nervously. It seemed a polite enough question, but when you’ve got 8 cigarettes perched between your index and middle fingers, asking it makes it sound like you’re taking the piss…

…which he was.

Oh, and yes, you’re heard me right – 8 cigarettes.

The man placed all 8 between his lips and puffed sharply to make sure all remained lit.

8 glowing circles of orange confirmed to the startled onlookers (me included) that they were indeed all still lit.

If the onlookers were startled now (and I was), lord only knows what they were going to think in about a minute.

The man opened his mouth wide and, using only his tongue, drew all 8 cigarettes back into his mouth, before closing his lips, sealing them in his trap.

(This is also my preferred technique for eating a Tunnock’s teacake)

What happened so far was plain weird, but the man was only just getting started.

After sealing the 8 cigarettes in his mouth, without missing a beat, he casually reached across the table for his pack of smokes.

“What? He can’t be serious? MORE???”

The man took out another four sticks, one by one, and placed them to his lips, before firing up his lighter.

“What the hell? 12 CIGARETTES!”

Once he’d lit the four fresh cigs, he withdrew them from his lips and held them in his left hand. He then reached over with his right and, one by one took a single cigarette and tossed it (yes, TOSSED IT) into his mouth as if he was catching a piece of popcorn. 

He caught all four cigarettes perfectly, drawing each into his mouth to join the others as he did.

Then, in an almost perfect rewind from a few seconds ago, he contorted his mouth, opening it as wide as he could, and brought forward all 12 lit cigarettes to his lips, in one big batch.

All still lit. 

All still hot.

You won’t believe what happened next…

Anyway…

I’m off to Blackpool this week.

No, I’m not running low on “KISS ME QUICK” hats or venereal diseases. I’m off to the world’s biggest and best magic convention.

I know, I was shocked too. When you picture the words “world’s biggest and best” and “magic”, you imagine something a bit more glamorous than Blackpool. Las Vegas? Sure. Tenerife? Possibly. Carlisle? Almost certainly.

Not Blackpool.

It’s true though. 4,000 of the world’s best magicians (and me), will descend on Blackpool this weekend – for three days of lectures, dealer halls, and inhumanely high levels of body odour.

There are a few reasons I go to magic conventions. There are magicians I see because I want to witness their latest miracle. Others I want to learn something from. The rest?

They’re the interesting ones. 

They’re the ones I just want to see…

…the ones I want to be with (not like that).

Tom Mullica would have been at the top of this list. He was the guy I was talking about at the start of this email.

To say that he was my favourite magician would be an understatement. I was (and still am) a total fanboy.

The reason I teased you earlier was for your own good – I want you to experience it for yourself.

Through the wonders of YouTube, you can.

I learned more about magic and performing from Tom Mullica than from any other magician – and I don’t perform any of his tricks.

He was the one who first made me realise that it wasn’t about the tricks. He was the one who taught me the most valuable lesson I learned in magic.

Even before I developed a full-on obsession with him, I sought out anything he created.

I bought his cigarette magic DVDs even though I had no intention of doing cigarette magic.

I bought a VHS, from America, of his show, filmed at his bar (the “Tomfoolery”). Not only that, because it was from the US, I had to pay £50 for a chap with a very well kitted out shed to convert it to PAL, so it would work on the crappy video player I’d bought from B&M, just so I could watch it.

(I would later pay £30 to another chap, with another well kitted out shed, to convert it to DVD)

Every time I think about WHY I should be using humour and personality in business, I think of Tom Mullica.

He was funny, but naturally funny – the best kind.

He wasn’t hilarious because he’d spent years carefully crafting each joke to perfection. He was funny because he was being himself and reacting to what his audience gave him every night.

(The “hair” moment in the video is a great example of this)

It’s not about being totally hilarious, all the time. It’s about being RELAXED, LIGHT-HEARTED and FUN.

You don’t need joke formulas, templates or a dictionary of funny words to be that.

If I heard that Tom Mullica was going to be somewhere, I’d have gone there in a heartbeat. I wouldn’t care if he was performing, lecturing or cleaning the urinals. 

I’d have given anything just to be around the guy.

That’s what humour and personality can do for you – it’ll draw people into your world. Not just any people either. YOUR people – the good ones. The ones who REALLY get you.

Those people.

Get this right and you’ll never have to worry about using clickbaity headlines or cheap tactics to get eyeballs.

You can be yourself and attract those you do your best work with.

And here’s the lesson I learned from Tom Mullica:

People will often forget what you said, or what you did, but they’ll NEVER FORGET HOW YOU MADE THEM FEEL.

Your customers are constantly on the lookout for the friendly, familiar and fun, so relax. 

Have fun, use humour and don’t be afraid to let your personality creep into everything you do – the people you’re meant to serve will love you for it!

Have a good week

John

P.S. I was hoping to add a new goodie to the “Google Drive of Awesomeness!!!!” this week, but, because I forgot about the convention, it may have to wait until next week.

Forgive me?