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 Mc Cartney, Sir Ian Mc Kellen, 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 . 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.
The best hotel we’ve got is a Holiday Inn Express.‘And I’ve got a few cool things — I rent a nice flat in London and I’ve got a customised pool table with Dynamo graphics on it. ‘I try to surround myself with people who have vivid imaginations and I constantly watch the latest films and music videos for inspiration.‘I like driving — I go out driving late at night. I don’t feel like an outsider any more, and I make a living making people smile, bringing joy to people and making my mum and great-nan proud.
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. A recent personal appearance at Westfield shopping centre in East London attracted so many the mall had to be closed.
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. 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. 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.
Today, it’s back under control.‘My lifestyle is more extravagant — just coming to places like this,’ he gesticulates round the foyer of the luxury London hotel. I’ve still got my Honda Civic, but it’s kitted out with You Tube and tellies and stuff.’ He doesn’t appear spoiled, or overly impressed by his celebrity fans. Sadly, there was no walking on water nor necklace swallowing.
(He used the same trick last year on boxer David Haye.) ‘That stopped people picking on me, but it also isolated 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.’Quite how you practise predicting football results is hard to understand. 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.Or to walk through glass windows and down the side of buildings.
Last week he won £10,000 on a £1 accumulator bet predicting the quarter, semi and final results for Euro 2012 (the money will go to the Teenage Cancer Trust). He’s the most modest, down-to-earth man you could hope to meet (particularly when talking about his beloved mum and great-grandmother Nelly Walsh), despite being constantly feted, praised and worshipped as he works his illusions. Just watching him limber up in front of me — turning card shuffling into performance art, somehow rotating his tiny hands a full 360 degrees and bending his fingers as if they were rubber — is an experience not for the squeamish.
He moved to London aged 20 but just when his career looked set to take off with his own TV show, his Crohn’s disease flared up and he nearly died from an internal abscess. During our brief time together, he turned Lottery tickets into hard cash, removed a coin from my clenched fist without me noticing and performed unexplainable card tricks — despite me concentrating hard throughout.