Mark James

Sleight Of Hand Magic & Comedy

Mark James is a sleight of hand magician who fuses comedy with magic, juggling and other vaudevillian variety skills to create a unique show that's suitable for any audience.

HERE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVOURITE THINGS…

It may comes as no surprise that I’m a geek offstage too. I’m a collector & obsessor. These are the things I collect and obsess about. Click the name of each thing to be taken to a website that sells it.

PENS

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I’ve always been a huge fan of stationary. There’s nothing more optimistic or filled with potential than a blank piece of paper. I buy stacks of notepads whenever I see them but particularly enjoy pens.

FISHER SPACE PEN - Designed to work underwater, upside and even in space! It’s the perfect pen for the pocket and always writes nicely.

MONT BLANC M - I bought this as a gift to myself after a particular tough and long contract, stupidly expensive so I never take it out of the house but love to use it at home.

LAMY SAFARI - My current favourite. A fountain pen, but don’t be put off! They’re not like the ones you had in school and it’ll make you feel like Abraham Lincoln when you use it. Comes in multiple colours and they’re well priced.


VINYL RECORDS

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I love listening to music and comedy on vinyl record. It doesn’t have to be expensive to set up and it makes music an active pursuit, rather than just something you stick on and ignore while doing other things. Here’s the gear I recommend:

PLAYER: ION Air LP Player. It ‘s Bluetooth capable but DO NOT use that feature. It defeats the point. Plug it in manually to the speaker recommended below and it’ll sound great. Just be sure to keep your records clean and they’ll sound great.

SPEAKER: Marshall Stanmore Speaker. These look really cool and sound even better. They can connect to multiple devices and use Bluetooth. They also now make a ‘multi-room version, although I don’t use that as we have Alexa.

RECORD STORE: I won’t waste time recommending music, only a place to get it. My favourite record store is Action Records. It’s located in Preston and these guys really know their stuff. It’s well stocked and well priced.


COFFEE

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I got into coffee quite late in on in life but pretty soon was obsessed. During a trip to Sweden & Finland, visiting the amazing ‘Espresso House’ chain became a daily hobby that I miss whenever I’m not there. The same quality does not exist in UK based chains and good independents are hard (but not impossible) to find, so I started to work on brewing at home. Here’s what you’ll need to do the same:

MACHINE: We use the SMEG machine because it matches our kitchen and makes great coffee. Ours is red but they come in other colours. Easy to use and the steamer wand is especially robust.

GRINDER: Whichever grinder you use, be sure it’s a ‘burr grinder’. Ours is the Delonghi model and it’s always worked well.

COFFEE BEAN STOCKIST: One of my favourite reasons to visit Norwich is Castle Mall’s coffee bean store ‘T Junction’. They have a huge range at great prices. Check out ‘pure blue mountain’ of course and many of the chocolate flavour beans.


TRAVEL

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As you might imagine in this job I do quite a lot of travelling. Here are some of the things that help me along:

LUGGAGE: I’m a huge fan of ‘LuggageX’. Their cases are awesome and have tons of cool features. They roll along perfectly, have two separately zipped sides, the lock is a combination on the side and they’re advertised as being virtually indestructible. They come in lots of colours although I went for orange. I never miss them on the conveyor.

HEADPHONES: A travel essential. The BOSE Quiet Comfort range are great even if you’re not listening to anything. The noise cancelling always helps me sleep on flights and dulls out that annoying drone of the aircraft. Oh, and they sound brilliant too.

HAND SANITISER: Seems silly but it’s important and this one is the best.


WATCHES

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I’ve always loved watches. Ever since I got one free with a pop out time display in a box of Rice Crispies as a kid. I like wearing them, looking at them, talking about them. Here are a few things to check out:

HODINKEE: This is the singular destination website for watch fans. They have a podcast and post daily articles.

OMEGA SPEEDMASTER: My personal favourite and current daily wear watch. The Omega Speedmaster was the first watch in space. It was also worn on the moon by Buzz Aldrin. If that’s not cool enough for you then I don’t know what is.

VINTAGE: A cool dealer of vintage watches. Always has interesting pieces and is well priced.


CLOTHING

While I’m not exactly a ‘fashionista’, occasionally when I’m on stage, people say ‘don’t you scrub up well’. So, here are the places I go in order to ‘scrub up’.

SUITS: To the surprise of many who ask, I get almost all of my suits from the high street retailer ‘SLATERS’. They have a great range of suits and can do on site tailoring. I find that getting an off the rack suit tailored to fit works well for me, you may find the same.

CASUAL: Thread is a great online clothing store. You input your size and the things you like, it suggests clothing and only ever shows you the things they have in your relevant size.

FOOTWEAR: I have a little obsession with trainers (sneakers). My personal favourites are Adidas Samba OG (which the link goes to) but ‘Size’ have a great selection for men and women in huge range of sizes. I’m a 12 which aren’t always easy to find.


TAKING
PICTURES

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Photography is something I dip in and out of. I’ll be obsessed for a while, then forget about it for a few months. It’s a nice hobby and a great excuse to go walking in foreign countries. I love taking pictures of my friends too. I’m happy to say that many of them get used professionally.

CAMERA: Canon 700D. This is the first camera I was recommenced and I’ve stuck to it ever since. It’s a good camera for most occasions, takes pictures and records video with exceptional quality. Perfectly priced for the keen amateur too.

LENS: Fixed 50mm. Most of my shots were taken with this lens. It takes amazing shots and gives a great ‘bokeh’ (look it up).

DISPLAY: I’ve always used Flickr. (Link goes to my profile). It’s easy to use and displays your pictures in full quality. Check out my pictures for more info. I like everything from street photography to urban exploring.

PHOTO CREDITS: Magic Castle: Brian, Taylor Wong. Sideshow Tricks: Becki Staff, Kris Rubens, Jason Randall. Cromer Pier: Paul Macro Promotional and Main Site Photography: Charles Leek, Viking Line: Matthew Wright.