A magician, who has only been a Member of The Magic Circle for 18 months, has won the society’s prestigious Close-up Magician of the Year competition.
John Duffett, beat five other contenders for the title with his performance of card magic at The Magic Circle’s London headquarters last Monday (24 April). He convinced the judges of his skills as he made cards disappear and appear in impossible locations.
John 25, who lives in Redbridge, London, was diagnosed with autism when he was seven. He says: “It was then I realised why I was shy and struggled to make friends and understand people.”
He stresses that his condition has not affected his life in a bad way and has in fact helped him. “It allows me to focus and concentrate on detail and I never get bored learning.”
It was while revising during lockdown for his Politics and Philosophy degree, that magic took over his life. “I had been dead set on doing a regular job and but then realised that they would never give me satisfaction. I had been into magic as a young boy but it was not until I was stuck at home doing my revision – and I got my degree – that the cards took over as I sat there.”
On his winning the award John says: ”I don’t think I have ever been as nervous in my entire life. I have done some important gigs, like performing at the after-show party for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year and I regularly perform at The Magic Circle’s public shows but nothing compared to this.”
In the competition Douglas Tilston was second and Russ Appleby third. The other competitors were The Sepp, Matthew Garrett and Danny Lee Grew. John Duffett was presented with his award by The Magic Circle President Megan Swann. The organiser of the competition was Liam Ball.