by Tom Lyon
"You do realize," said Drummond, "if we run out of flash paper, we're more than five thousand miles from Davenports."
It was quite a thought. I had been shredding the stuff and throwing fistfuls of fire for a good half hour in an attempt to lighten the mood. We were sitting dejected in a scrotty room in a flibby guest house somewhere near a shebbly bit of beach on the coast of Kenya. Thus far our adventure had been disastrous.
Our grand idea had been to turn our backs on a summer of magnolia garden parties and take a bohemian trip to Africa. There we would spend August travelling around performing magic wherever we went. We would be real magical shaman, sowing joy and delight on the dusty, ochre ground.
Africa had different plans, it seemed. The first night in Nairobi was entertaining enough for we walked quite accidentally into a brothel. There we were well received even before we whipped out our tricks; but the following days, as we began our journey up the coast, left plenty to be desired.
Our rudimentary Swahili meant approaching people was very hard and since sleight-of-hand is not an established part of Kenyan culture, people did not know what to make of us. One man had a seizure and collapsed. It would have been a new triumph for L & L; we were a little concerned. Things were not going swimmingly.
But as we slowly adapted to the cultural differences and expanded our Swahili to include 'blow' and 'fist' and '1,2,3', we found our magic enabled us to make extremely strong bonds with many different kinds of people. We were welcomed into homes like old friends and shared jokes across the language barrier like old hoofers. In four quick weeks I had some of the most rewarding performing experiences in 15 years of doing magic.
We filmed our travels and are selling a DVD called Kenyan Conjurations. The money raised will build a new primary school out in one of the very villages we visited near Malindi. The production costs have been sponsored which means every pound spent on the film will make its way to Africa. It is only the two of us recording the fun we had but the magic, in every sense, comes from the heart.
www.kenyanconjurations.co.uk for DVD previews and updates.
© Tom Lyon, April 2008