Part of the joy of research is finding surprises in archives, newspapers, autobiographies and ephemera.
Often these stories don't fit the narrative of whatever writing task is at hand at that moment and so get forgotten, but since 2017 I've been thrilled to give many of them a wider audience on BBC Radio 3's Time Traveller series - broadcast every morning just after 10am as part of the live Essential Classics programme on Radio 3 and then subsequently collated into themes for the Time Traveller podcast. Through this series I've been able to tell over twenty stories from the past about magic, art, sport, theatre, music, dance, and of course the suffrage campaign.
This article was published in the Observer newspaper on 24th August 2014 - it was originally published by the same paper on 24th August 1986 and is about the vote of the Magic Circle, the International Brotherhood of Magicians, in that year on whether to allow female magicians to become members of the organisation.
The past fortnight has been very exciting!
I've found myself doing fortune telling gigs as Ada Campe quite a lot recently and it's been really fun researching and even more fun creating my own methods!
I did a lot of research on cold reading and traditional methods of fortune telling - all fascinating stuff. Having also learnt to do and perform a bit of Mentalism in my magic shows helped too. In Glasgow at the Britannia Panoptican - a fabulous old music hall that I heartily recommend you visit - I had my first encounter with a tarot card reader and found it very interesting watching her and seeing how she worked the whole encounter.
As it's intended for amusement purposes only I don't use tarot cards or do palmistry or anything that people have heard of and therefore might believe.
I've created my own cards and methods which are intended to be so blatantly silly that hopefully no one will take them to heart - although as I've discovered this means that people think I'm double bluffing them and am in fact psychic. I'm not. I'm just interested in people, want to amuse them and have discovered that with enough ambiguity, you can make anything seem relevant.
Feedback from events so far includes:
"Spookily accurate", " What a fun idea!" "You are a little bit psychic, aren't you?", "Spot on!", "That's amazing!" and
"They really are chickens, aren't they!"
Basically it involves me telling lots of strangers how lovely they are and to have confidence in themselves... an asset at any event, surely?
Thoughts, reflections, bits of research