75 Years of Magic in Grey Lynn

Magic may be all about fun and entertainment for the audience, but for the members of the Brotherhood of Auckland Magicians it's serious business.

The club was founded in Grey Lynn and this year is celebrating their seventy-fifth anniversary.

Vice-President and professional magician Mick Peck says that in an era where clubs of all genres are facing dwindling numbers, the Brotherhood of Auckland Magicians (BAM) has never been stronger. "The astonishing thing is that even after seventy-five years we have more people attending our monthly events and more magicians wanting to join than ever."

The club was founded in 1946 for those with a serious interest in the performing art of magic. "The focus of the club is membership from professional entertainers," Mick says. "Attendance is strictly by invitation only, and prospective members must perform an act to demonstrate their ability and dedication."

Club president Alan Watson QSM says that although called a brotherhood, there are several female magicians involved in the club and also magicians now living outside of Auckland. The most far flung member being Paul Romhany - a magician and Charlie Chaplin performer now living in Canada.

"Magic has always been a part of entertainment and culture going back to the days of the pharoahs in Eygpt," Alan says. "There are hieroglyphics inside the pyramids showing magicians."

Patron of the BAM is Ponsonby News columnist David Hartnell MNZM, who became involved in magic at an early age. "I joined a magic society when I was eleven years old," remembers David. "It's fantastic that there is such a thriving group in Auckland after all these years. It's come full circle for me."

Members meet once a month at the Surrey Hotel in Grey Lynn. "The friendship and camaraderie is unlike any other club I've ever been involved in," says David. "There are no egos involved, everyone is there to help each other out."

As well as monthly meetings the BAM also run annual charity shows where tickets are distributed to local non-profit groups.

Mick says that even in a high-tech world the age old art has never been more popular. "Magic on the internet can now go viral and be seen by more people in a day than Harry Houdini performed for in an entire lifetime," he says. "As long as magic continues to evolve, it will never die."

PICTURED : Mick Peck, Alan Watson, David Hartnell MNZM

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