Paul Kieve Q&A – Bath Literary Festival
This Q&A was written by Paul Kieve at the request of the Bath Literary Festival where he was presenting Hocus Pocus to an audience of youngsters
What was your first pet? A Terrapin, but my Mum took it back to the shop after a couple of days because she read somewhere that they carried some kind of disease. I was really sad.
What’s your favourite food? Chocolate and Chicken, although I don’t normally eat them in that order
What’s your least favourite food? Beetroot – I don’t understand why it was invented.
What was the most memorable birthday party you’ve ever been to? I once performed at the tenth birthday of the niece of the Sultan of Brunei which was held at Claridges ballroom in London. It was unbelievable. For many of the wrong reasons!
What was your most embarrassing moment while you were growing up? Taking a clarinet lesson at school . I found it very difficult and used to take a class jointly with one other pupil. Trying to get a note out of the thing is actually much harder than it looks – your mouth has to be in the right position and I always remember my teacher telling me I had a ‘slack embouchure’, I never really understood what he meant. One day I was forcing myself so hard to try to make a sound emerge that, let’s just say that there was a musical noise – but it was rather more of a trumpet sound and it, ahem, didn’t come out of the clarinet. I’ll never forget my teacher just saying ‘Oh Dear’. I gave up playing soon after.
Tell us a secret about yourself . I never tell secrets – it’s my job not to!
What’s your worst habit? Trying to do too many things at once and leaving things to the last minute (like these questions)
Where is your favourite place in the world? My bed.
What’s the worst job you ever had? I once had to perform a magic show in a really rough nightclub in Birkenhead just after Liverpool had lost the FA cup to Wimbledon. I was announced as ‘from London’ which didn’t help.
What’s the best thing about being a grown up? Having your own house
What’s the worst thing about being a grown up? Having to pay for your own house
What was the last music you bought? A CD of Argentinean tango music
Who’s your favourite author? Professor Hoffmann – he’s a writer from the Victorian era. He wrote amazing books on magic but also mad things like ‘Home Gymnastics’ and ‘Tips For Tricyclists’. He comes to life in my book!
Which book do you always recommend to your readers? Well – I’ve never done it before because Hocus Pocus is my first book – so I’ll recommend that one!
Which book do you wish you’d written and why? I wish I’d written a book called Hiding The Elephant by Jim Steinmeyer – it’s the best book on the history of magic in recent years – it really brings the subject to life.
Tell us about the best holiday you ever went on. It was a working holiday – I used to work with Guinness World Records and we took a trip to Las Vegas to give certificates to all the greatest magicians in the world. And we were given the best tickets for all the shows in Las Vegas!
Where would you most like to visit? I’m really lucky because my work as a magician has taken me to over 50 countries, but I’d love to go to Machu Picchu in Peru. I’d also love to visit China.
What’s your favourite thing about yourself? I don’t follow the crowd.
Which radio station do you listen to? Radio 4 until The Archers comes on, and then I find a music station for a while!
What did you feel when you saw a copy of your book for the first time? That was only three days ago. I was amazed and delighted – I’m used to working in theatre where the results are instant. Seeing the book so long after the manuscript went off was weird – I had to re-read bits of it to remind myself I’d written it!
Are you a tidy desk person or a messy desk person? Desk? I can’t see my desk – oh it’s under there somewhere..
How do you reward yourself when you finish a book? A really nice bar of chocolate and a cup of tea.