Mandy Davis - Diva of Deception

The Diva of Deception, Mandy Davis, is a professional close up magician and balloon modeller working for the corporate market as well as banquets, dinners, receptions, weddings, bar/batmitzvahs, private parties etc. As a member of The Magic Circle, she is chairman of the Young Magicians Club and editor of their coveted glossy magic magazine. Mandy is also a member of Equity.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

MY HERO

MY HERO

He only made it two weeks past his 69th birthday but he was so proud of that one – he told everyone on that day that he was soixante-neuf! He died in December 1992 of a massive heart attack – which I believe was in answer to his fervent prayers. You see he didn’t want to live as an amputee and, the night before the doctors had told him that he would have to lose his leg… Who am I talking about? My dad….

You know about my mum - well I should give you the rounded picture and introduce you to my dad.

Matthew Davis was born in the East End of London in 1923. London in 1923 and grew up there with very little money but a very loving home. He would always boast that he was a true Cockney, born within the sound of Bow Bells. He grew up there with very little money but a very loving home. He had a sister, Estelle or Baby Stella as she was known for too many years, and he idolised her completely. He himself was still called Mattie by his aunts and uncles well into adulthood – although to everyone else he was always Matt.

School was JFS, the Jewish Free School, where the pupils were given a pair of boots every year as so many of them had never owned any. He loved learning, anything and everything but he had to leave school at fourteen to help the family finances.

As a youngster he would spend the weekends roaming the streets of London and one of his particular favourite haunts was the Tower of London itself. He became friendly with some of the Yeomen there, or Beefeaters as they are colloquially known, and he learned many tales which were passed down verbally to the fraternity rather than written in the history books. He never stopped learning about his favourite city – right up until he died. Every week he would spend an hour in the local library reading through the Encyclopaedia of London. We would say: ‘What letter did you get to today, then?’ and receive the reply ‘Oh, I’m at E or F or G – and did you know…?



Dad loved to tell stories, particularly based on the history he’d learned, He would share great chunks of his knowledge with us as soon as we were old enough to understand words. Whatever the story, true or a bit made up, he would give us graphic details and end the whole thing with ‘And I know this – because I was there!’

Of course I believed him completely, well he was my dad so he wouldn’t lie! Whether stone age times, the Armada or his favourite – the Great Fire – I really believed him – until I reached an age when I could understand the twinkle in his eye when he said it! I still hoped, against hope, that maybe he had some sort of magic potion or time machine that meant he really did manage to be present all those amazing events. Because of this attitude of his I grew to love the writings of Charles Dickens because there was a man who really was there!

He was in the army during World War II - he was a Gunner and that meant being a driver too. He was always stationed in the UK and escaped the worst when he was on weekend leave and returned to find all his batallion had gone over to France while he had been gone - thus saving him the carnage of the final push. He was finally invalided out due to asthma - which he never suffered from again once the war ended.

He studied at night and became a dress designer with his own factory and eventually, when i was very small, he opened a market stall on Saturdays, and on Wednesdays from 1973, in St. Albans - the first in the country to have a changing booth so customers could try on the dresses instead of taking a chance.

He loved watching magic, really loved it, and instilled a love of it in me too. He also loved comedy and musicals. Side by side we’d sit watching Tommy Cooper, Fred Astaire and Paul Daniels (not in the same film you understand). Mum didn’t enjoy these at all – her love was horror in the form of Dracula and other gory tales – but she sat alongside us as dad and I wallowed in our magical musical enjoyment.

When I was nine and a half years old my dad was ill. I didn’t understand what was going on – I just knew that there was whispering in corners, phone calls from doctors, rushing out to hospital appointments. I spent one day in school crying the whole time. Then they explained to me that he had too much sugar in his blood and had to stop eating sweet things because he was overweight.


Six months later my parents noticed that I had become very thin and with the same symptoms! Sure enough I was diagnosed with diabetes too – but as a child I had to start giving myself injections twice a day.

I spent ten days in hospital learning to do it and then one of my parents had to learn too. My mum bottled it straight away – she was not going to stick needles into her beloved daughter. So Dad had to hide his revulsion at the task and take on the responsibility. He did so with love and anguish because he felt that he was somehow responsible – the shock of him getting ill had possibly given it to me he’d been told.

But he set the tone for the rest of my life when he sat me down the first time I tried to cope with that injection at home without the safety net of the nursing staff around me:

‘Mandy, you have to remember always: this is not an illness, it’s just an inconvenience.’

And that is how I’ve lived my life – because my dad, my hero, set the scene and made it possible for me to do so.

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