Plymouth magician wins national contest
LIFE'S just magic for talented teenager Alex Hansford who's won a national conjuring competition – and now plans to disappear around the world.
The 18-year-old, from Stoke, picked up the coveted Rovi Trophy at the International Brotherhood of Magicians' British Convention.
It was the second time Alex has won the honour, awarded to the competitor exhibiting the highest level of skill with playing cards.
Alex first took home the trophy two years ago while still a student at Devonport High School for Boys.
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This time he was still the youngest entrant by eight years, beating nine other illusionists, some performing tricks with ropes and cones as well as cards.
"Competition organiser Steve Evans said the standard of card magic this year was the highest it has been in the competition's history," said Alex.
And the win has spurred the youngster on to consider magic as a career.
He's postponing university, where he is thinking of studying maths or computing, and is planning a global trip, supporting himself by performing street magic.
The idea is for him to reach America's entertainment capital Las Vegas in time for next summer's enormous MAGIC Live convention, at which Alex has a job "interning" as part of the organising team.
"I'm leaving in mid-January, coming back in August," said Alex.
"I'll be seeing if I can survive on card tricks. I guess it's a bit like busking.
"The street is the most difficult environment for a magician, the people can walk away, you need to make them stay, and making them do that, and pay you, reveals how successful you'll become.
"My idea is to go to Singapore first, then Perth, Sydney and Brisbane, in Australia, then over to Los Angeles, New York and Toronto, then Vegas for the convention."
Alex said that after re-appearing in this country, he'll make a decision about his long-term future.
"Maybe I'll put off university for another year," he said.
Alex's interest in magic started when he was 11.
"I went to a New Year's Eve party," he said.
"Someone did a trick with a pack of cards. I learned it and went round showing friends and family. They were amazed.
"I got some books and it spiralled from there. I did lots of practice, five to seven hours a night. Well, I don't play video games.
"But the cards were in my hands while I was watching TV, it became muscle memory.
"Mostly it was the attention I got from doing magic that I liked," he said. "I had something that made me stand out at that age.
"But I don't know why I've stuck at it for so long."