Clive St James
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Blog / News from an Entertainer / After Dinner Speaker / Magician
       
     

 

1/10/2015

TopTips on selecting the right speaker/entertainer for you

Have you ever put the phone down and thought I hope that I have done the right thing.. oh well fingers crossed well heres a few tips so you don't get them burnt.

How about this for a better idea! Just ring me it will save you so much time I have so many tips and advice about booking a speaker, comedian, keynote speaker, magician, wedding magician, compare,  auctioneer and after dinner entertaineer the list would go on for ever so let me just help you with your special event...          Just call Clive and put your feet up...  07860 290437 

   

Book your After Dinner Speaker / Magician October 31st is Halloween

   

 30/09/2015

Shortage of Lady After Dinner Speakers

I attended a conference yesterday where the host said that there was a shortage of female after dinner speakers. Well let me tell you I have worked with and trained some exceptional ladies.

The first one that springs to mind is Sally Kettle (fellow Guinness World Record holder). we were both booked to entertain at a Rotary Dinner a few years ago now and she was first on. I was watching and listening to her speech and got so captivated that I forgot that I was next on! Her talk is about how she became the first woman to row the alantic twice. Book her now!

Incidentally Fay Presto was telling me at the London Magic Circle on Monday night that there is also a shortage of female magicians. I have seen her work and lecture and she is a great crowd pleaser so book her as well, now!

 

   

 

 

16/09/2015

The Heritage Foundation

I have supported the Heritage Foundation for just over twenty years now or Comic Heritage as it was when I joined, which took over from the Dead Poets Society (but that's another story or do I mean poem).

I was so pleased to take on the job as auctioneer last Sat. at the late Robin Gibb's home in Oxford to raise funds for our charity, Bomber Command. (The last time I was invited there I was already booked at a surprise retirement party for the Steward of the Royal Yacht Club Lymington where I have performed many times, as he always complained that he never got to see the show in full as he was of course working.)

 

   

Chairman David Graham (see pic. nice waistcoat) was very upset when he found out that Bomber Command didn't have a memorial to commemorate those air crewmen who lost their lives during World War II. After speaking to Robin Gibb MBE, our then president, they decided to make sure that a fitting tribute would be erected in  memory all those brave young men. The resulting memorial which stands in Green Park is a marvellous and very moving tribute to the 55,573 air crewmen who were lost. It was unveiled by Her Majesty the Queen in 2012, together with 14 other members of the royal  family to close the ceremony one of the last great Lancaster Bombers flew overhead dropping 50,573 poppies over the assembled crowd. It was sad that Robin who had been so instrumental in  raising the awareness and funds to achieve it, died only 3 weeks before the unveiling.

The Gibb's home 'Prebendal' is a magical place. Robin's wife Edwina who is a lovely warm and pretty lady, a life long Druid and gives you a proper hug when you have a picture taken with her, tells us that it was a favourite of King Henry VIII, Queen Anne and was owned by the last member of the Rolls Royce family. Robin and Edwina had spent millions restoring the beautiful old buildings, Chapel and surrounding gardens and even created their own 'Stone Henge' ,over looked by an enormous hare wich could have escaped from Alice in Wonderland! 

I was especially thrilled to go and view Robin's fantastic collection of awards. My favourite was a multi-squillion platinum award for "Saturday Night Fever" ...one of my favourite ever films. It was so tempting to give my own dancing version during the formal proceedings at the lunch but thankfully (in retrospect) just wasn't time.  

     

 

 

   

 

14/09/2015

Rod Stewart in concert Hyde Park

Bryan Adams was terrific (he is the only famous Canadian I know). He sang all his hits, the crowd loved him, he was great.The Corrs hadn't sung together for ten years but corr they were well rehearsed and were just FAB... to my mind they stole the show. Rod was, of course, top of the bill but he was not ready (he was warming up his voice) when they announced him. The crowd forgave him but this happened a couple more times...until "why are we waiting" started to come from the 50,000 strong audience.

The great Chris Evans then had to come on and save the day. He suggested that we should all sing a song to our neighbour "God save the Queen" which we were all happy to do. Then just a couple more intro's and out came Rod!  Everyone would have forgiven him but he then announced that he was not going to sing any of our old favourites but a few that he hadn't sung for some years. Since he had only decided this a week ago he had rehearsed but claimed not to remember all the words although he did apologise for this in advance. I had never seen a crowd leave in such numbers like this when, to use his own description,the "principle" came on. it was so sad. Everyone loves Rod but I could not believe how badly he let himself down. We had been looking forward to this for several weeks. Now having said this I think Rod is a great story teller and he sang 'The killing of George', one our own favourites, a true story of a friend and which he did superbly

Can you imagine going to see Tommy  Cooper and him not performing the Incredible Mind Reading Duck,  the chaos of the Chinese Linking Rings or his greatest hit Bottle Glass, Glass Bottle...there would have been an uproar!   

 

   

 

07/09/2015

Recommendations

It is very important to know how your bookings are generated. I just had a chap pop around with his deposit for a surprise party for his wife. I always ask the question "how did you get to hear about me?" He looked a bit shocked so to help him I asked if he had seen me in a show, on TV, been recommended or via Google Search Engine? "All four" he said "at least twice each", but the main thing for him was that I never ever swear and am always charming to the audience.  I thought OK, that's about as good as it gets!

Week-end

Can't wait for the week-end...working as an Auctioneer on Saturday then Rod Stewart on Sunday in Hyde Park. That's as good as it gets too.

 

 

     

04/09/2015

Expenses

This week some of you have raised questions about the practicalities of claiming expenses from our clients.

Its well over 25 years now since I was first booked by Rolls Royce as their guest speaker at Slaley Hall, Newcastle (what a golf club!).

I remember in tailoring my opening remarks for their occasion, I said that the after dinner speaker is much like the great Rolls Royce engine. It is generally well lubricated, practically inaudible and apparently goes on and on and on. They started clapping on the second point and continued for some time.

Anyway back to the subject. Some time later I was to invoice them for my fee but while there, one of the PAs was taking care of out of pocket expenses and enquired what mine were. I said that it was about £40.00 for the petrol (I had just driven up there in my car to keep the expenses down). She looked a bit shocked and said to me "are you sure?" I said that I was and had the receipt to prove it and by the way it would in fact be £80.00 as I obviously had to drive back. She said once again "are you sure" and then paid up.

It was not until later I found out that people were flying in, getting taxis, chauffeur driven cars, first class train fares and yet their guest speaker had driven up from Poole to save them a bit of money. No wonder the PA looked so shocked! Well you live and learn.

 

 

     

 03/09/2015

Local BBC Radio

So I am booked in to do a spot at 7.30am on the wireless, (life as a world champ). No problem, the reseacher rings me at 7am to make sure I'm up and Adam. Now here's the problem I want to share with you all. Jackie thinks I should get out of bed to do the show as otherwise it's disrespectful! Now I know I have a great face for radio but I say how would they know that I'm still in bed. After some thought she agrees but says that I should at least sit up just in case... just in case of what I ask her.

Now what would you do because I think most of the radio shows are conducted from someone's bedroom! Plus on TV Paula Yates used to do her spot on the Big Breakfast in bed. And what about Andy Warhol... need I say any more... John Lennon and Yoko too. Say no more. 

     

     

25/08/2015

Google to take over the world

We were at the 'Pig on the Beach' on Studland (voted best hotel in the UK last year) for a birthday party at the week-end when the subject of the Google search engine came up.  We were able to find out all about the Pig from how to get there (open top bus), ratings on the restaurant and it's history which we all agreed was just fab as there were some serious foodies and travellers in our party. Now this is where I got lost. If we want all this fantastic information at our finger-tips from Google how can people be moaning that Google Search Engine has too much information about us all? Google are in fact launching their own online shops based on what we have already bought on line.... that's great isn't it?

Bow Tie Day

Don't forget this Friday 28/08 is national wear a bow tie day, so get out your best one (www.daysoftheweek.com)

 

     

24/08/2015

Has Britain Got Talent!

The team of BGT have been on to my management to ask if I want to appear in the show next year! I don't know. Jamie, the magician who was looking like this year's winner was then beaten by a dog. So should magicians get their Rovers revenge?

Top Gear

I think I should still wait for Chris Evans to contact me. He has my audition tape. I notice that Suzi Perry was in the Sunday Times yesterday with a report on the Fiat 500, the car that bankrupted British School of Motoring. Funnily enough we were on the One Show together with Chris.  Now I may be a bit biased but I think the three of us would make a good Top Gear Team. We had a certain chemistry on the show. Plus many thanks to Toby Milton for his letter... see my Keynote Speaker page.

 

     

17/08/2015

Another great week-end

I have had a couple of emails this week asking me the best way to choose someone to help you on stage. I remember getting Janet Dibley (she was in the audience with her family) to come up and help me on stage at the Lamb Theatre in Eastbourne (she's a great actress I loved her in 'The Two of Us' with Rodney). After the show was over she told me she was a bit nervous.

This got me thinking that it doesn't matter how confident someone may be in their world, it's so different when they step into yours. Now David, the club captain at Highwoods Golf Club where I performed my Tommy Cooper tribute this weekend, couldn't wait to get up and help me or at least if not he certainly did so with great charm and fun.

So before you call someone up make quite sure they can walk OK, they haven't drunk too much and can speak clearly. On the other hand make sure they are not over confident and could be a bit boisterous. Of course you can always ask the chairman if he he would like to pick someone to help you. This often causes a lot of laughs as he goes about deciding who to send up to work with you!  

 

   

08/08/2015

Tips for wedding speeches

Over the last few weeks I have had lots of emails asking for basic advice and tips for their wedding speeches.

So lets kick off with The Best Man's speech. He is the star of the show. It is the greatest honour to be asked to be the Best Man. He has to be really funny but with no jokes downloaded from Google search engine... so no pressure then!

His job is to read out the telegrams, thank the bridesmaids and ushers, thank the groom for his toast and anyone else who needs a thank you. The next step will be to say some very kind words to the parents of both the bride and the groom and raise a glass to them.

Finally the moment everyone will have been waiting for... anecdotes about the groom. Include some great stories from his youth (which if old friends you will know or have gleaned from family/other friends)and up until the present day plus of course a big sprinkle of teasing.

PS 8th August is National Happiness Day!

See www.daysoftheyear.com

 

 

   

 07/08/2015

Today it's tips for the Father of the Bride.

Tradionally the father of the bride will act as host for the occasion and will welcome all the guests and thank them for coming, especially those who have travelled very long distances to be there.
He will describe his daughter and recount the highlights of her life, normally with some humour or teasing. He should also say a few words about the groom (maybe with tongue in cheek or sympathy...whichever feels appropriate) and of course welcome his new son in law to the family with lots of teasing) Offers a toast to the new bride and groom with words like so ladies and gentlemen family and friends lets raise our glasses and toast the new bride and groom

 

   

 06/08/2015

Tips on the bridegroom's wedding speech

His role traditionally is to:
Thank the bride's father for proposing the toast
Thank him for the meal (if appropriate)
Thank him for his kindness and friendship (if appropriate)
Thank him for his daughter's hand
Thank the guests for their good wishes, gifts and for coming
Thank his new wife for marrying him
Thank the bridesmaids for helping his new wife through the day
Comment on their charm and beauty
Add a few words on how he met his wife (lot's of teasing)
Offer a toast to the bridesmaids with words like Ladies and Gentlemen would you join me in a toast to the bridesmaids(everyone raises there glasses) and says the bridesmaides

 

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 30/07/2015

It's a grey day

Road Rage rears it's ugly head again! And what an unbelievable nightmare it is. Are we really going back to those bad old days?

Twenty years ago I designed a course of exercises which I called Car-Robics. The idea was that they could be done at the steering wheel.  So instead of coming up to a set of traffic lights, banging the steering wheel and shouting "thats another thirty seconds of my life wasted" why not spend a fun few minutes doing a little workout at the lights? We don't exercise enough as it is, so putting this spare time to good use makes you feel better and could mean you will live longer too.

1. Tension builds up in the shoulders but can be dispelled quite quickly with a few shoulder shrugs. Just sit up straight pull your shoulders up to your ears hold for two seconds and then let your shoulders drop.

2. The bum squeeze will help reduce tension, fatigue and prevent cramps. Squeeze your buttocks together so you rise in the car and this will help with your circulation...no more numb bums!

There are 10 different exercises in my Car-Robic routine or as many as can be done while you are at a stand-still. 10in fact ten in all so you can have a complete workout

It really caught the imagination back in the 90's and I was featured on the local ITV news, channel 4's Big Breakfast and on our own local 2CR radio every morning to keep Dorset drivers safe and sound. We had a lot of fun and the story was of course in all the newspapers.

Sir Richard Branson had a bad accident and came off the M40 in his Range Rover so I contacted him and gave him a run down of the Car-Robic routine. He thought it was a great idea and the next thing I knew he had introduced Air-Robics on his Virgin planes... 

I think I'll have to contact Chris Evans our Motorman of the moment and get some Car-Robics on the No.1 Breakfast show again.  We can get exercising at the wheel and maybe change the world a little bit.

 

   

 18/07/2015

Guess what! On the 24th of this month it's national "tell an old joke day" that's it I am going to be speaking fluent joke 24/7. I have of course looked on my Google search engine to confirm all and yes it's official see www.daysoftheyear.com

Magazine feature

Just waiting for the reporters and photographers to come round. They want to do a double page feature (all about how I train people) in a well known magazine always a lot of fun. Then it's out on the terrace for an afternoon's sunbathing.  

 

     

 13/07/2015

Keynote Speakers.

I have had a few questions about keynote speaking this week so let me share a few thoughts with you.

As the keynote speaker it is your job to set the mood, tone and the feeling for the occasion. You will normally give the opening presentation for that event and in most cases they are looking for you to be inspirational. As an example many universities will have a keynote address as a part of their graduation ceremony.

I tend to talk about my own experience and how the importance of the passion I felt for my chosen subjects gave me the determination, dedication and tenacity to fulfil my early ambitions.  To my mind passion is incredibly important and while that alone cannot guarantee success, it is the one thing that will keep you going against the odds and the inevitable challenges and disappointments along the way. The common link between every winner is determination.

I feel that if an individual has never been passionate about something then they owe it to themselves to start looking. And then not give up looking until they find the thing that will excite and fulfil them. 

How could someone like me who struggled at school, lacked any confidence, stammered, stuttered and became speechless under pressure go on to have three world records? It was because I have always had an underlying love and a passion for motoring, comedy and magic.

So make your keynote speech the icing on the cake for your particular audience. Your presentation should idealy be anecdotal and easy for them to relate to. Humour is always a plus in keeping it entertaining, light and sweet. 

If you look on the Google Search Engine you will find the most sought after (and highly paid) speakers on the circuit are Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby, Bill Gates and Will Smith. If you don't have  enough bills for all those Bills then give me a bill... I mean a bell.

 

 

 

   

10/07/2015

The sun is out again!

Just about everything is better when the sun comes out. Thank you very much to the Daily Echo; they made me the page 3 boy today... you must take a look. Google just let me know. It seems that a day doesn't go past without the Google search engine coming into my life.

Just had Highwoods Golf Club on the phone to me about my booking with them next month where I shall be performing close-up magic around the tables with an after dinner speech about Tommy Cooper's life after the coffee's have been served. I performed there seven years ago and it was sold out. They have just informed me that this one is sold out before they have sold any tickets (I don't know how that works out). It is of course to do with all the TV coverage. Highwoods was one of the great Tommy's favourite golf clubs.

Here's a magical after dinner speaking tip for you. Find out who the person is that's going to introduce you at the event and hand him an A4 piece of paper written in black and in bold (so if he's had a bit to much to drink or lost his glasses or both he can still read it). A good intro is a must and really sets the scene.

 

 

   

06/07/2015

Home again

Left France late Saturday night. Great time, food and people. Sunday morning straight into our local radio station Hot Radio with Chris Mower who is a great chap/DJ. He's also on the after dinner circuit. I appreciated his research about me and complimented him. Then he admitted he just put my name into the Google search engine while he was having his cornflakes and up came about 20 pages on me. Good old Google.

Top Gear

Just watched the last Top Gear with Jeremy Clarkson and reminiscing...it was a good show to finish on and we'll miss him. But was I right or was I right (see previous blog) all three of them hinting they would like to be on the after dinner circuit albeit in a very subtle way...

The Range Rover

We have had a Range Rover Sport (fully loaded) for the last three years and it has really looked after us (all over the UK and France). We were wondering if it was time to replace it and looking around but what could match it? It's the only car where you can have such great fun off road during the day and then put through the car wash, DJ on and off to St.James' Palace in the evening. The comfort is surperb throughout but in a second pop the seats down and it changes into a van. My favourite is it's mid range acceleration from 60-120mph in seconds (off rd of course). I think we should re-assess in another three years.

 

 

   

28/06/2015

Google Search Engine

A big thank-you to the Google search engine team (who ever they are!) It's because of them I get to speak to people from all over the world Canada, USA, and Holland this week alone. After dinner speakers have contacted me to share ideas on the different ways we do things in different countries.

The Greek Problem

So lets sort this out next...

Has anyone noticed that Harry Enfield has completely disappeared?  (I think he has gone into hiding). You see Greece's problem started back in the 80's when Harry introduced us to this character called Stavros who sold kebabs which of course are a huge Greek export. Because of Stavros there has been a major decline in kabab restaurants in the UK.I must add that I have no facts or figures about this - it is just a theory at the moment. However in conclusion if we could get Enfield back on the telly with a more positive Greek character it would solve the problem he clearly started.

 

 

     

26/06/2015

The After Dinner Speaking Circuit

If all goes wrong for Jeremy Clarkson he'll be able to go to the States and pick up between $100.000 -200.000 for a 30 minute after dinner speech so it's not all bad news. Jeremy is a very funny, clever man although the waiters will have to be a bit wary if they are late with his steak...

Great news for me! Guinness World Records have just informed me that I have a new world record - The Fastest Magician on the Planet at 18 magic tricks per minute (my mum would have loved that). Now that gives me three world titles in all, one for driving, one for comedy and now one for magic! Chris Evans' 'Doctor Drive' is on the way to put the magic back into motoring!

Had a great time in Menorca and already been invited back. House sitters are arriving as we are off to work in France for a few days next week.

Had a great Sunday lunch in London with Lisa Tarbuck's dad Jimmy. Roy Hudd was there- very funny man (he told me I had a great face for radio). It was also good to see Kenny Lynch, Jims old sparring partner and Bradley Walsh who was on form and spoke about how much he had JT to thank for his success. A lot of love and respect in the room.

One last note. I am working on a new web page (KEYNOTE SPEAKER). This is going to be about my award winning after dinner speech entitled "When I hit the dashboard". It's all the fun stories I have collected from the world of Driver Education, so watch that space.

 

     

22/06/2015

Jeremy Clarkson / Top Gear

As a young lad growing up Top of the Pops, The Tommy Cooper Show and Top Gear were the only programs worthy of discussion. Jeremy and the gang were Top Gear's "Pan's People"! Clarkson was so popular that at one point we even voted in a poll to make him the next PM (sorry David).

JC had the best job in the world but sadly he forgot this fact.

One day his lunch was a bit late and he punched the person he felt was responsible. He was sacked and sadly this is now old news and we move on.

My Master Mission.

As a triple world record holder in driving licences, magic and comedy, I think the show needs a "driving doctor" where topical motoring isues can be dealt with each week.

So watch this space

 

 

   

19/06/2015

My People

I wanted to talk to my people today about the Cook Off I am doing this Saturday in Bournemouth town centre as part of the Food Festival Week. Well, my people are so busy now days (because of me) that they have people, which means that I have to talk to their people to ask them if I can speak to my people! If this goes on I will have to get more people to speak to their people to ask my pe