Real Magic Shops Exist!
Updated: Jul 20
Check out this review of PJ's Magic Shop in Birkenhead, which is JAM packed with magic tricks that will turn you into a giggly teenager!
Well, before I kick off, I just wanted to say THANK YOU for taking the time to support me (Vinny Sagoo), by reading this blog and everything else that you do! It has been a great journey so far meeting you at conventions, dealer days, virtually or wherever else our paths may have crossed.
So what is this all about?
Well, normally I do longer blogs called 'Words of Wisdom', or WOW for short, but this time I have elected to do a blog/post on a real bricks and mortar shop, called PJ's Magic Shop based in Birkenhead Market.
So why am I promoting another Magic Shop??
Well, my philosophy has always been to support one another, especially now when it's a little bonkers. I have see so many of my friends and family succumb to the virus in various ways, that this small gesture, is my way of helping those who don't really have much of an online presence.
It's all too easy to order online and just expect the parcel to drop through the post within a few days, it much harder to make the effect to go out and support bricks and mortar shops with regular purchases.
Please take the time to support local enterprises as the economy opens, whether is it a micro pub, butcher, florist or a magic shop like PJ's.
"At the end of the day its not about what you have or even what you've accomplished... It's about who you've lifted up, who you've made better. It's about what you've given back."
A throwback to the hay days... well 2019
We all start our journey into magic through the same door of amazement and bewilderment.
In 2019 I attended the Blackpool Magic Convention as 'Neo Magic' and it was a great success, mainly because I managed to bribe my wife to help over the weekend.
She didn't know what to expect and I thought that she would absolutely hate it... turned out that I was completely wrong and she thought it was one of the best weekends ever!
Since 2019, Shina has helped at various conventions, not only keeping me suitably fed and watered, but also on occasion demonstrating a few effects herself. So I also wanted to say a special thanks to my beautiful wife Shina for always supporting me and enduring my crazy ideas!
So, back to Blackpool and PJ's Magic Shop
In 2019, I was on my final day of demonstrating effects when I was approached by a chap called PJ. I began chatting with PJ and found out that he runs a shop in Birkenhead Market and subsequently wholesaled a number of my effects. I didn't really bump into PJ again until February this year when I attended the Blackpool Magic Convention.
During my second day of setting up the Neo Magic stall, carefully curating the various effects with some degree of precision, believe it or not, I have been accused in the past of having OCD, or as I like to call it CDO...
Anyway, PJ popped over again and began talking about magic and how business was generally. As most of the shops I know now are online, it was great to see that he had a bricks and mortar shop and it was thriving with a great customer base.
PJ told me that he really enjoyed my effects as they were suited to his customers, namely because they are Easy, Simple and Powerful, my E.S.P. mantra (wink, wink).
As the months unfolded, the world would be thrown into an abyss, namely due to this new found nemesis curtailing our liberty like never before!
Many small companies like myself began to struggle and the impact was felt more for retail shops like PJ’s in Birkenhead Market. For the next few months, PJ, along with many million of shop owners would face uncertainty and financial ruin.
I therefore thought it only prudent to help amazing shops like PJ’s to get back on their feet and let people know that they exist, and secondly, that they are back open.
A while back I spoke with PJ about putting together a small article/blog/newsletter call it what you will, as a way of helping increase his online presence. PJ was happy to help and I interviewed PJ on 18 July 2020 about an hour before he was due to open his Magic Shop.
- Interview by Vinny Sagoo -
Q: So, PJ, what does that stand for?
A: My name is Paul Johnstone, but people call me PJ for short. It's quite funny that I have many friends who don't know my real name.
Q: PJ for short, when did you get into magic, what was the initial spark?
A: Well, I can remember exactly what age I was, perhaps around 10 years old and received a Paul Daniels Magic Set. I think it's the same for most people, they normally receive a magic kit from a friend or family member that leads them on the journey of magical fulfilment. For me, I remember being completely in awe and from that point on, all I ever wanted to do was magic.
Q: How long have you had the Magic Shop at Birkenhead Market?
A: It has been a part of my life for over 30 years! It’s crazy when you think back to when I started at the age of 18 years old that it is still going strong with customers coming back week after week for the latest effects, accessories and just a general chit-chat.
Q: What are your best selling tricks and why?
A: Most of my customers are hobbyists, therefore, enjoy magic tricks that are easy to do and sleight free. The things that sell really well are thumb tips and small packet tricks. It's easier for me too as they don't take much time to set-up, practise and deliver that knock-out punch!
Q: I am interested to find out what your favourite trick is and why?
A: Well, that’s a tough one. Errr, okay I think that my favourite trick to perform is that Chop Cup and I’ll explain why. I really enjoy self-working tricks, but over the last 30 years, I have performed the Chop Cup more times than I care to remember. As such, having refined all of the moves and patter, I feel that it is my showpiece.
Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy performing my stage illusions, puppets and various gags, but when I perform the Chop up at paid events such as Weddings and Birthday parties, I feel that the client is getting something to justify their spend. It has taken a very long time to refine and I am really proud of my presentation, which is always met with gasps!
Q: Tell me something interesting that is magic related?
A: Something interesting, not sure that I know anything. Okay, well I have attended the Blackpool Magic Convention for many decades and competed in the FIRST ever 'Beat The Wand' competition. I then competed for another 12 years and came first one year, along with second about four times after that. I don’t do it anymore, but it was great fun at the time.
Note from Vinny – if you don’t know what 'Beat The Wand' is at Blackpool Magic Convention you really need to attend and find out, I will leave it a mystery for now, but what PJ has achieved is nothing short of amazing!
Q: What kind of stuff do you sell at the Magic Shop?
A: I sell everything really, packet tricks, professional tricks, card decks (some rare), stage effects and a few joke too. I also have a thing called the 'Sell/Swap' box, where customers can sell their old effects or swap for something more suitable. It a rather novel idea, but it’s nice to see the contents of the box change from week to week. Sometimes I find things in there that I've forgotten about and think that's really cool, old gold!
Q: So PJ, finally, please can you provide some details of you amazing Magic Shop.
A: Well, it’s:
PJ's Magic Shop
I am open Monday – Saturday (9.00 – 5.00pm).
The only time I am closed is Sundays and Bank Holidays. I also have a facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/PjMagicShop/) so if you follow that, you’ll be able to see some of the photos from inside the shop and the great magic I have to offer.
If you want to bring tricks down to sell/swap, it's probably best to give me a call first on 07884172086, as I might not have much in the box that day.
Okay, so that was my brief interview with the amazing Magician PJ, who not only has a REAL bricks and mortar Magic Shop, but performs professionally at children's parties, weddings and other events.
If you are ever in the area, please be sure to check out PJ's Magic Shop and his fantastic range of magic. There are a number of Buses and Trains that run directly to Birkenhead Market and there is loads of parking available for only a few pounds.
So, that's a wrap from me and I hope you enjoyed this little Q&A with PJ.
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As always, stay safe and be happy!