Could it be magic? Joy Tibbs speaks to funnyman and illusionist John Archer about fun, faith and family
“What do a policeman and a magician have in common? They can both make the bad guys disappear.” OK, I’ll leave the jokes to comedy and magic expert John Archer from now on. Having been a police officer for ten years, John has somehow managed to retain his sense of humour and now entertains full time. “I had an uncle who used to do a card trick every Christmas and I remember thinking how cool it was to do something that seemed impossible,” John explains. “I think we’re all fascinated by the unknown. “Then I went to art college in London and there was a magic shop across the road. I used to buy little jokes to play on friends: chewing gum that went bang and eyeballs you could put in people’s coffee.
“As I got to know the guys, they started showing me a few tricks, and it then became a bit of a hobby. Those were the days when you got a student grant – you were just given money – which I spent on magic rather than education.” John returned to Stocktonon-Tees, where he still lives today, and joined the Middlesbrough Circle of Magicians. A lover of music, he was also in various bands and duos. He started off doing the odd joke or trick between songs, but these soon became the main focus. John ended up going solo and his hobby turned into a successful career. The 57-year-old is often asked to entertain at church events and Alpha launches. Having become a Christian at the age of 19, faith has had a huge impact on John’s life, both personally and professionally.