Saturday, September 24, 2005

What's In A Name? (Part 2)

In our last episode, young magician Gord searches for a good stage name. Beginning with "The Amazing Gord" he changes to "Mr. Magic" thanks to a forgetful Santa impersonator. After discovering that "Mr. Magic" may not be the best name our hero searches the inner reaches of his soul to find the perfect name, and in the end he comes up with .......

When I discovered the problem with being called "Mr. Magic" I decided the time had come to actually think about the type of name I should use. The first thing I did was examine the types of magic jobs (Or "gig's" as we say in the business) I was getting. At this time I was doing primarily kid shows. (Birthdays, Picnics and holiday parties) Using this as a starting point I decided on three criteria I would use.
1: The name had to be fun.
2: The name had to be magical.
3: The name had to appear at the very top of the yellow pages category "Magicians."

Taking number three into account I knew the name had to start with the letter "A". It is a documented fact that when looking for something in the Yellow Pages people always start at the first entry and work their way down. This, in turn, turns into a nasty fight between companies to see who can out "A" each other. This is why under the title "Plumbing" you might find a listing "Aaaaaaaaaa Plumbing & Son's." Why this, because "Aaaaaaaaa Plumbing & Son's" has one more "A" than "Aaaaaaaaa Plumbing King" and therefore gets that all important first phone call.
Thinking about number two I settled on using a known magic word as part of the name. "Pocus", "Abracadbra" and "All hail Satan" were written down, along with a few others, and I played around with each name, trying to figure out what I could put in front of each one to make it sound fun and sit at the top of the Yellow Pages category.
Let's see; "The Amazing Pocus", "artful Hocus", "Abilities above that of mortal man, All Hail Satan".
"The Amazing Abracadabra!"
"Holy crap, that last one was pretty good," I thought just a bit too late. ("Abilities above that of mortal men, All hail Satan" somehow worked against me. Go figure.)
And so I because "The Amazing Abracadbra", although I lost eh "The" in the Yellow Pages Ad. And it worked, I started getting calls on my newly christened office phone and took business away from "The Amazing Wij."
Of course there were drawbacks. First of all those who knew me as "Mr. Magic" at the Tea House didn't know I had changed my name or had a new phone number, fortunately the old phone number was my apartment number so they could still get in touch with me that way, so it wasn't much of a drawback. .... I like wasting space with stories that go nowhere.

There was a kid one year at the English pavilion during Carabram who noticed my name change and pointed out, quite snippy, that it was my third name in as many years. I told him I was really a set of triplets. He didn't buy it for some reason.
And so I was "The Amazing Abracadabra" and stayed that way for many years, except for the times I worked the Tea House, Mr' Gibson really stuck with that "Mr. Magic" thing for far too long. Even when I had actually got him to acknowledge my name change he put me down as "Mr. Abracadabra.
(Just as a short aside, the Gibsons just won the City of Brampton's Persons of the Year award. I guess torturing a magician doesn't count against people anymore.)

Then came Phillip.
The first thing I had against Philip is that he phoned my office at 11:30pm. I don't care who you THINK you are, 11:30pm is far too late to be calling pretty much anyone. (I understand that President Bush has the same rule.)
The second thing I didn't like about him was his tone. He acted superior in much the same was a used car salesman acts superior when he's selling you a piece of junk.
He wanted to hire me to teach a short class of magic to some kids in an after school program and was willing to pay .... real money.
So one day I drove twenty minutes, got lost, got found and ended up in some private school. My first warning that this day was going to suck was the fact that these kids were, how you say, special. No, not that kind of special, ADD kind of special. I basically spent the half an hour trying to keep the kids seated.
The second warning was the fact that Phillip was actually there as well. I had no idea why I was here if Phillip was just standing in the corner watching. I thought maybe this was some perverted turn on for him, you know, guy gets off on watching some magician loosing control of a class of hyper privileged kids.
It turns out, as I would learn at another late night phone call, that Phillip was testing me. He said he needed someone to do strolling magic in a new high end downtown restaurant and he was impressed with what he saw. He then offered me the job. I accepted.
He then asked me what name I used. I said "The Amazing Abracadabra", to which he replied "Well we'll work on it."
I was to meet Philip a couple of days later to sign a contract, and I figured that I needed to change my name again. So I thought, and thought, and thought and thought. I knew I was interested in using my own name, that way people would actually know WHO was entertaining them, but I couldn't find a complimentary word I liked.
"The Amazing Gord", Nope, used that. "The Abundant Gord", I was big, but not that big. "Gord the Magician with abilities above those of Mortal men, all hail Satan!" Nope. Damn Judeo-Christian based Country.
Then, at a coffee shop about a thirty minute drive away from my apartment, just before I was to meet Phillip I was reading a magazines for family entertainers. The article was about a women named, and I am not making this up, "Betty Pocus." This got me thinking. What if, instead of putting something BEFORE the "Gord" part of my name I put something "BEHIND?"
"Gord Pocus?" "Gord Hocus?" "Gord Abracadabra?" Wait, wait ... I have it "Gord Cadabra!"
Perfect! It worked, it was brilliant! All hail me!
Then Phillip said "That's ok, we'll work on it."
Did I not mention that Phillip was a bastard?

Beyond what Phillip said I became "Gord Cadabra." To piss him off I even got a name tag. I started work at Le Biftech in Toronto as "Gord Cadabra", went to East Side Mario's as "Gord Cadabra", returned to Le Biftech (This time their Mississauga location) then over to Philthy McNasty's in Oakville and to Shoeless Joe's in Georgetown, all as "Gord Cadabra."
I still used "Amazing Abracadabra" in the Yellow Pages, and these days I usually just introduce myself as Gord, but on my business card and my web site it's "Gord Cadabra."

I've been thinking of changing the name again. I'm getting away from kids shows and strolling magic. Perhaps I need a better name? But what name? I don't really know. Both my wife and my friend Bill like Gord Cadabra and, like I said, it is only used in print.
So maybe I'll just keep on using the name. If any changes come I'll let you know.

By the way: I will go into detail about Phillip and the many ways he screwed me in a later post.

Next Post: Why don't we all just get pudding?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats on a sucessful show Gord!!!!

4:02 PM  

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