‘Thank you, I loved the show’
One of the things that makes my heart glad is when someone in the audience comes over and says how much they’ve enjoyed the show. I particularly love the teeny children who edge up to me, shy and embarrassed, but wanting to say thank you. Sometimes I almost wish someone would come over and say something critical but I guess that’s asking too much. It’s really hard to be self-critical and as I live and work alone I don’t have the benefit of a trusted person to make positive comment and suggestion.
However that’s not the gist of this blog, although it might be of another sometime. I love it when I have good press and sometimes people feel moved to email me or send photos which I really enjoy receiving. So when I received the following letter I thought that it was very special and Tom has kindly said I could blog about it:
hello Mr Alexander,
you don't know me, in fact we have never met but I wanted to share something with you and thank you for changing my life.
In the 80s I lived in chester on Parkgate Road, i was a keen magician and did the occasional kids show... I was in my teens.
One day i was hanging around in Chester City Centre, it was a beautiful summers day. Just outside browns a guy rides up on a unicycle pushing a cart (while riding), he spread a rope out and began to draw a crowd.... swept the pitch with a broom, made a hankie disappear, rode a tall unicycle while juggling burning torches. The show was phenomenal, the crowd was massive and at the end, when he held his hat out it was full of notes (I actually remember him asking the audience to make sure that their tip were all folded up nicely). I remember that the guys name was Mr Alexander, and have remembered that fact for nearly 30 years.
I now live in North Carolina. During the week I'm a school teacher ( teaching american history... oh, the irony!) but at weekends I'm a magician, busker, unicycle rider.
And i wanted you to know this. I've seen the "best" magicians in the world. I've seen goshman do his salt shaker routine, seen incredible magicians and jugglers.... but none compare to the show you did in the 80s on the streets of Chester.
I still talk to people about the Mr alexander Show and how it inspired me to perform, how one day... even now... I hope to do a show as great as yours and...having found your website thought it may be nice to e mail and say thank you... for inspiring me to do what I love and do it well.
so there you go... thank you.... I will remember your show forever.
Now if you know me (the REAL me, not the Mr Alexander me) you’ll know I’m not really the sort to blow my own trumpet too loudly, but this letter was really special and here’s what I said in reply:
I'd had a terrible night of stress and the nightmares reflected it. I wont bore you with all the reasons for the stress but there are many.
I sleepily turned on the iPhone and read the first of two emails. More stress.
I almost didn't bother with the second. A name I didn't recognise. Tom Hughes. But then I do like real emails and not spam so I did. His email gave me hope. Not that I was completely losing it but I was certainly questioning some of the basics. As you do waking in a lorry on a cold December Northern European morning.
Tom's letter retold the story for me of my strange life as a roving entertainer and of the serendipitous effect of it on the people who have seen it over the years. Not that I have a huge inbox of praise but I do have a few! And many people do come over at the end of a show as they did in Portsmouth last weekend.
But somehow Tom's letter was special. Not only did it lift me at a particularly low moment (I do have a few of those) but it reminded me how those 'little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness' can roll on across the universe, gathering size and momentum and continue to have such a profound effect for good.
Tom's letter has reconfirmed why I do what I do. It's about much more than a half hour of entertainment. It's about a celebration of life, it's about following dreams, doing something with thought, dedication and joy. And it's about reaching out, particularly to the watching children, that these values are worth pursuing. Even if I am not aware at the time how much of all that is being noticed or understood.
So thank you. I will your remember your letter forever.
And I guess that’s it all said really. If you’re thinking something nice about someone, or you have had a good experience as a result of something someone has done that has made a positive difference in your life, make sure you tell them about it. Pass it on!
All the best from a road near you…