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About two years ago my dad rang me up and said 'have you heard of this Dynamo?', I hadn't so didn't have a clue what he was on about, but as soon as he said the name Steven Frayne I knew exactly who he meant. Growing up in Bradford until I was 12, I was educated at the local Middle School which was okay. It had a few rough kids but other than that it was okay. The high school was a different matter though and before I had the opportunity to sample their curriculum my mum and step dad moved me to quite an affluent area of Leeds. That was the last I saw of most of my classmates and friends and so my dad mentioning Steven Frayne was a blast from the past. Steven had made it as a modern day magician, he was famous and I've followed his career on TV and in the papers ever since my dad called me. When he released his autobiography at the back end of last year I knew I had to read it. I wasn't one of Stevens friends as such, we were after all about 11 and girls and boys didn't really mix, boys sucked at that age! He was in my class though and I was intrigued to see how, like me, he had made it out of a pretty run down area, all be it under completely different circumstances to myself.
This autobiography is really interesting, not just for me who can picture the places and guess some of the people he is talking about (often giving them alternate names), but for anyone who doesn't know him it's an interesting account of his journey over the last 30 years to where he is now: Dynamo. His journey has been tough to begin with. Suffering from Chrohns disease he has spent most of his life troubled with at times a crippling and painful illness, but he has battled through it and sought inspiration from his peers, but most importantly of all, his grandfather. The relationship he describes with his grandfather, who has since sadly passed away, shows what a loyal and genuinely lovely guy he is. He can see through how people at school portray him since he has found fame. Being horrendously bullied at school for his small frame and different and shy behaviour, he can see through any of his old school mates trying to befriend him and it is this that I so admire of him. It would be easy to take the acceptance which he never got as a child from his school mates, but he has built a small group of extremely close friends around him. His accounts of the meetings he has had with many extremely famous celebrities is so interesting, especially when you think of where he come from. He is honest in the accounts of what kind of area he grew up in on the local council estate which was extremely run down in the late 80s and early 90s before it had any type of regeneration. I was lucky enough not to have a childhood like his and came from a fairly decent part of the area, but surrounded by the love of his small family he explains that anyone can make it as long as they believe in themselves.
The book doesn't follow the usual style of autobiographies and doesn't follow on in a chronological way. He explains in the very beginning that he will take you on a journey, but it may jump back to the past as and when memories surface. His book, like him, doesn't conform, but it doesn't need to. He explains how on one occasion of meeting Prince Charles, he decided he would be himself and dress in trainers and a baseball cap rather than portray himself as something he isn't and I think this is admirable. The book runs along similar lines and I found it quite gritty and 'urban' in its appearance. The pages aren't glossy and the pictures are rarely in colour. Instead he uses pictures throughout the book rather than in set sections at the usual half way point of the book. The occasional picture of him as a child are interesting to surface my own vague memories of him, but the ones of him doing magic for stars such as Rihanna, Will Smith, Ian Brown and Richard Branson to name but a few, show what an imaginative and hard working guy he is to get where he is now. His journey is difficult to listen to at times as he explains how despite becoming 'famous' and performing magic for stars such as Wayne Rooney, making appearances on the Jonathan Ross show and being booked for private gigs for the rich and famous, he still wasn't able to secure his lifelong dream of getting his own TV series.
For anyone who has seen footage of Dynamo, it's a no brainier to see why he has made it. The magic he performs is unreal and he has transformed the image of magic from being quite dated to being bang up to date, and making it relevant to today's young generation as well as older generations. I watch in awe every time I see him on the TV and have had several 'heated ' discussions with my sister who constantly plays him down, when I can see no other explanation for what he does other than magic!! It sounds ridiculous I know but if you have seen him perform you'll understand where I'm coming from. In his book, he casually describes the moments has has moved suntans and tattoos, to bigger stunts such as walking on water on the Thames or levitating Lindsey Lohan in Singapore. He humorously explains how he performs one of his signature acts when he puts mobile phone in a drinks bottle, but his explanation most likely isn't what you would expect! The fact that he can interact well with the public shines through and he explains why he does certain things such as walking away from people immediately after performing one of his acts. His ability to describe himself as just an ordinary guy shines through in this book, even to the point of not calling his fans 'fans' for fear of sounding like he is better than anyone else.
An incredibly grounded, talented and genuine person, it shines through in every word of his book.