Chris: Example- Changed the Way You Kiss Me
This song has haunted me. It’s been the soundtrack to some of the scariest moments of my life.
I’ve been earning a living as a magician since I was thirteen, doing magic in bars for tips, then doing street magic and slowly and surely getting bigger gigs and trying bigger stunts.The one everyone used to love was when I dislocated my shoulders and skipped through my arms. I travelled around the world doing it but I’ve paid the price- you can’t physically do that forever.
One of my top ten heroes is Houdini and in my early twenties I started practicing escapology. My biggest ever escape was in 2011. I was invited to launch the Big Splash Festival in South Wales. I was paid to hang upside down by my ankles from Newport Bridge and escape from a strait jacket. I had done upside down escapology before but this was the biggest ever- scary but exciting.
The year before I’d been hung from a fork lift truck by the river. It was the day after my last night at the Edinburgh festival. I had done twenty-six evening shows, twenty-six streets shows plus guest shows. So nearly seventy shows in three weeks. I had drunk half of Scotlands alcohol and I was wrecked. My last show didn’t finish until after midnight so I had to get straight into the car and drive from Scotland, through England to Wales. I didn’t even have time to change when I got to Newport. I was just lifted onto the forklift, strapped in, hung upside down- bang!
This was my biggest ever escape and I wanted it to be my best. That bridge is over one hundred and twenty metres high. The river is underneath and dead windy. I was getting buffeted about. It took about two minutes for them to get me up so by the time the escape started all the blood had rushed to my head, I have osteoarthritis in one of my ankles so it was really sore from holding my full body weight.
I chose this song on the loud speakers to create a real spectacle. As I was winched up the lyrics kicked in “I’ve never been afraid of the highest heights “ it really got us going, it’s high energy and helped build the atmosphere. The beat just kicks in and takes you somewhere else (away from the pain of the wire cutting into my ankles and the blood beating in my head). To be honest what I was most nervous about was dropping my strait jacket into the river because they cost a couple of hundred pounds and it takes a while to wear them in. It took about one minute thirty. My best escape yet.
Most recently this song came on when I was going to meet my girlfriend’s family in Gateshead for the first time. I had met Claire at a wedding fare and asked her on a date. That first time is never easy is it? You have to knock on the door meet the parents and it’s always really awkward saying “Hi, I’m Chris”.
This is my most memorable song because it follows me around on fearful occasions in my life but they always work out okay in the end!
Actually, I met the guy Example backstage at a festival. So whenever he plays Newcastle I pop down and do close up magic in his dressing room.
Actually, I met the guy Example backstage at a festival so whenever he plays Newcastle I pop down and do close up magic in his dressing room.
Photo: sent by Chris, Newcastle Upon Tyne