Geoffrey Durham (b. 1949) is a British magician and author. For several years he performed as “The Great Soprendo”, a parody Spanish magician, and later as a comedy magician under his own name. Among the television shows he appeared in were Crackerjack, Countdown, 50 Greatest Magic Tricks and Puzzle Panel. He was a consultant on the Doctor Who episode, “The Greatest Show in the Galaxy”. He also appeared widely on stage. (His catchphrase was “Piff Paff Poof!”). Durham is a member of the Inner Magic Circle and the International Brotherhood of Magicians. (Until it allowed women to join, he declined membership in the Magic Circle). He won the Maskelyne Award in 2002. He is retired now.
Durham became a Friend in the mid-1990’s. He noted that he sat in a traffic jam every day for three weeks staring at a Quaker poster that said, “Peace is a process to be engaged in, not a state to be reached.” Intrigued, but wary that someone would try to convert him, he began to attend Meeting for Worship. Not only was he not pushed to become a Friend but he himself became involved in spreading the Quaker message. For many years he participated in Quaker Quest, an outreach program, and he still speaks regularly about Friends at Quaker events. Among the books he has written are The Spirit of the Quakers, Being a Quaker: A Guide for Newcomers and What Do Quakers Believe? as well as a contribution to the Twelve Quakers and … series. Durham was married for several years to Quaker actor Victoria Wood. He has said that Quakers are “the single most inspiring, moving and rewarding thread running through the whole of my adult life”.
I found Geoffrey Durham’s magic cheerfully corny. His Quaker Quest presentation (with another Friend) is wonderfully clear and moving. The link for this is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFzQNZDdyFE.
“A Quaker Meeting isn’t a vacuum, it’s full… a Quaker silence isn’t sudden, it’s planned… (the aim is) a nurturing stillness.”