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Magician Daniels snubs ‘tasteless, sad’ Blackpool

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Celebrity magician Paul Daniels has labelled Blackpool “rough, tasteless, bawdy and scruffy”.

Daniels made the comments on an internet forum discussing international magic convention FISM, which is due to take place in the town in 2012. Blackpool’s hosting of the event will mark the first time the three-yearly convention has ever been held in the UK.

However, writing in a post addressed at foreign visitors planning to attend the UK event, Daniels said: “When I heard it was going to Blackpool, my heart sank. Please, please, please, if you go to Blackpool, do not think that this country is like that.

“Blackpool, now, is a sad place for those of us who remember it as it was. Now, it’s rough, tasteless, bawdy, scruffy and you have to accept that, treat the place as it is, and find your own fun. Like I say, it’s sad.”

Speaking to The Stage, Daniels confirmed that he had written the post, claiming it had come out worse than he meant.

However, he insisted the town could not “compare with the mostly continental venues that have hosted FISM over the years” because it does not have the “cultural level, design or style of the other places that FISM has been to”.

“They simply do not have the rowdiness and drunkenness that seems to have taken over the Blackpool seafront areas, particularly at the weekends, and talking to people who used to go all the time, nowadays they simply do not feel safe,” he said.

Daniels’ comments were criticised by Blackpool Council, with councillor Maxine Callow, cabinet member for regeneration and tourism at the authority, labelling his words as “incredibly damaging” to the town’s reputation as a destination resort.

She added that the comments were an insult to Blackpool Magicians’ Club, which led the bid to host the event.

“Massive investment has been made here in recent times and the town is absolutely on the up. This has been reflected in the huge numbers of visitors who have come to take a fresh look at Blackpool this year,” she said.

Equity spokesman Martin Brown also defended the town, saying it is “a very important entertainment centre” where, as home to the National Theatre of Variety, a “great number of Equity members work”.

Meanwhile, Derek Lever, from Blackpool Magicians’ Club, described Paul Daniels as a “C-list celebrity” who would not be invited to the FISM Convention in Blackpool in 2012 and who does not get invited to the club’s own annual convention.

“If only Paul Daniels could fill the Opera House, Blackpool with 3,000 people like Blackpool Magicians’ Club do every year,” he added.

Lever also hit back at criticisms levelled against him that he had banned people from attending Blackpool Magicians’ Club’s annual convention and that, because he is behind the UK’s hosting of FISM, these people might not now be allowed to attend FISM in 2012.

He admitted that a “small number” of people had been banned from attending the club’s annual convention, but said he was not aware of anyone being banned from FISM.

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