Mention some of the biggest names in music and comedy and the chances are that Ben Taylor has not only worked with them, but classes them as his friends.
For magician Ben’s special brand of magic has led him to share the stage with an ever-rising number of superstars.
In fact Ben - known as The Magic Mod - has just returned from a nationwide tour with rock band The Libertines, with legendary frontman Pete Doherty.
And The Mod - so-called because of his love of ‘mod’ gear and music - has again risen to new heights after casting his spell across audiences of thousands.
“I’m just grateful that The Libertines gave me a chance and put their trust in a magician to go out there as warm up,” says Ben, 27, who lives in Tilgate, Crawley. “I used to idolise The Libertines as a kid.”
Ben’s love of magic started when he was aged just six and was given a present of a Paul Daniels magic set. “I became hooked.” So much so that he frequently found himself in trouble at school - Ifield Community College. “I was always playing with a deck of cards when I should have been studying.”
But it paid off in the end. Ben started doing magic gigs at the age of 18 and turned professional just three years later - using comedy as a vital part of his act. He can even count top comics Jo Brand and Alan Davies among his fans.
Ben started his career by performing to just a handful of people but now regularly performs to thousands. And he’s since gone on to make numerous TV appearances and live performances all over the country. “It’s been an amazing journey.”
He even got to meet the man who first inspired him - Paul Daniels - as well as the inspiration for his ‘mod’ image - The Modfather himself Paul Weller. “He’s an absolute idol to me.”
He in fact appeared alongside the former The Jam star in a documentary after being approached by award-winning documentary maker Ally McKenzie, who was curious about him and his act.
And it’s all gone on to lead to a unique image for Ben who was first smitten with the mod bug after watching the 1970s rock opera Quadrophenia as a boy.
“There’s no-one else out there doing magic with a mod style. You have to dress really smart and look sharp.”
A video of Ben’s magic tricks was chosen to feature on the website of Oasis star Liam Gallagher’s clothing line, Pretty Green.
But, despite his growing success, modest Ben remains firmly grounded and credits his parents for helping him on the road to stardom.
“I want to thank my mum and dad for supporting me. When I said to them that I wanted to be a magician they could have said ‘you’re wasting your time’ but they didn’t. They supported me.”