Summer 1995. It was a really hot morning and the heat was really affecting the MS. I pulled the cover from the birdcage that was home to my two pet macaws, but as I snatched at the cloth it snagged on the cage and caused my right ankle to give way. A few hours later I ended up in casualty at Frimley Park hospital. I had torn the ligaments in my right leg and badly sprained my ankle, and all the MS symptoms had exacerbated. My speech, my strength, my balance, had all got worse - and to top it all, I was given really strong pain killers that made me feel very drowsy. I felt like a zombie.
I called my agent to explain what had happened and that he should cancel any imminent work. Luckily I had only got one engagement booked in for the following two weeks, but the client (a bird food company) insisted that they would accommodate my physical needs if I could still manage to fulfil the engagement. Also, I was told that Geoff Capes, Britain's strongest man, would be guest of honour, and he would be more than willing to lift me on and off my barstool - making a joke of the situation. I agreed.
My brother Phil drove me to Birmingham and I did the job to the best of my ability, but the painkillers that I was taking were obviously making me very slow and drowsy and the client must have thought that I had been drinking, because my agent received a call from him complaining about my act. They accused me of being drunk - and they were refusing to pay me my fee. I don't know, you try and help somebody out, and all you get is grief. I should never have agreed to do the job. I really couldn't be bothered with the aggro, so I told my agent to give the client what he wanted. I think we eventually settled on 50% of the fee.
People were now talking about my health. Either I was a cocaine addict, an alcoholic, suffered from aids, or had a combination of all three! These were the rumours that were filtering back to me via the show business gossip mongers. In fact, I had a very good idea where the cocaine rumour was started. A couple of really good friends told me that a certain 'celebrity' was spreading malicious accusations about me taking drugs, but I couldn't prove anything, so I never pursued it.
Not once did I hear the term Multiple Sclerosis. These rumours were really hurting me, and because my health was my achilles heel, I would bite back at anyone who dared to pry. I suppose it was my defence mechanism coming into play, plus the fact I didn't consider it to be anybody else's business. However, the pressure was mounting and soon I would have to tell the truth. The big question for me was when and how?
Twelve months later, I was just getting out of my car in the driveway of my house, when an old friend by the name of Brian Walters made himself known to me. He explained that he was doing some security work for a guy named Tony Nunn. I'd never heard of the guy, but he assured me that he was well known in show business circles. I explained to Brian that my career was gradually slipping away and that work was very sparse. He suggested that I give Tony Nunn a call. So I did, and arranged to meet him at his house the following day.
Tony Nunn lived about five miles from me in a big flashy house, which must have been worth in excess of a million pounds. He greeted me at the door and asked me to come into his lounge. I was using my walking stick at this point, but told him that I had hurt my back. He informed me that he was acting as a manager to a few snooker players at the time, and that he had previously represented various show business personalities. I could tell from his manner that he was keen to represent somebody in show business again. He went through his CV and it all sounded very impressive. I was so vulnerable at the time, so I was keen to go along with his plans. I thought to myself that I had nothing to lose, so I told him the truth about the need for a walking stick. I told him everything about my MS. This didn't seem to bother him in the slightest. In fact he said: "We will turn it to our advantage." That was just what I wanted to hear! However, looking back now, maybe I should have taken my time and chosen a manager with more specialist experience in my own field. I wish I'd have gone with my instincts; never mind - we all make mistakes.
Tony Nunn started off our relationship with lots of enthusiasm, but eventually we both went our separate ways. I believe that he didn't really understand my position and because of that, mistakes were made. I found myself out of pocket and our partnership only lasted six months.
First of all, he arranged for me to employ a very expensive press agent by the name of Mark Borkowski, who I contracted for three months. Tony said that he wouldn't take any commission from me until I showed a profit in earnings. Very fair I thought. However, all my monies went into his bank account, and trying to differentiate what were expenses and what were earnings, was an impossible task. Despite these problems, I just went along with this way of doing business. It was very frustrating and confusing.
I decided to give, free of charge, my 'exclusive' story to the Daily Mirror, providing that they ran it for two consecutive days, and then followed it up with a review of my show at London's Lyric Theatre. I was led to believe that these terms were agreed and I proceeded to do the interview with a reporter named Anton Antonovich, who was extremely compassionate and very understanding about how difficult I found it to talk to a complete stranger about something that was very personal. When the interview had finished, I felt both physically and mentally drained but, on the plus side, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders.
At this point, I knew that the story was going to be big, but I didn't expect it to be front page news! The day the article hit the headlines, I had the press outside my house wanting a quote from me, the national news featured a section devoted to me, and I received loads of telephone calls. I really didn't think I was that important!
That day I was inundated with offers of various TV interviews, but I really didn't feel ready to talk. However, at about 4pm a motorbike courier arrived at my house -delivering me a personal hand written letter from Richard Madeley and Judy Finnegan asking if I would join them the following day on their TV programme. I have always enjoyed being interviewed by Richard and Judy - they are very professional and always listen to what you have got to say.
I was only too pleased to appear on their show, and that night they sent me a chauffeur driven limousine which took me to a beautiful hotel on the outskirts of Liverpool, where I was wined and dined followed by a good night's sleep.
The following morning I appeared on Richard and Judy's TV show, where I was interviewed with extreme compassion. It was a delight, and I followed this with quite a few more TV interviews. The public response was absolutely overwhelming. I received hundreds of letters all wishing me well, and my Mum, who was running my fan club', replied to every letter. I am sure that this was greatly appreciated by all. Over that short period of time I did a massive amount of press and TV interviews, and never once accepted money. I suspect that there was some money floating around, but it never ended up in my direction.
One TV appearance that I remember doing was on BBC's Blue Peter. Upon leaving the BBC studio and entering the car park, I couldn't help but notice a Bentley motor with the number plate: 'MAGIC'. It was the car of Paul Daniels. Being the facetious little so & so that I am, I decided to plaster his car with my publicity. I put my flyers all over his windscreens. I know it was a childish thing to do, but it made me feel better.
The next couple of years were spent seeing my career, income, and health go on a downward spiral. I didn't feel unwell; it's just that my physical condition was suffering due to the stress of my failing career and I knew that my marriage was also on the rocks, and it wouldn't be long before I would have to submit to the use of a wheelchair. Everybody has their faults, and the main one in my marriage (even though I was not to blame), was, I suppose: my health. I think for a marriage to work, both partners have to focus on the qualities of each other and not on their faults and weaknesses -otherwise it is a recipe for disaster. Well, every time Karen and I had a domestic, she would very cunningly steer the disagreement around to my health, which was nothing to do with the argument! It would put me in a no-win situation - and she knew it! I also felt that I was apologising all of the time; in fact I was sick of hearing myself saying sorry. I was basically saying sorry for being me, which was pathetic really, but it was the way I was made to feel. I was beginning to really resent Karen.
I consider myself to have quite a strong character, but when someone attacks my health, it's my achilles heel, and I have no ammunition to retaliate, so I am left wounded. I put up with this shit for a while, but each time it felt like I suffered an emotional scar, and I was gradually being pushed away. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as it was preparing me emotionally for the split. Eventually I couldn't - wouldn't - take any more of what was essentially, psychological bullying. I'd had enough of being Karen's emotional punch bag, forever walking (soon to be wheeling) on egg shells! Whatever I said was wrong. Everything and anything aggravated her. I was really pissed off with her mood swings! One minute she was fine, the next she was like a rottweiler with lip gloss! She was a Jekyll and Hyde character (split personality) one of them I obviously had feelings for, but the other person was somebody I really didn't know, or like. She was driving me mad!
If she was in a bad mood and feeling miserable, she wasn't happy until it rubbed off on me! Why do people do that? It got to a point where I was dreading her coming home and I was worrying about what mood she might be in; in fact, it was making me feel quite nervous. This was no life, it was just an existence! I felt that I was now living with two diseases, MS and Karen, and unfortunately there was no cure for either. I didn't have a choice but to live with the MS, but Karen, I had to get her out of my life, as I was very slowly being poisoned.
Of course, I know that there are two sides to every story, and I am sure that Karen would give her reasons for acting the way that she did. I think she was punishing me for inflicting this disease upon what effectively was both of us. But her reasons didn't matter anymore. I think it was time to face up to reality and just call it a day. I was so unhappy. On the surface I appeared ok, but underneath the painted smile, I was very sad. There were times when I would be on my own and burst into tears. The easy option was to say nothing - hoping that things might get better; but they never did. It would have been easy to just keep bottling my emotions up inside; but in the end I started to believe that I was worthless, and all my confidence seemed to disappear. I felt like this for a short while, until it occurred to me that a marriage can be for life, and it was a really depressing thought to think that I could be in this toxic relationship for a very long time!
Then one day, I looked on the internet and compared my situation to other people. The advice was always the same; 'Get out before it is too late'. So I decided that I needed to lay my cards upon the table, I needed to be brave, I couldn't hide my feelings any more. I needed to get on with my life, even if it was on my own. It was a bit of a daunting thought to wonder whether or not I could cope on my own, but there was only one way to find out. There was only so much I could take and this time I decided that enough was enough! It was a bit frightening really, because once I make up my mind, I know there's no going back!
So I then gave Karen the perfect opportunity for a get out; the suggestion of splitting up (AND I MEANT IT!). She had no hesitation in taking me up on my offer, which made me suspect that maybe someone else was involved? Although she assured me there wasn't, I didn't totally believe her; but by this stage I really couldn't have cared less. (Honest!). I think that there was somebody hanging around in the background, but I had no proof of it. Because it was my suggestion that we split, it seemed to ease Karen's guilt. She told me that she hadn't been happy for a few years. Being the sarcastic person that I can be, I said to her: "Last year when we flew by Concorde to Barbados and stayed in a five star hotel drinking vintage champagne and eating the finest food, I wasn't really aware of you being unhappy!!"
We decided to divorce and place our house on the market. I don't know how the press found out about me and Karen splitting up, but they did - and it definitely wasn't me!!!! So it was now official. I then received a letter from Karen's mother to express her sadness in hearing of us divorcing. However, she added that she was pleased to hear that I would make Karen financially secure! Is that all that concerned her? I knew that this whole divorce issue was going to be a costly affair, and it would drain me financially and emotionally, which in turn would probably affect my health. I really didn't care any more; I realised that Karen was abandoning a sinking ship, but there was no way that I was going down with it! My own life jacket was well and truly secure. I just wanted to get happy again!
I still had a few shows to contractually fulfil, and therefore I was forced to use Karen as one of my assistants as she knew the job and it was pointless training somebody new for such a minimal amount of work. We both tried to be professional and carry on working together, but it was a very difficult situation. It was during this period that the worm turned for me. It was one afternoon when we arrived at a theatre and my stage manager Paul gave Karen the news that the wardrobe case which contained all of the girls' costumes was too big to fit down the corridor and so the girls would have to remove the costumes they needed and take them to their dressing rooms. Not a problem it seemed for my other two assistants, however Karen became very 'waspy', had a pathetic tantrum and stormed off. "What a bitch," said Paul, who immediately looked at me to apologise for calling my wife 'a bitch'. I smiled and immediately replied, "You're right." In fact I said much worse that that! We both laughed and let her carry on throwing her toys out of her pram. I just wasn't prepared to protect her anymore.
I really don't want to go through this divorce shit again! It is such a traumatic experience, but once I had got used to the idea of being on my own, I liked it. Nobody nagging and blaming me about my MS. Nobody calling me a cripple. (This is a term which I despise. Karen had called me a cripple about five years previously and from that moment on, I just didn't feel the same towards her). No sighs, no whinges, no moaning, no worries: Great! What wasn't so great was the thought of my wheelchair being delivered.
December 1998. My custom made wheelchair arrived at the house. I just sat in my office staring at this alien creature for about three hours before I finally weakened and decided to sit in it.
I could just about manage a few steps with the aid of a rollator, (a walking frame with three wheels), but I was a bit of a liability. Hence the reason I purchased a wheelchair. I think that with the divorce proceedings, constant arguments with solicitors and Karen - who incidentally was still residing under the same roof (not healthy), stress finally took its toll and I temporarily gave in to the MS. I was a physical, mental and emotional wreck! I was at rock bottom.
I sat in the wheelchair, released the brakes and headed for the kitchen. I went to the refrigerator and helped myself to a can of coke. As I was quenching my thirst I suddenly realised how quickly I had got myself a drink without any effort. Something I had not been able to do for ages. The wheelchair had given me back a certain amount of independence. From that moment on, I have never looked at my wheelchair in disgust, only respect!
My first show in the wheelchair: it was the Christmas bash for all of the employees of a large company. I agreed to appear on the show because the company in question had just signed a contract engaging me to appear at their venues the following summer. The deal was worth £100,000. It was just what I needed to boost my moral. What I didn't need was the telephone call that I received about a week later.
It was my agent. He said that one of the company directors had decided: "That it wouldn't be a good idea to have a 'disabled person' representing them. It wouldn't be good for the company image. Therefore they would like to terminate my contract."
"They can't do that, it's discrimination." I replied.
"They can and they have," said my agent. "However, they have agreed to pay a cancellation fee. I have agreed to have a meeting with them after Christmas to discuss how much. Under the circumstances, I think it should be the full amount."
I was so upset, I just cried to myself. Then after a couple of hours I called my agent and expressed my disgust that a supposedly reputable company could do this. I also wanted the financial settlement sorted out before Christmas. Apparently this wasn't possible as the company was breaking up for their holiday. But I was assured that everything would be resolved straight after the New Year. With a company as big as them, I never expected any underhanded tactics. How wrong I was.
Christmas was only a couple of weeks away and I really didn't know what to do with myself. Fortunately, my friend and stage manager Paul Couser and his girlfriend Di, invited me to their house in Bicester, Oxfordshire, where I had a really good time. I didn't do much; I just chilled out for a few days. It was whilst at their home that I gave cannabis a try. I had heard so much in the media of its benefits for MS that I decided to see for myself. I am very fortunate in as much that I get no pain, apart from an occasional muscle spasm, touch wood! One of the main benefits of cannabis is supposed to be pain relief. The other benefits are said to include: alleviating muscle spasm and improving bladder control, both of which I can say were helped. The thing I didn't like was the feeling of light headedness that I experienced. It was almost like being drunk and out of control of your own body. What I did like was the nicotine from the cigarette. I used to be a smoker, but had stopped for seven years. If I was going to start smoking again, now was going to be the time! Cannabis was not for me, but within a couple of weeks I was hooked on smoking cigarettes. I was really disappointed with myself; I couldn't believe I had started this disgusting habit again. I told myself I had to stop!
I decided to call an old friend of mine, press guru, Max Clifford. I wondered if he knew of any newspaper that might be interested in the story of me smoking cannabis for my MS. Within thirty minutes of speaking to Max, he called me back to say that the Sunday Mirror would like to do a story. Normally I wouldn't have told this sort of story to a newspaper, but my self esteem was so low, and I wanted some sort of publicity - plus the newspaper agreed to pay me £5,000. I thought that this would make me feel good. It did, but only for 24 hours!
A double-page spread appeared in the Sunday Mirror echoing my thoughts on how cannabis should be legalised for medical purposes.
On the Monday evening I was in the car on my way to a theatre in Croydon to see the famous comedian Roy Chubby Brown. It was regarding me creating an illusion for him to perform in his show. I was also eagerly awaiting a telephone call from my agent, to see how his meeting went with the company in question earlier that day. He did call me, but it wasn't good news.
"Hi Wayne, Johnny Martin here"
"Wayne, you stupid fool, what have you done? I had the meeting with them today, and they said that because you have admitted taking an illegal substance, your contract is null and void."
"They can't do that! We know that this is not the reason; it's just a get out!"
"I know that, and you know that; however they are being very deceitful, and have got a perfect way out."
"Bastards! I'll call you tomorrow..."
I did call the following day. The company were very adamant about the reason that they were refusing to pay me. Such liars, I thought. I was gutted! Surely it couldn't get any worse. It did!
About one week later, I received a cheque from them for £5000, with a note that simply said, 'Thanks for your help.'
So, smoking a joint ended up costing me a fortune. I was now feeling pretty low. No work. No money. No marriage. No health. Nothing! What should I do now?
December 1999. Ron Macmillan very kindly invited me to his annual gala show at Her Majesty's Theatre in London. It had been quite a few years since I had been in the presence of my fellow magicians. Ron and his son Martin both suggested that I should be seated in the Royal Box as it would be much easier access for me in the wheelchair. I arrived at the show about 10 minutes before the start, and I received a massive round of applause and cheers from the audience of 2000 magicians. This made me feel really good. What wasn't so good was that Paul Daniels was only about fifteen feet away from me, and I always felt that negative vibe between us - although we never spoke about it. It's a shame really as Paul Daniels is one of magic's all time greats and it would be a good thing to put any negativity behind us.
February arrived and I was booked to appear at the Blackpool Magicians Convention. The organiser, Derek Lever, always tries to use me for something at the convention. I always feel like I am going home when I go there as I am made to feel very welcome. Although I went down really well, I didn't perform my best. I really wasn't feeling good; I think the audience just accepted me for the way I was. It was very nice of the audience to allow for my MS, but it was not what I wanted. I wanted to be appreciated because I was good.
I really needed a holiday, but didn't know who to go with. I knew my Mum and Dad were going away in May to the Caribbean. I and Karen had gone on holiday with my parents for the last few years, but for obvious reasons, this year was a no-no. I asked my brother if he fancied surprising our Mum and Dad in Barbados. He thought it would be a great idea. I had got very close to my brother over the past few years; in fact he worked with me for a solid couple of years, and we had some great laughs together. So we booked our holiday so that we would arrive at the hotel three days prior to my Mum and Dad. My parents were going to be in Grenada for a week prior to their week in Barbados.
This holiday couldn't come quick enough, and when Phil and I arrived in Barbados, I just relaxed by the hotel swimming pool for three days. It was just what I needed.
The day arrived when my parents were due, and I had made arrangements with the manager of the hotel, Hamish Watson, to escort my Mum and Dad to the poolside where they would receive a cocktail. I had also arranged for a guy who I had made friends with (Gary) to start chatting and to tell my Dad how much he looked like Wayne Dobson!
Everything went according to plan; I was in the swimming pool and could hear every word of conversation, as I was only about ten feet away. My Dad's reply to being told that he resembled Wayne Dobson, was: "Well I'm his father!" My Mum then said, "Do you know Wayne?" Gary then said, "No, but he does!" pointing in my direction. My Mum and Dad's faces were a picture. My Mum rushed up to me and flung her arms around me and we were both in tears. My Dad did the same, and asked how I got there. I said that I came by myself. My brother's appearance was going to be a shock to both of them. Ten minutes passed chatting at the poolside, when all of a sudden Phil emerged from the water at the side of me. He just said, "Hi Mum, hi Dad." They were totally speechless! We had a great holiday.
Only two days after my arrival home from Barbados, I flew out to Spain with a colleague to spend a couple of weeks at a friend's apartment. Whilst there it was a perfect time to write my lecture notes, that were to be sold on my 26 date lecture tour that I was due to do at various magic societies over the coming autumn.
Although I liked it in Spain, I had to get back home because I had just sold my house and I was due to complete contracts in a few days time. The day arrived when I was leaving the house...I left the day before Karen. I wasn't sure how I would feel. I'll tell you; within fifteen minutes of departing I felt a huge weight lift from my shoulders, the noose around my neck slackened, my energy level was higher, and it felt like a surge of adrenalin was being pumped into my veins! I obviously never realised how much my farce of a marriage was contributing towards me feeling the way that I did. When the car I was in drove away from the house, I never even looked back. It was now time to move forwards and start my new life!
After selling the house, I flew straight back out to Spain, where I stayed for the next six weeks. It was whilst in Spain that I cleared my head, and got a great sun tan to go with it. I felt good.
I returned from Spain and went out on the road doing a lecture tour. It was really good fun. I then moved to Lowestoft in Norfolk for a short while, and eventually ended up at the Nuffield hospital in Guildford, where I had intense physiotherapy. While I was there my neurologist suggested that I had a five day course of steroids. Although I wasn't that keen on having any more steroids, I did agree - as it meant that I could stay in my own private room at the hospital for a total of ten days. Anything to get out of Lowestoft, I hated it there! By the way, the steroids never made the slightest bit of difference to my MS. All they did was make me feel like shit! Never again.
Whilst in hospital I got hold of a local property magazine and decided that I would have a look around for somewhere to live and I soon found a brand new development of apartments in Haslemere, Surrey. I felt that they were ideal for me, so I purchased one on the spot. It wasn't ready for living in until February, so I decided to live in The Post House Hotel in Guildford until it was ready for me. Before I moved into the hotel, I spent Christmas at my Mum and Dad's house in Leicester. And I spent the new millennium at a friend's house in Romford, Essex. My friend Steve made me feel very welcome, but I just wasn't in the mood for the new millennium celebrations. I was in my bed at ten past midnight, thinking about where my life was going.
I moved into a hotel in Guildford, and it was on the 10th of January that the staff from the hospital where I had been a patient a couple of weeks previously held their Christmas party at the hotel. Whilst I was sitting in the bar, I noticed a couple of people who I knew from the hospital. I joined them for a drink and whilst chatting to them I was introduced to a girl named Marianne. She was a very attractive girl with an incredibly infectious personality. We got chatting and she told me that she was a mobile hairdresser. I knew that I would soon need a haircut and asked if she minded if I call her soon. She said no problem.
I called Marianne to arrange for her to come to the hotel and cut my hair. When she came to the hotel we were exchanging idle chit chat, and I learned that she was married. Not that it mattered, as I had no thoughts of anything other than being pleasant. Anyway - what would she want with a guy in a wheelchair? The next time Marianne came to cut my hair, she joined me for a drink at the hotel bar. I still didn't have any ulterior motive about chatting her up. Honest!
The next day I received a call from my Dad to say that my Mum had been for some tests and they discovered that she had suffered another 'mini stroke', and that she would have to endure an operation where the main artery in her neck is cleaned of any blockages. This was a very risky operation, in as much as another stroke or even death was a possibility whilst under the anaesthetic. But this operation had to be carried out, otherwise another stroke could hit my Mum, and who knows what the extent of the next one could have been. She had no choice! We were all so worried.
The night before her surgery I telephoned the hospital, and found mum very tearful and worried that she would never see us again. I tried to reassure her, but she was so frightened. I called my Dad and he was just the same.
For some very strange reason I woke at 7.15am the next morning. I always sleep until at least 10am, but this morning it was different. My Mum was due in theatre at 8am. I immediately telephoned the hospital in order to speak to my Mum, but she had already gone for her pre-op. I told the nurse that it was her son speaking, and I would really appreciate it, if she could tell my Mum that I loved her very much and that I would see her later. She said she would do that for me. Boys being boys, we don't tell our Mums that we love them often enough. So that made me feel so much better that I said what I said.
I was on tenterhooks all morning waiting for a call from my Dad to tell me that everything was OK. Eventually the call came - and everything was OK! I went straight to the hotel bar and had a large southern comfort and ginger ale! And, because I had not eaten that day and I wasn't much of a drinker, the alcohol went straight to my head, and I felt like I was going to fall out of my wheelchair...which would have been funny, but I'm glad it didn't happen.
A couple of days later I was working in Halifax so I decided to get my driver to take a slight detour and I went to Leicester hospital to visit my Mum. It was great to see her and she was feeling so happy that the operation had been a success. She had a large scar down one side of her neck, but apart from that, she looked like my Mum. I felt so relieved to see her, and it meant that I could enjoy my show in Halifax.
After returning to Guildford, I decided to go to Haslemere and check up on the progress of my apartment. I had made a few changes to the original specification, i.e. wooden floors throughout, and the door openings to be made wider to accommodate my wheelchair. I wanted it to be disabled friendly, but I didn't want it to look like a hospital. It was looking really good, and I couldn't wait to move in!
In February 2000, I moved into my apartment. I distinctly remember the first night in my new pad. I was in my bed staring at the ceiling thinking: 'What now? Where is my life going?' I was feeling very negative that night, but the next day I was back to myself. When I wake up in the morning, I have two choices, I can be happy or I can be sad. 99% of the time I feel happy. If I do feel sad, I try and keep it to myself, because people eventually get really pissed off with miserable people. Negativity breeds negativity. I do not want to be responsible for somebody else's unhappiness!
It was now time to put all my past behind me and only look forward, I wanted to get better, not bitter!
" This felt like deja vu and amnesia at the same time. I knew it had happened before, but I couldn't remember when!"
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Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.