Our Brighton Marina store's fabulous community champion Anton Binder is well known for working his magic with local charities and groups – but he's also a professional conjuror in his spare time and has just been booked to perform his one-man show at the Brighton Fringe.
Sixty-four year old Anton - who started performing tricks at the age of seven - has worked as a community champion at our Brighton Marina store for the past four years.
He said: "It really suits me and I love doing it. It gives me the flexibility to do the performing stuff too.
"I like being the first point of contact with members of the local community. It keeps me in touch with what's going on in Brighton, so the two roles rather work nicely together – magician and community chapion! It does kind of dovetail."
Anton mainly performs at corporate functions and weddings and recently he astounded Asda colleagues when he showed off his close-up tricks at a long- service awards ceremony on Hayling Island.
And he always has a deck of cards with him when he goes out on social nights out with his colleagues.
Anton says his uncle got him interested in magic when he was aged about seven.
He said: "He was in the US Airforce and a real Sergeant Bilko-type character who taught me a whole load of moves and they would come over from New York to see my family once a year and I would show him a new thing that I'd learned, so it kind of started from there."
Anton's current idols are Derren Brown and Americans Penn and Teller, but he's a soft spot for Paul Daniels too: "Some people laugh at him, but actually but he's very well respected in magic circles. His act may have been a bit cheesy, but technically he's amazing. He was the man."
Anton's speciality is close up magic – mainly cards.
He said: "I don't do the big illusions like sawing people on half; my magic's mainly cards, coins and sleight of hand. I also mentally read people's minds, bur cards are my speciality, I guess!
"I never really know how I learn tricks –you just make them up! I'm always looking for odd bits of string or wire or something that I could use in a trick. One of the things I really love about close-up magic is that it really is just a deck of cards. I don't use trick decks or anything like that.
"Magic is a bit like Marmite; some people love it and some people don't. The thing that I find really interesting is the audience's reaction to magic. Some people think their job as an audience is to work out how it's done but it isn't at all because really you don't want to know how it's done. So often I get people asking me how did you do that, but I say If I told you how I did it you'd only be disappointed.
"I always say it's a bit like painting. When you're painting there are only really three primary colours and you just mix them together and you come up with new colours.
"There is a limited number of tricks – there are your classic sleights and moves that you can learn and make. Basically what you do is really mix and match. You are always looking at new angles and new ways of presenting it.
"The presentation of the trick is the most important thing. Essentially every card trick is pick a card and I'll tell you what card you picked. So what you have to do is come up with new ways of discovering the card and new ones of presenting that so it doesn't look like the same set of old tricks!"
In May, Anton will be performing his one-man magic cabaret act at the Brighton Fringe.
He said: "I'm really looking forward to it. I did one a couple of years ago that went down really well.
"It going to be a sort of bar cabaret – a hybrid of a one-man show and a magic show. I'm still writing it but the idea is to combine a narrative about this magician who works in a nightclub. The audience are going to be part of the show. I like playing a character in my shows – that's my acting coming in. I like to make it more of a story."
Darren Evans, the manager of Asda Brighton Marina, says Anton is "a fabulous community champion and a fabulous magician."
He said: "Everyone is blown away by his magic tricks – he's as good as anyone I've seen. He leaves you with your mouth hanging open, thinking how did he do that! Magic is his passion and you can see he's in his element when he's doing his tricks.
"He's entertained at parties in store and everyone is just amazed by him. He's got an amazing knack of holding people's attention."