Philippa and I have entered our 25th year of working together… our first performance of working together was at Seagulls RLFC on the Gold Coast 2nd Aug 1987 in a 2 hour show comedy & illusion show called the Magician & The Mimic, with Danny Mc Master, Australia’s top impressionist.
The older you get the better you get they reckon… well 25 years later we’re still at it and working stronger than ever.
The cruise industry is striving in Australia & NZ. Bookings for me next year are almost full.
For all P&O and Princess Cruises I continue to be looked after by Grayboy Pty Ltd here in Sydney
However, more and more ships are coming to cruise our waters. I have been approached many times to be represented by various entertainment agencies throughout the world.
I have recently made a decision to align myself for all work outside P&O & Princess, with the Blackburn International Agency who are based in England (Jonathon Blackburn/James Ibrahim) http://www.blackburninternational.com/ .
James has fortunately already booked me on a few cruises with the Celebrity Cruise Line touring NZ & Australia in 2012.
Recently Philippa and I have entertained on 3 cruises. We made a lifestyle choice to see & experience the world and what it has to offer. We have tried to add a few days of sightseeing/exploration at different locations before or after the cruise.
It seems the whole Australian variety industry has moved out of the club scene and gone cruising. Each cruise has several entertainers on board and one of the very real side benefits of cruising is the friendship, camaraderie and quality time that we share with the other entertainers.
Not long after we returned from Tahiti we flew to Capetown to join the Sun Princess on its way to Durban.
We partied in Capetown and revisited the ‘Goldilocks & the 3 Bears’ Gulf Stream Caravan
Phil & Phil with 3 Top Entertainers- Brent & Jacqui - from Spring Fever & Impressionist Greg Hayes
situated on top of the Grand Daddy Hotel in the main street http://www.granddaddy.co.za/sleep/airstream_rooftop_trailer_park/; stayed at the beach in Durban an 3 extra nights and did the African thing… the national wildlife park (even seeing a leopard this time).
View from the top of the Rugby World Stadium, and we explored the uShaka Marine World
Dubai to Aqaba.
Phil with Pat & Jacques "Tom Jones" Renay in Dubai
Stayed in Dubai an extra 2 days, paid $260! to have a cup a tea and sandwiches at the Burj Al Arab www.jumeirah.com/burjalarab and had a fantastic time 4 wheel driving in the Wadi Rum desert… staying a couple of nights in a Bedouin tent in the middle of the desert! http://www.wadirumstars.com and http://www.sevenwondersbedouincamp.com/
The must do for any traveler is to experience the ancient civilization of Petra! And this we did … we explored it for 2 days on horseback, on donkeys, on camels and of course on foot, even at night under candle light. Unbelievable. Even had time to do lunch in Israel (Eilat is 8kms right next door!).
Checking in Amman Airport in Jordan was chaotic and quite intense. The electric chair caused some interesting friction as I tried to explain to the officials in broken English what it was… but there was no other way… “here sir, take a seat” ... They didn’t realise I had the remote. After the first security official was secretly zapped he made all the other 3 guys take a seat! It was hilarious! "Here’s your chair back Mr. CASS… you can go!" I was gone like a bullet.
Bangkok to Bali (Stayed at the http://www.bangkok.com/le-meridien/ over the road from the Pat Pong markets & it’s nightlife and in Bali we explored it on the back of motorbike/scooters with Maggie Scott (comedienne) and her son. Both great places to travel to... and your dollar goes further!
Amidst all the travelling in the last 3 months we managed to perform 16 Corporate shows with the stand-outs being…
QLD Rugby League in Brisbane. It was fitting that I was chosen to be the entertainer for this function as I had played A grade in 1983 and 1984... the coaches were Bob McCarthy & Wayne Bennett; I played outside Mal Meninga… in fact we had 4 internationals in that premiership winning team… Mal Meninga, Peter Jackson, Gary Belcher and Bob Lindner. Arguably the greatest coach of all time is Wayne Bennett. He says very little but what he does say he says with a purpose for the player’s psyche. He approached me after my performance, pulled me aside and said “I tell everyone I coached you…”
Electrical Company in Hyatt Coolum (my ‘electric chair’ was a hoot)
Melbourne Aquarium in the Fish Bowl… a corporate dinner setting within the Aquarium (including sharks) all around you 360˚ ... that’s right, it’s like sitting in a fish bowl!
A function in Palmerston North, NZ (stayed a night in Wellington and drove up the next day… and went to a wonderful French restaurant in Wellington called Arbitrageur Restaurant & Wine Room - http://arbitrageur.co.nz and even found lamb shanks at a pizza place out near the airport called Hell Pizza… it’s served as a side dish! http://hellpizza.com/nz/ )
A hire company had a function at the Canberra Stadium in the Mal Meninga Stand… it had a Footy Show theme…. I was chosen no doubt because of my 26 appearances on the channel 9 show!
A show for people from India who became Australians… a total Indian audience… very weird but fun.
Couple of soccer end of season awards nights…. great crowd reaction.
A ‘during the day’ corporate function for 400 Pest Control people in Brisbane (apparently the next motivational speaker had I was told, a very hard time following!)
The Commodore’s Ball at the Royal Motor Yacht Club at Point Piper in Sydney… a wonderful 200 strong audience in a small room… with our quick change area/green room being the carpark!
I have been Master of Ceremonies for 2 gigs… one on the Gold Coast for the 40th anniversary dinner of the Returned Vietnam Vets (my older brother Russ being one) and another for the Master Jewellers Association. This is an area of work that I now wish to do more of... but I’ve got to say though that it’s not quite as satisfying as being the star turn because being a great MC is a lot like being a great referee… if you’ve done a good job, no one notices!
Balancing the cruise work with the continued demand I enjoy in the corporate world is challenging. If you cruise too much the corporate work falls off.
Bookings for the cruise industry are arranged about 6 months in advance. Hence, at the beginning of this year I made a conscious decision not to accept any cruises from July 8th 2011 to December 19th 2011.
I wanted to give the corporate work a kick start. The more you are seen working in the corporate world the quicker the phenomenon called ‘word of mouth’ is generated.
So far my gamble seems to be paying off with the number of bookings and enquires in August, September, October & November almost as good as pre GFC! As always, December & Christmas will take care of itself.
There is always an exception to the rule apparently… my second eldest brother, Marshall decided to go on his first cruise on the Sun Princess in October … a cruise around China & Japan. He rang & asked if I could be one of the entertainers on this cruise. Sure enough, I managed to be booked for 5 days from Hong Kong to Shanghai & South Korea & back to Beijing. Be good to have some quality time with my brother… will be taking him to the ‘M on the Bund’ in Shanghai.
The 2 Phil's & Mel Mellors- (English Comedy Magician) in Aqaba