Susan de Muth in bed with Fay Presto: From glitzy parties back to my little flat, just like magic

Fay Presto is a magician. She lives in London.

NIGHT is the best time for magic. We all leave our problems behind and I can transport people to another place where that playing card I just tore up really has stuck itself back together again. It's much harder to make that illusion hold in the cold light of day when the hideousness of life returns.

Apart from the innate human propensity to expect magic things to happen at night, the right kind of artificial light also helps a trick along. Proper lighting is essential - as it is in real life. How often have you been to the ladies' on a big night out feeling just fine until you caught sight of yourself in the mirror, horribly illuminated in neon, and lost all your confidence?

Since I had a gender-swap operation several years ago I have fought for the right to be a real person, but nobody will let me forget my past. I'm a good magician, for God's sake, but there's always this curiosity, this prejudice that deprives me of opportunities - especially of gaining the social acceptability that comes with television appearances. The pain this has caused me has kept me awake in the past . . . but I've dealt with it now. And I no longer dream.

I work about three nights a week, mostly at private functions. I have a residency at Langan's restaurant and do a lot of film premieres - they don't know what to do with themselves at those glitzy parties. I peak around midnight and am on a high afterwards - I don't drink so I go for beans on toast in a cafe to wind down. Now that I've got a mobile phone I can call up showbusiness friends who are also working late and arrange to meet.

Even if I'm staying in, my bedtime is still 4am. I'm very active at night: I recently completed a novel, which I started as therapy, bashing away at the word processor until I was so exhausted I'd just crash out. I never have trouble sleeping now unless the dawn chorus starts. I hate birds. I recently bought a New Age CD of waves breaking, thinking how nice it would be to drop off soothed by that sound - but it's full of bloody seagulls]

It can be quite a culture shock coming home to my council flat after the glitzy events I go to. I used to have a portable ivory tower in the form of my old limo but it's broken now. I also had a chauffeur, Vic, who was a motorcycle messenger with me back in the old days. Vic always rescued me when people were unkind. He works for someone else now. These days I drive myself home in my lovely Triumph Herald, which I can usually fix if it breaks down.

I'm not afraid to be out on my own at night. I walk tall and square. By the

time I'm on my way home all the muggers are usually fast asleep anyway.

I was unlucky once, though - I was in the lift going up to my flat when a bloke stuck a knife in my ribs and asked for my purse. Using sleight of hand I hid my purse behind my back and emptied the contents of my handbag on the floor saying he could look for himself, I had no money. When he bent over I hit him on the head. I've always been courageous.

I've tried to make my bedroom as nice as possible - after all it is 50 per cent of my living space. I have a huge mirror, a proper silvered one that is kind, and a four-poster bed where William Stanley, my teddy bear, is waiting to cuddle me - though he usually ends up on the floor. I work abroad a lot and always take William Stanley with me to make a strange hotel room more friendly.

I never go to bed with a face on and I cleanse and moisturise every night. I don't think it's a bad face for 46, do you? Once in bed I run a few people through my mind. It's a kind of prayer.

There are costumes all over the place in my bedroom and I keep my magic paraphernalia there. It does make me think about tricks when I'm going off to sleep and I suppose that would bother me if I saw it as work, but I don't - it's my life. The drug I'm hooked on is applause and you can't buy a fix - you can only earn it. A spontaneous standing ovation is even better than great sex.

I'm quite used to sleeping alone. There is no love of my life - who could cope with it? I'm not interested in settling down. Mr Right would have to be a pretty special person.

(Photograph omitted)

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Sport
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
Sport
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
Sport
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
All British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
News
i100 Charity collates series of videos that show acts of kindness to animals
Arts and Entertainment
One of the installations in the Reiner Ruthenbeck exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery
artCritics defend Reiner Ruthenbeck's 'Overturned Furniture'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Opilio Recruitment: QA Automation Engineer

    £30k - 38k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: An award-winning consume...

    Opilio Recruitment: UX & Design Specialist

    £40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

    Opilio Recruitment: Publishing Application Support Analyst

    £30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...

    Opilio Recruitment: Digital Marketing Manager

    £35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

    Christmas Appeal

    Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
    Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

    Is it always right to try to prolong life?

    Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

    What does it take for women to get to the top?

    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
    Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

    Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

    Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
    French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

    French chefs campaign against bullying

    A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

    Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
    Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

    Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

    Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
    Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

    Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

    Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
    Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

    Paul Scholes column

    I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
    Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game