You have to tip your hat to Ken Webster.
Actually you probably don’t need to. Chances are he could do it for you.
Ken is a hypnotist who has been performing a summer show at the Pleasure Beach for the last quarter of a century.
He is, as far as we can work out, the only hypnotist to have had a show at the same venue for so long – which proves he must be doing something right.
“It does feel odd because I’m 49 so it means I have spent more than half my life on stage in Blackpool,” said Ken.
“I have youngsters come up to me now after a show saying ‘my mum and dad used to come and watch you’. It makes me feel very old.
“But the fact I’m still going strong after all those years, still getting 450 people in to watch, shows I must be doing something right.
“I love what I do, I love being on stage, and I still get the same buzz out of it now as I did at the start – so long may it continue.”
Ken, who is on stage at the Horseshoe Bar every Saturday night, first fell in love with the idea of being a hypnotist when he was nine-years-old and saw a show.
‘That’s what I want to do when I’m older,’ he told his parents. Ken’s mum and dad probably thought nothing more of it, but this wasn’t some kind of schoolboy fantasy.
True to his word, Ken studied hypnosis at college and started performing professionally at the age of 16.
His big break came at a theatre in his hometown of Scarborough.
“The manager allowed me to perform there one night and was so impressed, he used his contacts to put me on at a circus in Blackpool,” Ken explained. “Then he found out the hypnotist at the Horseshoe was retiring and said he might be able to get me a five-year contract. Twenty-five years later I’m still there!”
Ken describes his show – which started at Easter and runs through until November – as being a bit Derren Brown style in the first half. After the interval, it involves more adult themes. “I hypnotise people into doing aerobics, that sort of stuff,” says Ken, leaving the rest to our imagination.
When he’s not on stage Ken does corporate events and has a clinic where he uses hypnotherapy to help people overcome various problems, such as losing weight or stopping smoking.
But it’s on stage in Blackpool that he’s happiest. “I love the place,” he says. “Where else can you go where there’s three piers, a zoo, the Pleasure Beach, the Sandcastle, loads of different cabaret venues, fish and chips, the Tower ... there’s so much to do.
“It seems to get knocked all the time and I find that quite annoying. Half the people who criticise haven’t even been to the place.
“It’s like when people knock a film and you say ‘have you seen it then?’ and they haven’t. If you’ve never been to Blackpool then shut up.”
* Tickets for Ken’s Saturday night show are £13 and available from www.blackpoolpleasurebeach.com/shows