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I can't turn off the noise. And if I saw myself in a mirror, I'd slam my head into the mirror and just keep slamming it to make it go away. That's why I disappeared.


But it's not the only reason why I disappeared.


Magic couldn't fix me.


Dynamo. Ecclesionist, magician, extraordinary. Are you.


Watching closely?


Was there a moment you look back on and say that was my rock bottom?


The sixth of November 2020, because that was the day when I tried to kill myself.


Your wife found you unconscious.


In the dog bed. Magic has always been the thing that has given me hope that I've used to overcome the bullying, overcome the racist abuse and the lack of belief, and it made me stand out in a different way. -dynamo!


-shout out to my homeboy, Dynamo. Everything you touch has turned into gold and you become this sensation. And then in 2017, you.


Stop suddenly. I got really sick. I couldn't hold the cards anymore. My body was deteriorating.


And then that same time, your grandmother had passed away, who was your biggest supporter? I'd also heard that you had a legal dispute, which meant that you could no longer use the name Dynamo.


I had so many problems that I couldn't figure out how to even solve one of them. I felt if I'm not here, then everybody else might be happier. I realized then the Dynamos we know it needed to die, and I'm finally feeling it again. Now I just need to get magic back in my life.


Dynamo, or should I say, Steven, is there some magic you can show me right now?


What? Oh, my God.


I've never shared this before, but three years ago, Dynamo walked up to me when I was at a Christmas party. I'd never met him before, and he whispered something in my ear that quite frankly, stopped me in my tracks that I could not believe. I knew Dynamo is this incredible online magician, and what he said to me that day, I was unable to forget. He was in a dark, dark place. He was engaged in a legal battle and he had just lost the rights to use his own name. He could no longer call himself Dynamo. He was no longer able or allowed to do magic. And this stranger that had walked over to me at that Christmas party was suffering in a way that I've never seen before. And just a week ago, Dynamo texted me and said, It's finally time to tell my story. And that is what you're going to hear today. The story he whispered in my ear at that Christmas party all those years ago. Where has Dynamo been? What happened? And what happens next? Before this episode starts, I want to make a deal with you. About 58% of you that watch this podcast frequently haven't yet hit the subscribe button.


If you enjoy what we do here, here's the deal that I want to make with you. If you hit that subscribe button, I promise you that we will keep making this show better in every single way. We have huge plans to turn this into more of a documentary-style conversation where we work incredibly hard to bring in footage of the things we're talking about to give you greater context and greater meaning. So if you hit the Subscribe button, I promise you that we will deliver an even greater version of this show. I hope you choose to come along on this journey. Enjoy this episode. Dynamo, or should I say Steven?


We're friends. You can come.


Whatever you like. Steven. In researching your story, I've been surprised, inspired, shocked. But in many ways, it's given me the context I think that was missing as to how a man like you committed their life to magic. For people that don't know your story, your earliest years and the context back there in Bradford in 1980 to, what is the context that we need to understand in order to understand you?


I think ultimately it's the force that sometimes magic is found in the most unlikely places. I was a kid in a council estate with no hopes, not much family around me, no real direction, and if anything, I should never have amounted to anything. For me, just trying to not be confined by my environment, by my circumstances, is the magic I've been searching for all my life. Hopefully, I can use the magic I've now found to inspire others who might find themselves trapped in a similar position.


Bradford, 1982, you said you didn't have a lot of family around you. What family did you have and not have around you?


I was just born, so I can't remember exactly everything from literally 82. But from, let's say, from 86, I believe that was when my dad went to jail, so he wasn't around any longer. My mom was there, but she had me really young, but she would have been about, she would have been about 20 then. So a young mom losing her partner who would have been raising me.


With her. Your mom had you at 16?


Yeah, she was pregnant at 16. Okay.


Was there racial issues in your childhood? Because I think you're bi-racial?


Yeah, my father's Patan, my mum's English.


Okay, Patan, I'm not familiar.


Yeah, it's a tribe. It's part of Afghanistan, parts of it in Pakistan. It's scattered around the world.


You must have been, what, four years old when he went to prison? Yeah. Did you understand what that meant?


No, not at all. I remember him going out and then just never coming back. It wasn't until I was a lot older that I understood that he'd gone away and why he'd gone away. It's weird. I was young enough that not having him around became a normal thing, like not having a father. I was on a council estate where other people didn't have fathers around, or mothers, or a lot of broken families. For me, it became just a normal way of life. I think if I'd have been a bit older and had more chance to understand more and miss more, then it would have maybe been harder.


Did you resent him at that age when you started to realize what you had lost in a father?


I think, if I'm honest, I resented him more as an adult as I got older. I resented him more when I first met him properly after... He came to Revolution Wine Bar in Bradford. This was when I was 19 years old and I'd started to make a little bit of a name for myself with my magic back then. I think I was applied for Prince's Trust, start-uploing and all that. I was basically starting to go somewhere that was positive in my life. I got called by the manager of Evolution saying, Oh, there's a gentleman that says he's your dad. He's come to see you. He said, Oh, I'm Dynamo's dad. I'm like, That's weird because I don't really feel like I've got a dad. I'm like, Okay, this is strange. Then I said, Oh, we'll just tell them I'm busy right now, but if he wants to come in in a couple of days' time when I'm not working, because I was getting ready to do a set at the bar. I performed Magic, basically, in Revolution Bar. He came back a few days later. He looked like me, so I knew it was true.


I asked my mom about it and she explained that, yeah, he's not in jail anymore and he's been out and he's been asking about you. I think he tried to call my mom a few times. He'd called my nana's phone as well. They saw that I was getting all my life and I'd got used to a life without him in it. They felt that it was best for me to not have him in my life. Then when I met him, it was so strange because he basically said that you'll see you've got a little crew around you. Do any of your friends want to help shift some stuff for me? And when I say stuff, I'm not talking about legal stuff. And at that point, I was just like, Wow, he's clearly not being reformed. And I don't feel like he's the person I need in my life right now because I've spent a lot of my life trying to avoid this type of environment.


How long had it been since you'd seen him at that moment?


This was when I was 19, so from, say, four years old.


You hadn't seen him for 15 years and the first time he sees you, he asks you to help him shift some drugs? Yeah.


Not just drugs, but yeah.


Trying to figure out what it could be if it's not... Okay.


He was into stuff, lots of stuff. That's the life some people choose. I didn't know him enough to be able to say whether he was a good man or a bad man because at the end of the day, just because you do that stuff doesn't necessarily ultimately make you a bad person. It can be the circumstances that lead you into that world. But at the time in my life, I'd been getting some incredible support from MAPA, Youth Center in Bradford. I basically was surrounded by, for the first time in my life, positive role models, positive male role models. Part of me hoped that when I saw my dad that he could be one of us. But I think I was too far gone in the other direction and he was going in a different direction and it just wasn't meant to be. I think then I just became indifferent. I just thought, well, you know what? I've gone this far without a father, so I don't really need one now.


Resentment. Was that because you were still holding out hope that he was someone else? Where did the resentment come from in that moment? You said that's when you resented him the most.


Because I think he had in front of him an opportunity to connect with me and he saw a different opportunity in that moment.


He cared more about using you as a vehicle to sell drugs. Yeah. Are you still holding on to pain?


Yeah, 100 %. There's going to be parts of that, but I'll never be closed off because sadly, he's not alive anymore.


People often say to me when I speak to them on this podcast about parents that they've lost, that when we lose someone, it often changes our perspective on them and the situation, and often the issue that held us apart. When your mom came to you and told you that he had now passed away, is there anything you look back on and go with that new perspective now that he's gone and go, Do you know what? This would have been probably a different or a better way of handling the situation. Is there any regrets there at all?


I can't really have regrets personally because the circumstance I was in was not of my making. I was told by my grandma and my auntie as well, 90 Mel, they both would tell me passionately how much my mom and dad loved each other. But there was also an element that they said it's a good job that he went away because if he'd have not gone away, it's highly likely that my mom and me would have been dead because he was apparently very abusive.


To your mother? Yeah. Did you ever know this?


Did you ever see this? No, I was like, I wasn't really... I think it was more before I was born. Then I think I was too young to really understand it. My mom has told me about stuff more recently and as I've been uncovering things about myself, I've asked more questions. What have you.


Been trying to figure out about yourself?


A lot of things. The last few years, the point in my existence, ultimately.


If we go back to the rest of the context there from those early years, what were you like socially in school? Did you like school?


I liked learning. I liked trying to understand things. But did I like school? I was scared of school.




Just because I used to get beat up all the time. School for me was painful, but it wasn't the learning aspect of it. It was getting to and from the lessons, surviving the playground. That for me was difficult because I went to a school that was predominantly a more white school, let's say. I was getting to an age where my complexion started to show. It was obvious that I wasn't full English, so it was a lot harder to hide because I was told when I lived on the estate, I was recommended by everybody, by my mom, by my nan, by just anybody who was close to my family at the time. If anybody asks, just say you're white. It was ingrained in where we lived to hit anything that is different.


I read about a story where someone threw you into a river.


Oh, yeah, the dam. Yeah, yeah. One of the estates I lived on, I lived on quite a few council estates in Bradford, depending on where my mom's boyfriends lived or girlfriends at the time. I remember there's Delphil estate and then there's Woodside estate and separating them is a big, massive field. In the middle of the field is a dam. It was where all the cool kids would go to hang out. I wasn't one of the cool kids. But one time I got invited down there, so I thought, Oh, amazing. I'm finally being accepted. When I got there, they only invited me down there to throw me in the dam. They knew I couldn't swim. I didn't have an adult to teach me how to swim. I didn't learn to swim till I was 14, 15. They threw me in the dam and it was one of the most traumatized experiences I'd felt at that time. Thankfully, there was one guy on the estate, Wayne Jowett, who basically dived in and helped me out. He was a really good swimmer. He could get me to safety. Stuff that happened all the time, though, it wasn't like...


I can remember that because I couldn't swim. If you've ever experienced that panic that you get when you feel like you're drowning, that'll stay with you. I don't like going into the sea and so on. Getting into water in general is not my favorite thing.


You and me both. I can't swim either, so I remember the first time I nearly drowned and I remember the person that jumped in and saved me when I was a kid as well. Remember it like it was yesterday.


Yeah. That experience happened on the way to school, it happened after school. For me, the thought of going to school was always like a daunting notion. There were certain teachers like Mrs. Walcox, she was my English teacher and she was really nice and she was really nurturing. I didn't feel stupid in front of her because in a lot of the classes, when the teachers are asking you to get involved, I was so nervous of other people's opinions in the class that if I spoke up, if I put my hand up to answer a question and it was wrong, then that just was going to lead to more getting beaten up harder after school or more ridicule. I kept myself to myself, but at the same time, I was just like this sad, lona kid who would take the long way home, so I didn't get beat up.


I remember speaking to Israel Adesanye, who was the USC world champion, and him telling me a very similar story about taking the long way round school so that he would avoid the bullies on the playground and all of those things. Again, in his situation, it was heavily racially motivated. He was this kid that had flown to New Zealand from Africa. He was the black kid. And so he ultimately turns to fighting as a way to help him survive.


Yeah, I mean, he's very good at it. I've seen him, he's amazing.


Well, I think about your story and I go, in a way, did you turn to magic as a way to help you to survive?


Ultimately, that's where it ended up. But I didn't turn to magic. Magic found me because it was never something I was into initially. It was something that my grandpa used to do. He'd do tricks here and there, the things you see a guy doing at put, nothing super amazing. But to me, he was the main male role model in my life. He was always alive for the party. He seemed to have an answer to every single problem. One day when he was picking me up from school, he saw the things that was happening to me. I never knew he saw this, but he'd always get to the school playground early, so he didn't want to be late for picking me up. Often I'd walk out the door and straight away I'd get in a fight or get caught up in something. He stayed back and never really got involved, but he saw it be quite bad one day. When he was walking home, he's telling me he's going to show me some things that might help me. I'm thinking, Oh, yeah, it's going to be like Karate Kid, Mr. Mirage, but it wasn't any of that stuff.


He showed me magic and he says these things, they get me positive attention when I'm out and about, when I share these things, so maybe try these. I was scared at school about trying them because I'm thinking, Well, I'm already seen as this weirdo, this outcast. How is... Now, is sharing magic with people? Because magic wasn't like a cool thing. Thankfully, it made me stand out in a different way and it deflected attention from me. There was definitely some people that shunned it, didn't like it, but there was enough people that thought it was interesting and cool that it got people on my back. That was really where the magic began properly. Before that point, it was something that I was using to deflect attention from the other areas of my life that I was trying to hide.


It's quite remarkable how many times I've heard similar stories about someone finding a way to belong through a craft or through singing or through acting, whatever it might be, and then them committing their life to that. It's almost like they become addicted to it in some way. I guess the issue is when you ask yourself the question, What am I now without it? Do I therefore not belong if I don't do magic?


Yep, I know that feeling all too well.


I'm sure we're going to come to that. About 13 years old in 95, you're diagnosed with Crohn's disease, which is very young, I believe, to be diagnosed with Crohn's disease, which is a lifelong disease. It's like a severe inflammation related to irritable bowel syndrome, from what I understand. It can be life-threatening as well.


Yeah, I've had a few moments where I've had life-threatening operations.


How does that change the picture at 13 years old with that diagnosis? What led up to that diagnosis?


Well, before the diagnosis, I'd got to my teenage years where you start to have changes, right? You're going through puberty. I was definitely a bit of a slow start. I was still... All the kids at school were getting bigger and I was getting smaller. I wasn't getting smaller, but they were getting bigger and I just basically wasn't really growing at the same rate. My mom started to take me to the hospital to get tests done to try and figure out what was up with me, which I understand why my mom would do that. But at the same time, for a kid who feels like they don't belong to then be taken to hospital to have tests done on me to figure out what's wrong with me, suddenly I'm like, Well, all right, I don't belong and I've got something wrong with me. What is the point in me? Am I broken? Do you know what I mean? They clearly was issues and they found Crohn's disease. I guess now I feel that's quite an incredibly good thing to have done. The problem was back then, there wasn't enough known about Crohn's as there is now.






Doctors understand it a lot more. They understand how to treat it, and people are a lot more open to it. Essentially, it's an illness that affects your bowels, which ultimately affects shit and how your body digest things. That's not the topics that are that easy to talk about, especially when you're a teenager going through your formative years.


Is there a lot of pain associated with chronic disease?


Yeah, stomach cramps. I mean, if I don't take my medication, I'm on at the moment, I can struggle to walk or to even get out of bed. Really? Yeah. It's like having a wound inside your tummy. It's like an open wound. Every time you eat, you're essentially rubbing dirt into our open wound, so it's never going to heal. It's going to constantly keep getting infected and it's going to constantly keep being inflamed. Because it's inside you, your gut affects every part of your body. So... And then it has side effects, which one of the side effects is reactive our fight as which is what I suffer from, where if my Crohn's flares up, which can be brought on from simple things like just everyday stress, you don't have to just eat something for it to be bad. You can have a stressful day and it can give you a stomachache, which then can ultimately spread to the rest of your body and make you feel debilitated. And that if you've got the active arthritis, it means that all your joints start to seize up and ache, hence why sometimes I struggle to walk and function.


You need your mobility to be a good magician. For me, when that happens, it stops me from being able to perform the way that I've gone to love.


That will then have knock-on effects that are psychological.


Yeah. Every case of Crohn's is different. It affects people in different ways. But ultimately, yeah, imagine having stomachache just all the time and being scared to eat because you don't want to eat something and it'll wipe you out for the rest of the day.


You go to this new sixth form college, you end up dropping out of college because you decide you want to pursue magic full-time. Then you go off to America, where you stayed with your grandmother in America. By the age of 17 years old, you have that operation for your Crohn's, which removes part of your stomach. Then at 20 years old, you end up back in London. That's when you started to gain a following for your performances online. I think most of us saw that chapter of your life, I believe, most of us, through videos on social media, stuff on TV and all of that. From there on, it really looks like your career starts to take off. Because I was looking through your biography and at 22 years old, you receive an invitation to perform at the United States Super Bowl. By 29 years old, you have your own TV show called Dynamo, Magician, Impossible. Then that show is a smash hit, wins all these awards, best entertainment program. That really in your view where things started to take off? You're 29 years old, 30 years old, everything you touch has turned into gold and you become this sensation.


I guess that depends on what you class as what is like. What is success? Because for me, the beginning of success where things started to take off was when I got my Prince's Trust business style blown.


You were what? When you were 16 or something?


No, I was a bit older. It was 2002.


So you're 20.


Before that point, I thought one day I'm going to have to go up or one day I'm going to have to get like...


A real job. Yeah. What people say, right?


Yeah. I think right up until my grandpa died and my nan had passed, I think they were still thinking that I might get come home one day and say, I've got a proper job now. When was that? My grandpa died in 2012 and he died in the middle of my second series of Magician: Impossible. He got to see some of his... The way he nurtured me and helped me and shared that magic. He got to see some of that magic get brought to life on screen. That's probably some of my proudest moments. But then my my nana, sadly, she passed in the last couple of years. I don't think anybody really knows about my nana passing outside of my family and my friends. For me, my nana was my biggest supporter for everything. But I know that she was always worried about me because she always thought that this magic thing wouldn't work out and she wanted me to have something to fall back on. When I dropped out of college to pursue magic, because that's just all I wanted to do, she was very worried. She was the one trying to tell me that I should not fall out.


I need to get an education. In many respects, the advice she was giving was good advice. But luckily, things turned out all right in the magic.


I mean, it turned out all right, it's quite an understatement. You were magician of the Year multiple times. The TV show Magician Impossible then won the TV Choice Awards as best entertainment show. You ended that Dynamo's Magician Impossible show after its fourth season, I believe. Then you barked on your first live tour called Seeing is Believin'. Then when you're 35 years old in 2017, you stopped that tour suddenly.


Yeah, I think that the tour run its course. We did over like... We did a lot of countries and a lot of tickets and it was amazing. I like try and push in the envelope with Magic and with everything I do. I felt like that time on the road gave me time to have a lot of new ideas and I felt like I wanted to try and bring some of those ideas to life. But some of those ideas had to get put on hold because it was shortly after that that I got really sick with my Crohn's.


What happened?


I just got food poisoning and that gave me a Campily back to food poisoning, which basically is probably the worst type of food poisoning you can get. That combined with my Crohn's was a recipe for disaster. Basically, I was in hospital. I just remember it was like 10:00 and I was getting ready to go to bed and I went to the bathroom and I had this horrible feeling in my stomach. But I've got Crohn's, so I'm used to having to numb these feelings. I'm used to just thinking, Oh, okay, it's going to be uncomfortable for half an hour and it'll pass. It wasn't going away. Then suddenly blood was coming out of my mouth. I was vomiting. Blood was coming out of both sides. I didn't know what to do. It wouldn't stop. I was in so much pain. I was screaming my wife. Literally, I got rushed to hospital and they gave me all the medication to try. They put me on the trip and the morphine, everything, and nothing was getting rid of the pain. I never felt a pain like it. I just did not understand what it was like. Because of that, it caused my Crohn's to...


Even I had so much of my Crohn's cut out already in previous operations, it caused it to spread into a different part of my bowel. From that came the reactive arthritis, because in the part of the bowel that I moved to had different side effects that I never had before. I remember just getting these sensations where I'd got over the... A few months later, I'm over the food poisoning element of it. I'm out of hospital. I'm trying to get on with my life. But I'd be holding my cards. I'd be doing magic, stuff that I do in my sleep. But suddenly I was getting shooting pains in my joints and it was like electric shock. I couldn't hold the cards anymore. I was struggling to move. I'd be in a seat and I won't be able to get up because my knees would be stuck. I'd never had that experience before. I suddenly felt like Mr. Burns from the Simpsons. He seems really frail and weak. I felt like I was... I wasn't old. I felt like I should be in my prime, you know what I mean? I couldn't understand it. I felt like my body was deteriorating around me.


I went basically on medical trials for the next few years. The thing is, with medical trials is that when you try a new medicine, you have to try it for three months before the doctors will write that off as not working and try on a new medication. But there was times when I knew within the first two weeks it wasn't working, but I had to go the full three months. In those three months, my symptoms weren't getting better. If anything, they'd get worse. It wasn't until we got to the ninth month where I started this medication called inflixamab, where you have to go to the hospital every few weeks and you get put on a drip and you stay there for eight hours and they basically put this medicine inside you. That really had an incredible effect. That gave me a new lease of life. I felt stronger. I probably felt stronger than I'd felt before I was on it. But then COVID happened. It stopped my infliximab from working. Suddenly, I'm in 2020 and I'm on medical trials again. I tried... I tried so many different medications and it wasn't until the beginning of 2021 where I really got one that was really working properly.


Even now I'm on that, but I have three days a week where I'm really bad, where my joints just don't really work that well and my Crohn's, my stomach feels bad. But yeah, that was a big part of the reason why I, I guess, disappeared for a while.


But it's not the only reason why you disappeared for a while.


Yeah, I think everything that my body was going through, everything that I was going through, the pressures of trying, wanting to do magic and the pressures of trying to sustain a career and live up to people's expectations was almost an impossible task to do whilst I was trying to fix my body. Ultimately, I ended up in a situation where without magic, without being able to do what I loved, not knowing if I was ever going to be able to get it back, made me think, What's the point in my existence? I think my body was imploding and so was my mind.


What was going on in your mind?


I didn't know what to do with my life, didn't know what to do with myself. There's a lot of things that I don't want to fully go into, but I'll try and be as give you as much as I can. There was just so much noise in my head. I hated myself for feeling how I felt. I hated where my body felt because of everything that I was dealing with. If I saw myself in a mirror in my house, I hated what was looking back at me. I hated it so much that I'd slam my head into the mirror and just keep slamming it to try and just make it go away. I don't know, I didn't want to be alive because I didn't feel like the life I had take away all the success and that side of things. I wasn't living because I wasn't able to do the thing I love the most, which was magic. It was a time in my life where I felt that magic couldn't fix me. But magic has always been the thing that has given me hope that I've used to overcome the bullying, overcome the self-doubt and the lack of belief from others and in my own self.


And suddenly I'm in a position where I don't know what to do with myself and magic isn't going to fix it. And I can't... Until I'm fixed, I can't do the thing that gives me a reason and gives me a purpose in performing magic, I can't do that because I'm not mentally or physically capable.


How long did that last?


I'm still dealing with it now, to be honest. It's difficult because I'm a magician. And to everybody else looking at me as a magician, I'm someone who does the impossible. I'm someone who should be able to do anything. But I'm a magician. I'm a magician who felt like back then and still at times now, I'm a magician who feels like I can't do the first thing that a magician needs to do, perform magic. So then I'm just an imposter. I can't live up to the expectations that people have of me. And it's not that I'm not the person who searches for validation from other people. Magic is not an art form that is seen as the coolest thing ever. I'd have set myself up to fail by following through with Magic if I'd have been naive to that point. I know what I mean? I know that magic has never been cool, and I hope that in some small way I've helped to make it feel a bit cooler than maybe what it was perceived as. But magic is the only thing that I'm good at. And I think the way that I can manipulate my body and handle cards and do other things is a big part of what's made my magic unique and feel special.


Not being able to do that kills me.


Am I right in thinking that at that same time, your grandmother had passed away, who was your biggest supporter? Your body was breaking down because of Crohn's and your illness around that time as well. I'd also heard that you had a legal dispute with your management, which meant that you could no longer use your social media channels, the name Dynamer, etc, etc, and that it all happened in this concentrated period of your life.


There was a lot of stuff going on. I think losing my Nana ultimately was, I think, the thing that I guess the straw that brought the camels back is the expression they use, because she's always been the backbone for me. Whenever I felt weak, and there's been a lot of times I felt weak, my Nana has always been strong for me. Then with a lot of things going on in my life, with my life being flipped upside down and then my nana go in as well, it was just like, Mom. It just felt like the world was out to get me and I wanted the ground to just break open and just swallow me up.


If I was to fly on the wall in your house at that time, what would I have seen?


A lot of stuff that I don't really want. I wouldn't want anybody to see. I wasn't very nice to myself. There's a lot of pain, but also a lot of numbness. And I felt that, ironically, actually, I didn't feel like I felt so numb that I'd hurt myself to try and feel something.


Self-harming? Mm-hmm. Okay. Does your partner know what's going on in your life, inside your head during this period? Because I have a partner and if I was in such a dark place where I was self-harming and doing some of the things you've described, banging my head against the mirror and I was in that cycle of self-hatred, I think my partner would know.


Yeah. She knew. She maybe didn't know the extent of it to begin with. I think also the loss side of things, she obviously felt that herself. I think those things, she's dealing with it, dealing with her own grief at the same time. Sometimes when you're dealing with grief, it's hard to see outside of your own grief to see other peoples. Do you know what I mean? We were almost together in those moments. We came together. But she was the one who ultimately got me to go to therapy and to get the help and support that I needed, really.


In this chapter, was there a moment you look back on and say, That was my rock bottom?


Yeah, the sixth of November 2020.


The sixth of November 2020? Mm-hmm. Almost three years ago today. Exactly, almost. Why was that the hardest day?


Because that was the day that I knew that she knew. Because she found me and I tried to kill myself. Okay.


She found you in the house. Mm-hmm. She found you unconscious?


Yeah, in the dog bed.


What are you comfortable talking about?


I mean, I'm not super comfortable at life generally, so just talking. This is the first time I've done an interview that's not been with a therapist since 2020. I trust you. You've been a help for me over the last few years. I guess if you're respectful, then I'll respect what you'll do with what I say will be done.


In the right way. There's two things. I want you to feel comfortable about whatever you say. But also after this conversation, if there's anything you're not comfortable with having said, you can, of course, let me know and it won't be out there in the world. But I think the question that I think is of most value is understanding how someone gets to that point. I've actually quite a long time speaking to Simon Gunning, who's the CEO of Calm, Campaign Against Living Miserably. He's done a really great job of helping me to understand suicidality as a topic. But also when I have a public platform like this where I speak on these subject matters occasionally about what elements of that are useful for people that are in that mindset now. What he's shared with me is, part of it is people understanding how someone gets there, but also understanding how they go from there and they rise out of that situation. What was on your mind when that led you up to that moment?


I felt that I had so many problems that I couldn't figure out how to even solve one of them. And the problems weren't just affecting me. They were affecting my household. They were affecting just my family's life. A big part of me thought, if I'm dead, then my problems won't affect these other people in my life and they will be all right. Because I felt like ultimately I was the problem. It was quite a simple... That was it. It was like, okay, if I'm not here, then everybody else might be happier and they can get on with their lives. That was it.


Your wife finds you that day in the dog bed and then she calls an ambulance?


She called Edward Despot, who was my doctor. He's my gastroenterologist, my co-on specialist. Then I remember, well, she was on the phone to him when I came around and she was just crying. You asked me a moment where it feels like it was the worst. I'd probably hurt myself worse on previous occasions, but I'd never been found by the one person in this life whose opinion I genuinely care about. No matter what I do now in the future, there's nothing I can do that can erase what she saw. That's the thing I'm the most ashamed of, because in the moment, I felt like I was trying to maybe do something that would take all the problems I thought I was facing and remove them from everybody else's world. But I'd not actually thought about what these people would feel if I wasn't here. Do you know what I mean? That's the shame that I feel. I don't feel ashamed for feeling the way I did, but I feel ashamed that my wife saw that. It's just embarrassing, isn't it? She's the person I'm supposed to be strong for. She's the person who relies on me.


I'm the husband. I don't mean that. I know we live in a modern world. But I'm supposed to be there to be strong for her and I couldn't even be strong for myself.


Can I ask you a question? When someone is in that situation, as you were, psychologically, what do you think those around them can do to support that person? Or do you think there's very little those around... I'm trying to re-understand how to support someone in my life that would be in such a mindset.


I guess what my wife did, not just call you... Naturally, you would call someone for help, like a doctor or something like that. But even though I still feel it and I can't necessarily speak on her behalf, but she didn't make me feel ashamed.


She loves you, doesn't she? Yeah. It's one of the greatest gifts, isn't it, to have someone in your life like that, that just loves you through thick and thin.


From the experience and how she's been, even up to now, how she dealt with it and dealt with me, and I think it's the first time outside of my nana, outside of family who they have to do it, it's unconditional, right? Because they're family, they're blood. But it's the first time that I have actually felt the love of somebody else. Because we've been married a long time before then, but you just never know what someone is going to act like when shit really hits the fan.


When they see you naked.


Yeah. I was exposed. You can't get any more exposed than what I felt. She became the rock. She gave me a love that I've never had to deal with it. That is something that I didn't necessarily maybe know I needed in my life until that moment, and that ultimately has kept me alive.


Around this time, there's a dispute with your management. What are you able to tell me about that? Because I know it's a legal dispute, so there's things that probably can't talk about. But I think it's important context to understand what you're going through in this moment as it relates to your sense of purpose and identity and all those things. What are you able to tell me?


I think I was at a time in my life where I felt lost and I knew if I stayed doing things exactly the same way that I'd always done them, then you're only going to get the same results, right? If I'm feeling suicidal thoughts and I'm feeling worthless, then the only way to break that cycle is to have a fresh start. Just needed to break away from everything and ultimately you've started many businesses and I'm sure some of those have and some of those have had to have to go your separate ways at times. That happens in business and I think there was a lot of work needed to be done on myself, and I just had to take time away from that. I can't really touch on it too much. I'm trying to be extremely careful what.


I say. It's all good. I'm actually quite interested in not what happened, but the consequence of what happened. Because I've noticed you've not been posting on social media in a while, for example. I assumed that one of the consequences of this separation with your management was you've not been able to use your social media accounts and we've not seen you on the internet as much. Is that a correct assumption?


I don't feel like I've wanted to post things because I felt like my life isn't been worth sharing. So whilst I've been trying to fix myself, I didn't feel comfortable sharing in those moments and just let the lawyers do what they do and figure that stuff out because I'm too busy trying to figure out what's going on in my own head, how to just get to a place in this world where I can deal with the pressure of life. Ultimately, all I wanted to do, which is what's led me to here with you today, is get to a place in my life where I could share magic again. Even if my arthritis and my Crohn's stopped me doing it in the way I used to, I had to find a new way to share it. There's certain things in the past that I've had to go through negative experiences, positive experiences, but ultimately I've had to go through those things to learn and grow from them and some things I've had to leave behind.


I'm speaking of things you've left behind, are you still Dynamo?


I think Palma is always Dynamo, yeah, of course. But the thing is, I've battled with knowing who... They almost has been a battle between me and myself because the lines are so blurred or were so blurred between Steven that you know and the Dynamo that the greater world knows. It's just been... It's been a lot of confusion. In simple terms, it's been a lot of confusion because Dynamo is the part of me that feels like it can do anything. But Stephen's the flawed human being that realizes and knows that he can't. And it's a conflict. And then when my body's falling apart, my life's falling apart, I'm losing everything in my life outside of magic that I love, then I'm just an empty shell. And that's the feeling that makes you think like, What is the point? Why am I here? I am worthless to this world if I can't share the only thing that I feel I'm good at.


People will be sat thinking, Why can't you share it?


Because partly for some reasons that are outside of my control.


Legal-related reasons.


Some. Yeah, sure. Then partly because mentally, I wasn't free. I need to be free in my head to create material, to create the magic I share. But all that was in my head is horrible things, is things that I can't shut off, I can't turn off the noise. Then there's no space for magic to find its way in. I guess it'd be like the equivalent to writer's block, like magic writer's block. I don't know if that's a real thing, but that's the only way I'm trying to simply explain it.


The way that I heard it from what you just said about the noise was I can't write if there's loud music playing with lots of lyrics in it. When I do writing, I have to turn off loud music with lyrics in it or else my brain can't focus on both. I was almost imagining being in a room with really loud music playing and then me trying to think and write and I just wouldn't be able to.


Yeah. My body was not allowing me to perform in the physical sense in the way that I want it to. Some of the medication was working well and I was doing good. But then mentally, I wasn't in a fit state to do magic. Because of things that was going on behind the scenes, it was really complicated, even getting work. Then naturally with that, it's going to come financial pressures, which is the last thing you need when you're also dealing with everything else. Ultimately, I had too many horrible thoughts in my mind to try. I had too many problems to solve to even think about magic. But then me not thinking about magic, you just... Then that's a depressing notion.


Because that's so much of your purpose and meaning and joy.


Yeah. It's not just tricks. When I talk about magic in this sense, there's the card tricks, there's the things that people see. But for me, magic is a feeling. It's something you experience in your body when you witness something that you can't explain or when you see something that feels impossible but feels like unobtainable. Putting a smile on someone's face is a magical thing, and that's what I've spent my life doing. But the irony is I was in a position where I couldn't put a smile on my own face. How am I meant to do that for anybody else if I can't do the simplest thing for myself?


You go to therapy at this point, you said.


Yeah. My wife was on the phone when she found me to Ed Despot, who is my gastroenterologist. Then he put more in touch with a therapist called Edward Sim. I had some sessions with him initially, but this type of therapy can be quite expensive. I got the first few bills and I was like, I can't sustain this. I need it. But having to pay for therapy was making me more stressed in the process because I just couldn't afford the therapy. But Edward Sim, he showed me a kindness that I've been... But I haven't seen in a long time, especially at that time, he contacted my wife and just said, Listen, I want to help him. I'll do it for free. He's been looking after me ever since.


For free? Yeah.


Wow. I mean, I've keep offering to pay. Now I'm in a slightly better place, but he refuses. But I don't think he's someone who I want in my life forever and I want to be able to repay. I'd never be able to repay him for what he's done for me. But It's yeah. I mean, he introduced me to so many different things, like stuff that I use this thing called sonic reset therapy. I don't know if you know about it. It's this like noise that you listen to. I listen to it twice a day for 20 minutes and it's definitely become something that calms me down and helps me sleep at night.


Then- What do you think it's doing? What is it doing for you? It's just resetting your mind in a way?


Yeah, I guess that's the intention behind it. As I listen to it, it tells me to think about negative experiences or think about positive experiences that like, think about goals you want to achieve or think about things you want to get past and just let them come into your mind at the forefront. It's really strange. It just has a real calming effect.


We'll try and get hold of it and we'll try and include it in the description below.


Yeah, it's been helping me. I'm sure it will help others. But there's lots of different things. One of the things that he suggested to me, which at the time when he suggested it, it was such a weird thing, is he recommended that I read the Alcoholics Anonymous book. Now, I say it's a strange thing for him to recommend for me because I've never drank alcohol in my life. I've never done drugs other than what the doctors prescribe for me for my Crohn's. I've literally been tea toward forever. Do you know what I mean? I had just naively assumed that this is a book to help someone who is an alcoholic. Yeah, actually, I still carry.


My copy. That's yours. This is my copy. In researching your story, I realized the significance of this book, so I just bought a copy.


Of it. Yeah. For people who've never read it, I recommend reading it. I'm a testament, you don't have to be an alcoholic to read it and gain something from it. Essentially, it's broken up into 12 steps. Each chapter, each step is a lot of people's short stories of how they overcome different phases of addiction or trauma. Ultimately, it's trauma. But in the Alcourge Anonymous book, obviously, it's specifically aimed at addiction in that sense. As you hear all the stories, it's very easy to replace the alcoholic side of it in this book and put your own trauma or grief that you're trying to deal with in that place. It's like a blueprint. Literally, people are telling you how they overcome a certain thing. Everything might not work for you as an individual, but I took so much from this. It's written maybe from a spiritual perspective. I'm not particularly religious, but ultimately it's about trying to get you to believing something greater than yourself to help you find your purpose. For me, I've always know what that is. It's been doing magic, right? But I didn't know how to get back to that place without dealing with all these things I was dealing with.


I've gone through the 12th step book, but I've gone through my own 12th step recovery, like going through the different emotional phases that I've been trying to overcome. Some of those involve going back, looking at my past, looking at the situation with my dad, looking at my mom. Because I think, if I'm honest, there's definitely been a lot of resentment towards my mom over the years. Because when my dad went away, as my mum's now living a different life without him, naturally she's going to get to a stage where she wants a new boyfriend, a new partner. She wants a life of her own, right? But there's quite a few of those men that came into her life that were horrible to me. Big part of that was because I was a mixed-race kid and we lived in quite a racist area. A lot of the men didn't want me. They wanted my mom because my mom was lovely.


How did you know they didn't want you?


Did you say they would tell me.


They would tell you?


Yeah. They'd just tell me and they'd do things that showed me that they didn't want me. I pretty much moved in with my grandparents when I was 15 because the men in my mom's life, I wanted my mom to be happy, but that came at the sacrifice of my own happiness. It meant that she'd be happy because she'd get the love maybe that she thought she needed. But I felt like I lost my mom in the process. Is there's been resentment. It's not been like on the surface resentment. I'd still see my mom at Christmas and so forth, but we never really had that, the bond that I thought we should have had. But one of the things I got from the book is I've had conversations with my mom that I've been too scared to have. I've actually got to understand her better. This is the wrong word, but because ultimately she doesn't need forgiveness because knowing her story, she hasn't done things wrong. She hasn't purposely done things wrong for me to go, I forgive you. But there was knowing what she'd been through. It's in these conversations that I've learned about some of the physical abuse that my dad would do and also that other partners of hers would forgive her.


I think she'd been trapped in a cycle of not necessarily picking the wrong partners and just trying to do the same thing over and over again, expecting different results, which you can't blame someone for.


I've come to learn from doing this podcast and speaking to a lot of psychologists that specialize on love that we often seek out the form of love that we grew up on, and sometimes that's an abusive form of love. Many psychologists that have spoken to have alluded to this, but a few have said this quite directly that if you were at a very young age, had a toxic attachment with maybe a figure in your life, there's a chance that you'll then grow up and seek out toxic attachments in the cycle that you've described. We tend to think that if we've been in a toxic situation when we were younger, for example, that we'll then seek out really, really healthy situations because we know what bad looks like. But in fact, I've been told that it's often the opposite, that we go back to the cycle of love that we were familiar with. Familiarity seems to be the key word.


Yeah, people find safety in familiarity, even if that familiarity isn't actually safe. I can feel that.


This book, this very small book, there's something about these ideas that seem to reach people when they're in their toughest moments. Step number one, we admitted we were powerless, that our lives had become unmanageable. Step two, we came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. Have you had to admit you were powerless? And have you started to believe in a power greater than yourself?


Definitely. I've felt powerless for years. I know that I'm not in control. My oneness has debilitating me for so long. But just it always seemed to pop up when I'm flying high, when I feel like untouchable, then suddenly I get a little reminder that I'm fallible, I've got weaknesses, and can't get above my station, so to speak. But yeah, I think that I've always looked for the magic in the wrong place. What I mean by that is that I've always looked for the magic in me to help me out of whatever situation I was in. What this book opened up my mind to the idea of is the magic in other people.


As you know, because I've been sent thousands of messages, these conversation cards sell out exceptionally quick. Here's the deal I'm going to make with you. If you join the waiting list, which is in the description below, you will get sent access to buy these conversation cards one hour before anybody else. They're in limited supply, so if you really do want to get your hands on them, please do add your name to the waiting list in the description below. And you can find that waiting list at theconversationcards. Com, but I'll also include it in the description below wherever you're listening to this episode. As you know, we are a sponsor of this podcast, which came about from me being the biggest fan of their product. It's been an absolute game-changer for my sleep, for my recovery, and for my overall wellbeing. Whoop is a wearable device, this thing on my wrist right here, if you're watching me, that not only tracks your health 24/7, but also guides you to improve it. It's probably the perfect gift for the person who has everything or is impossible to buy for, which is what my friends say to me, because it's the gift that keeps on giving, offering real-time benefits for their health and their wellness forever.


So if you're on the hunt for the perfect present for a loved one or a team member or even for you. This festive season, I would highly recommend checking out Whoop. They very kindly offered our community here under The Diver's CEO a special discount just for you, but keep this to yourself. If you head over to join. Whoop. Com/ceo, you can get that discount. Let me know who you get one for and how they get on. You have a TV show coming out tonight, which is really your grand return to the public stage. And that TV show is called Dynamo is Dead and it's appearing on Sky tonight, which is very, very exciting. And I guess this links to what you just said about finding the magic in others, right?


Yeah. Why are.


You doing this? What is it?


I just need to get magic back in my life because that's the thing that I live for. And over the last few years, when I've been working on myself, seeing a different type of magic, seeing magic in other people is what's given me that spark back. And the magic I've been seeing, it's not dynam magic. It's something different. It's something that I'm feeling and I'm finally feeling it again. In fact, I feel like I'm feeling it for the first time. Like Edward Sim, my therapist, he's a very successful therapist. He doesn't need to offer me therapy for free, but he wanted to share some of his magic and that started to rewire my mind to realize, whoa, there's some amazing people out there who can change lives, they're changing mind. When I saw you three years ago and we shared a candid conversation about some of the things I was feeling at the time, you first off, listened to me and there was no cameras around. It wasn't like this. It was just you were present in the room with me. Then not only did you listen, but you helped in a small way, and that was magic.


I don't know if anybody knows who's watching this, but you are part of my new show. Don't know if you've told anybody yet. Your we're going to also see you on the show tonight in a different way than maybe they used to seeing you. Definitely. But your story, I think one of the things I realized for a lot of people from places like where I'm from. Speaking to a therapist seems like the last thing you would feel comfortable doing. I'm from a councilor state. We're working class, we're working class. We're like, you're told if you've got a problem, suck it up. Be a man. You can't talk about your problems. You just got to get on with it. What's that expression? That keep calm and carry on. It was... It's instilling us. I wanted to show people from where I'm from that it's okay to ask for help, it's okay to be broken. It's okay to not know the answers. I'm not too proud to go out there and search for the answers for people. I've gone around the world using the platform that I have. Obviously, as Dynamo, the name opens doors. But opening doors just for myself is pointless because sometimes I'm only feeding my own ego.


But I realized that if I could use that platform to speak to individuals candidly about dealing with any type of trauma, dealing with not feeling good enough, dealing with all the things that I felt that made me not want to be alive anymore, then maybe that can save someone else's life. I know it's a grandeose mission statement. I don't take it lightly. I'm barely saving my own life at the minute. I don't want to thought it so loosely that I can save someone else's life.


No, but that's exactly what it does. That is exactly what it does. There are lives that you never really get to see. But just even in sharing how you felt and how you've risen from that. This is exactly what Simon Gunning told me. It does save people's lives. In this new chapter of your life, following this show tonight called Dynamo is Dead on Sky, you're going to continue to do that. If there was ever a time, and I think this is why when you came up to me at that event many a year ago and started telling me a little bit about your story, I think I probably said it to you then, but I'm not sure, if there's ever a time when people need that, when they need a little bit of joy and they need a little bit of escapism and they need a little bit of wonder and they need their imagination to be stretched into what is real and what is possible and what is impossible, it is now, and you know that. You know that's what people need now. That means we need you now.


I had the idea obviously to make this show when we first started speaking. But when my nan died, I realized then that the dynamos we know it needed to die with her. And that the only way to fully have closure on that part of my life was if I actually bury myself alive. Tonight, after the show plays out live on Skye, I'm going to be doing that.


You're going to bury yourself alive in order to kill off the Dynamo identity? Yeah.


I haven't put myself in that hole yet. Right. What will happen after that point is hard to really summarize because there's only been a few times in my life where I've done crazy endurance feats like this, and something in you changes when you do them. It's an incredibly scary thought. But since I've thought about it, since the seventh of May 2021, I thought it's the only way to move forward in my life. Yeah, tonight after the show finishes, you'll be able to see it live. But it's not for me. It's not like a stun. It's not about escaping. It's a cleansing for me. And I feel like it will be one of the most incredible, scary things I've ever done. But the thing I've learned over the last few years is that I've got to stop being scared and just start living my life.


I'm both terrified and excited in equal measure to watch the show tonight. I had no idea you were burying your sofa life, so that's terrifying. But I understand your rationale and I'm very excited to see what happens. Stephen, I would like to see some magic, if possible. Is there some magic you can show me right now?


Yeah, do you want to get some of your friends in.


As well? My team? Yeah. My team are upstairs. Jack, could you bring the team downstairs? What do you guys do here at DOAC?


I am a.


Video editor.


With Anne. Nice. I'm Head of Trailers for the podcast. There are some good trailers as well. Thank you.


I'm Head of the Bookings.


Do you want to mix them? You go for it. Go on, you go. You want it as well? We'll split them. You can both mix them. Is this the best shuffling you've ever seen? I mean, it's not bad. It's not the worst. Usually, it's when you put them on the table and you just do all that.


Standard edition, yeah.


Mix these over as well. Mix these in. I'll mix these all together. Yeah. Say what? Let's just have everybody pick one. We'll just try this. Take one out, Stephen.


There wego.


Am I on there? There we go. Thank you. Don't let me see. I'll look down so I can't see them. Just remember them and maybe show them to the camera so that the people at home can remember them, too. Yeah. Cool. I'm going to look up now. I'll take this one first. It's one, two, three, four. I'll give them a two, four. I'll do one of those for you here. Okay.


That is so cool. Oh, my God.


So the first card then, that's one, King of diamonds. That's mine. That's your card. Oh my God. I have a King of diamonds. If I name your card out loud-Four of Spades. Four of spades. Four of spades. If I just take this and just give it a little snap like that, we get the four of the threes. Yeah. So M2, I think. And we've got... Yeah. And then for Stevens, instead of finding it, I'll just... I'll make all the other cards disappear. What? Oh, my God. Where have they gone? Where have they gone? When you look under your pillow tonight, they will be there. Oh, my God.


Wow, that is unreal.


That is mega. Shit. Don't worry, I did bring a spare deck of cards. -it's actually just in case.


How many packs of cards do you have?


I'm trying to put down two packs of there. Oh, yeah. That's the- Yeah. Take one. Thank you. Then, Stephen, have you got a pen? Yeah. Can you write your name on the face of the card? Oh, my God. On this side? Yeah, on the other side. And in fact, pass it around so all of you can sign it. Oh, my God, these ones. I've seen these on telly. I'm getting a few things I'm going to need. Perfect. Have you signed it as well? Yeah. Great. Plus it right there, face down. -down? -yeah. Did you show the camera? No. Maybe show the camera real quick, yeah?


This one okay. Perfect.


It's about halfway down. I've got a pound coin. Do you want to check it out? I can confirm it's a real pound coin. I've got a little piece of paper. I'm going to place it like this. In fact, you can see clearly that the card, it's in the middle where you place it. That's not the card. Not on the top. Oh, my God. What? What? I was going to be it, isn't that? The bottom. Okay. The coin burns through the pack. Right through. It didn't go all the way through the pack. You see, it stopped on one card. Take a look.


You take a look, man. You take a look.




Oh, my days. My hands are shaking. Your hands are shaking. What? I'm fine. I'm fine.


Jim? Yeah. Have you ever had a time in your life where you feel people have got close to you, but then they've almost loaded into a false sense of security so that they can almost manipulate you and pull at your heartstrings. Do you know what I mean? Have you ever had that?


Oh, I didn't realize this was a Darryl Sumiac.


No. Yeah, I guess I could say maybe. Okay.




Okay, cool. You don't have to be a person, I think. But just a time where you've experienced that way. Manipulation. Yeah. So put your hand on my chest. And I want you to start to describe the types of emotions you'd feel when you went through that thing.


Insecurity. It's a lack of confidence.


Stupid. Stupid, okay. Then I just want you to name a color.




Bread. Okay, so imagine these feelings were attached to a heartstring. A heartstring would be bread, right? You can feel that pressure, right? Yeah. Sorry, I'm just going to pull down my top where your hand is.


Oh, a red string. What?


See that? Oh, my God. Can you see that, right? Coming out of your chest. Oh, my days. Should I touch it? Yeah, you can take it. It's coming out my chest. You can feel it on my chest, yeah? Yeah. Take it. Oh, God.




Take it, pull it. Yeah. Slowly pull it out my chest. Oh, it's a bit tight. Oh, Oh. Oh my God. We can't see.


We're trying to get his heartstring. Can you.


Feel this? Mm-hmm. Okay.


Oh, sorry. More? Yeah.


Is it going to come out? Put it all the way here. Oh my God.


Oh my God, this is.


Freaking me out. More? How long is this a start string? Like, long. Oh.


That's your sticky. That's your sticky now. Wow.


For me, magic is about taking something that doesn't exist like a little spark in your mind, and then somehow being able to bring it to life. I spent the last few years not feeling like I had the magic in me that I really wanted to share, but there was always that fire somewhere deep inside of me dying to get out. So can you take the lighter?


Can we do it again?


And can you put your hands together like this for me? Light the lighter. Because I'm going to take fire. And from fire, I get ice. Oh, my God.






What the fuck? I can't believe you're a mule. What? I can't believe you're a mule. What? I'm just trying to think what that is.


Oh, that's actual ice.


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In this podcast episode, wherever you're listening to it, there'll be a Stephens Bundle link and check it out. Do you need a podcast to listen to next? We've discovered that people who liked this episode also tend to absolutely love another recent episode we've done. I've linked that episode in the description below. I know you'll enjoy it.