How Crawley magician Ben Taylor got to know his hero Paul Weller

A scene from documentary The Magic Mod.
A scene from documentary The Magic Mod.

Ben ‘Magic Mod’ Taylor will appear alongside one of his biggest heroes - Mod legend Paul Weller - in a new documentary.

Ben, from Tilgate, was approached by award-winning documentary maker Ally McKenzie, who was curious about him and his act.

“He came forward, and asked me if I could do a documentary about being a mod and being a magician,” he said.

“It took about a year to do - they came to my house and done filming of me practising; and backstage, when I was getting ready; and doing my live performances.”

Celebrities featuring in the documentary include Jonny Owen (writer and creator of ‘Svengali’), and actors Vicky McClure (Lol in ‘This is England’ and Kate Fleming in ‘Line of Duty’) and Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins in ‘The Hobbit’ and Dr Watson in ‘Sherlock’).

“And Paul Weller, who is my hero, is in it,” said Ben.

“It’s quite remarkable to say that he’s in something that’s really big for me - I’m speechless. I really can’t describe it.”

Ben said the experience was all the more special because he was able to make a lasting connection with Weller.

“I’ve been speaking to him for quite a long time now,” he said. “That’s a dream in itself as he’s an absolute hero of mine.

“He’s given me a lot of good advice on how to keep going; when he was up and coming in the band it was a struggle, but you go through that, so that you can enjoy the good times.”

Apart from wanting success for its own sake, Ben said he wants to do what he can to promote his hometown.

“I want to be a successful magician for Crawley, and put Crawley back on the map,” he said.

“I love Crawley - I’m not afraid to tell people where I’m from.”

As well as featuring Paul Weller in his own documentary, Ben got to return the favour by appearing in ‘One’, a film by Paul Weller Band keyboard player Andy Crofts, documenting a year in the life of the Modfather himself.

Ben appears as a backstage guest around 32 minutes into the film, and astounds the band with a card trick.

The trailer for The Magic Mod is on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QwIzq8EGhA but Ben said they are keeping the documentary’s release date under wraps for now.

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