P. James, the wall to wall magician

One of my favourite hobbies is to take a ride across the city, aimlessly wandering around, taking in the sights, sounds and sundry advertising of Chennai. It was one such ride, late yesterday, that gave me the material for this post. Also, just when I thought of posting this, Tom e-mails us with the same idea. So here it is, the Chennai Metroblogging tribute to the Chennai celebrity.

P. James. Magician extraordinary. If you have spent even half a day in Chennai, going around the city, you will have come across our man. P James is, by most standards, one of Chennai’s most famous names. There’s not one person in Madras who’s not heard of him. Or more likely, seen his very plain, very simple advertising in the walls of Madras

I am not sure how many of you have seen P James perform, but I have. At a birthday party of a friend. A half a dozen years back, or more. The man’s quite competent. He has a good repertoire of tricks and stunts, has a decentish stage-patter and is a natural, if naive, entertainer. But that isn’t why P James is the most famous magician in the city.

The simple reason is, his advertising. P James doesn’t rely on big-shot advertising agencies and 100$ a pop strategies to advertise himself. He knows his city well, and his target. So out he goes.
Every wall in Chennai, bridges specially, will have his characteristic, hand-written message in it –

P. James magician
Ph: 2485 0239

written with black paint/tar. This message is as rustic and simple as it can get. But it is effective, for I have heard of families commissioning Mr James for children’s birthday parties, for family get-togethers and more.

The funny thing I have observed lately, is that the Brand P James, has grown and become more sophisticated in recent years.

Our man has now acquired a mobile phone, the number of which escapes me. Secondly, the advertisement now has a distinguishable black border around it. Probably to define his ad, his brand better and give it a look and feel uniquely his.

5 Comments so far

  1. Nancy (unregistered) on July 20th, 2006 @ 4:50 pm

    I love this post! I’ve always wondered about P. James, and now you have answered me. How about an interview?

  2. thelearner (unregistered) on July 20th, 2006 @ 6:57 pm

    Yes! An interview, with pictures. Do ask him about his advertising strategy.

    P. James has always been in my sub-conscious… this is the best chance to get him out of there.

    P. James, Magician.

  3. WA (unregistered) on July 20th, 2006 @ 7:52 pm
  4. Kaps (unregistered) on July 24th, 2006 @ 1:56 pm

    He used to perform regularly at VGP Golden Beach sometime ago. I have seen him perform at birthday parties as well.

  5. Tom (unregistered) on August 1st, 2006 @ 9:50 pm

    So great to see this posting, and I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who think there’s a great story to be had here. Perhaps you could hire him to perform at the first Chennai Metroblogging reader party. I’ve got rupees to contribute to THAT fund!

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