Magic Bob hangs up wand

WELL-KNOWN city magician Bob Quilietti has retired after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

RAISED in West Pilton, 57-year-old Bob Quilietti trained as a joiner after leaving school in 1966.

But, by 1985, he was ready for a change and, along with Fringe Festival impresario Karen Koren, he started an entertainment and touring agency called Comic Routes.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The agency looked after new comics and street entertainers, securing gigs for them all over Scotland.

In 1986, Bob decided that he would like to take a more hands-on approach to the entertainment industry and turned his hobby of magic into a career as a children's entertainer. Magic Bob was born.

Over the next 25 years, Bob toured all over the UK, Europe and as far afield as Cairo. During performances, he would dress extravagantly in Hawaiian shirts and brightly coloured shoes, performing tricks while cracking jokes for children and adults.

Getting paid to entertain the public was a dream come true for the charismatic entertainer whose act was based on dexterity, humour and energetic and enthusiastic performances. He was a huge success and to this day stakes a claim to the longest-ever running Fringe show.

Three years ago, Bob started to experience health problems. His energy levels plummeted and he felt jittery and irritable while everyday tasks - fastening buttons, tying laces, opening envelopes - became difficult.

In February 2004, a neurologist diagnosed Parkinson's Disease. Bob said: "This conclusion was nothing more than a labelling, a name tag to pin on to a cluster of increasingly unpleasant symptoms.

"It's what the illness does to us as individuals and our responses to these symptoms that count, not the name we give it."

Over the last three years, Bob has scaled down his work commitments but he has refused to be defeated by his diagnosis. And now that he has decided to retire he hopes to helps others to recover from similar setbacks.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He is currently working with the Thistle Foundation in Craigmillar, persuading those who have given up their careers because of illness that they still have something to offer.

He said: "When I first got Parkinson's, I knew I had to give up entertainment because I just wasn't able to do it.

"At the time I was very low and thought that the world had come crashing down. However, I heard about the Thistle Foundation and they helped me believe in myself."

Mr Quilietti, will help launch a series of free classes in October aimed at those with Parkinson's, chronic fatigue syndrome, ME, stress or depression.

"It's all about giving people the belief that they are still able to lead a productive life," he said.