Manitoba

Illusionist Darcy Oake holds memorial for friend killed in Paris attacks

A Winnipeg illusionist is beginning his shows with a memorial for his friend Nicholas Alexander, who was killed in the Paris attacks on Friday.

Nicholas Alexander was shot to death while working merchandise table at Bataclan concert hall show

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      A Winnipeg illusionist is beginning his shows with a memorial for his friend Nicholas Alexander, who was killed in the Paris attacks on Friday.
      Darcy Oake (second from left) dedicated his Saturday show in Toronto to his friend Nicholas Alexander (right), who was killed in the Paris attacks Friday. (Supplied)

      Alexander, 36, was hired to do merchandise for magician Darcy Oake's month-long tour of the United Kingdom. Oake said Alexander died working the merchandise table for the American rock band Eagles of Death Metal in the Bataclan concert hall Friday.

      "It's shocking, it's like a sledgehammer to the gut," Oake said. "He was like the nicest guy and we were literally doing this exact same show with him like a month ago."

      Oake said the two grew close after spending 16 hours a day together, traveling by bus to new destinations and shows each night. 

      As the man working the merchandise table, Oake said Alexander would've been at the "front of house, out in the lobby" when the shootings first started.

      "When you find that out that somebody you know and who you became really close with was there and right at the forefront of it, it's absolutely crushing," he said.

      He found out Saturday morning that Alexander was killed. An hour later, news of Alexander's death was "all over the internet," he said.

      "It's devastating because like you see it going on and it's obviously the most tragic thing ever," Oake said. "But when something like that happens you feel slightly disconnected or it's not necessarily real because you're not there, it doesn't necessarily affect you first hand."

      Oake said he is still trying to process the fact that Alexander is gone.

      "It's just so unfortunate, so unnecessary … it's so ridiculous what happened. You can't even wrap your head around it."

      Alexander was a hard worker who Oake fondly remembers putting in long hours on tour.

      "Every single night he was the last man standing, every night no matter what," Oake said. "He would be the last one in bed. Everyone would slowly dwindle away and sure enough, Nick would be up."

      Not only was he a "heartwarming guy," but Oake said Alexander was also a fan of magic.

      "You couldn't not like him. He was so smart," said Oake, adding Alexander brought his parents to one of the shows and asked him to sign a copy of his book.

      "He gave me the copy of my book and was like, 'Can you sign this for me?' and I was like 'Yeah, give me a bit. I don't want to just sign it and give it to you."

      Oake kept the book and wrote messages in it throughout the tour. At the end, he gave back to Alexander with a nice note.

      Oake dedicated his show in Toronto on Saturday to Alexander. He started things off by showing a photo of Alexander as well as holding a brief memorial to him.

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