Magic Alex

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Yanni (later John) Alexis Mardas (born May 5, 1942, Athens, Greece), better known as Magic Alex, the name given him by The Beatles when he knew the group between 1965 and 1969, is a self-styled electronics wizard and one-time head of The Beatles' Apple Electronics.

Mardas arrived in England in 1965, exhibiting his Kinetic Light Sculptures at the Indica Gallery. Mardas impressed John Lennon with his Nothing Box; a small plastic box with randomly blinking lights, and boasted that he could build a 72-track tape machine, so was given the job of designing the new Apple Studio in Savile Row. Mardas failed to live up to his promises of new inventions, which also included electric paint, wallpaper loudspeakers, a flying saucer, and a "sonic force field". Mardas was involved in the hasty departure of Lennon and George Harrison from the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's ashram in India, and Lennon's divorce of his first wife, Cynthia Lennon.

In the 1970s, the anti-terrorism industry offered bullet-proof vehicles, bugging devices and security hardware, and Mardas set up various companies offering these products to royalty and VIPs. King Hussein of Jordan bought a fleet of cars that Mardas had customised, but the cars proved to be more life-threatening than ordinary cars, as bullets easily pierced the supposed armour-plating, and the glass splintered. In 1987, Mardas was a managing director of Alcom Ltd, which specialised in electronic communications and security. He now lives in Greece.

Contents

London and The Beatles

The 21-year-old Yanni Alexis Mardas first arrived in England on a student visa in 1965, befriending John Dunbar of the Indica Gallery in London, and later moving in with him in a flat on Bentinck Street, which was where Mardas first met Lennon. Shortening his name to Yanni Mardas, he found employment as a television repairman.[1] Dunbar later introduced Mardas to Brian Jones,[2] after Mardas exhibited his Kinetic Light Sculptures at the Indica Gallery.[3] Dunbar worked with Mardas on the “psychedelic light box” for The Rolling Stones' three-week tour of Europe in 1967,[4] although they were not impressed with the results.[3] Dunbar later said: "He was quite cunning in the way he pitched his thing. He knew enough to know how to wind people up and to what extent. He was a fucking TV repairman: Yanni Mardas, none of this 'Magic Alex' shit!"[5][6]

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