There is a certain kind of honesty you find in performing to drunk people. I’m not talking about completely off their trolley, sailing four sheets to the wind, no naked flames within 10 feet drunk, more the ‘I don’t care if this is rude, I’m going to tell you I don’t think this is any good’ drunk. When people aren’t shackled by the social norms of politeness it can be very thin ice. A good performer by their very nature will put a lot of themselves into their performance. It’s how we remain passionate. That passion is also about the only way a person can keep their mind when they spend hour after hour moving a coin from one hand to another in a very specific way. Of course, when that passion slams into the crash test wall that is an obstinate drunk it’s quite the wakeup call. Conversely, that lack of inhibition also means you can get the best reactions from a few people who have had a couple of glasses of something warming. Not worried about looking cool jaws drop, eyebrows raise and for a few moments a cynical grown up believes in magic again.
I’m writing about this because December is just around the corner. Easily the busiest time of year for magicians our evenings are suddenly full of people enjoying the festive season and keen to see some magic. With office parties and work do’s it’s when people are most likely to see a magician outside of a wedding. It’s also when many magicians hear that dreaded phrase ‘Oh yeah, the other one did that’. Uninhibited by social norms, if someone is slightly tipsy and has already seen a trick you are performing, then they will often quite happily blurt it out, usually at the very worst moment.
But why would someone who works so hard at a craft do something that another magician does? Not every trick done by every magician is unique to that performer. Some illusions are so spectacularly strong, get such an amazing reaction, that working magicians will just be drawn to them. As a disclaimer, I perform one of these effects myself maybe half the time. It’s a trick that I didn’t create, have altered the performance of very little, and really can’t call my own. But I love performing it. I do it well, and the reactions from my audience are spectacular. It’s always been those reactions that matter to me. Not how clever a trick is, or how cool I can look, but how much an audience enjoy what I do.
So yes, occasionally a magician might do a trick that you’ve already seen before performed by another person. With any luck it’s not because they are a lazy hack (not me), but simply want their audience to have the very best experience (me). But either way, why not give them the benefit of the doubt. And, above all else, resist the urge to shout something like ‘look in your top pocket!’ before the magician is ready for it.
Oh, I probably should take this opportunity to sell my services, and I do still have a few dates free this December. So, if you’re looking for a magician who cares more about ensuring you have a good time than looking cool, I like to think I’m your man! Get in touch.