The Best Magician You've Ever Seen
“You’re the best magician I’ve ever seen!”
I love it when I hear that. It’s a fantastic compliment and quite often a much needed shot of adrenalin to the ego. When someone pays you that kind of compliment it’s hard to know what to do that doesn’t involve you just looking smug. It is, however, very important to remember that when someone says that, there is one very important caveat they are probably leaving out. Really that compliment should be:
“You’re the best magician I’ve ever seen in the flesh!”
The fact is most people don’t see live magic close up. They see it on TV or online. And it just isn’t the same. The first time someone told me I was the best magician they had ever seen, I had been doing magic for about 4 months. Now, I’m pretty full of myself but even I don’t think I managed to become a master of the art in that amount of time. I spoke to them a bit more and the only magicians they had ever seen had been on television. And, very often, I imagine that that is the case. Though magic is becoming more common in certain areas, it’s still relatively rare for most people. And that’s a real shame. Magic – like so many forms of entertainment – really only comes to life when it is happening in front of you. When you’re there, in the moment, part of what’s happening it’s a totally different animal.
I was thinking this last night as I enjoyed The Close Up Show at Hertford theatre. Master magician Chris Wood runs these nights in different locations in the south east and believe me, they are well worth seeing. First up was Kevin Bird, doing a classic set involving coins and cards, and his experience shone through. Next came Chris himself. One of my favourite magicians to watch, I realised that this was the first time I have seen him perform for non-magicians. Everything about him was a class act. His handling and involvement of the audience was great, and they responded to his natural warmth. Finally we got to enjoy Terry Herbert. Very much a magician of the old school, his style of magic, which may have been de rigor forty years ago seemed to appear almost avant garde to a lot of the audience, and they loved him for it.
It was a great night, and I was happy to be able to enjoy an event put on by a friend. I’ve known Chris for a while now, in fact he was one of the judges for my entrance to The Magic Circle (fun story, after the exam he gave me a bit of a ribbing as I had performed one of the moves as my back was to the audience. I told him that of course I did, that was the best time to do the move! The magicians around the table were very much on my side) and he is very much a magician who revels in story telling and his loquacious legerdemain is a style I adore watching. Chris has often helped me with my magic, for which I will always be grateful. He also was part of the inspiration for my own little magical bundle of joy; Magic, Mischief, and Monopoly.
I don’t want this blog to turn into a plug, but I do want to say that magic MUST be seen live. I grew up watching Copperfield and Daniels on TV, but the performances that have stuck with me on an emotional level are magicians at parties I went to as a child, or later saw performing at Covent Garden. These days I enjoy watching magic regularly, often on a Monday night at the Circle either at lectures, in house production, or just messing around with friends, but also at shows. A few months ago I saw Jerry Sadowitz, and it will forever be a highlight of my life to have enjoyed a master of both magic and comedy live.
So, in short, rather than staying in today, why not get up, go out, and enjoy some live magic? In fact, whilst I really believe that magic as an art must be seen live to truly appreciate it, live entertainment is something we should all be enjoying. It doesn’t have to cost the earth. Local theatre can open a whole new world to you, and they need our patronage. A pub just round the corner probably has a live music night you could support, or why not go and find some stand-up to enjoy? Now I think about it, if you’re in the Watford area, I’ve heard that there is an amazing deal at a local board game café where you get 4 hours of gaming plus another two hours of magic, all for just £10…
Anyway, that’s me done for today. I’m off out to perform at Mr Foggs Residence. Thanks for reading!