Friends are Magicial
‘I don’t like hanging out with other magicians’. I’ve heard this a few times. In interviews, from working pros, when hanging out with people hanging out with other magicians… and I find it weird.
Yes, magicians have their flaws. This is natural. It’s a hobby that attracts people who not only want to appear to be the smartest person in the room, but also never explain the answers. A magician is the textbook definition of a git, and so people who literally train for hours because they want to be gits. Yes, many of them might be annoying. The metaphorical pissing contest that can happen when a few magicians get together is very weird. Much like a geeky version of the Thunderdome, these gladiators clad in badly fitting waistcoats circle each other, finding your card in increasingly complex and convoluted ways, literally rolling their sleeves up to prove to you that their way of pretending a coin vanishes form one hand and appears in the one. Hints are not taken as your forced by absolute strangers to sit through a routine you’ve seen more times than you care to remember, and it’s staggering how long some people are able to talk solely about themselves.
But for all of our flaws, I still think that magicians should like hanging out with other magicians, and not for the obvious reasons. It’s not so you can talk about technique or the latest advances in magnets and mirrors. Not it is about comparing notes on what’s hot and what’s not. I don’t even need a magician to teach me a new method to want to hang out with them. No, the reason it’s a good idea to hang out with magicians is because they understand what it’s like to hang out with people who aren’t magicians.
I am typing this on the train, coming back from the Blackpool Magic Convention. It is the single, biggest magic convention in the world. It’s jam packed with lectures, shows, magic societies, dealers, the lot. But the highlight for many who attend is the drinking after. The Ruskin, a local hotel, traditionally starts filling with magicians from about seven. By 11.30 at night it’s heaving with people continuing to cram their way in. Staggering out at three or four in the morning is not uncommon. Backs are slapped, pints are downed, and a good time is had by one and all. I was there every night from Thursday and it proved to me why hanging out with magicians is a good idea. Because in all that time, not once – NOT ONCE – when I went to buy a drink did anyone say ‘can’t you just magically refill it’?
When people know you’re a magician, they will ask why you don’t do things by magic. It’s a genetic certainty, like fear of fire or the need to join in the clapping during ‘we will rock you’, part of our primitive, monkey mind insists we say certain things to magicians.
‘Can’t you just magically repair it?’
‘Surely you can just fly there without a plane?’
‘Just make some money appear.’
If you’re a magician I guarantee you’ve heard these things, each and every one of them. But never, NEVER from an actual magician. Surely that break is worth sitting through one mreo ambitious card routine?
Oh, It’s also nice that magicians can be the loveliest, most genuine and charmingly giving people I’ve ever met, and I’m proud and honoured to have so many call me their friend.
I’ll be updating my Facebook with my write up of the convention sporadically. It was great, but I want to take my time and gather my thoughts. However, I do want to say ‘Thank you’ and ‘See you soon’ to all of the new friends I made and old acquaintances renewed.