Tools of the Trade

A few weeks ago I mentioned nail clipper, and how they are important to me as a jobbing magician. This got me thinking about other vital ‘tools of the trade’; what are the things magicians couldn’t really do without?  So I had a further ponder and spoke to a few magician friends, and thought I would do a short list of must have items.

Just to clarify, I’m not talking about things like cards or silver dollars – items a magician carries to do magic with. This is a list of the things that make our profesional lives easier and more barable.


1. Sharpie Pen

I thought I knew about Sharpies before I started doing magic. I used them in my day to day life and had even owned one of the short ones. No, I knew nothing. They come in all shapes and sizes and even the standard one we all know actually has different variations, and I’m not just talking colour. Did you know there is a retractable version!? But in one form or another a Sharpie is something that every magician I know uses. It’s a strong, permanent colour that’s ideal for marking anything, from signed cards to bank notes and coins.

2. Chewing Gum/Tic Tac

When I asked my friends what was the most important tool they had, this was the most common reply. Either they all have halitosis or I’ve got really low standards, because though I’ve been known to carry a packet of gum around when I remember, it’s not the first thing that springs to mind. Still, nobody wants a magician whose breath smells like their rabbit has crawled from the hat into their mouth and died; fresh breath when doing close up is a must.


3. Travel Card

Whenever I gig in London, this is a must. I have an Oyster I use exclusively for business and it just makes sorting my travel expenses so much easier than using a contactless debit card. Not the most glamorous answer, but a true one!

4. Overnight Bag

When you’re gigging it’s important to know you’ve got everything you need in one place. One of my friends swears by his overnight bag, which always contains a deck of cards, some silver dollars, tooth brush and toothpaste, a sharpie, and perfume. He knows that as long as he’s got this bag he can do a close up gig and pretty much carried it with him where ever he goes. Personally, I find a Grid-It to be pretty useful in this respect.

5. Pain Killers

As a performer, it’s vital that you’re not distracted by little niggles. Now I am not advocating popping pills like you’re a starlet from the golden age of Hollywood, however I have been known to take a couple of Ibuprofen and Paracetamol to make sure a headache doesn’t ruin my performance. As I don’t drink alcohol, this works really well for me and has ensured more than one glitch free night.

So there you have it, my top five (nail clippers not included). Other things magicians suggested were ‘a smile’, but I’m currently trying to avoid cheese, and ‘condoms’. I was told these are a ‘useful tool unless you want to end up with kids’. I shall have to respectfully disagree here as I’ve found that being a grown man who does magic is more than enough protection in that regard.


Paul ReganComment