I Don't Want To And You Can't Make Me!

After a false start, I think it may be safe to say that summer – as it is in this country – is here. This will lead to many clichés, including:

1.       Couples who think they are in secluded spots in parks across the country will go way too far with their PDA. They will look over the moment you glance out of morbid curiosity, spot you, and make you feel like a creeper.

2.       Guy’s walking around without tops on. I’m just going to come out and say it - some people talk about banning the burka. I would honestly rather ban this instead. It’s not big, it’s not cool, and it’s just not on.

3.       Buying a Mr Whippy and, about three licks in, remembering that it just tastes like overly sweet, air-filled white. Though the sauce and flake are amazing. Plus, it will make you feel sick.

Something else that, as far as I can tell, you’ve got a better than 50 – 50 chance of seeing a magician in a park, doing close up, with a friend recording then. It seems that this is the season for a lot of my friends to go out, armed only with a deck of cards and a sharpie, and put together clips for Instagram and their show real.

This really is the one aspect of being a modern, professional magician I’m awful at. One of the reasons I love magic as a performance is the spontaneity and ‘in the moment’ nature of it. The idea of spending time organising someone to film it just feels weird to me. Magic for me is, at its best, when enjoyed in person, and I think I quite like the feeling of intimacy live performances bring. How does brining someone along to filmi this moment affect that dynamic, that intimacy? For me, it cheapens it. Yes, I know this is an exceptionally old fashioned idea of what the world is these days. People are used to cameras. They are everywhere. In fact, often when performing a member of my audience will ask if they don’t mind if they film. Now, as ubiquitous as filming on a phone has become, I still dislike the screen. It’s a barrier between me and that audience member. I’m always happy to say yes though, mostly because I do understand that the performance is for them, not me.

All of this is my round-about way of saying that I really dislike organising someone to follow me around when I perform. Firstly, as dashing and charming as I may be, I don’t really have a lot of friends who would be happy spending a day filming me performing the same two or three tricks on total strangers. Secondly, I kind of resent paying a professional to do something I find unpleasant unless they are wearing a white coat and have a certificate of some kind. After all, I do magic because I like it. Why start doing something I don’t like?

Yet I’m missing a trick. Show reals are very much a necessary part of making headway. I know I’ve lost a number of gigs due to not having one. And so the answer is simple: admit defeat and focus on getting booking from people who have seen me live.

Because I really dislike the idea of putting together a show real.



Paul ReganComment