By Chi Han Yeo
Comedian Pete Holmes once said that ‘Magic is the only form of entertainment where 90% of the crowd is trying to ruin it for themselves.” People don’t stand up in the middle of the theatre and yell ‘He’s not actually dead, he’s just an actor pretending!’ (unless I’ve been going to the wrong theatres all my life). And magicians don’t always make it much better. Not naming names (totes talking about Voldemort here), but there are some guys and gals out there who like to act all high and mighty, belittle the audience, and just be unpleasant. If you’ve been a victim of one of those people who insist on shoving a card under your nose at a party, when all you want to do is join your friends at the garden hobby horse race, I can only apologize on behalf of my magic brethren (and occasionally myself). But that’s why you should consider taking up the art of conjuring. Because no matter who you are, what your skills are like, I know you can be an amazing magician. But if after all that you’re still on the edge, here are some totally bogus reasons why you should consider doing it anyway.
- You write the rules
People have this image in their head of what a magician is. The coattails, the hat, the bad lines. That’s the image that was made popular by a guy called Jean Robert-Houdin, who’s probably best known among the public today as the guy whose name got ripped off by Harry Houdini (aka Erik Weisz). Believe it or not, that was once considered to be the absolute opposite of what people thought was a magician. Back in Houdin’s day, a magician was someone who had robes, a sorcerer’s hat, and spoke all old timey like the bad guy from Flash Gordon (Ming the Merciless, saved you a google search). Houdin updated it, brought it to the fold, and that image is still changing today.
I watch a lot of magic, and the best stuff are the people who are not afraid to be different. They’re the David Blaine’s, the Lennart Green’s, the Kyle Eshen’s (this last guy imho one of the best entertainers of all time). Magicians are constantly rewriting the rules, constantly changing how things should be done, and you can do that too.
- It’s not actually that hard
This is a blatant lie. Dai Vernon, possibly the greatest magician you’ve never heard of once said ‘If you don’t like to practice, you should get another hobby’. But I’m not going to let a little inconvenience like ‘the truth’ get in the way of selling this magic gig. I suppose I should say…it’s not as hard as you think.
Back when I was 18, I was pushed into learning to drive. Being young, frightful, and very good looking, I was a little reluctant. My dad asked me, ‘what are you so afraid of?’ I replied honestly (as was the fashion at the time). ‘I’m terrified that I’m going to crash’. To which my dad replied ‘I wouldn’t worry about that. I know a lot of really stupid people who can drive, and I don’t think you’re that much dumber than they are’.
Not every trick in magic requires the exact pronunciation of ‘wingardium leviosa’. Some you can learn the ‘trick’ in a few minutes, then it’s all up to you to make it magic. To be honest, the hardest part of magic is getting started.
- (almost) ANYONE CAN DO IT
Magic transcends language, and culture. That portrayal of the impossible is something that I have done for people whose language I didn’t speak a word of. I’ve seen someone without hands (Mahdi Gilbert) perform better sleight of hand than I’ll probably ever achieve. Small children on youtube have baffled me to oblivion with just some amazing magic.
Who can’t do magic? If we’re talking for physical reasons, very few. The only people I’ve seen who couldn’t do magic were the ones who told themselves they couldn’t, and stuck to that script on every occasion….also Filch…the squib. (Is it obvious I like Harry Potter?)
- There are no good reasons to get into magic.
I lied again, it’s all a sham. In my opinion there are no good reasons to get into magic. I do magic because I like it, and I want to do it. I want to do it for the same reason people who watch soccer want to play soccer. Some say it’s not the magicians who choose magic, but the magic chooses them. It inspires, it seduces, and at the end of the day it delights me. If you don’t already think somewhere in the back of your head, I want to do that…I want to do that because I want to show people something cool…I want to give them a feeling that they can’t get from stand up, or movies, or music…I want to learn magic…then I can’t persuade you.
I can however recommend speed stacking. Actually, forget everything you’ve just read. Go check out the speed stacking Olympics, that stuff is dope.