Per i non anglofoni:
1) Sarai la persona più popolare e ricercata alle feste
2) Non uscire mai di casa a mani vuote
3) Un alito profumato e unghie pulite sono essenziali
4) L’ambiente magico e’ come il Far West
5) La maggior parte dei soldi finisce in carte
6) L’abilità di socializzare e’ fondamentale
7) Il “Magic Circle” non e’ una barzelletta
8) Costruire una reputazione richiede tempo
9) Non basta una notte per essere pronti
10) Serve una pelle davvero dura
1. You will be the most popular and hounded person at any party
Everyone is compelled to ask to see a trick as soon as you say ‘I’m a magician’. Then, once you show one person a trick, it’s scary how it spreads like a virus – then everyone knows you’re a magician and you have to do tricks all night. Obviously getting into magic you want to show people tricks, but sometimes you just want to chill.
2. You never leave the house empty handed
I’m always prepared, especially these days. People see me on TV so they’re like, ‘You’re that guy, show me something’. I might borrow an object off them, but I’ll always have a pack of cards on me. I guess if you’re a doctor you probably get it as well, like ‘I’ve got this thing…’ or if you’re a comedian: ‘Tell us a joke!’ It’s an occupational hazard.
3. Good breath and clean fingernails are essential
I spent years being a resident magician in restaurants, and people take hygiene very seriously. When you come in quite close to someone and you have dirty hands, they won’t enjoy the magic as much because they’re too busy looking at how grubby your fingernails are. And if you’re talking close to someone, you don’t want your breath to be kicking – you need to make sure that’s in check.
4. It’s the Wild West out there for budding magicians
It’s a competitive industry. I guess a lot of people keep a lot of stuff to themselves, and even though it’s a niche market it’s tough to get work. It’s like any industry, really – you get people that genuinely want to help you out, and then you get some that don’t want you to succeed and be better than them. They want the work, the money, the contacts and don’t really want to share that.
5. Most of the money you make will go back into buying playing cards
Cards can be a magician’s number-one prop, especially a close up magician. [When performing] I’m giving people packs of cards to shuffle, I’m ripping cards up, and when people shuffle cards they get all adventurous and drop them on the floor. I need them in a certain condition, so when I’m doing a performance I might go through two packs. They’re not cheap, so it’s better to buy in bulk than a pack at a time.
6. Social skills are crucial
A lot of magicians tend to be quite awkward and a bit socially inept because they’ve spent so many hours practising in front of the mirror, so when you have to go out and show people it can be quite daunting. Good social skills help you connect with people better, and if people like you they’ll automatically like what you do.
7. The Magic Circle is no joke
It has its own headquarters situated in a quiet, mysterious place where you wouldn’t expect it, and inside it looks amazing. If you want to become a member there are two ways: if you’re more a theorist than a performer, you can do a dissertation. The other way is a practical examination – you’ve got to perform in front of 12 judges who are big members of the Circle. I did my first audition at 18 and got membership. I never really went to the meetings – they were always on a Monday night and I’d be busy at gigs, but it’s just nice to be able to say I’m part of the Magic Circle. What’s the Christmas party like? Magical.
8. Building a reputation takes time, for no money
I had to do a lot of free stuff to get my name out there. I made loads of business cards and just handed them out, and I had to prostitute myself a bit, like ‘Let me show you this’, even if people didn’t want to see it. You’ve got to play it smart – If you perform in a nice restaurant you might get famous people in there, or people that work in newspapers or TV, so you’ve got to make the most of every table and blow them away.
9. It won’t happen overnight
Magicians have to do magic for 10 or 20 years before they get to the point where they’re like, ‘I’m ready’. I did magic for 10 years prior to getting my first series, and I don’t think you could do a TV show after just a year or two in magic. Writing a great song might take you five minutes, and if you sing it beautifully and it resonates with someone – it’s a hit. It’s one thing learning the magic, but it’s another thing being a performer, especially on TV.
10. You’ll need a thick skin
Magic is like a religion. You get people that truly believe and no explanation is necessary, but then you get the people think it’s a load of bollocks. I like to cater for the people who think it’s bollocks, because I’ve been doing this now for so many years. This is my career, my livelihood, my passion, and what I do for the people on the streets is exactly what you’re seeing at home. There’s no other thing that’s happening, I can actually do these things. For it to be dismissed as a camera trick is frustrating, but that’s what comes with it.