• Why did I want to learn to be a magician?

  • September 16, 2019

  • Honestly, I didn’t. I never had the aspiration to become a magician.

    That may sound like a strange thing for a full-time professional magician to say, which it is. When I was growing up, I wanted to learn magic, but I was never full of dreams and desires to become a full-time magician.

    I know for a fact that at some point you have heard a version of a magician’s story; the one about how they started learning from a young age, usually at an absurdly young age like three years old, because their grandfather showed them a bit of magic, and then they were hooked. I think it was David Copperfield who first told a story of this version, and magicians have been re-telling their version of the same series of events for years.

    For me, though, I loved magic from a distance, as an audience member, always enthralled by the performance. Though, as I mentioned in another article, I was never able to learn any magic for a plethora of different reasons. My parents had bought me a magic kit once or twice, though I had quickly lost interest as I found the magic included to be a bit silly. The problem with magic kits is something I could at length about, and I will in the future, I can feel the rant bubbling beneath the surface even now.

    So as I grew up, magic always seemed to be something that was out of reach. I did learn the odd trick briefly, but would always forget it after a week or so since I never had the confidence to show other people who weren’t family. The problem there is, of course, you can only show them an effect once or twice before they start to catch on to how it is done; which if you’re anything like me, you could observe while performing and would often put you off.

    I had all but resigned myself to always being a spectator of magic.

    While I was at university, however, I was browsing through YouTube until far too early in the morning watching whatever video seemed to interest me. One video caught my eye, a performance of “This and That”. It’s a simple enough magical effect, using three cards and a little story about being hoodwinked by a gambling man on the street. After watching the effect, I watched it again. Then again, and again, and again. I was furious that I couldn’t figure out how the effect was done. I couldn’t see any camera cuts and my poor inexperienced brain could not fathom how it was done.

    So, I began trawling the internet to find out how it was done. I found an instructional video explaining how to make the cards, how to handle them, the patter as well, as well as all the bits and pieces that would go into performing. I settled in and began practising relentlessly.

    Once I thought it was ready, I performed it for a few friends at the pub and got an incredible reaction. Mostly it was disbelief that I could have pulled it off, but also a genuine surprise.

    I was hooked. I had never had an ability I could show off quite like that to get a reaction of that magnitude. I figured I should learn some more magic. So I did some research into online courses, read articles and tracked down every bit of magic I could. I spent many nights locked in my room practising with the door closed, everyone in the house thought I was doing something else entirely.

    Soon I was practising with a deck of cards on the bus, train and even during lectures. Any chance I could, I was practising my cuts, shuffles and flourishes. I spent a lot of my days playing 52 pick-up. Before long, I was looking at buying props and magic books from the local magic store in Sydney, https://heyprestomagic.com/.

    Then one day I was doing some magic at a friend’s house party, as I was doing all the time in those days, when one of the other party-goers, turned to me and asked if I wanted to work in his restaurant. I politely declined to say I was already working as a bartender, to which he pointed out that no, he wanted me to work as a resident magician at Tharen’s restaurant and bar in Kings Cross, Sydney, performing on Friday and Saturday nights. The pay was much less than I made in the bar, but I quit and jumped at the chance, now that I had realised what it was he was offering me.

    I got a hat to go with a suit and began panic buying magic tricks to flesh out my repertoire. With each passing week, I refined my act further and further. I was adding in effects that I thought would work and removing those that didn’t.

    And so began my journey as a professional magician.

    There are still a few interesting twists and turns around the corner (at least to me!), but I’ve rambled on for far too long as it is!

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