June 2017 Chatter

Posted at 30/05/17 - 12:09 AM

When you do something regularly, much of it starts to become second nature. Because you have been in the same situation repeatedly, you don’t need to think particularly about what you are doing, it just clicks into place.

But for someone new to the situation, there are multiple minefields which may need to be negotiated, and what seems on the face of it to be a simple task, can end up being anything but.

For instance, just ponder for a moment what the strolling magician is coping with at a wedding. He may be booked to entertain the guests when they first arrive from the ceremony, and he might be performing outside in a garden or, as in the case for me last weekend, in a field!

The people are spread out over quite a large area and are split into groups of wildly different ages and size. In one place you have a group of half a dozen deaf and blind elderly relatives, probably the grandparents or Aunts and Uncles of the happy couple, while standing to one side is a large group of youngsters, probably the friends of the bride and groom.

On the edges of the group will be a couple who don’t appear to know anybody and who look like they are wondering why they came at all, and then the newly weds are posing for endless photos with a stream of varying people who are summoned randomly by the photographer. Good luck with the finale to your card to wallet if the lensman gives a sudden photocall for your spectators, as they will race off without so much as a backwards glance.

Of course, everyone will be holding a drink, and as you try to perform there will be a seemingly endless number of interruptions from young girls in tight skirts balancing trays of ridiculously small food that nobody really wants but which they are too polite to refuse. Hands get covered in goo which the spectators then transfer unwittingly to your new deck of cards. Great.

Then there are, of course, the children, who their parents insisted on bringing and who spend the whole time running around shouting and barging into you just as you are about to side steal the selection from the centre of the deck. Lovely though the kids may be, they are the worst type of distraction for the parents, so good luck if you are trying to entertain those people at the moment when their child arrives announcing in a loud voice that they need the toilet.

You are there to do magic for the guests, to stop them lynching the organisers of the wedding reception who don’t appear to realise that some of the invitees haven’t actually eaten for 6 hours, and yet the bride and groom, who all the fuss is about, are the most difficult ones to entertain. They are like moths. The moment you approach they flutter away to some other very important activity. You’ll be pushed to get 30 seconds with them, even though they may be the ones who are paying you!

So you’re trying to cope with the sun, gusts of wind, distracted yet possibly drunk and starving adults, children who would rather be on the bouncy castle than be forced by their parents to watch the magic that the adults assumed was for the kids anyway, and dealing with plates of unwanted tiny food. And you were worried about how good your Elmsley Count was!

Author: Mark Leveridge

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