April 2018 Chatter
Posted at 31/03/18 - 12:09 AM
I have always been of the opinion that who you mix with can have a profound influence on the type of person you are and the attitude that you portray. If you are surrounded by upbeat, positive people, the chances are that this will probably rub off on you and your glass will generally be half full. Spend most of your time with those who find reasons not to do things and for whom everything is a problem that can’t be solved, and you would do well not to become similarly negative.
As in general life, so in magic. When I think back to my early formative years in magic and the people who I met and spent time with during that period, I can clearly trace the positive impact that they had on me. Their knowledge, attitude and drive were terrific role models and had I not hung around with them but chosen the company of others instead, there is no telling what direction I might have ended up taking.
So having a circle of trusted, like-minded magic friends can be a terrific bonus. I am one of an inner circle of 4 close magic friends which has been together for 40 years. We used to all live in Bristol, but even though now we are slightly more dispersed, we are still regularly in contact.
In fact for the last few years we have been meeting up once a year for three days of intensive magic chat and analysis, and it is at these meetings that we investigate and share our latest ideas and thoughts. It is hugely beneficial and our collective brains are often able to crack problems that an individual in the group had found impossible to resolve.
Of course, there are a number of reasons why a group like this works well in terms of magic development. Firstly, we are all good friends! In other words, we enjoy each other’s company even without the magic input, and this sets the bedrock for the trust that we have in each other.
Secondly, we all bring to the ‘table’ large amounts of magic knowledge and experience. None of us knows everything, of course, and while there are many aspects that all of us know, there is also a wonderful extra area where each of us has expertise or ideas that may not have occurred to or been known by the others, and that is where the collaboration really comes into its own. If there’s a problem, more often than not one of the other three members of the group will be able to suggest a solution, or at least set off a train of thought in the others.
Thirdly, there is no competitive one-upmanship to our relationship. We all respect each other as performers, and over the years we have all come to know exactly what the strengths and weaknesses are of everyone in the group. So when someone offers some advice or criticism, the person the comments are directed at never takes offense but accepts the suggestions in an open minded way.
And fourthly, we are all able to discuss a very wide range of magical topics and themes and to explore, sometimes at surprising length and depth, issues and ideas. There have been some topics that we have discussed at our get togethers on and off throughout all three days, and the results of this brainstorming have at times been substantial, and always extremely worthwhile and interesting. So I feel very lucky to be part of such a group as it has given me so much.
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