June 2018 Chatter

Posted at 31/05/18 - 02:30 PM

Are you a passive or an active consumer of magic? In other words, does your magic interest simply extend to reading magic mags and watching magic online, or do you actively seek to get out and perform?

Personally, I have always been a performer, right from when I was a child. Assimilating magic knowledge was not an end in itself for me, but a means to enable me to put together an act and then perform it somewhere.

I’ve always felt that there is not much point in finding out the inner secrets of magic, of attending magic lectures, of reading books on the art, and of turning up at the local magic club, if you are not then at some point going to use the knowledge that you have gained from immersing yourself in the art in this way for a practical end.

It’s not that I expect everyone interested in magic to be out there trying to get shows (shudder the thought!) - in fact there are some out there who are going down this route who perhaps aren’t ready to even try it yet! - but more that to me learning the skills of conjuring has little or no point if you are not going to translate that into action.

But of course, I’m wrong, aren’t I? There are, I suspect, many people out there who have a real interest in magic and magicians, but who have absolutely no intention of ever performing a trick themselves.

Magic historians, for example, get excited about some new discovery of a magical artefact from years gone by, and they simply want to see the prop, to understand how it works, and to learn about the performer who originally used it. They have no need to perform the trick themselves, it’s simply the history behind it that they find fascinating.

Then there are those people who are members of magic clubs and who have dutifully paid their subs for decades, and yet have you EVER seen them get up and perform anything on a club night? No. It’s because they are happy to watch others perform and get enjoyment from the experience of simply being there and feeling part of something unusual and interesting.

I also come across quite a lot of lay people who, when they discover I am a magician, will tell me how much they love magic and are fascinated by it. They will then bend my ear with tales of magicians they have seen, live and on TV, and will discuss the merits of the various magicians currently on BGT.

These people are fully fledged magic enthusiasts but they never venture past the gates and delve further into magicdom, they just enjoy it as a spectator sport, in the same way that they enjoy being an armchair supporter of a football team, for instance.

And is there anything wrong with all these passive magic enthusiasts? No, of course not. We all delve superficially into subjects or interests that we enjoy. I’m interested in history, particularly European history of the 20th century, but I don’t want to write a book or present a lecture on the subject, I just find it fascinating for what it is.

So it is with magic. There’s room for all levels of interest within it, and we should be pleased that it is such an engaging art.

Author: Mark Leveridge

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