Anyone that grew up in my generation especially in Britain would be aware of the wonder of magic, since 1979 the Paul Daniels magic show has wowed generations with tricks, segments ,as well as how he managed to marry a girl that is 20 years younger than him! If you’d seen him you’d understand this point, and if you ever seen the mrs merton sketch with his wife you’d understand the line of ‘so why did you marry the millionare Paul Daniels?’ I aint judging, but come on! shes clearly under no illusion there!….thank you one person.
In all seriousness, for us here in britain it lead to mainstream attention towards towards magic and for a little kid like me who saw it towards the end of the shows run, I was intrigued by the very idea of tricking people into believing you had magical powers, until the master of trickery Sarah Palin came along obviously. I like the idea that Oscar Wilde regarded magic as kind of ‘revenge of the nerd’ as in even when some bully beats you up, occasionally you’d get one over on them by making them go ‘who what, how the hell you do that?’ ok they may then beat you up afterwards, but at least you have the last laugh. once Daniels left our screens into oblivion, the thing that most enticed me was David Blaines special street magic in 1997. Ok, I hear you before it enters your mind, and the answer is yes, before he did ridiculous over the top tricks and endurance events. Although I did like the things us Brits did when he lived in a box hanging above the Thames such as a hamburger attached to a remote controlled helicopter, or trying to hit the box by playing golf. Aren’t we adorable?
Anyway , the street magic show Blaine did was brilliant, and it still gets repeated to this day on tv, you really do know when you’ve hit a great magic show when other great magicians say its good, like Penn and Teller did when it was first realised. I still remember us as a family gathering around watching him throw a card into the panes of a car window, levitating or moving a circle on a dollar bill. I was roughly 10 years old, and really wanted to make things disappear like he did, mainly bullies, my siblings, girls, well, pretty much everyone. You see this is why you never see any children magicians, it would just be chaos, no one would survive! although, having thought about that idea, they would only be children around then, pretty awesome! the world as a giant ball pit!
There’s actually two reasons I owe David Blaine for my love of magic. the fact that channel 4 picked up his series to show here in the UK meant that I got to see his work, and got channel 4 interested in magic in the first plac. That’s the reason channel 4 took a punt on Derren Brown, who is the best illusionist/magician to this day on British TV. I love love love Derren browns earlier work since he started in year 2000, mind control has some brilliant tricks and manipulation in, and I really love trick of the mind as the celebrity trick angle I really enjoyed! the whisk trick with martin kemp is awesome(where he gets blindfolded and predicts what item martin will pick out of 50 items). My theory on how he did it was somehow suggesting to him which item to pick before the trick even began, other than that I have no idea. But I never do, thats exactly whats great about magicians as I said earlier, they known, but chances are you don’t.
That leads me to something I think is key, I really don’t think it matters how tricks are done, I really don’t spend much time at all wondering how they did it, I just love the fct that they are able to trick me and many other minds. That’s what makes the wonder of magic enjoyable and I never understand why critics go, ‘well its so easy to know how he did it’, so what? most magicians I see do variations of a trick I’ve seen before, but that doesn’t mean I then go, hang on, this is the same thing, screw them and their new variations! if that was the case for music, no one would be allowed to listen to anything because everything stemmed from rhythm and blues? I can take magic now with a pinch of salt and watch a 10 minute video, go wow that was cool and then get on with my life, I really have never seen magic as something to mule over for days trying to figure it out. The key word is entertainment, why do you think magicians stay in vegas all the time? because as dull as I hear vegas can be, people go there knowing what to expect, they see a 2 hour show then go do something else. Thats what entertainment is, and the mere idea of a trick is not to take it too seriously in the first place.
The reason I wanted to write this blog is to admit, the last few days as taking breaks from writing, I’ve been watching loads of youtube video’s of magic tricks, David Blaine, derren brown, jamy ian swiss, lance burton, penn and teller, I just think they are brilliant, Id love to go to magic castle and hang out, I think magicians, illusions, whatever you want to call them are important, because its the art of understanding how the human mind works, and that is always important.
heres some videos that are awesome if you like magic! craig ferguson makes an appearnce in some of these as he does magic week on his show, he is also brilliant!
next blog will be red dwarf convention 🙂