Magic Clubs – Why Bother?
When I was growing up and finding my magical feet, I was lucky as I managed to find a young magicians group in the Hull area (Humberside Young Magicians) run by Arthur Setterington and Jon Marshall, without whom I’m sure I probably wouldn’t be where I am today (unknown and skint). We had competitions for stage and close up magic (I’m a proud winner of Spooner Trophy 1989)
At 18 I was allowed to join the Hull Magician’s Circle. Another proud moment as I got to join the stalwarts and started entering the adult competitions. We met every other Thursday and was a great chance to see visiting lecturers and take part in the trick drives – coming up with a trick with a matchbox, a packet card trick or a trick with a piece of string. It gave you a deadline to come up with something as you knew people were going to watch it.
Skip forward a few years, I’m now a member of The Magic Circle (and recently been made an Associate Member of The Inner Magic Circle with Silver Star). I’ve come a long way (188 miles to be precise) and enjoy been a member of the most exclusive magic club in the world. It’s got public approval (almost everyone in the UK has heard of The Magic Circle, even if they aren’t quite sure what it is. Most seem to think if you are a member, you must be good).
However, are clubs relevant today?
The internet has changed our lives in so many ways. For magic clubs, I would say they are largely redundant for most of the reasons I would have been a member when I was younger.
I would go to see lectures – no need now, I can watch who I want, when I want online. I can also, rewind and watch again so no need to buy the notes for an extra £10 after.
I would go so I could show magic – no need now as I can do a trick and upload it to my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and get instant feedback.
I could chat about magic with a group – with Facebook and forums, you can have all the chat you like about magic and even better, eavesdrop on what other people think from all over the world.
I could ask advise about a new trick – again, The Cafe and other places excellent sources of info. Also, I’ve built up over the years enough contacts to know the right person ask about a specific style of magic.
So are magic clubs relevant in 2015? I can only speak from personal experience, but I think being a magician can be a very lonely job. You drive to the gig by yourself and leave by yourself. You are working when most people are at home and vice versa. The magic club is a regular place to hang out with my people, have a few drinks and go for something to eat after. A deadline to get that trick ready for. A place to network and a place to gossip, discuss and argue with leaving a digital trail.
Without magic clubs, you lose the all the interaction that only having people present can give you – a nuance on a move, an idea in flowing conversation and best of all, the funny awkwardness as the crazy member is heading towards you with the worst Viagra joke you’ve ever heard. You get to mingle with the great and the eccentric. You get to see who has the ego and who has work on that trick you are working on.
It would be a great shame if magic clubs died out. If you haven’t been to yours for a while – go along. Have fun. Have a drink. Show some tricks. You might remember why you joined in the first place.
From VANISH MAGIC MAGAZINE vanishmagazine.com