Archive for the ‘magic’ Category

New University Vodcast

I am really pleased with the University’s new vodcast programme and having been able to participate in the new line up. My own vodcast looks at how the study of magic has been a foundation for my academic pursuits. This along with a lifelong interest in Sherlock Holmes has inspired my work in the rigorous analysis of politics.

To see the vodcast, please CLICK HERE.

Magic at Mission Lane

We had a great concidence of events on our road recently. My neighbour published her book, my other neighbour won a BAFTA and I was promoted to the Inner Magic Circle as an Associate of the Inner Magic Circle with Silver Star for my lecture/performance on Making magic Meaningful at the Centre for Magical Arts in London.

Our story made it into the local paper The East Anglian Daily Times and then showed up in the Daily Mail Online edition. For the story, please CLICK HERE.

It is a great road to live on with a good sense of social capital. We often socialise with one another and help out with odd jobs, DIY, school runs, babysitting, etc.

What an interesting week…

April has been a funny month with long school holidays, many bank holidays and a Royal Wedding to boot!

This week found me giving two very different lectures in two very different venues for two very different audiences.

On 26 April, I gave my lecture Making Magic Meaningful at The Magic Circle weekly Club Night. The headquarters of The Magic Circle has a wonderful 150-seat theatre upstairs with all the trappings for putting on a show or a lecture. My lecture consists of six performance pieces drawn from my two shows An Evening of Metaphysical Magic and An Evening of Enchantment that are broken up by a short discussion of my own approach to magic and the evolution of my own style of ‘theatrical mentalism’. I thoroughly enjoyed the event and have been getting wonderful feedback from those who attended.

On 28 April I delivered a keynote lecture entitled Global Analysis of Human Rights: Trends and Future Directions for a conference on the political economy of globalisation. The event took place at Goodenough College in the Churchill Room, which was a fantastic room with wainscoted walls and Georgian windows.

So, two days after appearing before a theatre full of magicians, I was lecturing to a room full of economists on the spatial diffusion of human rights; a research area that I have been working on with colleagues from Middlesex University and the University of Loughborough. We call our programme The Political Economy of Human Rights.

Across the two lectures are common approaches to public speaking, highlighting the main features of the argument that I am advancing through animated PowerPoint slides, and (hopefully) giving people something to think about. I do believe that the skill set for both events is very similar in the abstract, and you might be surprised to know that in the magic lecture I covered metaphysics; free will;  Marx, Weber, and Freud; the history of jazz; Mongolian currency; Tarot theory; and Jungian synchronicity…

The various distinctions between the two worlds of academia and magic are thus highly blurred, and long may they stay that way!

Principles of Mentalism

A few years back, I was in hospital and had the good fortune to read Scott Grossberg’s wonderful book Bauta, which helped to no end in getting through my ailment and recovering.

Presently, I am recovering from a little operation and again had the good fortune of receiving a great book in a very timely fashion: Richard Osterlind’s Principles of Mentalism.

Drawing on a lifetime of performing, developing products and writing essays, Principles of Mentalism is a wonderful, concise, well-written treatise on mentalism that will sit on my shelf with pride next to Annemann, Corinda, Hickok, Cassidy and Weber.
Richard writes in very direct sentences and it seems that every paragraph has a hard hitting aphorism and valuable insight that every mentalist really needs to ingest and embed in their performances and thinking.

As I read this I wondered what level of mentalist would get the most out it, and I quickly concluded that this is appropriate for those who are new to the genre and those who are veterans. Moreover, it seems that this is a book that needs to be read at all stages of one’s professional development.

Principles of Mentalism is just that, a book of foundational and fundamental principles for those of you who would like to deliver meaningful, artful, and enjoyable mentalism performances for a wide range of audiences and settings.

This is simply a must read.

Enchantment for Comic Relief 2011

I am delighted to be performing my show An Evening of Enchantment for Comic Relief 2011 at the New Cut Theatre in Halesworth Suffolk! The show is on 12 March from 7:30 pm to 10:00 pm and tickets are just £8.00.

It is really great to be involved in Comic Relief this year and we hope to get as many people as possible to come to the show. The theatre offers a wonderful peforming space and great atmosphere. It seats 220 people and the show is perfect for such an audience.

Themed around the idea of the fluid fabric of the human mind, the show explores unobserved worlds and takes you on many journeys through space, time and the unknown.

The whole area around Halesworth is wonderful with many picturesque villages just a stone’s throw away, including Walberswick, Aldebrugh, Southwold, Orford and Snape. So why not make a weekend of it?

I am grateful to Evanna Harris who has helped write and produce the show. All proceeds from the show go to Comic Relief, which is a great cause and over the years has raised millions of pounds for so many great things. Come along a be a part of it this year!

Magical Lessons from 2010

2010 has been the busiest magic year yet with a wider range of experiences than ever before. I took my magic to China, Mexico, and Chile, each of whch presented different challenges. The whole pace, structure and timing of routines changes in response to these different cultural contexts. The Chinese were delighted to see all sorts of things and loved mentalism, which is not as well known there. Chance routines, peeks and Jim Critchlow’s wonderful Whitestar were all well received (I had many emails abou this effect once I returned to the UK). The Mexicans and Chileans are more closely aligned culturally but also different enough to present certain challenges. I had a great evening with a full mentalism set over dinner with hypnotic trance induction and offbeat revelations from peeks and forces, which all went down very well.

The year also so the staging of my second one-man show An Evening of Enchantment. The show was conceived around the idea of my own quest for deeper understanding of magic and philosophy. The first set was framed around the idea of growing up and the experience of unobserved worlds: a trio of mental card routines that showed how I moved beyond the physical properties of cards; a series of routines based on Dracula and Sherlock Holmes; and my Victorian couplet of Luna and Whitestar. The second set is framed around the idea of Journeys and featured trips to Mongolia, China, my own travel gear (credit cards, cash, phones and a passport), and then ended with a routine framed around the idea of The Fool’s Journey that used my own childhood puppets in a mental riddle that involves giving life to one of the puppets. The show also features music and powerpoint slides, as well as a stage full of curios that enhance the magical ambience. The show sold out at the Headgate and then travelled to Southend and London. It will also be perfomed in Huddersfield in February.

I have to say that none of this show would have been possible without the assistance of Evie Harris, who has helped in co-creating routines; assisting in stage set and layout of props, and assistance with music and powerpoint. We have had long conversations about all aspects of the show and she takes copious notes and gives me fantastic feedback. I hope that I have also contributed to her developing work on The Smoke and Mirrors company. I have used her products in my show and have really enjoyed working with her this past year. The key lesson for me has been the discovery of a trusted friend and colleague with whom I can develop my ideas. I have been burnt in the past in collaboration, but this is one that has worked very well indeed.

In addition to these activities, I had a lot of bookings with so many different audiences and had the honour and pleasure of working on the Magic is Real for Haiti charity event with Ian Rowland. Butley Priory in the deept forest of Suffolk has proved a wonderful venue, and as led to bookings with wonderful clients incuding the Aldebrgh Musc Festival as well as Richard Curtis and Emma Freud. The key lesson here has been the need for total flexibility of material, the willingness to enagge in loss leader activity, and pursuing all leads as they present themselves.

Work on Psycrets and the Tabula Mentis events continued apace with the Banachek event in April and Lennart Green in November. Psycrets continues to grow in the UK and internationally. We are delighted to welcome Barrie Richardson in April for Tabula Mentis IX, which will take place on the 16th and 17th at Huddersfield University (many thanks to Pyscrets member Nik Taylor). I am always impressed by the good will and genersoity of spirit in Psycrets and the comradarie at the events themselves.

My new book Metaphysical Magic: Essays for the Discerning Mystery Entertainercame out this year and has been received well. I learned a great deal working with Lulu and I am grateful to Steve Drury or all the great artwork. I also combined my parallel worlds of academia and magic in ways that have opened up new opportunities, new markets, and new clients. I am grateful for the folks at The Mackman Group ( who assisted in branding and web design ( 

Finally, I had the honour of working on a number of magical projects including some essays for Bill Cushman, Thomas Heine, Labco, and the Talea project with Christo Nicolle.

In all of these ventures, I took many lessons away concenrning collaboration, team work, staging, scripting, the use of music (and the need for copyright free sources), powerpoint for performance anhancement and the unbelievable good will that is out there in the magic community.

Looking forward to new verntures in 2011!

Clifftown Theatre

Last night found me in the new University of Essex Clifftown Theatre for a performance of my show Evening of Enchantment. The venue is superb and the staff were amazingly helpful in the organisation, support and enthusiasm for the show. The theatre is in a refurbished church on Nelson Street in Southend and forms part of the East 15 Acting School at Essex.

The setting was nicely lit and complemented my stage set, which is dripping in Victoriana and filled with mystery and intrigue. We had a good sized audience and plenty of participation as audience members supplied personal objects, thoughts, numbers, words and other things for a journey through the fluid fabric of our collective unconscious last night.

The stage at Clifftown is set!

The show covers many enduring themes:

  • childhood pursuits
  • rational deductivism and psychic power
  • physical and metaphysical manipulation
  • framing and the unobserved world
  • journeys in time, space and spirit

Our final journey is the Fool’s Journey expressed both metaphorically and in reality by revisiting my house and some toy puppets from my youth.

I am pleased with the show as it sold out in its debut at the Headgate Theatre in February and will travel to other venues. Selections from the show made an appearnace last week in the intimate setting of Treadwells Bookshop near Covent Garden.


Welcome to my webpages!

Here you will find my world of academia and magic. The style, feel, design and branding are courtesy of the wizards at The Mackman Group.

Have a browse and enjoy!

All best wishes


Dr Todd Landman