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 (www.mackmangroup.co.uk) who assisted in branding and web design (www.todd-landman.com). 

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!

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