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!