Here’s something I wrote for the Evening News in 2009 to publicise my 18th Birthday Fringe show. I still stand up most of it 🙂
Five dos and don’ts about being a Magician. By Ian Kendall.
1. Do choose your performing name wisely. Uncle Chuckles may seem out of place if you do Bizzarre Magik or mind reading. Similarly, Zander the Knower of Men will make you stand out in the Kids’ Party circuit. And not in a good way.
2. Don’t force your magic on unsuspecting strangers. Yes, your family may be used to you starting every conversation with ‘pick a card’, but that family on the bus just think you are weird. And will probably call the police.
3. Do remember the Ten Thousand Hour rule. This says that to learn a sleight of hand technique properly you need to spend at least ten thousand hours practicing. This equates to three hours a day for about nine years. Honestly.
4. Don’t be surprised when, after following the Ten Thousand Hour rule, you look up and realise you have no friends. And no, I’m not speaking from personal experience here. I’m not. Don’t look at me like that.
5. Do make sure that your act is suitable for the venue in which you have been booked. I was once sent to do a magic set at a singles bar in Clydebank, which was not a pleasant experience for anyone.
6. Don’t forget to pack all of your props before you leave the house, and then check again before you board the plane, train or automobile. Improvising with what you find at the venue always carries the possibility of bloodshed. Again, no personal recollection on this one either.
7. Do remember to have adequate insurance for your show. There’s nothing quite so heart stopping as hearing the phrase ‘there used to be a diamond in this ring…’ just after you feel a crunching sound under your feet.
8. Don’t give up the will to live when you hear the same jokes offered by spectators. They honestly believe they are the first person ever to ask you to ‘make the bill/my boss/the wife disappear’. And not the fifth person that night.
9. Do remember always to be professional in the face of adversity. For example, I have been punched in the groin twice while performing, and managed to keep a calm demeanour. Given that on one occasion I had a mouthful of sharp razor blades, I’m quite proud of that.
10. Don’t forget that your job is to give people back the sense of astonishment that they had as children but might have lost on the way to adulthood. When you get to do that every night, life is good.