Wanna Do Magic

Published on 4 May 2024 at 22:28

I knew, before I agreed to run a 12 week Magic Club in a Junior School, that it would be up there with the toughest gigs on the planet, which turned out to the best reason for doing it, along with a lifetime love affair with magic, and a hankering to return to the simple life of a street performer.

Anyway, I was right about the gig.

Teaching tricks to 30 young kids, for 90 minutes, every Thursday afternoon, stretched me, battered me, tutored me like rarely before, and introduced the idea of patience to my fevered business mind.

It is something I’m glad I did, wouldn’t have missed it for the moon, am better for it, and would have to be asked really nicely, and repeatedly, to do it ever again.

Talking to adults, I often, mostly really, need to remind them that magic is an everyday event in their real world, if they just look for it, properly look, and make them remember that we can all do some kind of magic.

Totally different with kids.

I would show them a trick, something easy but good, and they would be sore amazed, and when I asked how they thought I did it, most of them knew straight away, and said with total conviction, ‘Magic!’

These kids wanted spells, and potions, and magic wands that actually worked, and mystical powers that often takes years to learn. The rest of the kids, usually the slightly older of them, wanted to be able to do a card trick, one that would fool their mum and dad, and, of course some of the kids were there mostly for the drink and chocolate biscuit (this biscuit, highly contentious in the school, was unique for a club, and sadly went a long way to account for its popularity).

So, every week, in a mildly disorderly way, we made something - a magic wand, a secret scroll, a lucky card - and then I showed them how to do a trick.

Setting aside the biscuit, the highlight was ‘Showtime’, where the kids performed tricks, to great applause, no matter how it went, and the best performer won a pretty good, and sometimes rare, deck of cards.

Many of the tricks, probably most, were self-working card tricks, based on maths, and involved counting a lot of cards into several piles many times. Luckily spirits were high (cue the chocolate buzz), and even the most long-winded and lame trick went down well. It was lovely to watch and be part of, and just great to see them play the part of a magician.

On the last Thursday, the final Magic Club, one of the kids, Cosmo - who always entered but the trick he attempted was only an idea in his mind, and he never had the first clue how to do it, relying on magic to take the place of sleight of hand - did something extraordinary.

He held out a deck of cards, and asked me to pick one. It was the Eight of Hearts, he took it and held it at his fingertips, and then instantly changed it too. Pokémon card, Pikachu I think, and brought the house down, won the prize and acclaim, from all who saw it, to this day.

I still don’t know exactly how he did it, and maybe he doesn’t either.

The best magic is like that, in all our worlds. Something magical happens, we can see it and feel it and touch it, but we don’t quite know how it was done, just that it was to do with love, kindness, forgiveness, gratitude, and sometimes a touch of grace, and everyone, and that means you Dear Reader, has those up their sleeve.

Go do some magic.

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