Becoming a Magician

Like anyone with an affinity towards colourful objects and a dead-end job, I always wanted to be a magician. A complete lack of any and all hand-eye co-ordination swiftly put paid to that notion, but the idea has haunted me ever since.

I was watching a video the other day of famous magical man Dynamo, specifically a clip from one of his live shows where he manages to mess up his signature trick of placing a mobile phone inside a beer bottle. I thought to myself, “Ha ha ha, what a silly goose, I'm sure I could put on a better magic show than this weedy failure.” A lightbulb flashed above my head. Energy-saving, naturally. I had come to a realisation.

Anyone can put on a magic show. They just need an act.

To that end, I complied a list of some tips for all you aspiring magi out there. It’ll help you get on your feet in the world of magic, and allow you to make yourself a household name in the glitzy world of early-evening entertainment.

1.) Get a magic wand

Much like in Harry Potter, the first step for any aspiring magician is to acquire a magic wand. But wait! Don’t be fooled into opting for one of those twigs made out of yew wood with dragon heartstrings. A grown-up magician needs a grown-up wand, and that’s why you need to source a four-foot long metal pole.

It’s unimportant where exactly you get this pole from, or indeed its diameter or circumference, what is important is that you sharpen the end of it. You should have tools on hand to shape one end of your magic wand into a spike, so that the pole itself looks like a huge metal pencil. During your act, call someone up on stage and say the magic words, usually “Abracadabra!”, or “Expelliarmus!”, then throw your magic wand at them like a javelin, impaling them to the nearest wall. Simply make good your escape and you’re already on your way to becoming the world’s next top magician!

2.) Perform the famed ‘saw a lady in half’ trick

It’s a rite of passage for every aspiring magician, and at some point in your career you’re going to have to do it. Yes, it’s the trick where you put a woman inside a box, then cleanly saw the box in half before showing that the woman is in fact unharmed!

To perform this trick, you’ll need a consenting volunteer. Be aware that women over the age of 50 are extremely brittle, and are very likely to turn into ash upon successful performance of the trick, so choose wisely. Once you have your volunteer safely and snugly tied down in your box, start up your saw. Gently, but firmly, lower the saw onto and through the box.

Unfortunately, there are no clear indicators for whether the trick has worked in your favour or not, as the screaming will likely have stopped regardless. Be careful not to pull the box halves apart if you feel the trick has gone badly; viscera stains are often difficult to remove from any manner of floor. Simply make good your escape and you’ll have crossed another barrier on the path to the magic circle.

3.) Get a set of playing cards

Part of every magician’s utility belt, so to speak, is a deck of ordinary playing cards. Well, ‘ordinary’ doesn't cut it in the harsh world of primetime television, so you’re going to have to get a special deck of cards. I’m certain that you’ll have no doubt heard of Gambit from the X-Men. Gambit’s ‘gambit’, so to speak, is that he possesses a set of playing cards that he throws at his foes. The playing cards are razor sharp and coated with psychic energy or something, so they hurt a lot. Now, unless you have some hitherto unknown ESP ability, you’re going to have to settle for the plain old razor sharp cards.

Craft your cards out of sheet metal, polished and sharpened to a ludicrous degree, then paint over them with Tipp-Ex and a few Sharpies to create some authentic-looking playing cards. During your sets, ask an audience member to come up and cut the deck of cards however they please, and ensure that you record the look on their face as their hands are sliced to ribbons, realisation and horror setting in as they realise they have been pranked to such an extreme degree that they will no longer be able to hold their own child.

Simply make good your escape, and you’re so close to that coveted 6:30PM slot!

4.) Perform street magic

When people think of Dynamo, they usually think of his more dangerous and esoteric stunts, such as walking vertically down a building or across water. If you want to fill Dynamo’s shoes, you’re going to have to get used to some of these more ‘crazy’ and ‘out-there’ stunts.

Here’s a suggestion: whilst walking through ye-olde London town, searching for your next willing participant, jump out in front of a moving bus, while shouting “I'm doing magic guys! Magic! Magic! Magic!”. Assuming you survive what will no doubt later be described as ‘a tragic occurrence’, triumphantly stand atop the wreckage of double-decker buses and declare that, ‘Magic has been done today, and now…I disappear!’ Upon saying this, jump into the Thames and drift out to sea, never to be seen again.

Having made good your escape, you’re now on the second-to-last rung on the magical ladder. There’s only one more thing every magician must do now.

5.) Summon a vengeful spirit

The best magic men are those who trifle with forces that they cannot possibly comprehend. To that end, purchase an Ouija board and begin firing off questions into the abyss, such as ‘What happens after we die?’ and ‘Why is my primetime magic show on Channel 5 only getting 250,000 viewers per episode?’ At some point, you’re likely to run into some spirit who feels wronged in some way.

At this point, you can attempt to hijack the spirit’s ethereal presence to perform more wild, bombastic magic tricks, winning the hearts of viewers across the globe. Be forewarned, however, that if your attempt fails, you may be dragged down into the Stygian pits to live out the rest of your days vomiting lava into the faces of the tormented souls of the damned.

It’s a 50/50 chance, but I’d rather take my chances with a grotesque monstrosity made from sewn-together body parts than put my magic show on a public access channel.

Well, here we are. With these hot tips you should be able to become a successful magician in no time! I wish you a long and prosperous career, followed by fading into obscurity when you’re around 35-years-old, followed by a stint in the Celebrity Big Brother house, followed by a failed comeback tour, followed by being found dead in your flat, unloved and alone, buried underneath a pile of playing cards.