Are Digital Platforms Killing Magic?
December 3, 2015

Once upon a time when people would integrate into society and strike up conversation with strangers, when individuals would agree on a future time and place to congregate and discuss exciting happenings in one another’s lives, when you didn’t have to worry about your dad dancing at the Christmas party going viral. A more innocent time when not everyone was an expert in everything and your love interest glanced away on your date to inhale the beauty of the moment rather than to catch that ever so important Tinder notification and most importantly to this blog post, when there was a real mystique, allure and respect to magic as an art form.

When I get home I’m going to youtube that” is a regular remark after a performance these days. Also up there is the request to film my performances. Just last week I was hired to entertain at Drapers 25th Awards in London and while entertaining a table of guests one of them said, “That was amazing! Can you do it again so I can film it?“. The answer was no, but I did indulge the request by performing two other pieces of magic, offering him the chance to film them instead. Has that gentleman uploaded those two videos anywhere? I don’t know. For all I know he’s created a mash-up video that is going viral in Japan. It’s exactly this ease of access that may be killing our own enjoyment of magic.

When something in this world becomes so easy to find, use then discard it is often taken for granted. This isn’t any one individuals fault it’s just the way society has evolved to function and while there are still many secrets within magic I wonder how long that will last.

We live in a time when it’s never been easier to learn magic tricks and label oneself a magician. Most “professional” magicians available for commercial hire are amateurs at best with a main job, using magic as a means to supplement their income. Then we have “talent” shows such as Britain’s Got Talent, who have sought to showcase more close-up magic in recent years. Of which Jamie Raven is a good example of how the video of his performance was poorly shot, exposing some of the secret that many people commented on and shared because it only took two clicks to do so, spoiling the performance. Further to that we have highly polished entertainment shows such as Troy and Dynamo: Magician Impossible to watch at our leisure on-demand. If that wasn’t enough we have the grey area of Youtube where there are lot’s of amazing magic performances but also many users willingly uploading half practiced magic they’ve spent little time to develop in to anything more than a trick.

It’s true, we are absolutely spoilt for choice these days. The difficult thing is to not let that spoil our desire for the genuine article. Not dampen our curiosity to experience magic in the flesh, the way it is supposed to be enjoyed. Magic, for the most part doesn’t translate to television nor does it provide a fulfilling memory when displayed on a flat screen. This includes the screen of your phone, phablet, tablet, laptop or computer. This freedom of choice is a wonderful thing in many respects but not to the enjoyment of magic as the elusive, charming and special treat that it once was.

Maybe this is me becoming old or perhaps just being old fashioned but there are some things that are best enjoyed off of digital platforms. One of them, for me at least, is magic. If you find yourself enjoying magic in the digital realm I urge you to consider sourcing a good magician, whether it be a show, a particular night in a local restaurant or hiring one for an event. Unfortunately, as Max Maven says, “Good magic is better than sex, and harder to find” but that, ladies and gentlemen is a whole other matter.

SP