Astonishment

Paul Harris is one of my favourite magical authors. He was the guy who first coined the term “astonishment” to describe what we magicians are constantly trying to provoke in our spectators.

He likens astonishment to being a child. Children are constantly astonished by the world around them. Adults, however, get cynical.

“It’s up your sleeve”

“Those aren’t her real legs”

“That’s an inflatable elephant”

You get the idea – as soon as you start guessing how it’s done, it stops being magical.

Paul has the solution – perfectly crafted magic to release the moment of astonishment. Trickery so convincing that no one can resist being astonished! Timed to perfection, this gives a release of astonishment that will make even the most cynical observer feel like a child for a moment. Sometimes it can also cause profanities to be released. Very rarely, bodily fluids.

Paul called his book “Pieces of Strange to Release the Moment”. I’m very fond of that title.

Paul’s recent work has been as David Blaine’s creative director. I watched David’s new show at New Year and I was truly, truly astonished.

You’ll be pleased to hear that I didn’t swear or wet myself though.