The Fear

  1. Sometimes, it’s good to feel “THE FEAR”.


You know that feeling when you pull off a risky overtake in a not terribly speedy hatchback and pull back in just before a whopping great big logging wagon flies past in the other direction? Your heart’s pounding. You forget to breathe. You feel alive! No? Just me then?


Or how about that feeling when you weave through the traffic on a fixed wheel bike? Knowing you’re only a quickly opened door or a swerving Transit away from lying spread eagled on a warm car bonnet. Once again. It’s quite a buzz. No? Just me again then?


Or how about that feeling as casino security waves through to the vault? As you wear your navy blue suit, holding a clipboard, hoping to god that they don’t look too closely at your freshly laminated security pass, or ask you to open your briefcase containing cutting tools? No? Seriously? Just me again then?


Or even that feeling when you quit your reasonably lucrative day job (twice!) in order to earn a crust by getting invited to parties to show magic tricks despite the protestations of your hungry family. “Not bean on toast again daddy.” I get it. Just me. OK. This is getting ridiculous.


Even so, there’s a lot to be said for feeling “THE FEAR”.


Magicians maybe don’t get it, but the (slightly weirder) entertainers known as escapologists certainly do. “Can I escape these shackles before… I get impaled by spikes / plummet to my doom / get run over by a roller coaster / drown / get licked by these really rough tongued cats?” You get the drift. Real fear. Real excitement. Really feeling alive.


Escapologist thrive on a bit of fear. And, audiences lap it up. As do the cats.


So, is there a way I can inject THE FEAR into close up magic? Heart stopping, stomach in the mouth fear?


Well no. Not impaled by spikes / licked by rough tongued cats fear anyway. But I do manage to inject a little (Houdini inspired) fear every gig. You see, Houdini himself once said the finest trick possible was a card trick. A trick where the magician places a card face down on the table. Commits himself if you will. Then he asks a spectator to think of a card and name it out loud. Then he asks them to slowly turn over the tabled card…


As you can imagine, if you can pull off “Houdini’s favourite trick”, you have a seriously magical moment on your hands. Breathtakingly magical. Gaspingly magical. Can’t get to sleep that night wondering how on earth it was done magical. Get it wrong, and you look like a big buffoon. A dipshit. A chancer. Not magical at all.


So, that’s how I get “THE FEAR” doing close up magic. Place down that card and commit myself. The next minute is pure fear. Like being on the wrong side of the road as the logging wagon draws closer. Will I pull it off and create astonishment, or fall into the buffoon / dipshit / chancer category? (I’m pleased to say it’s usually the former. I am quite good at this kind of thing you know).


What’s that? You don’t believe card magic can ever be scary? How about you come along to my next gig and feel “THE FEAR” for yourself?


I’ll even give you a lift there.

Through logging country…