The Most Important Thing in the World




Not my words. The words of the littlest Strange when her first balloon has been burst by her sister. And then her second has been let go of in the garden by her sister and is now just a dot in the sky getting smaller and smaller.


(I should point out that she had two balloons to start with, and no, that isn’t a typo. The littlest strange pronounces balloon as “bloon”. Just one syllable. Her diction is terrible.)


Anyway, the point is this. That bloon (or rather lack of it) was the most important thing in the world to that little girl at that point. Out of the whole infinite universe, everything else had disappeared in that moment. All that mattered was that bloon. It was everything. It was THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD.


Compare and contrast to me driving along listening to some quiz on the radio the other day.


“Who originally had a hit with ‘I think we’re alone now’?”, chirped the DJ. The contestant on the end of the phone pondered. I thought, “I don’t care. I am not in the least bit interested. I might even channel hop or cough loudly over the answer because I am not in the least bit bothered about it.”


The point of this is that there is a spectrum of caring. At one end, there is “That is the most important thing in the world. Nothing else exists in the universe at this moment. That is all I care about”. At the other end there is, “I don’t give a <insert favourite swear here> about that. Seriously. That does not interest me one bit”


Now, this is supposed to be a magic blog. Allow me to bring it back around…


I got shown a card trick the other day. My god it was tedious. There was lots of pre arranging the cards. There was lots of deliberation. There was an awful lot of dealing, re dealing and counting. Finally, a card was passed to me to confirm that it was mine. By this time, I was at the bad end of the spectrum. I didn’t actually care anymore. Whether it was my card or not wouldn’t have made any difference. My mind was elsewhere (I’d actually half written this blog in my head). I acted impressed though. I’m not a total twat.


This is not how magic should be. I got taught a trick once by a proper magician. He got me to draw something. He looked at me in a puzzled fashion and drew something too. There was a pause and then we turned our drawings over at the same time. This time, I was at the good end of the spectrum. “There’s no way he’s also drawn an elephant with a pineapple on its head” I was thinking. As the cards were slowly turned over, that was all I could think of. It was, for that brief moment, THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD. The fact that he’d drawn an elephant standing on a pineapple didn’t detract from the moment. For that short time, nothing else mattered. That’s good magic.


So what have I learned? Well for one, I learned the drawing trick. It’s very good. I use it quite a lot. Secondly I learned that magic has to be at the good end of the spectrum. If I’m performing magic I want my spectators to be looking on with eyes wide. I want it to be the most important thing in the world for them.


Finally, I learned that if the magic isn’t eliciting that reaction, then I need to give a balloon to a young child. And then burst it. And then run away very fast.