I find I dislike a lot of things in magic. When someone goes to show me an effect that includes one of these things I instantly make an opinion of this person as lesser of a magician then what I hope to meet. I have never really thought about why until I heard an interview with Gregory Wilson on the podcast Magic on the Side, where he stated that he likes to think of his magic as “James Bond Magic” because would you ever find James Bond doing sponge balls?
From there I have decided to make a list of the magic effects I dislike, for no other reason but to show people said list when they start to show me an effect on that list. But I have recently decided to try to figure out why I put them on my list so I can either explain why they are terrible or explain what needs to be changed about them to make them more entertain in my eyes.
Now I know a lot of these items are going to upset most of you. The people I have shared this list with usually say, oh those can be entertaining, it’s all up to the performers presentation. I understand that. All of these things on the list I have done in my work more than once. Yet I am of the belief that you, the magician, must enjoy the effect for your audience to truly enjoy it as well. Anyone can do a finding aces routine with a stripper deck, and sure the audience will find it entertaining, but are you really proud of that? Think of just how much more the audience will be involved in your magic when they can see a smile on the performers face as well.
So here is my list, and some of the reasoning I have come up with so far of why, I dislike them.
1. Sponge Ball Magic – I find I dislike this because it is some much associated with clowns, I mean heck its a f@*ing clown nose. Second it is in my opinion kids magic. Third everyone does it, how are you supposed to stand out in magic if you are doing what every other “Entertainer” is doing.
2. Hand Washing – This mostly applys to cards, but can also be with coins. I really don’t like hand washing because it just looks like a fancy hand positions to hand a card. Sure your had looks empty, but we all know it’s hiding somewhere, we just can’t see it.
3. 6 card repeat – Come on the title alone should answer this, you repeat this effect how many times? Plus, everyone, EVERYONE! uses the exact same patter. Stop going to a magic shop people!
4. Ambitious Card Routine – Now don’t get me wrong, If you are just getting started in card magic, this is a must learn. You will learn several very important slights from this one routine alone. But I do not enjoy watching or performing it. Because to many people use the same patter “oh the card goes back to the top” and because everyone does way too many phases, or the same phases. The last 5 Ambitious Card Routines I have seen people perform for me in the last month alone, have had it go to their freaking mouth. Enough, lets step outside the box.
5. Spelling Effects – Any effect that reveals the card by spelling something, anything out, while dealing down cards, is just annoying. Just reveal my card already!
6. Torn and Restored – This is another one of those where too many people are doing this. While there are 100 different versions out there. They all look the f*#@ing same! Plus 4 phases. I really think there should only be 3 phases in anything you do in magic. Show me a torn and restored with a rip and instant restore. Which makes me think of another reason i hate it, no one has come up with a method of a jagged tear. It’s always a perfect nice straight right into 4 perfect pieces. RIP THE DAMN CARD!
While this is a small list, I know I have more things to add to it. But tell me do you agree with any of these? Can you influence me to remove any of these from my list? I would love to be influenced to retract any of these off my list, but as of yet I have not heard of any good arguments. Or do any of you have anything that is on your list of what you despise in magic that I have not mentioned here? I would love to hear it. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or post in the comment section below.