By Tom London
I was landing in Beirut for a last minute stage show, luckily for me, I have friends in Beirut and was well looked after. I remember finishing the show around 9PM and checking my inbox. Sky News had got in touch to ask I was available tomorrow for a TV spot. You can imagine my initial reaction, luckily for me, I was flying back to London in the middle of the night and would get back to Heathrow around 7am.
Sky News happens to be just around the corner from Heathrow, logistically, I could make this work.
They wanted me to come on set and perform a little bit of magic but mainly talk about a topic that means a lot to me. This was interesting because I rarely actually get to talk about iPad magic and also magic in general. Being one of few iPad Magicians in the world, I have a lot of opinions about the magic world and also the world of technology due to my computer programming background.
I spent that evening celebrating another great show in Beirut with a few friends, the Lebanses like to party hard!
Without sleep, I boarded the flight and slept all the way back to London, I’ve mastered the boarding procedure guaranteeing me 4 centre seats and a makeshift blanket/pillow bed bigger than any first class cabin. I can imagine what you’re thinking, you’re going to land at 7am and they want you on set at around 9AM, when are you going to practice, prepare your speech, Tom! What are you even going to talk about?
I believe strongly in speaking from the heart and speaking truth. I think if I speak truthfully and honestly, I can produce meaningful and captivating dialogue, the magic part is already second nature.
Landing in Heathrow, hardly rested, a car picked me up and drove me to the Sky News studio. I wrote down in some 15 minutes my script and called my Mother to ask her opinion. She was to my shock, very impressed and offered no critic, guess my theory proved me right!
Here’s my story:
I believe that magic is about relativity. 100 years ago, before the Internet, before modern electricity, before the tech years, magic was a completely different kettle of fish. You see, back then, you couldn’t just google your way to an answer. Magic was really magic, there was no way to work out, re-watch, slow down the video, it was raw and uncut. Howeve today, it’s very different, everything is filmed, everything is documented online and you can order most magic books to your iPhone in seconds. We live in a very different world.
However, Magicians are still doing the same style of magic that they did 100 years ago. Let’s make this item move from place A to place B. Pick this card and I will make it appear in your pocket. Whilst this is cool, and still extremely impressive, it shows a little negligence to the people of our time. Who even plays cards anymore? I speak about the UK, because I know in the US you can still buy playing cards in most convenience stores. However in the UK, good luck trying to find a deck of cards! Where I am going with this is that today, people don’t really play cards for fun, it’s not a pastime and kids of this generation are more accustomed to their mobile phones and iPads than they are a deck of cards. So why are we doing magic with cards?
Surely, if people use their phones everyday, they know all the settings, all the tricks and rough edges of their devices, why don’t we use these to create illusions and feats of unexplainable magic.
Here’s a metaphor to illustrate my concept.
Imagine someone comes along, and makes an identical copy of himself appear next to you. A clone if you will, lifelike and alive in everyday. Initially you might be extremely shocked, asking this person to explain how they have done this. To you it would be a miracle of magic, so incredible your mind would have no way to explain or even fathom the method behind this madness. They tell you that’s it just a 3D hologram, a very advanced one that’s projecting a lifelike program, a 3D person, into the world from a small projector in his pocket perhaps.
Get where I am going with this?
In 100 years, this may actually be possible, what was once perceived to be magical, now perceived to be technological. The minds of people are ever evolving as the magic of technology pushes the boundaries of what is humanly possible. It is for this reason, I believe as magicians, we have to constantly innovate beyond the reaches of technology to create illusions and effects that inspire and captivate the minds of millennials raised in a world of wireless internet, instant messaging and of course, 3D projection.
At the end of my video, I mention how even the magic I perform may in fact be a reality. Grabbing things out of screens, it’s just a matter of time.
The famous Sci-Fi write Arthur C Clarke once said, any sufficient;lay advanced magic is indistinguishable from magic. I think this works both ways!