So this is about Fifi and others like her. Fifi was special in a number of ways.
Being a busy working magician I get to know an audience and I am able to read their characters quite well on approach. Being able to do that is important as an entertainer and especially as a magician.
I understand that not everyone loves magic the way I do, everyone has different experiences in life which shape what we do like, what we don’t like and what we love.
Being a resident magician on Sunday at Waterlane in Bishops Stortford has really helped me. On a Sunday lunchtime, mostly everyone enjoys and wants to see magic, they come specifically to the restaurant for the entertainment, good food and service. I say mostly, because on occasion, as I approach and introduce myself, some people don’t want to see magic. They may have had a bad day, be in a hurry, they may want to just catch up with an old friend or even sometimes do not actually like magic. They may not like magic because they saw a bad magician in the past or they might be the type of person that does not like the feeling of not knowing how something is done. I’ve learnt all this through experience over the years. Knowing this means I know how to approach people and am also not worried if people do not want to see any magic.
When I approach people, I very rarely tell them I am a magician straight off. I engage a group first, by saying hello, asking how they are etc…I dress smart, i’m polite and friendly and this helps relax people before I announce what I do. It’s at this point 99.9% of the time, people become enthusiastic and giddy at the thought of seeing a magician live and up close.
Sometimes if I have worked a room, i’ll approach a group and one of the group has already seen me or perhaps they have watched from afar and know who I am. It was just this happening as I approached Fifi’s group.
Before I could even get past hello, one of the group announced “this is the magician, he’s amazing”. That in itself is the best introduction any magician could ask for, it’s like having your own announcer on stage before a show, it sets the scene for you and from a credited source like a spectator, is even more powerful.
When that was announced, I noticed this one lady let out a little scream, literally, a bursting with excitement, then trying to hide it scream. I immediately honed in on her and ask her name, giddily she replied ‘Fifi’. I offered my hand to shake and she looked me in the eye direct, smiling and said, ‘hi’.
Asking if she had ever seen a magician before she said ‘no not a real one’. I love these reactions, I then explained I am likely to be the best she has ever seen, obviously tongue in cheek as by default that is true but also announcing to her she was going to see something special.
Being able to perform to someone that excited about magic, that has never seen a magician live is a special moment. I know that if I get this moment right, they will not only have a lasting positive impression of magic and magicians but more importantly, will never, ever forget their first time seeing one, I was blessed to be that person for Fifi.
Her giddy enthusiasm spread through the group, we had fun, laughter, shocked moments, gasps and tears – every possible positive reaction you can imagine came in those 5 or so minutes I shared with the group.
Here’s a little video I caught at the end, you can still see the excitement all over.
Fifi, you are a star, you rock and I love you.