The Hidden Cost of Being a Magician.

Being a magician is by no means an inexpensive vocation. From those early days thumbing through catalogs and sending away postal orders, to visiting buying illusions with your very own American Express card, it was never a cheap hobby/business.

I wouldn’t care to guess how many times I have walked out of a magic store holding a paper bag between two fingers wondering what the hell inside it could weigh so little and cost so much!

I have boxes and boxes, shelves and shelves just stacked with magic props that I just had to have. Many of them used once, or not at all.    90% of the props that I actually use are contained in a couple of pilots cases inside a cupboard next to my “working outfit.”

There is another series of boxes and shelves that contain the other depository of items that represent what I like to call “The Hidden Cost of Being a Magician.” These are the outdated, non-functioning and often barely used electronic item, and leads, leads, leads, plugs, plugs, plugs that presumably once serviced them. There are coils of wires and leads ,apparently writhing, in the right light, that look to all intents and purpose like those snake pits in the final episodes of Cobra Kai on Netflix.

There is a Digital Tape Player, half a dozen MD player, strange little box like units, weird hubs, old phones, early digital players, cameras and god knows what else. There is one entire shelf of aging hard drives, and I am pretty sure none of them have cables with plugs that will interface with my MacBook Air, iPad, iPhone or iMac, …… and did I mention the leads? Leads, Leads, Leads it is like the wheat chorus in Woody Allen’s Love and Death. There are magician collectors who make a tidy sum of money as their purchases build into a Rickey Jay type collection. Not me, I am an accumulator, which is time and space filling, without much chance of anything being worth big bucks except by accident.

There is something about magicians that often manifests itself as technophiles. No, I am not talking about the current breed of lame and lazy-ass magicians who perform “electronic magic” or “iPhone tricks” that manage to avoid any actual magical skills. I am always amazed how many people are fooled by iPhone tricks. Of course, it is mostly magicians who are fooling themselves. They fail to realize that when they pull out a phone, that 95% of spectators realize that it is the phone who is doing the heavy lifting.

Magicians are hard wired to want the latest device to run their music, adjust their lights, and do everything else their hearts desire. I know this because I am one of them. My shelves and boxes of expensive and outdated props and tech gear attest to it.

It is very hard to throw away any of this stuff though because you never know when you are going to need irreparably crumpled silks, or a die box that is missing the die. Every now and then I want to check on one of my six previously indispensable Macs, hook it up to a 30 gig hard drive, and see if they contain the photos from my 1990 trip to Tokyo. The trouble is I can never find the right lead to plug everything in. While I have endless supply of leads they are never the right ones– kinda’ like a scene from Glengarry Glen Ross.

Well, enough of this rant, I have to return to Google and search…… Someone old me that Amazon now sells that floating/revolving music player that David Bowie had in The Man Who Fell To Earth. It is exactly the item needed to put my act into high gear.

I will illustrate this post some pictures of electronic paraphernalia that I found, and discarded, from a “Garage Box” that I was exploring this morning. Believe me they are the very tip of the iceberg, the entire iceberg could sink the iceberg!

~ by Nick Lewin on October 26, 2021.

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