Simultaneously one of the best things and one of the worst things about being a magician is that people have preconceived notions of what you do.
And these notions are usually married to the cliches we often associate with magic. Rabbits in hats. Top hats and tails. Or, frankly, that it is often quite lame, or just for kids. So the game becomes beating those expectations, and hopefully helping them see magic in a new light.
But the truth is that magic is often quite lame. I came to magic at a very young age, and for the first decade of my time in the field it was very much an excuse to be alone and to quell my shyness. I’d sit in my bedroom, poring over books and catalogues, learning strange secrets of mathematics and magnets, then meekly do tricks for the other kids at recess. It was a safety net for interaction.
The magic I performed was all about fooling other people; getting one over on them. To quote Stephen Fry, it was “the revenge of the nerd”. Sadly a lot of magicians stay in this delayed adolescence, and so the art form eddies around in this odd game of egocentric one-upmanship.
As time went on, though, the whole thing started to take on a bigger, stranger meaning and I began to get very suspicious of what I thought magic was. In my life I was engaging in transcendental meditation, reading the works of Ram Dass and Alan Watts, and I started to realise that my chosen art form was not evolving past prosaic at best. So I set about changing that.
The biggest shift in my perception was when I realised that the only people that made magic real was the audience members.
It’s the only place that magic exists – in their heads. So I realised it really wasn’t about me, or my skills, or all the time I’ve spent alone perfecting a technique that by its own design is meant to look like I did nothing at all.
That’s where Moss came into the picture. Moss is the last creature on earth, and they want to remember what has passed. They grew from the swamps and soil, and warm themselves in front of a UV lamp, keeping their photosynthetic limbs alive, enacting strange rituals, eulogising the long-gone human race. This takes the form of rites celebrating the strange things humans worshipped: Love, fate, fear, loss and mystery.
Look, the truth is I like dressing up in weird costumes and doing weird magic. I’m so incredibly grateful to Rachel and Phil, and everyone at BondiFest for completely backing me on an fresh and bizarre idea for a magic show.
Hopefully I can help you see magic in a new light.