By Paul Knight
Every time I open up my close up magic case, before I hit the road for my next booking, I get that “Darn it! Why on earth didn’t I sort this mess out after my booking last night!”.
I proceed to go through the laborious task of trying to run through everything I should have with ten minutes to spare. “What do I need? Which decks of playing cards can I throw out? My playing cards have signatures all over them. Wow, those ropes look dirty! Oh no, I’ve run out of business cards!! Aurch! Really should have thrown those lemons out”.
So, in an effort to get myself mildly organized I’ve stripped down the contents of my close up case to basics, i.e. What I really use and need.
Self explanatory. There is nothing worse than that moment when you’re doing your magic, all focus is on your hands waiting for the final climax to the trick, when you look down and you notice the state of your nails! Not nice! If that’s what you are thinking just imagine what the audience is made of it! So, I always carry my nail scissors with me. A quick trim takes but seconds.
“Face wipes? Face wipes? Are you sure you’re not looking in a makeup case?”
Nope, you heard correctly. I always carry face wipes in my close up magic case. Many reasons. Firstly, you guessed it, to wipe my face. Yep, they are good at that. Secondly, to give my hands a quick clean before I start, all helps with confidence, and thirdly, to wipe off that coffee stain from my tie. Very handy stain removers.
Three decks of playing cards.
One is never enough. Four is too many. So therefore three feels about right. Two would probably be fine, but I’ve decided on three. It’s my choice and I’m sticking to it, and that’s that, ok?
One deck of blank faced cards
I don’t know why, but still to this day asking somebody to sign a card still seems as alien to me as I’m sure it does to spectators. We forget that, to magicians what seems like such a normal thing to do is actually a little bit odd! The number of times I’ve said “Please madam sign your name across the card” only to be looked at like I’m insane. “Really? You really want me sign the card? But that will ruin them!” Therefore, I carry at least 25 blank faced cards inside my jacket, and when a signature is required I ask them to sign a blank faced card. Nobody questions this, and I think it’s more visual. All in all it makes things easier for me and the audience. There is nothing worse than deciding to go into a four ace routine, only to find somebody on the previous table has one of the aces signed.
Exactly the same reason as the three decks of cards!
It’s good to smell. Even better if it’s a nice one.
Tie and Bow tie
Sometimes I’ve arrived at a venue ready to perform only to discover all the guests are wearing Bow ties. Good to be prepared.
I usually end up performing rope routines at some point in my act. I remembered years ago I saw a magician performing rope magic at a table, and the white rope he was using was clearly not very clean! It looked awful and unprofessional. Therefore ever since that day, I have an obsession with using clean, crisp white rope every time I perform now.
Never ever leave home without them!
Refer to explanation of deodorant.
Bottle of water
With all that talking, and sometimes shouting depending on the venue, It’s important to drink. At least if I forget to drink, when I’ve finished I can grab some water when I empty my pockets and load up my case. Hold on! There’s an incentive to organize my close up magic case before my next booking!
One new effect I’ve perfected, but haven’t performed.
Ok. We have all been there. You’ve bought loads of stuff, learnt loads of tricks. Put it all in the close up case. Gone to booking. Left all new stuff in the close up magic case and spent two hours doing everything you always do.
I’ve found that just having one new trick in my case means, once I’ve done my tried and tested routine, I have options. If I feel comfortable to then approach what I know is a very receptive table of people, and perform my new effect.
Essentially, there is only one thing stopping me performing new tricks, and that’s the first performance of it.
Carrying one new trick and then choosing what I know to be a good audience has really helped get the new stuff out of the drawer and into the act.
WHAT TO DO NEXT
So.. That’s what’s in my close up case. Have I missed anything out? Why not take a moment to grab your case or bag now and have a big sort out. It takes moments and you will really benefit from taking the time to prepare a professional close up magic case.