Magic is an art form, one of the finest art forms that you will ever come across. It has the great power of suspending reality and making you transport your mind, no matter how briefly, into a world where anything is possible. The clue is in the name, it is truly magical.
I’ve loved magic since as far back as I can remember. When I was around 4 or 5 I had one of those children’s magazines, I think it was ‘Rainbow’ (the one where bungle went tap dancing if I remember correctly) and the back page taught you how to make a coin disappear. I practiced and practiced so much but I’m not going to lie, I was awful. My gran and my parents were kind enough to make me believe that I had tricked them and I felt like a true magician. I can do tricks to this day, some are pretty spectacular and watching the reaction from people when you pull one of is what makes it so great.
Great magicians are everywhere, up until recently I worked with one of the best in Scotland. You can find magicians no matter where you go, in bars, at theme parks, anywhere that they can hone their craft. Then you have the obvious ones such as David Blaine and Dynamo, they’re great sure but I’ve never wanted to be them, I’ve always wanted to be Penn and Teller.
When I first came across Penn and Teller they weren’t performing magic or giving an interview, they were acting in a show called ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch’ I didn’t know who they were but all I could think was “This guy is really loud”
Over the years I started to notice them more and more, they were magicians but they weren’t glamorous or over the top showy, they were real. There wasn’t the aura of “we have superhuman powers” about them, they have been always been two guys who have passion for what they do and that comes across in everything that they do.
Being from Scotland, it’s not a simple case of travelling down the road to see them perform so growing up I had to make do with VHS recordings and watching them on television. Nowadays it’s YouTube and still watching them on television, that was until last Thursday night. I finally realised my dream of seeing Penn and Teller perform live at Glasgow’s SEC Armadillo and without a doubt it is a memory that I will cherish.
You see what makes Penn and Teller great isn’t just the magic, it isn’t just the humour or the ability to captivate an audience with something as simple as playing a guitar while throwing cards away. It’s their ability to be relatable. “If we had real magic powers we wouldn’t be performing magic tricks, we would be solving the big issues” are words or something very similar to what Penn said while on stage. They give and give and always they let you know that they appreciate it.
After the show in Glasgow they stood in the bar area for what must have been almost three hours, meeting fans, taking photographs and signing autographs. At no point did they look agitated or fed up. They were welcoming and really made what was already a great night even better. They were in Scotland so naturally (as most people do when they come here) there was a bit of an accent problem but they made it work. One guy asking Penn to record a video with him and Penn replying “What? It’s OK I’ve had you translated”
I can’t really tell you what Teller says because obviously he doesn’t talk, but I imagine his inner monologue is just as warm and welcoming as Penns’ outer monologue.
I could sit here and write for days about how their tricks are the greatest I’ve seen, how they are the pinnacle of magic or how when watching them you’re scared to blink in case you miss something truly great. The truth is that what makes Penn and Teller magic is how they treat their fans, how they welcome you like an old friend and can give you a one night memory that will last for eternity.
I know that I’m basically writing some sort of love letter here and I get that but since I was the height of nothing I’ve dreamed about seeing Penn and Teller, for it to finally happen and leave the building that night feeling like I was on a cloud. I shook Penns hand, his magic hand dammit!
They say don’t ever meet your heroes, I met mine and it was magic.