Tag Archives: Comedy

Why Penn and Teller are the greatest magicians in history.

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.

Advertisements

That Martin Show

Recently I’ve delved back into That 70’s Show. For all the years I watched it as it aired, then the numerous times I’ve dived back into it and caught random repeats on various channels, it just never gets old.

I often watch television series’ or films and compare myself and my friends to characters, who they act like, what habits they share, the types of things they say and their methods of dealing with certain scenarios.

With that 70’s show I find myself in the unique position of being able to identify myself with most of the main characters. Obviously I’m better looking than Kelso so that’s one comparison we can all skip.

I’m a nerd or a geek or a weird little man (not so little) with a fascination with Star Wars, I always make situations worse when I think I’m going to make them better and strangely it’s almost always in a comical fashion. In that respect I’m Eric.

I’m rude, harsh, honest and have no fear in saying what I think no matter how it offends or insults. I almost always try and lead my friends down the path of some sort of path that I would never go down myself but I know it will give me amusement watching them do it. In that respect I’m Hyde.

I say the most inappropriate things at the most inappropriate times. Sometimes I say them for comical effect, sometimes I say them without thinking not realising how inappropriate it actually is. In that respect I’m Fez.

I am incredibly impatient, with no tact and will almost always complain about anything and everything. Sometimes I just want a quiet life, a life of no annoying kids running around the streets, people leaving my beer alone and not having to help people out because it’s just an inconvenience. In that respect I’m Red.

That 70’s Show is an outstanding piece of comedy TV in which it relates to almost everyone at some point in their life. 8 seasons of this show and I guarantee I will never get tired of watching it over and over again.

For those who haven’t yet seen it, I won’t spoil anything but as I currently watch it again I’m nearing the end of Season Seven, an ending which changes the show for its last season. I can’t lie, Season Eight isn’t the same as the rest of the seasons but it still rounds the show off nicely.

It’s also amazing to see how far those actors came since being on a show that nobody knew would get past the first season. Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Topher Grace just to name a few.

It might have been a modern show set in the past but it was way ahead of its time. 506b9f116e6340e7e5eeaa916

 

812 Days

It’s hard to believe that this blog was my daily output, my safe space, my place where I would go constantly to release my inner thoughts and share them with the world. It’s hard to believe all of that when it has been 812 days since I last posted.

812 days is a long time, a day is a long time on some occasions. There’s two options I faced when logging back in, I could write down all the main points from the past two years or I could just continue as though nothing had happened and there had been no hiatus.

When I looked through my past posts it became apparent how much things changed. There were posts about TV shows that are no longer here, undefeated fighters who are now defeated, a YouTube channel that fell by the wayside and so much more. I think that’s the wonderful thing about having this page to look back on, it really opens your eyes to how much things are changing even when you don’t realise it.

Two years ago I had just gotten a new job, was single, living in my own wee flat which wasn’t the nicest place and spent much of time gaming and blogging. These days I share a beautiful seaside flat with my amazing other half (she puts up with so much nonsense I’m surprised she’s lasted this long) I’ve left that job for reasons that I cannot disclose and I spend much of my time…gaming and thinking about blogging. So most things have changed if not all.

In August of this year I’m hoping to study Media Analysis, I say hoping because I still have the interview stage to get past which is next Wednesday. I think that finally I can study something that I really want to do and hopefully progress in a career which involves writing and media and just bring together most of the things that I’m passionate about.

On a completely unrelated note, last night I went to see Penn and Teller live and it blew me away. I also met Penn so here’s a cheeky selfie

19247797_760673374112047_6808345536489624134_n

As for this here blog…

I’m back, and I don’t plan on going away anytime soon.

 

M

The Little Tramp

Throughout history I don’t think there has ever been a more creative genius than Charlie Chaplin.

Ever since I was 6 or 7 and I sat hidden on the stairs, looking through the holes and watching “Chaplin” with Robert Downey Jr as my parents watching it, I’ve been fascinated by him. His films, his creativeness, his personal life and all the controversy surrounding him. That little tramp character that he brought so much life to still intrigues me to this day and finding out more and more about what he went through. The story of him being kicked out of America and the sad story of Hetty Kelly who Charlie fell in love with in England and sadly died while he was in America, of course she had since married someone else which just makes it even more heart wrenching.

Charlies enduring love for film and entertainment is evident in everything that he touched. From his silent beginnings through to The Great Dictator and Limelight. He worked tirelessly to make sure his movies were perfect, he wrote the scripts, the scores and took control of the editing. Charlie Chaplin put everything he had into entertaining millions. That aspect inspires me, especially when I watch his work. Almost 100 years on and it’s still as funny today as was back then.

Charlie was also loyal, he kept Edna Purviance on his payroll for the rest of her life even after she couldn’t land any more film roles. A mark of a man who knew that (to some extent) the people around him were important, even if he didn’t always make it clear.

Of course there controversies galore. J Edgar Hoover seemed to have a personal vendetta against him, naming him a Communist Sympathiser which eventually led to him being banned from re-entering the USA when he was touring the UK to promote his latest film. Then there were the divorces and the blood test controversies.

Every idol has their flaws and Charlie Chaplin sure had his.

When I lived in Switzerland in 2005 I remember jumping on a train for almost two hours to go to Vevey just to try and get a peek at his home (all I managed to see was a gate and trees) but just being that close to such a place was strangely fulfilling. In 2015 his home will be opened as a museum and will be open to the public, so perhaps I’ll get my chance to walk those hallways.
If you’ve never watched a Charlie Chaplin film, I suggest you do so immediately.

 

 

A touch of the Man Flu

Today I appear to have been afflicted by that terrorising illness known only as man flu. As I type I can feel it attacking my nervous system and creating weakness in every part of my body. It’s at times like these when I wish I had some form of super power to protect me from illness. Nobody likes being ill but I absolutely hate it. If I get ill in the middle of the year I can normally cope, I just battle through it and get on with what I’m doing, hell this year I battled through it and went to a festival. When I get ill between October and February my body just shuts down, it’s a horrible feeling and I get annoyed at the slightest of things. 

On a plus side, being ill today allowed me to catch up on the New 52 Justice League. I had previously only reached issue 6 but I’m now all caught up and as much as I’m looking forward to the next issue I’m not impatient about it. Again that’s probably just my lack of enthusiasm for anything from DC or that involves Superman. The JLA comics have had some pretty good stories in them so far and the art work is just striking, I’ve actually found myself just staring at some pages and admiring the pencil work on a number of pages. If I’m totally honest though I was much more into the “Shazam” stories that were added at the end of each issue. I always did like DC’s Captain Marvel so it was good to have that thrown in and have it as an origin story, although I don’t like this total change to the name Shazam. Granted it’s what he was known as before but up until 2012 he was always officially Captain Marvel. 

One reason I do like the Justice League is for Green Lantern, and I don’t know why. I wouldn’t exactly call him a favourite of mine but I hold a soft spot for him. Green Lantern was my first ever introduction to comic books when I was a toddler so I always look at him as my gateway. All-American Comics #16 is my dream comic to own but truthfully I will probably never have the cash to buy a copy unless somewhere down the line I either win the lottery or write a best selling novel, both of which are as likely as Spider-man showing up in the Justice League Watchtower with cakes and Ribena.

Of course the other thing that could get me enough money to own a copy of All-American Comics #16 would be to write a best selling Comic, but alas my drawing skills are non-existent. So for now it looks like I shall have to be resigned to lying on the couch with the man flu, a bottle of Irn-Bru and Bill Bailey DVDs.

 

Image