JARED Manley, professional magician, has a scar on his hand.
It is the proof that even the super-well-trained trickster sometimes comes a cropper.
At a corporate gig in London the 33-year-old, of Hill Top, Dronfield, slammed his hand on to an upturned plastic cup. Unfortunately for him, under it were bamboo spikes which he thought were covered by the cup next along.
“The strange thing was,” he says, “the audience thought it was part of the show so I gritted my teeth, did it again, got it right, and they loved it.”
This will be one of the first lessons he and colleague Dan Ellis teach those attending their new magic school sessions – the first ever to be held in Sheffield: illusions are nothing if not entertainment. If things go wrong, they can be improvised.
The second lesson they will teach is practice, practice, practice.
“It’s like playing a musical instrument,” says Dan, 18, of Barholm Road, Crosspool, Sheffield. “There’s no great secret to being a magician, it’s just practising.”
Today at a special session of the school your Diarist is learning it would take a lot, lot, lot of practice for him to ever be any good.
The pair – partners in City Magicians – show off card, rope, cup and coin tricks, then explain how they’re done, and it’s still mind-bogglingly impressive.
“That’s what we want the reaction to be,” says Dan who is currently finishing his A-levels at Tapton School. “There’s a thing with magicians where they don’t want their secrets to be told to just anyone, and we respect that – we’re part of the Sheffield Magic Circle – but what we’re doing is showing how great these tricks are, so people can respect what the magician’s doing and have a go themselves.”
He says the sessions, which can be booked individually or as part of a team, will also help with confidence, presentation skills and interaction abilities.
But why should someone want to learn?
“Because it’s just a great feeling when you amaze someone,” says Jared.
He should know.
He’s been amazing people for 11 years now. The London-born lad came to the trade relatively late, at 22, but within weeks of being shown a card trick while working as a special effects co-ordinator for film and TV, he decided to be an illusionist. He – and here’s that word again – practised, did lots of gigs, toured the world and eventually moved to Sheffield to be with wife Marie.
Here he teamed up with boy wonder Dan, a lad who did his first paid gig when he was just 15, and they set up City Magicians.
Perhaps so far they’re best known for last year’s Magicathon where dozens of magicians performed in the city’s streets. But now they’re saying abracadabra and hoping the classes will be a similar success.
Book a session with them at www.citymagicians.com