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features /  column
editor content by: editor
that's magic!
webslinky: practical magic
This week, now you see it.

Itís rather nice that an ancient form of entertainment like the magic trick can still be popular in Todayís Modern World Ė even if modernity ultimately reduces it to Wizbit and a man sitting in a transparent box above the Thames.

Maybe thatís unfair; magic is still mysterious. And though itís pretty clear that magicians do not possess supernatural powers Ė even if they look a bit gruff and moody Ė a really good performance can leave us clamouring to discover how it was done. Itís this intense desire that perhaps explains why the vast majority of magic-related websites ask us to part with cash to find anything out.

Indeed, be warned when searching for the secrets of illusionists if they donít ask for cash. Many of the sites claiming, for example, to explain the methods of David Blaine are riddled with ďbadwareĒ - is this a ploy by the cyber-terror division of the Magic Circle? If I knew, I certainly wouldnít be able to tell you.

But donít worry, the world of online magic isnít all malware-infected e-pigeons: the reliably excellent catalogue of practical fun that is Instructables contains tutorials for all sorts of tricks, while the Magic Web Channel - surely the most enormous wizardís hat of magic sites Ė is a great resource that includes this enthusiastically brief history of magic.

That might not be of any concern if you consider yourself a regular punter who really hates the exposure of magic tricks. It is fun to be drawn in, especially by the likes of Derren Brown, whose lavish website is as atmospheric and confusing as youíd expect - though who knows what itís doing to your brain. Fans of Derren might also enjoy this rather indulgent interview with the man in Fortean Times.

If that all seems a bit grand and pretentious, thank The Lord Copperfield for Wizbit-affiliate Paul Daniels, who is single-handedly flying the flag for magical down-to-earthness on his blog. Like most online diaries, itís quaintly mundane but also surprisingly revealing: whoíd have thought a small man who has spent much of his life climbing through secret doors would suffer from claustrophobia? Mind you, at least he doesnít have an irrational fear of sleeves.


David Thair 10 May 07
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