Magic tricks have been entertaining us for centuries. I had the pleasure of seeing London-based magician, Sirus, and asked him a few questions about his life – starting from the very beginning.
When did magic first come into your life?
I was bought a Paul Daniels magic set when I was about five, and I’ve been doing it ever since! I enjoyed the level of interaction with people.
What inspired you to keep going for all these years?
I was a bit shy as a kid and it helped break down barriers. I enjoyed the ability to confuse people with what were essentially little bits of plastic and paper. I realised at a young age that I could take magic and, as long as I learnt how to use it, I could confuse adults with it. To be able to pull one over adults at that age is a lot of fun. When I told my mother at age eight that I wanted to be a magician, she looked me straight in the eyes and said, ‘Son, you can’t do both. You have to either be a magician or grow up.’ … when I grow up. So I chose not to grow up, and adopted a comedic magic style. I think if you’re a grown-up, fuddy-duddy, straight magician, not many would be interested. It sounds quite boring to me! So, I chose to not grow up. I took her advice in that sense.
Are there any other magicians in your family?
I’m ninth generation magician. I didn’t actually know that, but at an auntie’s 90th birthday there were ten different men on opposite sides of the room, all offering each other to ‘pick a card, pick a card, pick a card.’ We’d all been making a living from magic or doing it from a young age – and we were all from the same side of the family. It’s in my blood. Even if I wasn’t doing it now, I would have ended up doing it. It’s a good thing I practiced from a young age, so I’m not too bad at it now.
If you weren’t a magician, what do you think you’d be doing?
I imagine I’d still be in something highly speech-motivated, like sales. I’d be creative with my hands, but more so with my mind, rather than just following a script and repeating the same thing to try to make sales. I can always sell people on my magic, and have a bit of a laugh with it.
What are your favourite tricks?
I particularly enjoy doing sleight of hand magic – card tricks and coin tricks. I have one particular one that I invented, called ‘Bluetooth’. It’s a hands-free card trick. Without touching the deck, the spectator’s cards flies out of the pack towards them.
What are some of the best reactions you’ve had?
People tend to go from the sublime to the ridiculous. You have the muted ones who don’t react. You can see from their eyes they’re impressed at the skill, but have that reserved part of their nature that doesn’t allow them to truly believe in magic, as it were. Then there are the kids and adults who are more than happy to suspend their disbelief and just enjoy the moment. They’re the best – the most genuine ones.
Who are some of your most memorable audience members?
A couple of summers ago, I was lucky enough to do magic for Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale – and their kids, obviously. I’ve been a big fan of Gavin’s music for a long time – he’s the lead singer of Bush. It was enjoyable meeting a real-life rock star. A couple of summers before that, I was lucky enough to perform magic for Ms Jolie and her kids, three of them. Brad Pitt was in Scotland shooting a film about zombies or something and I was entertaining Angelina and the kids in London.
What advice do you have for aspiring magicians?
Read and watch a lot of video tutorials. When I was starting out, there wasn’t much literature on it, because it is was quite underground. The surge of TV magicians in recent years means it’s become more accessible. Due to the time that I grew up in, I followed the career of Paul Daniels closely. I got to meet him in the Magic Circle, where my uncle, Lionel Russell, curates the Magic Circle museum at the headquarters. I touch base with him as often as I can, just to keep up to date with new developments. It’s good to open up the creative process in different directions.
And, what’s next for you?
I’d very much like to get myself and a lot of my magic to Vegas. There’s more recognition there. It’s still fairly underground here; there are only two magic shops in the whole of central London. One is underground at Charring Cross, and it’s just as mysterious as it sounds. If you didn’t know where it is you’d never find it, and only magicians know where it is. However, in America and particularly Vegas, there are shows and shops and a lot more opportunity for a magician. I’d like to end up there.
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