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Born in Stockholm (Sweden), now live in Sapporo (Japan). Hold a Ph.D. in computer science and work with computers during the days, perform magic in a bar during the nights (and weekends, for kids). Also used to teach historical fencing back in Sweden.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

My first magic show, caught with my pants down


To get the blog started, here is a short anecdote from my first ever magic show. I was asked to to a 5 to 10 minutes show at a New Year party in a dorm where I lived for 6 months when I first came to Sapporo. At the time of this show, I no longer lived there but I still had quite a few friends that did. One of them was organizing the New Year party for the 30 or so students that were not going home for New Years.

Since I had not been doing magic for very long (about 1 year as a hobby, not yet a very intensive hobby) I did not have much to choose from when it came to interesting tricks to show in front of 30 to 40 people. I did a few tricks and most went over fairly well. I came up with an idea for a trick myself that I had not seen anyone do but is not very difficult, and this was quite popular.

Karate chopping a deck of cards.
The trick is this: a spectator comes up to help me and selects a card. He (in this case) showed it around to everyone except me, and then put it back in the middle of the deck (very fairly in the middle). Since this is Japan, the idea was to use "karate magic" to find the card. In practice, this meant that the spectator had to karate chop the deck of cards, and with some luck the selected card would come to the bottom of the deck when doing this. He chopped, but it was still the wrong card. I said that maybe he had to hit it harder, and that I would brace the deck on my leg (no table available) to help. He hit it again. The bottom card had not changed, but... since he now hit very hard, maybe it was too hard. If he felt my trousers, did he feel something strange? Yes, it felt like something that could be a card was stuck inside my trousers. So, he was too strong so the card had gone not only to the bottom of the deck but through my trousers!

Removing trousers.
So I said, "OK, I guess I will just have to take my pants off then." and most people laughed and thought it was a joke. When I started unbuttoning my belt, they seemed to realize that "this foreigner is crazy, he is actually doing it", and suddenly there were about 25 digital cameras pointed at me, recording movies. I took off my trousers and the spectator could take out the card that was indeed stuck there. It was his selected card.
Spectator removing card that was stuck inside trousers.

The method is obvious to anyone with basic card skills, but I like the presentation. I did the same trick with jumbo cards two months later at the house festival of the same dorm. There were about 100 people watching I think. Then I got a very serious 60 year old woman as my assistant and she seemed flustered when I started taking off my trousers. She laughed when she took out the card and found that it was her selection, though. I was later yelled at by the dorm administration that explained that in Japan you do not take off your pants in front of strangers. Especially children. Though the children of course laughed most of all :-) I have since performed this trick in bars and at children's parties too, and it seems to be quite popular. And it is a good excuse to wear funny underwear too :-)

Showing that it was the selected card!





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