Magic has been a passion of mine since 2003 when I first discovered a magic stall in York market. I bought a few tricks and started practising them on friends and family.
A couple that I got to know on a trip to Ghana in 2004 then invited me to perform a stand-up show at their wedding. The reactions I got, to my then amateurish performance as a magician, were sensational and I realised that I had the potential to develop this new found hobby into something much more professional.
Since then I have performed as a magician at a range of events including parties, weddings, formal dinners, trade shows, a hunt ball, christenings and festivals, mainly but not exclusively in North Yorkshire.
My preferred style is to do close-up magic at tables making things disappear and reappear in unusual places, often the magic happens right in your guests' own hands.
I work with mostly cards, coins, borrowed rings, strings, borrowed phones and some more unusual items.
I also love to perform mentalist type effects but my aim is not to prove anything, merely to entertain people. If people tell me that they've had fun and they often do, then I know I've achieved what I've set out to do.
Martin Waring - Magician York
What is it about magic that makes it so engaging?
I often ask myself what is the magic ingredient that captures people’s imagination and makes them want to see more and more. When I tap into that rich vein of enthusiasm and people are waving me over to their table and then after my ‘show’ at their table, showing their appreciation, what is the feeling that makes them behave that way?
I remember the first time I saw a magician performing close up magic for me it was a totally different experience to watching magic on the television. As a recipient, or spectator as magicians like to call them, you are participating in what seems like a little play in which you have your part and you know that if you play your part as instructed, something unexpected and magical will happen. Of course all through the ‘play’ you are keen to understand what is happening and how the magical elements work. But if you can suspend too much doubt you know that if the magician is doing his job well, you will once more experience a feeling that you once had as a child, seeing something wonderful for the very first time.
For me, if I find the magician trustworthy and I know that I’m not going to be made a fool of I can safely re-enter that child like world of wonder and amazement and experience again what it is like to be genuinely amazed. Of course I know that I am being ‘fooled’ and I am balancing that feeling of amazement with a curiosity about ‘how it’s done’. The more experience of magic I get the more likely it is that I am going to be able to guess at part or sometimes all of the method being used.
This understanding of my own attraction to and experience of close up magicians gives me some insight into how the magic might appear to my audience, my spectators.
I also know that, for whatever reason, some people don’t like being fooled by a magician. I find that sad but I have to respect that and move on.
For people who are willing to engage with what I am doing I treat them with warmth and respect, albeit if I feel they can take it I may indulge in a bit of playful banter.
I believe that it is important that my spectators feel safe that they are not going to be embarrassed by what I do as a magician.
Stories are important to some magic effects. Without stories a trick can become a series of moves with cards and a story helps the trick along, giving it a structure and also that feeling of childlike openness to the magic of the effect.
Pacing is important too. Whilst I am doing one effect I am on the lookout for the next effect. I’m looking for rings and phones I could use for my next effect. I’m also watching the table for which people have that gleam in their eye that tells me that they will make a wonderful audience for my next trick. Of course the ultimate is to get the whole table on side and clapping at the end which of course gets the other tables wondering when it’s going to be their turn.
So I feel that for me, the magic is as much about engagement with people and winning their trust in me to entertain them. When I have that trust I can safely try out new effects that I haven’t yet quite mastered if I tell them that ‘this is new to me’. I can almost feel them willing me on for the trick to work.
Why I love teaching people how to perform a trick.
At a lot of events I do these days I will show someone how to perform a trick that is almost self working and then help them, if they are willing, to perform it at a table. Obviously I’m not going to reveal the method behind my best effects but it adds to the fun to find someone who is up for it, what it is like to perform as a magician for other people and receive the applause.