I am a firm believer in the thesis that a magician — for mentalists this is a necessity — should be able to perform something anytime and anywhere. The so-called ’24/7 Magician’. The mastery of sleight-of-hand enables us to perform with almost every small object, miracles of the blue.
Besides studying most of the published works on impromptu magic, I devised or found a lot of stuff for the impromptu performance of magic. But I also found out it is very convenient to have a few things on the person, in case you cannot borrow them, or don not find them in the place you are at that moment. Props you — or a spectator — would carry around with you, and which you ‘ have at hand’. I call it the semi-impromptu magic props.
The only thing left then is to find, invent, and learn tricks that can be done with all these objects. But, as usual, when you don’t keep the information written in some system, it gets lost and leaves you within the ‘shit, I wish I could think of some trick now’ state of mind. The information on this material has to stay fresh and accessible all the times.
The hack I will describe could change your whole magic repertoire, and could also be one of the best investments magic-wise for you — but only if you take the time, put in the energy and work to put this into practice. As usual with my hacks, this is simplicity and very easy to implement.
A practical way to start your repertoire of impromptu miracles is the good old list. Think of objects that you or a spectator could carry with her or him that would seem ‘normal’ and everyday objects — then make a list of them. I sorted my list for easier handling.
After I had compiled what I thought was a reasonable and realistic array of items, I purchased a small notebook that was reserved only for that purpose. Something like the small pocket-sized Moleskine with about 200 pages should more than suffice for the beginning. When finished with the entrances, you will need to practise and rehearse the impromptu routines. So don’t go too far.
Now I transferred the list of items into the notebook, one or two items on each page so I would have enough space for the expected entries for each item. A word of caution here: resist the temptation to compile too much material. Take in only the things you think you will put into practice. Less is better. Aim for quality, not quantity. Being able to perform 50 items impromptu is more than anybody ever needs.
This notebook is always with me, and one of my best resources.
Wherever I go — the notebook is with me. Many of the best ideas (those for impromptu tricks) come unexpected and on the go. It makes sense to carry this notebook with you. If I am reading a book, or am watching a DVD, the notebook lies beside me on the desk. Whenever I find something which fits the conditions, I jot down that idea, trick, or routine in the notebook, under the title of the corresponding item.
What you have created is a small, indexed and sorted archive, which you have at hand all the time, and which contains a lot of your impromptu magic. Show it to your magic friends, ask them what improvised stuff they have, read the books, digest the magazines, and do everything needed to gather up material for your impromptu repertoire.
This will put an end to the question “What should I perform now?” forever.