Earlier this week I was performing in Berlin at an economics conference. The conference was hosted by a company called Oxera and there were a number of professors and guests with many letters after their names; never have I felt so academically inadequate……

I have performed at a number of all-day conferences and they can, at times, be a challenge. The guests tend to spend most of the day in lectures and seminars, with my job to entertain at interludes during the day. This can create quite a sedate atmosphere and the guests, having flown in from all over the world, are understandably keen to talk about the subject matter. Interrupting conversations, especially when English is not the delegates first language, can be difficult. Having said that, after the first 2 or 3 groups that I performed for, it soon became clear that a magician was circulating and the guests were increasingly receptive.

Having performed at pretty much all the Oxford colleges and many academic events, they are always fun. Without creating a sweeping generalisation academics like to analyse, understand and dissect the magic. This interest in understanding the mechanics and methods makes the magic easier to perform. The more attentive an audience is, the easier they are to misdirect and subsequently fool. At times though, I wish some people would simply sit back and enjoy the performance, as entertainment, rather than a game of self-congratulatory “one up man ship” which magic shouldn’t be.