Online videos can walk you through card tricks step by step.
Online videos can walk you through card tricks step by step. Photo Thinkstock

Magic: mastering the sleight of hand

LEARNING magic is not as hard as it seems. Of course, there are extremely complicated tricks and sleights of hand that are next to impossible to master, but, if you are prepared to put in a few hours of practice, you can certainly snatch a "sleeveful" of tricks that will impress.

I decided to focus mainly on card tricks and found that there was no shortage of videos online that could walk me through the process step-by-step. In all cases my tricks involved a sneaky move that diverted attention away from a deliberate, crafty manoeuvre.

What's really interesting is that the sneaky move was not so much hidden as it was performed right under the noses of the audience in a way (hopefully) so natural that they thought nothing of it.

For example, in one trick, an audience member was invited to flip over a card to make sure that it was the same card it was claimed to be. But instead of pointing at the said card with a finger, the magician took a card from the top of the deck and used one of its corners to draw attention to the other card. The magician then placed that card at the bottom of the deck as the audience member checked the first card. The order of the cards had now been changed right in front of the audience - and people simply didn't notice.

There were other magic tricks that required special equipment like hollow coins, almost invisible thread, cards with discreetly marked codes on the backs, fake hands and so on, but for me, this took away the magic.

But, if you think magic is all harmless fun and games, please think again. Case in point: I was showing some impressionable children one of my tricks where I "push" a pencil up one of my nostrils and then "pull" it from one of my ears. If it wasn't for the alarm, I would have been flattered when one of the kids grabbed the pencil and went to ram it up his nose.

Follow David on Twitter: @bigkamo