Around London in 80 days
In these uncertain times, I need a lifeline and a horizon so I have — somewhat arbitrarily I’ll admit — set a date. April 1st will be my horizon ; my lifeline will be the 80 days separating me from it.
And as I cannot go around the world right now, I give you A Mad Belgian’s “Around London in 80 Days” : eighty impressions of London, eighty stories, places, thoughts from my experience of this wonderfully mad and maddening city.
Day 52: Magic
I really discovered magic in London. It’s on London streets that I made my first magician friends, it’s in a London magic shop that I bought my first deck of cards. Since then I always carry a pack of 52 poker-size cards with me, ready for some impromptu magic practice. And I’m now known to the magic shop people who recognise me when I pop in.
Whether you are a magician or not, magic shops are fascinating places. Dark and mysterious with shelves full of vanishing bottles, floating cards and other seemingly random objects that promise to behave most improperly. Near the counter, there always seems to be a mini crowd of strange-looking people in hats. Huddled together in the dark, they quietly mutter secrets to one another, day in, day out.
If you’re still new to the world of magic, they will show you a series of tricks, each more impossible than the next and you will be left baffled and tempted to buy every trick in the store so that you, too, can later confuse a crowd. Which is why I learned to polish my act, to walk into the magic shop with an air of confidence, knowing exactly what I’m looking for: “2 decks of red “bicycle” [cards], a half-dollar and 2 meters of magician’s rope”.