The Perfect Magic Club - Part 2
Monday, June 20, 2005
Well my earlier post 'The Perfect Magic Club?' has generated quite a bit of discussion. Most people seem to think the concept is wonderful and said "Why hasn't anyone thought of that before?" I'm kicking myself that I didn't think of it years ago when I was more active in the Magic Club scene and could have actually done something about it.
Nowdays, we have our own 24/7 studio and are busy performing and working with other magicians most of the time. I guess I just would love to see other magicians who would like to practise their magic actually have somewhere to do it, and a club is the perfect place to do that (at least in theory anyway).
We all know that, in reality, a club full of magicians sitting there staring at you can be so devastating that many people have given up magic after performing only once under such conditions... that's why I like 'The Perfect Magic Club' idea so much. Magicians with similar interests get together in small groups and session, workshop, brainstorm, practise, develop ideas and - in general - improve themselves by working with others.
The most oft heard criticism of magic clubs is "I don't have the time to go". Yet those people often have regular appointments at the gym, or attend weekly lessons... why? They are FUN! They feel like they've learned something or gotten better. If people want to attend a magic club, they will find the time. The problem is that many people feel they don't get anything out of the clubs. (Yes, I know, "You get out what you put in"... but these same people don't "put in" at the gym, or "put in" in their weekly lessons. They pay, they attend, they participate. They don't write the newsletters or sit on the committees or organise the schedule of events.) If they came when they could and sat in on sessions, posing problems to the group, helping others get their handling and presentations better, they would get so much out of it they'd want to come back as often as they could. It certainly would be different to the current image of the magic club where members turn up, sit down, and listen to a lecture, watch a dealer dem, or watch a few newer members perform and then tell them how good they were to their face (and how bad they were behind their backs).
PRACTICAL MATTERS: Mat Unwin suggested replacing the 'honesty bar' of the original idea with a vending machine. Excellent point! Either that or get a lockable fridge and unlock the 'honesty bar' only when it's supervised.
"If people used the clubrooms during the day unsupervised... things might get stolen." True. So build in lockable cupboards and make sure the library, DVD & TV etc are all locked away and access is limited to supervised times.
"How can you have someone there 24/7 to give access??" Well, 24/7 access is not crucial to the idea, it's a bonus if you can organise it. Three ways it can be achieved: 1 - If your premises is a shopfront with residence, I'm sure at least one member is currently renting and would be happy to shift in and be "part time caretaker" in return for a reduced rent. 2 - You could run a magician booking agency from the clubrooms. Instal a phone and have a person in there 9 - 5 answering the phone, making cold calls, and letting members in to use the club rooms! They could earn their salary from the commissions of the shows they generate (many agencies operate this way) and it's a great job if any of your members are currently on the dole (social security). 3 - You can leave the key at a nearby home or business (the same way many Scout Halls operate). People wishing to use the club rooms during the day call in to the business and sign the key out, then sign it back in when they're finished.
Finally, even if you were only to operate the club (at least initially) in the evenings and on weekends, you could have a certain number of keys with certain members who commit to opening up on certain nights. Members who wish to use the club rooms outside those hours simply book in advance and collect the key from a nearby member.
Alternatively you could use one of those 'Keysafes' Real Estate Agents use to keep the key in. The key is locked inside a box locked onto a fixture of the building, and the box is opened with a combination. The combination can be changed weekly or even daily. To get access, if you don't know the combination, you simply phone the member who does, then you can open the box and get the key out.
You could have working bees to get the interior of the clubrooms exactly how you want them (though if you choose the right rental property in the first place, it will make life a lot easier!) and you could make it a condition of membership that each member supplies a framed 8x10 or poster of themselves to decorate the walls with!
I really think this is a great idea. Please add your thoughts by clicking the word 'comments' below, and let us know if your club is going to give this a try!