Don Moses Comedy & Magic Blog - A light hearted look at life, comedy and magic.

Archive for March, 2008

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

Enjoy the journey

I once got aroused while watching Carol Vorderman, which was great because usually I only get five letter words in Countdown.  Bad joke I know, but it did make me think about my last blog.  After reading the blog I suddenly had the thought, that I couldn’t do my sums because I am out of practise.  This is how bad I am; when I am around at my Mum’s house, I can’t even beat my Mum at the Countdown numbers game.  I never need to add things up in my daily routines, so I can’t expect to be the male Carol Vorderman.  And if my theory on learning is all to do with motivation, then I will never be a genius with numbers, as surely, the motivation to beat my Mum at Countdown is not enough, as secretly I like it that she wins.

Just looking back at that last blog, it is easy to see what can be done when we are motivated.  For example: I am still enjoying performing both close up magic and stage comedy and magic.  After years of working on my close up act, I can now just grab my bag and rush off to a gig, however, for a stage performance there is a lot of prep.

On the day of a stage gig, I like to get centred for about 2 hours before I set off.  These days, I don’t hold a hair brush to my mouth (microphone style) and pace around the hotel room.  However, I will see if I can list out, on a piece of paper, my running order for the evening.  And if I can’t remember the running order, I make sure I can remember it, by the time I go on stage.

 If I am performing at a company dinner and I need to write in some industry jokes, I will spend time making sure, that on the evening, the audience think this new material is all spontaneous.  I secretly like the fact that I prepare so thoroughly for my stage act.  It is as if this extra preparation justifies the higher fee I will be getting, simply by being on stage.  This homework also assuages the part of my brain which bangs on about old fashioned work ethics.

The motivation comes from, actually not wanting to be too comfortable.  I want to feel slightly nervous before going on stage; I think I would really miss that feeling.

I recently heard that all performers get greedy (not greedy for money, but certainly for career advancement).  For example, if a performer has played to 100 people, they then want to perform to 200.  Then they want to book an Edinburgh show, then want to be on TV. 

But surely, it is the constant journey we all enjoy, not the being on telly.  I mean Carol Vorderman must be itching to get back on the road, doing sums on stage to audiences that just want to drink heavily.  Yes, I wasn’t sure where that blog was going either.

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

The Vorderman Challenge

The other day I was working (yes I do know it is not real work, thanks) as the compere at a corporate event in the glittering West End of London (the only part of London to glitter obviously) and I accidentally caught a glimpse of a piece of paper showing how much the band were getting paid.  Now, I am not usually bothered about how much people get paid; see my blog on it’s not about the money.

Anyway, I saw that it was £2,500.  Pretty good money I thought, but then I realised this money had to be split between the seven band members.  As the band started their set, I drank my ice cold water and challenged my mind to work out, how much each band member would be receiving that evening.  This will be a breeze I thought; my mind was quite relaxed as I had already prepared my next ten minutes on stage.  Now, before you eggheads shout out “you idiot, it is £357 and 14 pence each, with two lucky band members getting the extra pennies”, I should point out, I had done a lot of travelling that week so I could have been tired.  But Buddha on a bike, two songs in, and I still couldn’t work it out in my head, even an approximate figure.  The exact figure would have required paper, but surely I could come up with a rough split.  No, nothing; it was like one of those moments when you can’t spell a really simple word, (a word you have used a lot) no matter how hard you try.

This made me think, the brain is an incredible organ.   I mean, how can’t I divide 2500 by 7, and yet, I can remember everyone’s name at an event with 150 guests?  I still do not know how I do this; I just know it comes easily to me on the evenings of the functions.  My wife is very good with faces, I am good with names.  If we are at a party, she spots the face, I ask her where she has seen that person in the past, and I come up with the name; we are like buddy cops.

People often ask me how I can remember so many names.  The only answer I can give is, I want, so much, for the people to have a great time that my sub conscious mind obviously believes this personal touch will help, and so it frees up brain space.  So I guess I am somehow motivated to do it.

This made me think about motivation.  Years ago, I wrote a revision guide for college students.  When I finished it, I distinctly remember thinking it could all be summed up in six words – Just Believe You Can Do It.
My students often used to say, when I presented them with something difficult to study, “Sir (I miss being called Sir), I’ll never learn all that”.   I would say “Are you sure, what about, if I give you 1 million pounds?”  I stopped short of putting my little finger in the corner of my mouth Dr. Evil style, as I didn’t want humour to dilute my point.  They always gave the same reply – “well obviously I would learn it for a million pounds”.  To which I would reply, “So it is only the lack of financial incentives which is stopping you”.  They would say “Look, if you are not giving me a million pounds I am not doing it”.  I was a great teacher huh?

Anyway, the point I am making (in a very bad way) is, I was obviously not interested and therefore not motivated in working out the division of money between the band members, well either that, or I am a bit thick.

Don performs as a wedding magician, corporate entertainer, and after dinner speaker at events throughout the country. London Magician, Manchester Magician, Liverpool Magician, Birmingham Magician, Newcastle Upon Tyne Magician, Magician Surrey, Edinburgh Magician, Oxford Magician, Bristol Magician, Magician Milton Keynes, Leicester Magician, Leeds Magician, Magician Kent.