Magic is magical to everyone but the magician. To me it’s a combination of engineering, hand-eye coordination and showmanship. Some of my illusions are brilliant actually, but no one wants to see brilliant, they want to see impossible, the unexpected. When you get hired on to entertain a group of fourteen-year-old boys, they’ll try their best not to show their friends how impressed they are. You can’t just yank a rabbit from a false-bottomed hat and say ‘tah dah!’ You have to keep their rolling eyes fixed on the satin lining, pop it on the biggest ones head, and while they’re looking up, you slip the rodent in his pants. That’ll get a laugh. No one cares about false bottoms and springs, but you show me a trick for getting rabbit piss out of a two hundred dollar wool hat and I’ll declare you the greatest magician to have ever lived.

Being tall helps, having long arms. A tall slender man like me gives the illusion I’ve nowhere to hide anything. It also makes the distance between what I want you to see and what I’m doing that much greater. I could be making shadow puppets with one hand and jerking it to your wife with the other and you’d never know the difference. Speaking of wives, mine’s a bit of a magician herself. She does this great trick where she makes my balls disappear and reappear in her bedside cabinet, right next to her magic wand.

None of that means I don’t love her. I don’t want you wondering off with the wrong idea. I mean, how do you not love a woman who said ‘I do’ to a magician? The night I made her chastity ‘disappear’, she sawed my heart in two. It’s just that I’ve been suffering a bit of performance anxiety, if you know what I mean. She’s a great woman, but if I can’t get my greatest trick to pop through the curtain, I’m worried I’ll lose her for good.