A fall from grace

I’ve been a recovering addict for 20 years. I cleaned up on the 4th June 2001 after being in progressive and active addiction for 15 years. I’ve been clean ever since that day in June and life has generally been good to me. How does this relate to magic you may ask?

When I was growing up, before I picked up my first drink, I was an avid child performer. Doing kids magic for kids. The only time I really felt comfortable in my own skin was when I was in front of a crowd doing tricks. Active addiction took me away from magic for years, so I guess it was no surprise that within months of cleaning up I rediscovered my passion for the magical arts. And what a reintroduction it was.

Growing up in South Africa as a child in the seventies and eighties meant there weren’t many magic shops. I would hazard a guess that the absence of purveyors of prestidigitation had plenty to do with the pre-democratic repressive, oppressive and grossly Calvinistic environment. Of course growing up without magic shops is nothing compared to the crimes against humanity that were taking place in SA every day at that time but if you’ll forgive me, I’ll return to my story at this point.

The resurgence of my passion for the dark arts in 2001 was quickly emboldened by technology. When I was a child magician the magic of the world wide web did not exist, and even though post-democratic South Africa was a better place to live – there still weren’t any bricks and mortar magic shops around. I started shopping online and quickly developed a new addiction in the form of magic apparatus accumulation. I had to stop or I’d have bankrupted myself faster than drug addiction ever could have.

As I eased off buying props, I began making my own effects. Someone suggested I should sell them to other performers and that was the start of my first foray into the creation and retail space in the world of magic. I started a business called MagiCurios in 2003 and began making small quantities of bizarre magic apparatus. Each piece was literally a labour of love and I guess in many respects also took my mind off the turmoil that comes dealing with life on life’s terms as an early-in-recovery addict. I took on more and more work, designing around twenty unique pieces.

By 2008 I was finding it more and more difficult to work my day job in financial services and keep the magic business running. Given that most of the props were still handmade by me, time became an ever-diminishing commodity and the quality of my creations began to deteriorate. And then the curve-ball came my way…

My wife at the time confessed that she’d been having an affair with someone I knew and the bottom just dropped out of my world. Seemed she’d found her passion in the arms of a mutual acquaintance whilst I’d been devoting mine to my art. I wish I could say that I’d then been able to just throw myself into the magic business but things fell apart so quickly. By some miracle I was able to maintain my sobriety but my day (and night) job didn’t fare so well.

I dropped the ball and was unable to deliver on my orders at MagiCurios. The stuff I did produce wasn’t of great quality and the complaints started flooding in. I have to admit that I really had no clue how to make things right and eventually I just hid from it all and faded into magical obscurity. Magicurios went out of business around 2009. I let a lot of loyal clients down and if any eventually read this, I can only say that I regret this wholeheartedly and I apologise profusely. Although it’s been a long time now, I can be contacted at [email protected] if any want to chat to me about any unfinished business.

What have I been doing for the past decade? Well I’ve been focusing on my recovery and my professional career in insurance. And I got married to a wonderful woman in 2015, one who doesn’t have to deal with me disappearing into my basement every night (yes lessons have been learnt). I’ve also been performing storytelling magic more often and have been making the odd prop for personal use, here and there. And I’ve been collecting props. Some of my collection is visible here on my website.

The magic I list here on the site is bespoke. I have performed with all of it and I doubt I’ll ever produce more than 1 of each. If I do, please punch me in the face (virtually will do!)

Thanks for reading.
Simon C