Magic is cool, just ask Simon Coronel
Whether it’s Barney from How I Met Your Mother shooting fireballs to get a girls number, or ‘Dynamo’ pulling a Jesus and walking across the Thames, magic is back!
By Alex Ivett
WHETHER it’s Barney from How I Met Your Mother shooting fireballs to get a girls number, or ‘Dynamo’ pulling a Jesus and walking across the Thames, magic is back! And in a big way. In fact it’s almost impossible these days to take a left turn in Soho without someone turning your white handkerchief into a dove. It seems curls may get the girls, but magic gets the matured maiden.
For Simon Coronel however, an Australian IT guru/Management Consultant recently turned full-time magician, the dark arts should never be used purely to impress the ladies. At least not deliberately. And while he recognises “as Napoleon Dynamite so eloquently put it, girls like guys with skills” – he finds it just creepy when magic is used in “an overt Barney Stinson type way”.
Instead, Simon hopes that he is able to use his skills to amaze and enthral people. All people.
“I would love to get to a point where I’m doing shows that are so captivating and powerful that people are left almost in tears by how amazing the experience was – their lives transformed forever by it,” he told Australian Times.
And, with a recent award from the International Federation of Magic Societies (FISM) World Championships under his belt for “Most Original Close Up Act”, it seems Simon is well on his way there. Awarded for an act the judges consider particularly noteworthy and/or boundary-pushing, Simon said he wanted to create “an impossible moment that lingers forever”, achieved by “creating a permanent impossible sculpture from a playing card.”
What does not mean to us non-magical folk? Well, we’ll never fully know, as illusionists are a secretive bunch. Although mysterious to the rest of us, Simon admits that most of the methods of magicians are at least well known within the industry. These days, he says, the focus is more on the presentation of the trick rather than the trick itself, with the personalised routine of the performer the key to a successful show. He does however acknowledge there are still moments where another magician still manages to amaze him.
“Every now and then, someone uses an obscure or innovative enough method that you are genuinely baffled. That’s a pretty exciting moment.”
And for the lay person watching these illusions – that moment is every moment of the show. My main thought watching an illusionist perform is constantly “But HOW??” How did you turn that $5 note immediately into a $50? And can you do the same to my bank account?
A more important question, it would seem, is how can one follow in Simon’s footsteps? Quitting your day job pushing paper to join Order of the Phoenix-like Societies such as the Australian Institute of Magic or the Magic Circle and travel the world performing at Magic Championships – how does that happen? The answer to this question is at least, fairly non-magical.
Having spent six years as a business consultant becoming increasingly frustrated with the inefficiencies he found in most large businesses, it was not simply a moment of waking up one day and thinking ‘I’m sick of computers, I’m going to be an illusionist’.
Instead, Simon said: “It took me a solid two years between deciding I wanted to go out on my own, and actually making it happen. While I did spend a lot of the two years preparing, researching, planning, etc, most of it was just spent being too afraid to make the leap. It was a big moment to finally find the courage to do it.”
Branching out on his own gave Simon the freedom to control his own destiny, to run his business the way he wants, to have “intense periods of performing, and quiet periods of preparation, rehearsal, and hunting for the next gig”. And then of course periods of “sitting on the sofa covered in potato chip crumbs” to recover from a run of shows coming to an end.
So, what is his advice for those considering embracing their inner creative and running away to join the circus?
“Make sure you’re passionate about your proverbial circus. Intensely passionate, to the point where your friends and family are slightly concerned about you.
“Also, make sure you treat it as a business. Make sure you know where the money is coming from. There are too many artistic and humanitarian ventures that have failed because people didn’t get their financials right.”
In this respect he acknowledges a debt to the School of Creative Startups based here in London. He states the year-long collection of workshops, consultations and training materials designed to help people with creative skills build a working business really helped him to focus his business efforts in a clear direction.
“For nearly anyone thinking of making the leap into doing what they love and trying to earn money from it, I really can’t recommend it too highly.”
Simon is due back in Europe from October to February to perform at a variety theatre in Hamburg, Germany, though intends also to spend some time back in London. Check his website, Simoncoronel.com , for more information.