I must be mad…

Returning from the Session, I have left with three things.

  1. Inspiration.
  2. Lack of sleep.
  3. My very own Cups and Balls! (A little surprise from Tom).

Watch this space I am already working on it!

Today marks one month to my first lecture performance at the Pentacle Magic Club in Cambridge (Thanks Alex and Hugh for asking me).

The pressure is building up – I can feel it in my bones. However, I am trying to do a bit every day so that I’m not sitting curled into a ball rocking at Blackpool Magic Convention the weekend before.

Doing something for the first time is a challenge and it’s scary – as heck! Sadly though it’s the only way we improve and move on as people and performers. So I’ve got to do it.

Taking a leaf out of others books…

This last week I booked a miniature lecture tour for Tom Stone across Ireland and in Glasgow and although it was my responsibility to get him to all the places on time, I used the week to watch and observe his lectures. How he presented himself, how he talked to people, what he discussed, how relaxed he was etc. Magicians seemed to enjoy listening to Tom talk theory of magic and his striking vanish seemed to impress them greatly too!

***Some advice – do not practice this move when tired, practicing one evening I hit myself in the face this week.***

Whilst attending Vanishing Inc’s The Session – which I have to say is one of the best ways to kick start the year magically – I was not just observing the lectures for material but I was watching the performers closely and observing their diverse teaching styles across the weekend. It’s quite strange when you do this instead of just watching tricks.

One thing I observed with the lectures I enjoyed most was that the performers who took their time to explain why they perform the way they do, I took the most away from. All the lecturers had a message of sorts. Like a hidden agenda for themselves. They all seemed to have a belief. A reason behind what they do.

Javi Benitez

Passion and Beer mats!

For example Javi’s passion for magic came across when he described his ‘Followers’ routine. It was about creating a reaction from the action. He makes a statement when he begins, “I hate magic!” and then through his performance of this Oil and Water effect he explains why.

His performance takes on a life of its own. Simultaneously we see him annoyed, surprised and frustrated. The magic continues to happen even though he tries everything to ‘mess’ it up.


Javi of course explained after how to achieve the effect in his lecture, but for me the why was more important. The ‘why’ is why (excuse the pun) this trick is so memorable and magical.

It’s interesting watching performers and lecturers and noting different teaching styles. Javi could barely sit down for a moment where at Denis Behr’s lecture he spent most of the time at the table – sipping his pint, relaxed. But by no means had Denis any less passion for what he was doing, he just had a different style of teaching and engaging his audience.

It was my first time seeing Denis and I was lucky to get a little session where he went through his ‘Herbert’ routine with me. It was awesome!!! On a side note: Since I discovered it last year I am forever on his amazing website The Conjuring Archive. You should visit it and use it as a reference tool for your work. Thank you Denis for having the initiative to create this wondrous resource and introducing Herbert to me.

Method in the madness

This post came to be because I am wondering what kind of lecturer I will be? And what do I hope people will take away from hearing me speak and seeing me perform? It’s super hard when you feel like you are at the beginning of your journey to appear knowledgable. I suppose we are all learning.

I am the kind of person that wants to give my best, always. So when things are not so perfect or comes together quickly I get disheartened. I’m slowly realising that good things take time. I am not going to be an expert overnight. And my first lecture mightn’t be perfect – for me. However I am doing all that I can to make it fun for myself, to teach others and in turn hopefully it will be fun for people to listen and watch.

Why “The Chaos within?”

Arkane Lectures

When I was asked to put together my first lecture, I thought my friend was barking mad for asking me. I took his request seriously and sat down and thought what could I possibly lecture on?

In 2019 I put together not only an award winning act but an act I took to the Magic Castle close up room. I began to think that talking about this act I created recently might be intriguing for people to hear about.

Once I was set on dissecting my act I began to do just that. I took the act apart, performed, photographed, wrote everything down that I did last year to piece together all five original routines.

Pattern and design

I seen a little pattern emerge. Everything I created in the last year had structure at the heart of it. I used a structure to create the performance and then I broke it up to make it more interesting. It’s difficult to explain this process in this post quickly, however this message of finding structure in creation will be at the heart of my first ever lecture in 2020.

On a more personal note…

The last two years have been extremely chaotic for me getting my life back on track. Creating more structure in my own life has helped make my life less chaotic. By controlling my own chaos within I have been able to focus on making good magic. A pattern I intend to keep following – all the way to FISM (Well one day, gotta keep reminding myself of my goals). Hence the name ‘The Chaos Within’ came into existence.

I am patiently looking forward to the new chaos that learning to teach will bring into my life.

The Chaos Within Lecture tour 2020

If you would like to book Nikola Arkane “The Chaos Within” lecture for your local magic club, event, convention from March 2020 onwards please get in touch via email nikola@arkanemagic.com.

1 comment

  1. Very nice blog post! 🙂
    It touches on a subject that me and some friends in the magical community had last Halloween.
    We spoke about brilliant magic tricks that are virtually impossible to put into a reasonable context, thereby making them difficult to actually use in a performance context since the magician can’t display what you call “the why” in your blog.
    My favourite example of this is the Dynamic Coins – a trick I really loved as a teenager but have recently found impossible to actually use since I have found no way to show the trick other than as “a trick” – losing the magical aspect of it entirely.

    Your thoughts on how Javi struggles with the concept of magic in his routine triggered my memory of that conversation.

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