I grew up watching television. We all did. It was the eighties. Sadly, everyone who was on television in the eighties is now either dead or in prison. But it seemed to be a simpler time. Perhaps it was, largely because I was a child and didn’t have to give a thought to council tax.

I had a teddy called Marmaduke, and I was devoted to the magic shows on Saturday nights. There was one where Paul Daniels was strapped to a board, and locked in a shed. Outside the shed there were huge slabs of concrete. Each was easily twelve feet tall. They were huge. And they were set up like dominoes, ready to topple onto each other, until the combined weight fell upon the shed, and knocked it into splinters and puddles of broken magician.

Here’s the link:

I couldn’t watch. I was too busy hiding behind the sofa, with Marmaduke, sobbing my heart out because I didn’t want the magic man to die.

My parents did their best to explain: if the magic man had died in the stunt, they wouldn’t have been able to show it on television. It wouldn’t make for good entertainment.

Slightly missing the point.

In any case, the magic man survived. Everything was fine. It took me quite a while to recover from that show. I think I’ve always had that kind of relationship with magic. Part of me reverts to childhood and wants to believe that the trick is real. Some shining glimmer of something impossible that brings a giggle and confounds the mind. Another, slightly disturbed part of me wants to know how it’s done. I don’t like that part of me very much. No one really wants to see how the sausage is made. It should be enough that it’s a sausage.