Sunday, 23 August 2015

How To Be Magic!

The day after tomorrow I go back home, and tomorrow I am meeting for the first time the new director of the Mayakovsky museum, Alexei Lobov. For the last week he has been sending me quite insistent emails, first about how I should call him as soon as I arrive into Moscow from St Petersburg, and then to vehemently concretise our time and day of meeting. It's very nice to be so eagerly anticipated! I was put in touch with him by Yelena, Mayakovsky's daughter. Alexei went to New York to meet her a while ago, and by all accounts he is a pretty cool dude. I'm meeting him at the actual museum, which has now been closed "for repairs" for at least a couple of years, so I am hoping to get a sneaky peek at what's been going on there.

It has been so wonderful to be back in Moscow – I have never been here in the height of Summer before; everyone is happy – many people have stopped me on the street to chat (very unusual in Russia in my experience!), and everything seems full of wonder, which in turn has made me think about the practice of magic, and how common it is these days. I frequently think of myself as a magic person, not because I'm a loon but because it's true. After all, to perform magic is to change or influence events or situations in mysterious ways, and we do that all the time – it's just that we're so used to it that we don't call it magic anymore because we understand more now than we did in ye olden days. Here are some examples of my recent magicking:

1) Usually I am extremely late for everything, but this year for my birthday my brother Edward bought me a special device called a watch. The wearing of this watch has made me be on time for at least 20 things since May. Simply by checking the numbers on something which measures out time in exact correlation with every other time device in existence in my time zone, I am able to know what I need to do and when I need to do it. The magic even seems to work when I have no idea where I am and how long it will take me to get to where I am going; on several occasions like this I have nevertheless arrived exactly on time or even two minutes early! You can do this too – all you have to do is strap the watch to your wrist and look at it quite often.

2) For the last month I have been in Russia. On many occasions I have gotten lost in unknown streets, with no idea where I am or how to get to where I'm going. However, with the help of a special talisman called a map I have been able to find my way every time. The "map" is essentially a miniature two dimensional representation of the real world, so by looking at it as though you are a giant, gazing down on the whole city in one glance it is possible to find your place physically (by looking at a street sign for example), and then to find and contextualise that place on the map. I pity the fools who do not have this magic at their disposal, because it can be impossible to know what to do without it.

3) My daughter Olive very often loses her belongings at school – usually her school uniform. To stop this happening I have begun the practice of writing her name on all her stuff. This way, simply by looking at it, people know to whom it belongs, and it is eventually returned to her. The same goes for P.E bags – every child has exactly the same one but they know exactly which is their own based on which markings they see written on the front of them – a very useful kind of magic indeed.

4) Languages. The first time I ever visited Russia I barely spoke any Russian at all and, although it was a fun experience, it was also quite terrifying. This time I feel much happier and more relaxed, and the reason for this is that I constantly practise and do my best to learn the Russian language. This language is merely a sort of magic code – without it it is impossible to communicate with anybody at all, but with it, suddenly you see new meanings and significance in everything; doors of opportunity open to you in all directions (a bit like in the film Labyrinth when the worm shows Sarah that, with a slight change in perspective, it is possible to walk through ostensibly solid walls).

5) When I went to get my visa registered in St Petersburg, I entered the necessary building on the ground floor, but the office I needed to get to was on the top floor. Hard to believe, I know, but there were no flights of stairs anywhere for public use! But what they did have was a small, metal, mirror-lined room called a lift. All I had to do was to go inside and press a particular button. The doors shut, and when they re-opened I found myself in a completely different space to the one from which I had entered – and was now on the very floor I had needed to get to! It was crazy!

This practical approach I take to magic is the same one I take to time travel – and judging by the results of my research on the latter so far, it seems that the prospects of doing so are very good indeed!

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