{October 5, 2011}   Blood, Money and Magic

Today I earned a fiver. There’s a common cold research clinic at the University which needs volunteers who have just got a cold so that they can test some non-harmful but probably not beneficial medicine on them to see whether or not it is indeed beneficial. All you have to do is get ill and go to them. If your timetable fits when they need to see you, you go to them later for a 5 hour session in which you can’t eat or leave. You then take their meds for however long it is, come back for one more 1 hour session, and then they pay you EIGHTY WHOLE NON-COUNTERFEIT POUNDS. If your timetable doesn’t fit with theirs, then you get a fiver for your time. I may not have earned £80, but considering I was only there for around 10 minutes and all I did was fill out a couple of forms and breathe heavily through my nose for 15 seconds, £5 is pretty kick-ass.

Went off to the shops and promptly spent it and a bit more on a pair of shiny new headphones from David & Goliath, who do plenty of funny and cute and yet cool clothes & accessories. They’re brilliant – so much louder than my weedy, tin-noise earphones, totally immersive when I want to block out annoying noises or just want to really involve myself in a movie, and they look pretty funky too.

The shopping didn’t stop there though. There was a really rubbish box of magic tricks I just had to buy. It’s been really annoying me, seeing it and not having one. Did I mention that Cardiff has a ‘Hawkins’ Bazaar’? Brilliant shop, great for the kid inside. They sell all sorts; toys, joke items, beginners’ juggling equipment, magic tricks, pranks, outdoor games, funny books, and so on forever. In the magic section they only have beginners’/kids’ things – really tacky tricks, plastic magic hats, sponges in rabbit shapes… I only have professional things. Half of magic is tacky rubbish. It’s time I knew the tacky side. It’s great and awful all at the same time! I mean I know it’s meant for kids and all, but I wouldn’t put it past any magician to have once used any of these seriously at some point in their life… ahah… and it’s weird because it has the whole ‘as a magician, you must be mysterious and superior to your audience at all times’ thing going on in the instructions. Here’s a quotation; “Pick up the cards which didn’t get into the hat and make a big noise about how poorly [your volunteer from the audience] did!” Oh dear. Yes that’s the way to impress people and make friends as a kid – humiliate and make fun of them when they volunteer to help your performance, and prove your superiority through your knowledge of how best to drop cards so that they fall straight down instead of fluttering off course.

My favourite is the thumb tip.

I may sound like I’m being mean about this, but I love it. While I don’t know if I’d do any of the tricks here seriously and regularly, I certainly don’t regret buying it. They’re all very gimmick-based, and all the props are very obviously specially made, and therefore obviously gimmicks, which makes the audience’s job a little easier… which now that I think about it sounds like a challenge… to pull off a tacky little trick with tacky props, but still trick a grown-up audience and be entertaining… Maybe later.

While I was there, I thought I’d buy a little tube of fake blood. A couple of reasons:

1. If I leave it in view in my room, I’ll always have it partially in mind, so I might get some inspiration for Halloween. Don’t know exactly what I mean by that, if I’m planning to do a Halloween magic trick or prank or gruesome gift, costume… Just general inspiration so far as I know.

2. To help my blood phobia. I figure that if I occasionally have a look at it or put some on my skin, it might help me get more comfortable with it. Just writing this is making the flap of skin between my thumb and forefinger feel tingly, weak and full of veins. Also, having put some on my left arm earlier, that area’s feeling a little like it’s actually bleeding gently – no pain, just… seepage. Well, I’ve certainly done well to write this! But then I’ve always been good with not visualising what I think and say.

I’m feeling very ill now. Not from the blood talk, it’s the cold. Very sore throat which apparently can’t be soothed by healthy fruits, water, tea or honey & lemon flavour gum. I really hope I don’t get properly ill. My energy’s low enough to start with… ahhrgh. Well I won’t let it get in the way of my plans. If cancer can’t get in the way of someone living life to the full, then why the hell should a cold, eh? Yeah!

I need to go drink tea now. Na-night. o



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