Magician Troy Von Scheibner: What I've Learned

The TV magician talks trainers, David Blaine and bringing fish back from the dead

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I grew up in Lewisham. I still live there now – in Brockley. It’s forever changing. I think no business can stay open for like more than eight months. The one thing that does stay is the chicken shops. And the betting shops. They keep south London going.

A lot of people say I look like a dancer or a singer. But I do magic.

My dad is German, my mum is Jamaican. I always use the same joke – I’m “Germaican”. My dad cooks a lot of German food. Schnitzel, currywurst – that tastes normal to me.

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David Blaine – I’d never seen magic like that before. There was no big, flamboyant moustache and blow-dried hair, just a guy in a T-shirt going up to people in the street. You could relate to it. I could relate to it especially because he’s mixed race. I always thought he kinda looks like me.

Magic is just a different way of thinking.

Some people ask if I can bring their relative back to life, because they’ve seen me bring a fish back to life. It’s different. I’m not Jesus or God or anything. I just deal with fish.

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At school, magic wasn’t a thing that people did. They were into dancing, rap. Just trying to be the coolest person and magic was not the way there.

People think I’m trying to hide something, but I’m trying to show you more.

Sometimes the biggest tricks aren’t always the most impressive. People just want to pick them apart. Especially on TV: “I wasn’t there, so it didn’t happen”.

If you listen to rappers, they rap about money, cars, women, how they struggled. There’s only so many things. There’s only so many chords on a guitar. Magic is the same. You just have to make it as different as you can.

In Britain, we’re all skeptical. Everything is why.

The Magic Circle is like Shoreditch House for magicians. They meet up on a Monday and talk about magic. What have they got in there? They’ve got 10,000 secrets. There’s no table tennis table, though. I wish there was.

I’ve got about 160 pairs of trainers. I try to get my hands on deadstock. One to rock, one to stock? No – I tend to wear them all.

Magic requires a certain personality and skillset, which not everyone has. That’s why you don’t see that many magicians compared to musicians. I’m not saying everyone can sing or play piano, but more can do it than those that can do magic.

Harry Potter has made magic more popular. Although it’s not the kind of magic I do. You know, even Twilight, that supernatural kinda thing. That’s helped in a weird way, too.

You have to be dexterous with your fingers. I can do magic with both hands. I can’t write with both hands. Well, I could, but it would be sloppy.

Misdirection can only accomplish so many things.

On my show, I never introduced myself as a magician. I just went in and did these things. Sometimes people didn’t know how to react: “Is this magic?”

Am I ever tempted to reveal how a trick is done? Not really. I don’t want to ruin it. I might tell them, “I drink unicorn blood” or “I’ve got this little squirrel that holds a toothpick and a balloon”. They’re like, “What?” “Exactly.” I just say random things. I never tell people how my magic works – it defeats the purpose of what it is.

I’m just a catalyst for what’s happening in your mind. That’s all it is. And I want to keep it that way.

Troy series two begins Sunday 8 March, 9pm, E4


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