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The Insider | Morgan & West

By Damian Jennings - Tuesday, December 18, 2018


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In today’s episode of our podcast, we chat with Morgan & West. They talk about character, writing, development, kids’ magic, [Decoded]{/magic/mentalism/decoded/} and why they think The Sessopm is the best magic convention in the world. If you like the podcast, please subscribe. It’s free!

Transcript of the podcast

The Insider: Hello, and welcome to episode eight of The Insider, brought to you as ever by Vanishing Inc. I'm recording this on Tuesday the 18th of December, so we can almost hear Santa's sleigh bells jingling in the distance. Today I'm speaking to Morgan and West about coding, acting, scripting, character development, and a little bit about why they love the Session so much. The Session is in January and there are very few tickets left. If you want to join everybody, I would book your tickets now rather than chancing turning up on the door because if you do that, unfortunately, there is a risk you may be turned away. So hop along now to sessionconvention.com and register your place.

The Insider: Okay, let's get on with it. Today, we're lucky enough to have on the line Messrs Morgan and West. Gentlemen, how are you both?

West: Very well.

Morgan: I'm very well, thank you. How are you?

The Insider: I'm peachy, thank you very much. This is a very short podcast so we won't dwell on niceties and we'll crack straight on. What's your origin story? You have one minute, 13 seconds.

Morgan: So, I was personally bit by a radioactive spider whereas Mr. West-

West: I'm just part of a generation of people that at a traumatic time in their teenage years just developed powers.

Morgan: I thought you got coated in radioactive chemicals?

West: Oh, yeah, that too.

Morgan: Yeah, that too.

West: The goggles, they do nothing.

Morgan: Yeah, exactly.

West: We met. We got into magic at the same time at university. We did a show.

Morgan: Yeah, we didn't do magic before we were 20. We just did a lot of am dram. That's how it started, really. We started to put on shows, went to The Fringe-

West: And never stopped.

Morgan: ... and never stopped. No, never stopped. Still haven't stopped.

West: Haven't stopped yet.

Morgan: Yeah. When will it stop?

West: Maybe after this.

The Insider: The podcast that killed the career of Morgan** and West.

The Insider: So Victorian time travellers. How did you arrive at that as your characters, and did you try out any other bizarre permutations of things before you settled on that?

Morgan: So time travellers was a secondary thing. Initially, it was Victorian, and then we realized that was a dead end very quickly. And so a year later, we appended the word 'time-traveling' and realized that gave us scope to do whatever the heck we wanted.

West: Yeah, because when we were being just Victorians, are the audience in the past or are we in the future? It's not clear, and so it's much easier if you add on, "Oh, we're time travellers so we're in the future," and that clears everything up.

Morgan: Because it becomes a bit Dr. Who-y, as it were, and it's just kind of quite straightforward then. But Rob was on the Eurostar home from visiting a friend in France, and he was practicing sleight of hand in the way that only magicians can practice sleight of hand, which is not actually practicing but doing a move they can do.

West: Just showing off because someone might be watching you. Just doing it on the train with someone watching you. And a little French girl drew a picture of me and at the time, we had just done a production of Terry Pratchett's Mort. So my hair was a coppery red color, like bright coppery red hair, and I was wearing a skanky student hoodie kind of thing, and I'd been sleeping on the floor for two days. So I looked horrendous, but this little girl drew a picture of me in a top hat and tails with a magic wand but with bright red hair doing magic, and I was like, "Well, there's a pervasive image of the magician."

Morgan: Exactly.

West: Also, we'd recently watched The Prestige by Christopher Nolan, and we were like, "That'll do."

Morgan: That'll do.

West: That'll do as a look.

Morgan: That'll do, because I was not of the build. I mean, I'm still not particularly of the build where jeans and a t-shirt looks good, but back when I was-

West: But when you're 19 stone, you can't dress like Dynamo, can you?

Morgan: You can't, no.

West: No, you can't.

Morgan: No.

The Insider: So why do you think character is important in magic?

Morgan: I think it's important not just in magic but in sort of most-

West: Performance.

Morgan: ... successful performance medium, really. But in magic in particular, you've always got the issue of, "Is the audience supposed to think that the miracles you are performing are real, or is the audience supposed to think that they are magic, or is the audience supposed to think that they are tricks?"

West: Tricks. And people tend to really not be clear about that, and it's quite difficult for an audience when you kind of come out and you're very real and you're just yourself. "Hi, I'm Rob and I'm from London, and I'm going to show you a thing with a deck of cards and a thing." And then suddenly, the card's in your shoe or the-

Morgan: An impossibility happens. Then the audience go, "Oh, well, hang on. At some point, you lied to me. I don't think you were lying to me about being called Rob and I don't think you were lying to me about being from London. So where was the ... I trusted you, man. I trusted you."

West: Yeah, and they go, "Why do I feel betrayed?" Because they were betrayed by magic, because they go-

Morgan: And not an American audience. Very specifically a British audience.

West: Yeah, British audiences. American audiences just love everything.

Morgan: Yeah. British audiences, they're very cynical and very wary about you catching them out.

West: Yeah, British audiences feel like magicians are there to make them look stupid in that sense of, "At some point, I'm going to deceive you, and you're going to be deceived, and ha ha ha ha ha, I'm better than you."

The Insider: "Here's a quarter. Now it's gone. You're a jerk."

Morgan: Exactly.

West: Whereas if you're a character, as we always put it, the first lie we tell is that we're Victorian time travellers. When we come out to the stage and say that, no one turns to their mate and says, "You know what? I don't think they really are from the past."

The Insider: Funnily enough.

Morgan: Yeah. Once they've swallowed that lie, then every other lie we tell-

The Insider: Everything else, yeah.

Morgan: ... is actually a smaller lie than the first one.

West: Yeah, and we can present magic as true because-

Morgan: We are not true ourselves.

West: We are not true ourselves. So we have already demonstrated to them that it's all fake. Everything we're doing is fake. The set is fake. The costume's fake. The characters are fake. So if I say, "This is 100% true and there's no way I'm lying. I'm really going to do this magic thing," no one's going to go, "But is that true or not?" They go, "Okay. Yeah, this is theater." You're watching theater.

Morgan: It's the problem that Darren hit on in his very first few months on television where Channel Four put him in the science section, and then Simon Singh turned around and went, "Actually, this is totally not science."

West: "Sorry, this is nonsense. This is magic."

Morgan: And positioning yourself, you've got to be a bit careful about how your audience is going to perceive you. Not from any moral standpoint. The morals behind it is a completely different question, but just in terms of how easy it then is to relate to that audience.

West: Yeah, it's all about making a connection to your audience, and the more barriers you put in the way where they think, "Hey, what's going on?" The harder it is to build that relationship with them.

The Insider: You have the luxury of generally performing in a more theatrical setting, but do you think that could work in a closeup strolling thing?

Morgan: Oh, we do.

West: Yes. I mean, we don't do a lot of closeup because it's the worst.

Morgan: Yeah, I hate closeup.

West: But if someone was willing to pay us the fees we charge, we will do closeup, and we do it as Morgan and West, and we do it as the two of us.

Morgan: And actually, what they're paying for more than us doing magic tricks is they're paying for us to go up to guests and be kind of silly at them for about three minutes and do a card trick.

West: Yeah, we're basically strolling characters.

Morgan: And they don't realize that at the time because the guests are very happy about this. We walk up and people can't get a word in edgeways.

West: No, we do shtick, basically.

Morgan: We do shtick for about two minutes, do a card trick, and then, "Thanks very much," and then off we go to the next group. And it's the only way we found that we enjoy doing closeup.

West: Yeah, we've always believed that there is room in the closeup industry for some really strong character work to be done. You just have to have the balls to do it. It's just that everyone's lazy and scared of looking stupid. So they're just a man in the suit that tells jokes. It's what they aim for whereas I feel like you could ... I think you could do closeup as a piss. I think you could do closeup in full Max Maven regalia if you were willing to have people look at you and go, "This guy looks weird," and just be like, "Yeah, I look weird."

Morgan: So one of the fundamental problems of closeup is the interruption, isn't it? What everyone talks about is how do you approach a group? And the answer is, well, if you are not approaching a group but your character is approaching a group, you've got a set way of doing it. If it's not kind of a, "Hello there. My name's Rhys. I've been hired to do some magic this evening. Would you like me to show you a trick," if it's, "Hello and welcome. Here we go. You there, give me your hand. Let's get going. Let's do this. A deck of cards. Dun dun dun," or whatever you want to do-

West: If you walk up in a robe and say to someone, "What's your name, sir?" And they say, "Steve," and you say, "Steve, you're a wizard," and then just go off on that, everyone's like, "Oh, I see. This is a bit. We're doing a bit."

Morgan: We're doing a bit. We're doing a thing.

The Insider: Also, if you have the costume-

Morgan: Exactly.

West: They know you're part of whatever event it is they're doing. And sure, if you're dressed like a wizard, you're going to get less black tie corporate dudes, but the people that will really want you will really want you because you will be a unique thing.

Morgan: And it's more fun. People want to enjoy themselves. People want to have fun. And you're going to get people who won't engage with that, but they're not going to engage with you doing sort of ambitious cards in a suit anyway.

West: Yeah, stuff anyway, so.

Morgan: So bugger them.

West: You're just like, "Well, I'm just going to completely ignore you."

Morgan: Yeah, it's easier for them to check out at early doors.

The Insider: So with the character being developed, obviously there's a lot of writing and script involved. How do you write? What's the process that you have?

Morgan: We're both right-handed but we don't-

West: Well, actually, we type with both hands.

Morgan: We do. We are.

The Insider: Oh, how many fingers?

West: In a way, we're functionally ambidextrous.

The Insider: That's astonishing.

Morgan: That's largely thanks to the seminal 2001 computer game 'The Typing of the Dead', which was based on 'House of the Dead 2' but involved typing games.

West: Interesting. Yeah.

Morgan: That was a cracking game.

West: See, for me, it was late 90s, early naughties MSN Messenger boom that taught me to type.

Morgan: Oh yeah, that'll do that.

The Insider: 'Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing' for me.

Morgan: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. That was a classic. I think I had that on CD. That came with Interplay. Interplay doesn't exist anymore, does it? Anyway.

West: We're all very old.

Morgan: What we tend to do is we'll talk around a subject. We will talk about something in quite a lot of depth.

West: Because we spend so much time driving to venues in the van, hours and hours. 30,000 miles a year, we do, so.

Morgan: And we will talk around it and all the possibilities and often, especially the way we write these days is we will talk about something and about three days into talking about deciding it doesn't work and forget about it and ditch it. But eventually, we come to a point where we've said everything we want to say and then one of us goes, "Right, I better go and write it, then." And that's what happens. That person wanders off, writes a script, comes back 20 minutes later. The other person reads it, makes a few minor changes-

West: A few minor changes, jokes or something.

Morgan: Things like that, adds a few jokes here or there or kind of ... "Oh, actually, have you thought about what we're doing with the audience volunteer at this point?" Then we both try and learn it.

West: We often don't get rid of audience volunteers. We often forget in the first script. We go, "That guy is still on stage." And then we go, "Oh yeah."

Morgan: We go, "Thank you for your help."

Morgan: And then what will happen is we'll both go away and try and learn it. So what that means is that Rob will learn it and I'll kind of learn an approximation because I'm very bad at learning scripts, and then we'll put it on stage. And the first time we put it on stage, we say nothing like the words that we've written.

West: Yeah, it's so different. Not in a kind of like ... because we've improved it, just because we don't know our lines.

Morgan: Because we don't know our lines.

West: And then we will slowly-

Morgan: Zero in on something that is very close to what we originally wrote but will have formed in our mouths rather than our heads, if that makes sense.

West: Yeah, because the stuff you type is different .

The Insider: With the feedback from the audience.

West: Oh yeah, yeah. Of course. Yeah.

Morgan: Absolutely.

West: You add in bits that they like. You take out bits that they don't like. You find that things that as you've written them just don't feel nice in the mouth. Also, you'll just come up with newer ... Often, we add lines in. Anytime we're doing a bit and you hear us use a clever turn of phrase, it's usually that we've thought that up in the car and added it in. So if I ask someone to shuffle a deck of cards and I say, "Can you shuffle cards?" And they say no, I say, "Then give the cards a bad shuffle. A bad shuffle shuffles as well as good shuffle shuffles." That's just a thing I came up with in the car once that is now in one of our routines whereas before, I'd just say, "Would you shuffle the cards?"

Morgan: Because I think you could spend a heck of a lot of time carefully poring over the script and tweaking every word before you take it to stage, but I also think much like ... And that's what happens with TV and with film, but then they have the luxury of editing whereas anything live, you don't have that luxury. And obviously, a play doesn't involve the audience and so you can very carefully control all the situations leading up to any one point.

West: And even in a play, there are things where once it begins its preview and its first run, the writer will go, "Actually, that line doesn't land the way I hoped it would," and they'll do rewrites. And we just do it at an earlier stage because you don't want to spend 10 hours writing and rehearsing a script, take it on stage to perform for three minutes for it to bomb, and go, "Well, the trick doesn't work, so that was a waste."

Morgan: So it's a long process, and what then happens is every three or four months or so, we have to go back to our typed scripts and update them to what the current version is so that when we're touring, the poor technician who's following our text script doesn't look at it and go, "You're not saying any of these words."

West: And there are some things that will just develop organically. So in one of our kids' shows, there's a bit. We produce a watermelon from somewhere and then we basically spend two ... This sounds odd but if you've seen the show, it makes sense. We spend basically two minutes where Rhys is putting down a watermelon, much to the amusement of some children.

Morgan: To uproarious laughter. It takes a long time.

West: It takes a long time for him to put down a watermelon.

Morgan: And that just came from me in Edinburgh where we had 25 shows in a row, each day being a little bit tired and a bit bored and so deciding, "You know what? I'm going to push this further."

West: And just nobbing about, and we started to be like, "Yes, push it more. Push it more. Push it more. Okay, that's too much."

Morgan: Yeah, part of the skill also in finding those funnies is listening to the audience and finding when the laugh you get is not as big as the laugh you got before. Then you need to get rid of that bit because you've got to finish on the big one.

West: Finish on the biggest laugh.

Morgan: You've gone too far.

The Insider: Sure. So you mentioned kids' shows. Why did you start?

Morgan: Gap in the market. Gap in the market.

West: Gap in the market. Well, part of it is, I mean, our first show, we decided to make family friendly.

The Insider: Sorry. Gap in the market for time-traveling Victorian magicians? Because there's enough character kids' magicians out there.

Morgan: No, so a gap in the market for-

The Insider: What gap did you spot?

West: A gap in the market for good quality children's show magic.

Morgan: That's in a theater. So we don't do birthday parties.

West: Don't do birthday parties.

Morgan: We don't do anything like that. I mean, often after we do a show, we will then get an inquiry for a kid's birthday party, and it goes straight on to poor Megram. "There you go, Paul. You're good at this. We're not."

West: A kid's birthday party is a different skill whereas theatrical ... We're big fans of kids' theater, and we know a few companies that make kids' theater.

Morgan: And we really like watching kids' theater as well.

West: Because it can be really fun and really engaging and really joyous, but also really well-written and really well-staged.

Morgan: And the best kids' theater appeals to everyone in the room and has something for everyone in the room. We like to think of it as kind of sort of classic Simpsons where you watch Simpsons series two through 10. You watch it as a child with one level of jokes, as a teenager with a different level of jokes, with an adult as a different level of jokes, and different generations get different things out of it. And that's what we really wanted to try and put into our kids' shows.

West: Yeah, we wanted basically a kids' magic show that wasn't incredibly base and stupid.

Morgan: And not full of sucker tricks.

West: And not full of sucker tricks where the adults are like, "Well, it's so obvious how that happened."

Morgan: Because kids are really difficult to write magic for because they don't have the world experience that adults have. To kind of look at a film that everyone ignores for no apparent reason these days, in Minority Report, there's that scene where Tom Cruise rolls the ball off the edge of the desk and Colin Farrell catches it and he says, "Well, why did you catch it?" "Because it was going to fall." "How did you know it was going to fall?" "Well, they always fall up to this point."

Morgan: And kids don't have that experience. I mean, obviously, they'll catch something if it falls but they don't have that ability to know that if I hold something up in my right hand and then put it in my left hand that you can't quite see it anymore. Adults will go, "Well, it's still in his left hand," whereas kids will go, "He just held it in his right hand, didn't he?"

West: When it disappears from your left hand, they just go, "Oh, it's in his right hand, then."

The Insider: They'll also unashamedly bust you.

Morgan: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.

West: Yeah, because they don't have that social contract that a lot of people have, which means I think that what a lot of kids' magicians, because the environment is so rough, they develop this very robust, very, "Aha, you can see how it's done, but no, you can't. I got you," sucker trick kind of stuff.

Morgan: Because sucker tricks also teach the audience what's supposed to happen. If you've got a die box where you're sliding the die back and forth, you're teaching the audience. When I do this, this happens. When I do this, this happens. You're starting from square one.

West: Yeah, and so when it's then gone, you've taught the kids that it should be in the other half and it's not, whereas we wanted to have a kids' magic show where the audience didn't know how tricks were done no matter what age they were. So just full of really ... We do a Wakeling sawing in half in our kids' show. We do a sub trunk in our kids' show because there's no reason the magic shouldn't be good just because it's pitched at five year olds.

Morgan: We also do some mind-reading. That never plays particularly well with kids, but it's for the adults and so-

West: Yeah, we have man with us. It's great because the kids at the end, it's like a quiz they do and the kids win.

The Insider: Okay, so they're happy.

Morgan: They're happy.

West: The kids are like, "Yay, we won the quiz." And the adult's going, "How the hell was that answer something some random kid from the audience just said?"

The Insider: So how do you come up with the material for the kids' show? It's interesting that you're trying to pitch it at all levels so that it's all ... Yeah, how do you come up with the material for the kids' stuff?

West: A lot of it has to be very visual, obviously, because it's for kids, and so you can't do mind-reading and stuff. But also, I think a lot of it is finding cool-looking stuff, and a lot of it is classics of magic that magicians have made terrible over the years by just doing it badly or overdoing it.

West: So we do a version of the multiplying bottles in our kids' show, but it isn't the classic routine. We do a parasols bit in our second kids' show that isn't the kind of parasols act that most people would do because we've just gone, "Well, there is some good parasol magic." If it's not done to weird 80s synth pop and it isn't just some strange European guy grinning at the audience half the time, you can do some really surprising productions of a bunch of umbrellas. That can be quite magical.

West: And so it's just removing all of the bad stuff, putting interesting, fun chat over the top of it, and ending with a really ... So our parasols routine, we just end with tons of umbrellas appearing, just tons and tons of them. And so it's a really surprising ending.

Morgan: Or part of it is just kind of looking at something as well and deciding, "Oh, we've got an idea for a plot or something we want to explore," and then just finding the natural end of it. Just starting with it. The kids' show more than the evening shows, I feel, you just start somewhere and then go, "Right. Well, where would this go next? Where would I want to see this go next? What would I want to feel happens next?"

West: And knowing the characters. If you know the characters of Morgan and West pretty well, and our kids' show characters are like technicolor versions of our evening show characters, we have been writing-

The Insider: Does the vocabulary change?

West: No, no.

Morgan: All we have to do is kind of we're a bit more careful to signpost. So if we use language that we don't think a six or a seven year old will understand, we will use it contextually.

West: Yeah, so there's a bit in my intros where I refer to the children as rampant balls of narcissism, which is not a super five year old word to use. But then later in the trick-

Morgan: I mean, balls probably is.

West: Well, yeah. Later in the trick, I yell, "Pay attention to me," and Rhys says, "Well, now who's the rampant ball of narcissism?" And we're not teaching the kids that word, but the kids are brilliant at context. They know from context that it kind of is something to do with wanting people to look at you and pay attention to you.

West: And we've had teachers, especially with primary school teachers, come up to us before or after our show and rave not about the magic, not about the performance, just about our use of vocabulary because you don't need to talk down to children. Children learn by you-

Morgan: Children are very smart.

West: Children are not very smart, but children learn from you using things in context and then working out what you meant. So as long as your tone is pretty clear, even if they don't understand the jokes I make about them, they know I'm being mean. They understand the character. Kids really understand character.

Morgan: Yeah. It's just a lot of fun doing the kids' show. They're always-

West: It's a bit of nonsense.

Morgan: Yeah, a bit of nonsense.

The Insider: So you've got a DVD out, haven't you?

West: Oh, we do.

Morgan: We do.

West: We do, don't we?

The Insider: Now there's nothing about children's magic on there.

West: Not so much, no.

The Insider: Segway.

Morgan: Although we were having a chat, actually, with a chap called Gordon Astley who was telling us that the very first section of the DVD is so easy that he's taught it to his eight year old granddaughter and he does it with her.

West: We had someone video. Was it on our Facebook or on Twitter or something?

Morgan: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

West: Of a, I reckon, six year old kid doing one of our routines.

The Insider: Yes, the gentleman that won the competition.

West: It was on Twitter. Yeah.

The Insider: It was on Twitter, yeah, and I think he was about six. Yeah.

West: That's how easy some of the stuff is on this DVD. You can literally do it with a six year old.

Morgan: I mean, you can't do the second disk.

West: Not the second disk, no.

Morgan: The second disk is harder.

West: The first disk, you can do with a six year old.

Morgan: You can. It's all about coding. It's Morgan and West decoded. No one talks about coding because the few professional acts in the world that do it want to keep doing it.

West: Yeah, essentially.

Morgan: Whereas we don't do second sight stuff. We do very specific situation stuff.

West: Yeah, we're one of the few code acts that do other stuff in our act.

Morgan: Because we've never found a satisfying ending to second sight. That's another conversation.

Morgan: And so there's two disks. The first disk starts super, super simple, like you hold up a card and the person tells you whether it's red or black, and ends kind of fun where you have five people stood around. There's a coin. You turn around. They hide the coin, and then they pass it to someone else, and you turn around. And one by one, they're all holding both their hands out, and you tell them which hand the coin is in and where it started and stuff like that.

West: "You were holding it in your left hand and Steve gave it to you." Lovely trick. Very easy.

West: And actually, credit goes to Josh and Andi for this because it was Andi's idea, initially, after seeing his lectures on some of our easy code work. Andi was like, "Oh, we should do a project on easy code stuff."

Morgan: An easy coding DVD.

West: And then Josh said, "Actually, no. Let's do everything. Let's do the lot."

The Insider: So it was Josh that persuaded you.

West: It was Josh. He's very persuasive.

Morgan: He is very persuasive.

West: He's very persuasive. And yeah, so basically, we set out to do something that was ... I hate to use the real work on code but was all of our work on code over the years we've been doing it.

Morgan: And it is genuinely everything. It is us baring our coding souls, as it were.

West: That's what we've got. That's everything. That's what we've got.

Morgan: We ain't got nothing else.

The Insider: Why did you decide to teach all of your coding?

West: Because-

Morgan: Well, because I want people to do good code work. I want people to go out there and do really good code work, and the way that you do really good stuff is that you learn from people who are really good at it. And without bigging ourselves up too much, we are some of the best people in the country if not the world at doing those very specific types of code acts.

West: Yeah, because there are different types of code act. And we are not people that have an amazing lexicon of code like the Aronsons, and we're not the fastest coders in the world like the Everson. But what we are is probably one of the most natural code acts in the world, and our stuff is very good for ... So the person just goes, "I don't know when he could have told him." It's not because I don't say anything. It's because what I say feels so natural to an audience. No one realizes that I'm actually talking to Rhys.

Morgan: And perfectly honestly, people can get the DVDs and they can learn how to do the coin in the card bank, the coins and cards trick that we've done on TV a few times. But then if they just learn to do that and they don't take anything else from it, they've missed the point.

West: Yeah, you can-

Morgan: Because the whole point of the DVD is not only do we teach you how, but we teach you how we made that code and why we made that code and where it comes from. And that's the really important thing.

West: Yeah, the tricks we teach are not the pinnacle of code work, but they are the best tricks that we have come up with. The point is that we want people to take this away and come up with better stuff.

The Insider: So you're giving them a foundation.

West: Yeah.

Morgan: Yeah, and it's a really solid foundation.

West: It's a solid foundation. This is-

Morgan: There's no subsidence here.

West: Yeah, this is world-class material that we do all over the world. But it's something where we believe that sharing ideas is a positive thing because then everyone gets better.

Morgan: Especially because we make a bit of money out of it.

West: And we make money of it.

Morgan: Exactly.

West: We do make money out of it. I'm not going to lie.

The Insider: It's a twofer.

Morgan: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

West: It's a twofer.

The Insider: You mentioned Josh. There you go. There's a segue way. You mentioned Josh persuading you to do that. Did he do that at the Session by any chance?

Morgan: He did.

West: Seamless. A seamless segue way into talking about the Session.

Morgan: He did. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

The Insider: Thanks, man.

West: Yes, we are big fans of The Session. I like to think we consider ourselves part of The Session family.

Morgan: I'm going to pay for tickets this year.

The Insider: I think you-

West: For the last seven years, we bought tickets.

Morgan: Yeah.

West: Andy was like, "Why are you buying tickets?"

The Insider: Crikey.

Morgan: Why did we buy tickets? Because he's that good.

West: It's that good.

Morgan: And Mac King's here this year.

West: We're there.

The Insider: Mac King is there.

Morgan: I mean, we met Mac this summer when he came to see a show of ours, and we got along with him very well. But we're still coming because I want to see his stuff again because Mac is amazing.

West: He's amazing. He's amazing.

Morgan: Genuinely, it's worth the price of the ticket alone because it'll cost you much more than a hotel and a ticket for the Session to go to Vegas and watch Mac in Vegas.

West: True. Yeah.

Morgan: ... than it will to watch him here.

West: The Session. It's a great convention. It's our favorite. No offense to the many other conventions. We've been to many other conventions. We've performed there, but The Session is our favorite convention.

The Insider: Why?

West: I don't know. I think because Andi and Josh do a really good job of making it kind of relevant and having interesting stuff that we haven't seen before. I think the vibe there is very kind of progressive, and I think a lot of people are there because they really love magic, not because it's a hobby. I mean, it is a hobby, but some of the conventions where it feels like the same 50 dudes have been coming to the same convention since 1976.

Morgan: And the conventions feel very similar. The Session doesn't feel very similar year on year. It's always a very different lineup every year, and a very interesting lineup as well. Some well-known people, some not very well-known people. I mean, it's how we started at the Session. It was back in 2014 when Andi said, "Do you want to come do the Session?"

West: And we're like, "But we're nobody." He's like, "That's fine. That's not a problem." Yeah, whereas I think stuff can feel like one endless blur. I think The Session is very good at having its own feeling and its own vibe.

Morgan: And the outdoor air quality. I go for the outdoor air quality myself.

West: Transport links. I'll be the transport links.

The Insider: The transport links are good.

The Insider: So apart from Mr. King, who else are you looking forward to seeing this year?

Morgan: Marc Kerstein is talking this year.

West: Marc Kerstein, tech wizard, inventor of what he tests, all around genius. Of all of the magicians we know, Marc is the one who most regularly will fool me. Completely blind. Any time he's working on something new, I know he's going to knock my socks off.

Morgan: Yeah. Very excited about seeing Marc.

West: He's so smart. It makes me angry.

Morgan: Yeah.

West: It makes me angry how good he is.

Morgan: Stupid math degree.

West: Stupid math degree.

The Insider: Stupid math. Stupid apps.

The Insider: No, I remember the first I saw Earworm, which was at The Session, actually, many years ago. I can't remember being quite so fooled by something. I didn't have a starting point as to how it possibly could have happened.

Morgan: Tech magic that is very natural.

West: That's the thing. Yeah, Marc is a genius for creating tech stuff that doesn't feel like tech stuff because so much of the app-based magic out there is-

Morgan: I'll just open this thing on my phone and then-

West: Give me your phone and I'm going to mess around with it for 20 minutes, and then give it back to you and do something. It's ridiculous. Marc is so good at making stuff that feels organic and where going to your phone is the obvious choice, not a strange, "And now I'll get my phone out." He's the best. He's the absolute best.

The Insider: Why do you think people should come?

West: Honestly, it's a great set. I think it's also a really good one for ... you get a lot of people ... I hate to say big names in magic, but a lot of big names in magic come because they have good acts and a good time. Hollingworth is always hanging around, and Maven is always there, and people like that because they know it's going to be a good session. And it's a very approachable environment, I think.

Morgan: Yes.

West: Where I do feel like if you see someone there that you really respect, you can just go up to them and talk to them.

Morgan: You can also talk to people you don't respect.

West: You can also talk to people you don't respect.

Morgan: That's all fine. That's fine.

The Insider: You can. Yeah.

West: And yeah, it's a nice way to sort of chat to people and meet people and just, yeah, show tricks to your mates. And it does have a ... I know this is where the name comes from anyway, but it does have a session-y feel to it.

Morgan: Yeah.

West: Staying up late on Saturday night showing each other card tricks and drinking.

Morgan: I mean, I'm in bed by one.

West: Yeah, he needs his sleep.

Morgan: I do.

West: He needs a little sleep.

Morgan: Yeah.

The Insider: Thank you so much for your time, gentlemen. I look forward to seeing you in January. Enjoy the rest of your rainy Tuesday.

Morgan: It's cold, though. It's cold and it-

West: It's cold, isn't it? It's cold.

Morgan: Yeah, it's cold.

The Insider: Thank you very much. I will see you in January, gentlemen.

Morgan: Pleasure. Thank you very much.

West: Thank you.

Morgan: See you in January.

West: See you soon.


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