SINCE the rise to prominence of the likes of David Blaine and Dynamo, magic is now seen to be quite cool. Looking to see if that really was the case. KELLY TYLER took to the streets with a magician.
PULLING four lottery tickets from his wallet, magician Luca Gallone already has me hooked.
He shuffles the tickets and lets me see them – even hold them.
As I watch his hands intensely to try to catch the moment the magic is going to happen, he ties the tickets in an elastic band and places them on my desk.
And before I even have time to blink, he quickly slams his wallet on the desk above the bundle of tickets.
But what should he reveal when he lifts his wallet up?
Not the original lottery tickets but four £10 notes, tied in an elastic band.
My reaction? I’m astounded. I have been well and truly tricked.
“When I earn enough money as a magician I’d like to be able to give the £40 to everybody I perform that trick to,” says Luca.
“I’d tell them to just keep the money.”
Luca Gallone is a 17-year-old aspiring illusionist from Burton, who performs close-up magic.
From making ink on a deck of cards disappear, to flicking out all the aces in the pack, his tricks are quick and flawless.
And it was after being inspired by his uncle, Bruno Gallone, that he became so involved with magic from a young age.
“My uncle used to be a magician. He was a member of Derby Magic Circle,” says Luca.
“He would make a coin disappear, then pluck it from behind my ear. I was fascinated.
“I asked for my first magic set for Christmas at the age of six.
“I started having a go at tricks myself and I got obsessed with it.
“It took over my life. I got whatever books I could find to teach me more about magic and tricks and I just practised, practised, practised. I could not stop.”
At the age of eight, Luca was fortunate enough to be taken to Las Vegas by his parents.
He even got to see legendary magician Rick Thomas perform. His show has been running consecutively in Las Vegas for 15 years.
Luca said: “My parents had been saving up to take me because they knew it was the magic capital of the world. I got to see David Copperfield too. It was like dream land for me.
“After Rick Thomas’s show had finished, he was signing autographs for people.
“I always had a pack of cards in my hand and I was having a go at a few tricks when one of his assistants spotted me.
“He called Rick over. I was really nervous.
“This absolute magic giant was standing right in front of me.
“I showed him a card trick and he said, ‘You’re really good. You never know, one day you might be one of the best magicians in the world’.
“I could not believe it!”
From then on, Luca would pull in as much practice as he could, showcasing his magic to his friends in the school playground.
And he admits he would often “drive his parents mad at an ungodly hour”, screeching, ‘Pick a card! Pick a card!’
It was at the age of 16 when the ambitious youngster realised he wanted magic to be more than just a hobby – he wanted to make a career out of it.
He set up a website and began advertising his talents.
The teenager, who is studying for his A-levels at Abbot Beyne School, Burton, has since performed at weddings and wedding fairs, as well as parties and other functions.
“It’s very trendy to have a magician at events,” he said.
“It’s quite fashionable, with magicians like Dynamo and Troy on TV.
“Magic’s the new rock ’n’ roll.”
But it is not as simple as pulling a pack of cards out, shuffling them and having an educated guess at which card somebody is picturing in their minds.
Luca explains: “I’ve been doing magic for 11 years now and, during that time, I’ve worked to perfect sleight-of-hand tricks and how to get them smoother.
“As a magician, I’m deceiving you in front of your eyes. There is no room for error and no time for mistakes.
“It’s really about learning how to recover from that if that happens.
“It’s not only about how good the tricks are; you have to be a showman, too. You have to be charming, charismatic and entertaining as well.
“It’s the reaction I get from people when I perform magic that makes it so worthwhile.”
Luca is a member of the national Young Magicians’ Club and, since last month, has been a member of Derby Magic Circle, which was founded in 1952. He is the youngest member.
He joined after a chance conversation with a man he sits next to at Burton Albion games. As well as loving magic, Luca is a huge football fan. He supports both the Brewers and Derby County and has had season tickets at both clubs.
“For three years, I have sat next to the same man at Burton Albion home games,” says Luca.
“There was one time I was not at a match because I had a magic gig.
“I told him and he said he was in Derby Magic Circle. All this time and we never knew we had magic in common.
“He took me along to the next Derby Magic Circle meeting and it went from there.”
Luca attended the January meeting and later completed an audition before being accepted. Now he is hoping to advance his magic career.
“I want to bring a new, fresh and exciting rebrand of magic to people,” he says. “I want to get it back on the map.”