Hello, my name is Marty (my pronouns are he/him/his). Welcome to my bag of tricks blog! I have created this site to share my magical performances and original tricks. If you're a magic fan, you can enjoy a variety of my performances in the watch section of the website. If you're a magician—or aspire to be one—you'll find thought-provoking articles on the history, theory, and practice of magic. In addition, I'll also be sharing helpful learning resources that will make you a more successful student of the deceptive arts.

My main interests lie in close-up, parlour and street magic. However, I appreciate all aspects of magic and its allied arts, particularly juggling, object manipulation, cardistry and circus skills. For this reason, I'll occasionally feature things that might not be considered "magic" in the traditional sense but are magical nonetheless.

Written with the Amateur Magician in Mind

Most of the articles and essays on this site are aimed at amateur magicians, primarily because I'm one myself. I also feel that much of the published material on magic is disproportionally written by professional magicians—I hope this blog helps redress this imbalance. Most magicians are hobbyists, and their needs differ from those of the performer who makes a living from magic. Don't get me wrong, I'm deeply grateful that so many professional magicians are willing to share their secrets with the magical fraternity; I just think the voice of the amateur magician needs to be better represented in our community. 

It also goes without saying that I'm blogging for my own benefit. Writing about magic regularly will force me to be reflective and improve my personal approach to magic. Hopefully, this will make me a better performer.

Why is the site called Marty's Bag of Tricks? 🦊

I called the site Marty's Bag of Tricks because I do, in fact, carry my tricks, props and magical paraphernalia in a bag! I also use the term metaphorically; on this blog, I write about the special techniques, methods and resources needed to be a successful magician. Interestingly, the term "bag of tricks" dates back to 1694, when the celebrated French poet Jean de La Fontaine, in one of his fables, has a cunning fox carry a "sac des ruses" (French for "bag of tricks").

Hidden Secrets

Several magic eight balls, like the one shown below, are hidden throughout the site. When you find one, click or tap on it to learn a free magic trick!


Who Am I?

As I've already mentioned, I'm not a professional magician because I don't do paid gigs. Instead, I prefer to perform magic tricks in social situations for friends and coworkers (usually over a cup of tea or coffee). In addition, I'm uncomfortable with people believing that I have real mystical powers, so I prefer to present myself as a conjuror or friendly trickster (similar to the archetypal characters that you often find in the folklore or of many different cultures). But, hey, if you want to go "full wizard" when you perform, that's fine by me!

Outside of the world of magic, I'm the Head of Technology-Enhanced Learning at the University of Essex, a small higher education provider based in the United Kingdom. I'm a learning technology expert who manages a small team of people who help lecturers use educational technology in their teaching and learning practices. I'm also partly responsible for the delivery of staff development opportunities. Oddly enough, even though I make my living from technology, I prefer not to use it when performing magic. I have also never owned a smartphone!

In addition to magic, I'm a big fan of coffee, animation, illustration, creativity and good design. I have a background in multimedia production and a degree in Computer Animation and Special Effects. I'm also interested in papercrafts, like origami. I enjoy playing video games (usually stuff released by Nintendo) and reading comics (mainly those published by DC) when I have time.

I hope you enjoy reading the articles on the blog, and I encourage you to join the conversation by posting comments on the site.