Magic is Art

I believe that magic is art, and that art, whether that be music, writing, sculpture, or any other form, is literally magic. Art is, like magic, the science of manipulating symbols, words or images, to achieve changes in consciousness… Indeed to cast a spell is simply to spell, to manipulate words, to change people’s consciousness, and this is why I believe that an artist or writer is the closest thing in the contemporary world to a shaman. Alan Moore

In the last 40 years of teaching and playing I have experienced a number of extraordinary happenings where simple, ordinary people have become prolific artistic performers. I could say that in all that time I was unable to spot the ones that were going to become the great musicians. In hindsight it was obvious because they were the ones who put in the hours and their ability to play and create literally crept up on me.

I have mentioned before that success in the world of the arts is statistically neigh on  impossible and therefore having an unrealistic attitude to your ability is a great place to start. Another good place to start is with Alan Moore’s assertion that we can alter reality by the very things that we do by manipulating symbols, words, sounds and images to affect change in the minds of the people who listen.

I have long had an interest in NLP and I noticed that many successful songs are effective not because of the quality of the poetry but the command orientated lyrics that demand action on behalf of the listener. Songs such as ‘We Will Rock You’ and ‘All Right Now’ and even ‘Wild Thing’ are in this vein. These lyrics have a downward command orientated inflection and therefore fall into this concept of Alan Moore’s spellcasting.

However ridiculous you might think these things are the very act of subverting reality and your belief in what is possible, seems to be an important ingredient required from a successful artist. Merely dealing with reality is not enough, distorting reality is just the beginning, making people act in the way that you have distorted reality is the aim.

We are definitely entering the world where facts and truth are being trumped literally and metaphorically by the emotional aspect of language, we see that all the time in politics, we definitely see this within the media. It is abundantly clear that emotional soundbites are far more effective than reasoned argument and longer lasting. Evoking the spirit of Englishness or Americanness is powerful but we have to be very careful to look after that evocation because even a cuddly cat if mistreated has a very dark side to it and so does Englishness.

Being optimistic about the above quotation means that we can do incredible things if we can picture them and then formulate sounds that bring the vision to life. Look at the successful music of the band such as Queen. Think of any of their famous songs and they truly seem to have a life of their own; being completely animated when we hear the music you see Freddie. Magical!

Vic three days of rock band magic