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For my day job, I work as a document controller, which is basically a corporate librarian. I issue documents to clients and ensure they adhere to our QA procedures. Excuse you–please cover your mouth when you yawn.

For quite a lot of my time per week, I’m saving emails and documents to a database. This is very boring. It is hard to concentrate on it for long periods of time. In fact, it’s impossible. Unless I’m listening to a podcast. I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting ones, so if you know any that seem to be in the vein of what I like to research, please do pass them my way.

Smoke & Mirrors is a 10-part podcast produced by Resonance FM and features various members and non-members of the Circle of Magic, or the British society of magicians. The earlier episodes speak a bit about the history of magic and also focus on the modern application of magic and the different types, with a bit of magical-related news thrown in for good measure.

I was enchanted from the first episode, when the Executive Librarian of the Circle of Magic (aka the man with one of the Best. Jobs. Ever.) speaks for a bit about the history of magic. Each podcast features a guest, such as: Paul Kieve, the magic consultant in the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban film, Marc Paul, a mentalist, Paul Daniels, who had a successful TV magic show for many years and inspired a generation of magicians, Professor Richard Wiseman, who is a psychologist as well as a magician, Jonathan Goodwin, an escapologist, John Lenahan, who was kicked out of the Circle of Magic for exposing secrets, Fay Presto, a female close-up magician who has performed for the Queen multiple times, and others.

My three favourite episodes were Epsidoe 1, which focused the most on the history of magic; Episode 3, which looked more at the theatrics of magic; and Episode 9, with Fay Presto, which examined the gender inequality in magic. Fay is the top female magician in the UK, and she is also trans. According to The Independent, she was kicked out of the Circle of Magic when she transitioned because females aren’t allowed in the group (to which I say–WTF). She makes fascinating arguments as to why there aren’t as many female magicians–using the props of magic can almost be considered a crutch, and many women perform openly without that crutch, for in dance and music the gender split is a lot more even. Fay is also a firecracker and I chuckled more than once as I saved yet another email. If you only have time to listen to one of the ten part series–listen to the one with Fay.

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