Issue 9, SMC eUpdate Issue 9, 7 June 2009

What's coming up
Craig Petty Lecture - 9 July 2009
Don't miss this lecture! Craig's magic is great and has a series of DVDs full of workable routines. For a list of some of his items click here.

Previous events
Close-Up Competition
I always look forward to this event in the SMC calendar, as it holds some great memories over the years. It was something of a surprise that there were so few entrants this year; most of our members, as far as I know are close-up magicians rather than stage workers; is it the rule about only one card trick that puts them off?  Or is it the format? (Personally I’d rather see contestants working round a small table, then repeating their acts at another table. I’m sure we have done it successfully in the past using this format.)
If so, perhaps we should look at the rules at an AGM, but I think it is a shame that we cannot persuade more folk to take part.
Anyway, on with the report. First up was Leon. He opened with Sponge Balls. I was a bit hasty in my disappointment at this, as Leon’s routine was as entertaining as it was flawless. It was clear that he had performed this for ‘real’ people hundreds of times, and it was the perfect opener. Leon built his act skilfully with a version of Predict-Tac-Toe, followed by a 4-coin matrix and the very amusing Cannibal Cards (which should be renamed Kings of Leon). The finish was clever, and we were off to a great start.
Because of the fact that we had so few entrants, the next competitor and the final one very kindly stepped in at the last minute. (As you know we need at least 3 to have a competition).
This is very hard to do, as to perform well requires considerable mental preparation, and neither Reg nor Peter had this luxury. Reg went first, performing John Bannon’s Twisted Sisters, (one of my favourite packet tricks ever) and a clever and impromptu (and as far as I could tell ungaffed) Coins Across routine.  Every time I see a good coin routine I always wish I could do more coin work, as it often plays well.
Third up was the relatively young but very talented Max. Having introduced Max to the world of Magic, I wish I could claim credit for teaching him, but I can’t, as the truth is Max is largely self-taught, with hours of practice very evident in his performance. He opened with a snappy  ‘cap in deck’, then a coin trick (this was a gaffed one but very well performed nevertheless; if I say it used a 1p and a 10p you can probably guess!).  A well-timed performance of James Brown’s trademark Pot of Jam trick followed, and then a terrific rope routine, full of several classic moves performed with confidence, and a couple of new moves thrown in for good measure. Max finished with the nail in the nose; a clever trick which Max performed  very well, but somehow it didn’t quite fit with the other tricks he performed. Nevertheless, the audience clearly were impressed by Max’s skill!
Finally came Peter, and though he too had had little time to prepare, he showed what an experienced performer he was as he took us through some of the favourites from his repertoire: silk and £20 routine, sponge balls and a cut-and restored rope. Peter was a little unlucky to be last, as we had already seen sponge balls and cut and restored rope, but being a pro he carried both off with confidence, and with well-rehearsed patter as well.
And the winner? Magic. Sorry, just kidding; Max got the audience’s vote, and it wasn’t hard to see why, as he had obviously put in a lot of work on the sleights and the patter. He may be the youngest ever winner; I’ll have to ask the secretary to check the records!
Nick Einhorn: Practical Magic
I was disappointed not to see Jeremy LePoidevin, but that tells you something about my intelligence. The lecture was excellent, the lecturer immediately likeable.
His opener, The Unicorn Coin in bottle, was obviously routined for working tables in the real world, starting and finishing with a bottle appearance and disappearance – a worker that I will be trying soon!
Nick followed this with a walkaround routine, a Triumph routine combined with signed Card to Wallet. It’s a three-phase routine, and Nick pointed out that it is good psychology to add a kicker ending; having known  Paul Gordon for years I’m certain he would agree!
Transpose was Nick’s third routine. I thought for a moment that I had found a way to use the coins supplied with Lethal Tender, but these coins are better. Instead of the plastic wallet there is a coin purse involved; it looked just like real Magic should look!
We then moved onto a book test.  I always worry when visiting magicians reveal mentalism methods, if only for selfish reasons, but to be honest I needn’t have worried – Nick explained the concept gimmicking a business card to force a particular section of a page. It was an interesting use of branching anagrams as well, and I suspect that Nick sold many more lecture notes as a result of this very smart idea.
Before the break we had two further routines. Firstly, a hugely commercial Pseudo-psychometry routine suitable for trade shows.  The spectator mixed the cards, put them into envelopes and then passed them to the magician. For me, the ending was the most brilliant thing in the lecture; a solution to the age-old problem of anti-climax during such routines. The methodology was the age-old magnetic touch, but the magician’s choice application at the end was a joy to behold. The trade-show idea was good; using flexibility or ‘customer services’ as cards instead of ESP symbols added to the versatility of the effect.
The second effect was Watch Match, a watch synchronsation effect. The story behind it was a time when Banachek’s PK Time failed, and Nick made up an effect on the spot. Very commercial, and all based on good timing. (Sorry; couldn’t resist).
The second half kicked off with an impromptu coin to glass using a borrowed coin – a nice old trick that Nick mentioned was very effective for teaching lay people.
Next came a multi-phase routine involving flash wool, ring flight and linking finger rings, and lots of applause. "Just Hold Back on That Enthusiasm for one moment longer” was a nice line that many of us will use, I suspect! It involved the classic Linking rings in a glass. What was so nice about this was that the routining was fabulous – every little detail was carefully crafted and nothing was left to chance. Even a little extra piece involving making a diamond ring grow was added as an extra bit of business. “Isolate the moments of magic” – great advice.
A quick close-up card trick called The Money Deck ensued – coins appearing under a deck. Sneaky method – too cool to give away if you weren’t there.
A good example of creating new effects from old methods caught me out – a freely chosen card has a different coloured back. The Martini Deck (Stop anytime, anyplace, anywhere). Versatile as the back could have a company logo on it as well...ribbon spread  allows you to show the deck either colour.
A quicky with a spectator was followed by a superb ACAAN effect. This was another effect that Nick said he would do at a table if he could only do a couple- very strong effect on an audience. Breather used as a location was effective, and the flick through to force the top card which falls slightly longer. “Do me a favour – just remember one of these cards – timing is important so you finish the instruction as you get to the last two cards. Get a break over bottom 6 cards as mist people ask for 7 – cut them to the top. (Just as a memory jogger!)
Nick showed us another book test, involving a free choice and which created a good impression.  Good idea to use a book that was relevant to the trade show involved. Commercial stuff!
As a teaser, Nick showed us Spooked, his version  of the haunted deck – he didn’t reveal its secret, but it was left to use to think about – the fact that the cards were on the floor added something to the effect – it is a popular trick with lay audiences.
It was, as they say, a ‘something-for-everyone’ evening. I look forward to practising some of his routines.

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