Issue 23, SMC eUpdate, 27 January 2010

What's coming up
This week: Stage Competition
28 January 2010
Stage Competition

11 February 2010
Club Night

25 February 2010
Mentalism Competition

11 March 2010

25 March 2010

27 March 2010
Annual Dinner Dinner & cabaret. Only £35 per person.

Previous events
Joshua Jay
I must start with a confession. Recently my visits to our beloved SMC have been sparse. This woeful attendance rate is due almost entirely to the silly amount of travelling that my new life has thrown at me, so it was almost a surprise to me to find that I was a) able to attend, and b) until the last minute quite unaware that the evening was to be led by the great Joshua Jay, whom, like many of us, I have only  met through the pages of MAGIC Magazine.

A good friend (whom I will not name for it would embarrass him though I agree 100% with him) summed up Joshua as ‘the sort of person you hate: young, good-looking, genuinely charming, and annoyingly talented’. I know what he means - Joshua was instantly likeable, and unsurprisingly there was a huge turn-out for what promised to be a very exciting lecture. There was a buzz in the room and I don’t think I have ever seen it so full on a club night. Well done to the SMC who organised the visit!

And so began a rapid-fire intro session of card flourishes, revelations and instant changes, which set out Joshua’s credentials from the very start and impressed everyone. This included perhaps the cleanest Triumph I have ever seen, a super-smart Open Prediction, a rapid-fire Monte and more. If there was a criticism it was that the explanations were too quick, though Joshua did acknowledge this and encouraged us to ask if we did not understand.

A personal favourite was the final trick of this session - ‘Trick for a Blind Man’. Why? Because of the story he told, the image he evoked, and emotion attached. (And there’s an important sermon on card magic in one sentence - no charge! ;-)  I can’t even remember how he did it - maybe he didn’t explain that one...

Once the close-up quickies were done the lecture ‘proper’ began. Joshua had already won over his audience with his style, and when he apologised for his handling I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who thought there was no need - I would kill to have his handling skill!

Opening this more formal set was Hitchcock, a card trick with a smart and original plot. And it was very easy to do! a mystery card is torn up, four cards selected, and returned to the deck.. The torn card turns out to be a quarter of each selection. No sleights worth speaking of, just clever thinking and a switch you’d get a real kick from performing!

Next came Cornered, which although an old plot added something new for the working magician, and one I will definitely be trying out in my stand-up set at some point in the next few months. It’s the old borrowed torn n’ restored banknote but with added pep from a spectator tearing off and retaining the torn corner and the bill reappearing in the spectator’s wallet - very slick and efficient thinking.

Joshua’s third piece was a triple-bill, designed to be shown to visitors to his hospital bed. (For those who are not aware, Joshua had a very serious accident last year which resulted in major surgery and reduced feeling down the left hand side of his body). In part one, spectators tear up some cards, then scatter the pieces on the table until only one piece is face-up. (Sound familiar?) That piece then matches a card in an envelope that has been, as the saying goes, ‘in full view’. As a kicker the card is shown to have a piece missing - you can guess the rest! Parts 2 and 3 were some simple forces with a couple of one-way decks, but Joshua had added some subtleties to strengthen the effect. It was lovely to hear a nod to Ted Annemann (I can hear many of you going ‘who?) with a super bit of dual reality - one of my favourite topics!

I must apologise for not knowing the name of the next routine, but whatever its name, it was as beautiful as it was flawless. Joshua credited Troy Hooser with the routine; was it just called ‘Chinese Coins?’ Anyway, it involved the penetration of a ribbon by 3 chinese coins, and the audience was spellbound. Twice. I nearly parted with some hard-earned cash! (It's called: A Charming Chinese Challenge)

In fact, I DID part with some cash for the very next item. I rarely buy props these days, preferring a different style of magic, but the methodology of Joshua’s Signed Card to Wallet made me laugh out loud. As I mentioned to a few folk on the night, my life in magic at the moment consists of doing a few tricks over and over again, and the chance to slip something that would be really FUN into my repertoire was too good to pass up. So even though it wasn’t the most magical effect of the evening, it certainly looked like one I would ENJOY performing!

Author’s Note:since I wrote that paragraph I have performed the trick twice, for what every magician knows is their hardest audience*, and both times it went down a treat!

After the interval came Any Card At Any Number, made famous by David Berglas. Like many card magicians, I always sit up and take notice whenever anyone performs a version of ACAAN. Over the years I have studied a few different ones, and even performed my own version of the trick many years ago at the old SMC venue, which I hope Matt Parr, (who gave up his birthday to attend this lecture)  is STILL trying to figure out!

In Joshua’s (superior to mine!) version, he tells the story of a magic book from which he learnt his tricks, and instead of the chosen card appearing at the given position in the deck it appears on the chosen page in the book - this fooled me badly, and I love being fooled!

Joshua then told a fabulous story about Tom Mullica, and how to get out of a missed classic force, but if you weren’t there, you’re just going to have to ask someone who was. I don’t think it would be half as funny written down!

To close the show, Joshua treated us to a super-clean vanish of 3 coins. I suspect that he will have sold a lot of sets of these coins, judging from the reactions of those present.

How to sum up? I admit that I was fooled several times, but more importantly inspired and entertained at the same time. It feels good to be baffled by magic these days, and especially by someone who, to paraphrase my friend, is so annoyingly talented and likeable!

So a brilliant evening, and thanks again to the organisers who brought Joshua to the SMC - I do hope that our treasurer managed to collect enough £5 contributions from our vast array of very welcome guests to cover the fee.

*Our own family members who have seen it all before!

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