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Newsletter: 17
December 2006

Printable version.

New Year with Gordy - 31 Dec 2006 8pm

Gordon has very kindly invited all Sussex Members to his New Year party in Burgess Hill. It?s at his house and starts around 8pm.

Please drop Gordon a line to say if you can attend.

Also feel free to bring some close-up or even a cabaret spot as Gordon and I will be peforming a little something.


David Lang lecture - 5 Oct 2006

I have known Dave Lang since joining the Asylum and we finally met face to face at the IBM convention a few years ago. Dave invited me to come to lecture at his local Magic Club, the Medway Magical Society. Afterwards in the bar we were chatting and Dave showed me some great close-up material which he used for his table-hopping work. I loved it, and we invited him to come and lecture to us at the SMC.

Despite having had a nightmare journey to Lewes, Dave was unphased and confident as he began his lecture. I was a little distressed to see what Dave had picked for his opener; he was doing Card Warp! I felt that our audience of magicians was polite and let him get through it, even if privately thinking that this was not the lecture we had been looking forward to. I should have been more patient!

Of course, Dave had been setting us up for his finale, which he calls "Card Warp Flamb?"". The clue?s in the title, and this provides a strong magical ending to the venerable Card Warp. Well done to Dave for recommending that everyone go out and purchase the original version of Card Warp. Basically, Dave takes the torn cards, sets fire to them, and they restore in a flash. Now, a note to those of you who use flash effects in strolling settings: you will know that many of them just aren?t practical. This effect, however, is entirely so, and furthermore is a logical thing to do. As Dave points out, if you could really do what Card Warp implies, restoring the cards should be easy. I found myself wishing that I performed the regular version of card warp, just so that I could add Dave?s Flamb? kicker. (I use Michael Close?s version, and am trying to adapt it at the moment, following Dave?s lecture.) As Close would say, Card Warp Flamb? is a ?worker?.

Dave moved on to show us Mirage Coins. Again, it was based on classic plots (coins through table followed by glass through table), to which Dave had added some small touches which add strength and ?build?, so often missing in coins across (or through) routines. Without giving too much away, the ?noise convincer? was a lovely piece of finesse, which could be added to most glass through table routines with just a little thought.

Dynamic Card, Dave?s version of Cards Across was next, using two spectators. Although designed for tables, it could be adapted for walkaround when no table is available, and for that reason this too would count as a ?worker?. If you perform, or would like to perform a version of this (I love Paul Harris?s Las Vegas Leaper) you will be interested in Dave?s handling. I particularly appreciated an idea contributed by Ted Annemann. Dave has taken the old plot, and decided that modern audiences would be just as impressed with one card travelling as three cards, especially if that was a mentally selected card. Good logic, to my mind.

By now we were spotting a pattern to Dave?s work. He focused on old plots, and tried to bring new ideas to them in order to make them work for modern audiences. He was not afraid to combine plots where he felt it added to the overall effect, trying to emulate Michael Ammar?s idea of `kicking them when they?re down?.

Nightmare Card was next, and was just such a synthesis. Here Dave combined card to wallet (cheers from our treasurer as Dave paid homage to Keith Bennett?s Hip Wallet) with colour changing signed card. There were a few things I liked about this effect. Firstly, the point Dave made about the best method being the most direct, whether that involved sleights or not. Secondly, the Royal Road to Card Magic got a passing credit as the source for a deceptive force seldom seen these days. Finally, this is one of the few tricks where the magician breaks a cardinal rule of close-up magic: he tells the audience exactly what he is going to do, and then does it, yet the effect is just as strong as it would have been had he not done so.

The penultimate effect was Trimisma. I hope that Dave won?t misunderstand my oblique compliment if I say that this is one of the most successful attempts to hide an old but sometimes over-telegraphed principle that I have seen. There are probably hundreds of versions out there, and it is hard to describe the effect without referring to it specifically, which in deference to Dave I have no wish to do. If I say that 3 spectators take part in a game of chance, and all three find that the magician has correctly predicted the outcome, you can almost certainly read between the lines! What I can say is that this effect, though very strong, was hard to get across to a large audience, as it is by its nature an intimate piece of mentalism for a small group, using coins on the table. Nevertheless, I can see that it would be extremely effective in the right setting, (bar or restaurant for example) and will certainly give it a go once I get hold of the special something..!

Dave showed us The Creature with Two Backs: a utility envelope that Dave came up with some years ago, and is an extremely effective switching envelope. Dave demonstrated its use as a pre-show tool, though there are of course many other uses. I threw away my Fabrice Delaure Clipboard as soon as I got home. OK, not really.

Dave?s OTL Dictionary Test was another combination of principles; the clue?s in the title! In brief, three people write down numbers, a spectator thinks of one of them and turns to that page in a large dictionary, magician divines first word on page. What I liked about this were two points: Dave?s thinking behind what sort of dictionary to use and why, and his miscalled date subtlety. (I believe that Jeff Hobson is credited as doing something similar by mentalist Marc Spellmann). I love thinking like that, and it is another example of covering your tracks so that spectators cannot reverse engineer after your performance.

The final piece was called Pet Symmetry. Essentially a card memory feat, this relied on a clever old principle, but I felt it was more of a puzzle than a magical effect. Of course there is nothing wrong with this per se, but I didn?t feel it quite fitted with Dave?s other material, all of which had serious `fry the laymen? potential!

Dave had some interesting patter about Gestalt Memory to go with it, but personally I?m not sure I would have closed with this effect. Perhaps this is a little unfair: I can see this working very well in a relaxed and informal `having friends to dinner? setting, where the patter really has time to `sell? the effect. Dave, I hope that isn?t an offensive or ignorant observation.

I have no intention of closing with a criticism, especially of a pro who has been in magic and mentalism far, far longer than I. Overall, this was a lecture filled with workable, strong material, and one which offered something for all tastes and skill levels. If only all lectures were this useful; as you know we had Etienne Pradier the month before, and although I loved watching what he was doing, I knew after a few moments that I just wasn?t ever going to do his stuff!


Trick Clinic - 19 Oct 2006

First of all apologies for not being around at meetings very much. The run up to Christmas has been particularly busy. As some of you may be aware Sue and I are performing together again as ?Millie and Max? so spare time has been somewhat limited. Having had a recent Computer breakdown, I am only recently limping back into the IT loop. A report I had hoped to submit on a ?tricks clinic? may be lost forever so instead I am writing about other matters of interest.

Security of Members Vehicles at Southover Grange
All members must share with me concern over the recent incidents involving vehicles parked opposite Southover Grange. Tyres let down, tyres damaged? let us hope that the perpetrators are swiftly brought to justice. My thoughts are with the unfortunate victims of this wanton vandalism.

It ain?t Heavy it?s my Roll on
As congestion on our roads and parking difficulties increase I predict that that a new type of entertainer will evolve. Portability will be everything. Fewer and lightweight props will feature more in acts who increasingly cannot park next to venues. Mark Worgan may well have been thinking ahead of his time with his range of Children?s props that are not as heavy as other Dealers. On a personal note, for the new year, I will be looking at the props I carry with a view to substituting lighter and more portable items. Having tried and bought almost all of the magic tables available I currently use a Harbin folding table. I have totally given up on Roll on tables. Although I am sure many entertainers swear by them as they are quick to set up, are showy and can carry your act inside them, they are for practical purposes, too heavy. Unless you can park right next to your venue?..and often a school car park for example will still necessitate a good walk to your performing area, a heavily laden Roll on table is a slipped disc waiting to happen. The big difficulty I find is the belief that in the public?s eyes, props equate as value. Is this really true? I would be interested in other members views on this. I would suggest that a small amount of props and an impressive outfit could create as favourable an impression as a cartload of bulky props. There is of course the view that as real magician?s we should be able to make whatever we need appear my we should be able to walk into a kid?s party with nothing? hmm..

Would anyone like to be a millionaire? Well if you put you hand on a calculator I can make it happen. How much will this cost you wonder? Well the cost is 10p. So with your calculator in hand let?s start.

1) Key in .10 this is your starting 10p and it only took a second for you to do this
2) Multiply by 60, this will give you ?6. ?6 a minute, you have achieved this many times. What about the boot/magic sale when you sold something that to you was worth very little and yet someone gave you ?6 or more for it. What about the ?10.00 tip you received that time for just doing your job. There have been many minutes in your life when you have earned ?6.00 a minute.

3) Mulitply the ?6.00 by 60. there are 60 minutes in an hour. That will give you ?360.00. You are thinking, I can?t earn ?360.00 an hour? but you have and probably more than once. What about that car you sold, or that flat, or house. What about your CV? It took you an hour to write and it earned you way in excess of ?360.00. So you see you can do this -it?s just capturing the moment and repeating it.

4) Multiply the ?360.00 by 24. there are 24 hours in a day. I don?t expect anyone to work 24 hours a day so we?ll come back to that. Your calculator is showing a total of ?8640.00

5) Multiply this total by 365..the number of days in a year, this will give you a total of ?3153600.00

6) Take away ?153600 for odd weekends and holidays? you?ve got plenty so you can afford it. This leaves you with a total of ?3000000.00

7) I don?t expect anyone to work 24 hours a day but 8 hours a day would be ok. 24 hours divided by 3 gives you finally divie your ?3000000.00 by 3.

You now have a total of ?1000000.00 Don?t spend it all at once.

I hope everyone has a Happy Christmas.

Best wishes
Paul Leacy SMC Treasurer
Sue Leacy
Stanley the Dog

Spooky Night - 2 Nov 2006

-"Knock Knock!"
"Who?s there?"
"Oh Hello-Ian! (Halloween!)

Yes, spooky night was underway and it kicked off with Paul Bromley performing a trick with the worlds thinnest cards! This lead him smoothly on to a coincidence effect with cards and dice where cards selected were counted to by a dice rolled by another spectator. Paul then performed an excellent effect with coloured keys as predictions.

Next up was John Southgate. He performed an eerie untying hank and then a spong ball routine with a ghost theme. This was capped off with an effect new to me - match box PK. As one match box-tray was pushed in, another rose out of the box. This was even done when the boxes were seperate from each other!

The final performer was Reg, with his home-made ghost transposition made specially to perform to his grand children!

After the performers, Adam got up and performed a floating card, and this lead to a lengthy discussion about haunted decks and the pros and cons of each one/method.

The effects performed deserve far more credit than I could ever give in this news letter, congratulations to all performers!


Childrens Competition - 23 Nov 2006

Childrens night, the one night each year where adults are allowed to mentally recess to the age of childhood (some more convincignly than others, you know who you are ;-) )

Paul Bromley started this eveing off with four coloured silks joining together as one and then separating again! He then brought out his magic stamp book and performed a "Magic Colouring Book" effect. The helpers were allowed to keep some stamps and all got "Official Magician Helpers" stickers. In the last seconds he made some ingredients transform in to a large sponge (not the edible kind) birthday cake.

Andy Hart was second up to tame the crowd of demanding children. He performed a petshop trick where a very scary snake got up to all kinds of mischief. His next trick was an appearing bunny. The live rabbit appeared out of little house after I had to wave ever-increasingly sized wands over the hutch. The final wand 8ft tall!!!

The final performer was David Pattenden. He kicked off with professor?s nightmare followed by; spooky hank routine, silk routine, egg bag routine, the colouring in of a clown, the magic colouring book and finished with a rope suspension! All of this inside 15 minutes!

The votes were taken in and after a very closely fought contest, Andy Hart was announced the winner! Congratulations to Andy Hart!

Performing for adults pretending to be children is much more difficult than it seems, so once again I would like to congratulate all three performers on their outstanding performances.


Christmas Tricks - 7 Dec 2006

We started the festive meeting with a fresh face at the Sussex Magic
Circle for his first performance at the club was Colin Wilcox, he did his audition, it consisted of a few card revelations with a mentalist style presentation. And crazy mans handcuffs with the elastic bands. Well done Colin!!!

To start the magic night, Mike Pettitt treated us to a few festive
miracles, with vanishing hank and reappearing in a xmas cracker. Mike also did a routine (forgive me for forgetting the name), but an empty toyshop, was placed on the side and then a gift was selected, and re-appeared inside the shop. Mike?s presentation is absolutely amazing and he never fails to entertain me, I wish he was my granddad!!

Andrew performed a Christmas card trick, which its effect was that the
cards had matching xmas treats on there faces and they were turned face
down, the cards were paired up fairly by the spectators, and the last two cards matched up. A nice fitting piece for the evening.

And finally Stuart performed a snow production from water, absolutely
lovely piece of magic and a nice change to a snow pellet, I too perform the snow stool effect with a pellet. But this was a lot better, but I wouldn?t like to spend half an hour sweeping it up after the show.

Apologies if I have missed any names or magic performed that night, as I lost my paper work. I look forward to seeing you all in the new year! Merry Christmas.

David Taylor

Coming Soon

4 January 2007
Club Night

18 January 2007
Stage Competition

1 February 2007
Don Simpson Lecture*

15 February 2007
Magic of the Mind Competition

24 February 2007
Blackpool Convention

Complied by: Stuart Harley