I wonder how many readers of this magazine actually go out and perform close-up magic regularly? It appears to me, and many others before me, that most members of magic clubs go there to amuse, amaze and entertain each other. I am not suggesting this is bad. I think it's very good. They enjoy their hobby, which is what a hobby is for, fun. But they don't as a group contribute very much to the hobby.
There are, however, some magical hobbists who take things more seriously. They are genuinely interested in improving their skill, knowledge or understanding of misdirection, or whatever. The first group do little more than provide an audience or sounding board for the second group who really only want to see magic performed for them or have it explained to them. In other words they want to learn new tricks most of the time.
Let's assume that I am right. Actually, know I am right but I do realise that there are more than a few of the first group who will disagree with me. If I am right, can anything be done to bring the two groups onto the same wavelength? Answer — no.
Not only is the answer no, but in my arrogant opinion, the answer should be no. They are two different groups with different interests and different aims. The first group could never bring themselves to try and understand the meaning of the word misdirection, and the second group tend to look down their noses at the latest version of the paddle trick.
I don't often discuss magic tricks as such in this column but I would like to impart a little of my close-up experience for the benefit of the aforementioned second group. The first group, of course, will be able to appreciate it but the beauty of this one shattering piece of knowledge is that only the second group will be able to benefit by it. Are you getting the impression that I am with the second group?
The effect is the Sponge Balls. Have you ever had to perform close-up in an after-dinner situation where there are perhaps ten people sitting around a circular table? This is almost the norm for a banquet-style function. Usually the table is cluttered up with glasses, bottles and a vase of flowers, a candleabra and lord knows what else. The first problem you come up against is the fact that you can't do anything on the table top because the people sitting at the other side of the table are about seven feet away trying to see through a maze of glasses, bottles etc.
Solution coming up. Instead of placing the sponge balls on the table top, turn three glasses mouth down on the table and use the bottoms of the glasses as a working surface. The taller the glasses the better. The logical sequel is to carry a small board, perhaps twelve by five inches and to lay that across two upturned glasses as a sort of raised table on top of the table.
That's it, folks. It's a gem of an idea, it really works, it is 100% practical. And you know who can't use it.
Martin Breese Ltd., THE MAGIC LOUNGE, 31, Richm'ond Way, Hammersmith, LONDON W. 14. - Tel. 01-603 6578.
Eric Mason walked into the Magi'c Lounge, He borrowed a lp, coin, picked up a Schweppes bottle, Eric tapped the coin on the base. Wallop I The coin was genuinely in the bottle and to my astonishment it was impossible to remove it. This is the ultimate coin in bottle. Imagine the impact on a potential booker. You can leave him the bottle so that it will be a life-time advert for your magical skill.
THE WYLLIE /MASON MIRACLE The Ultimate Coin in Bottle.
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