Once again we are late and will not take space to offer excuses and apologies. It is certainly not the lack of material that is causing the delays as we have some really first class stuff that in fairness to our contributors and subscribers we want to get into print as soon as possible. As the editor and not the publisher I will do my very best to see that each issue, when it does arrive, is worth waiting for. If you do have a query on your subscription or our publishing dates please write to Nick Bolton (not me!) whose address is always on the back page.
This issue is a one-man melange by Phil Goldstein. Phil must be just about the most prolific inventor/writer of all times. Also, he is a professional performer working under the name of Max Maven. The experience, which he garners in front of live audiences, sets his stuff apart from some other ideas men, whose actual appearances are even more erratic than those of Pabular! As Phil, being a very knowledgable chap, has mentioned some moves, which other, less knowledgable chaps may not know, I have put an appendix at the end of the magazine, explaining them. These explanations must be brief as space is limited.
Not so long ago, at the invitation of Bob Irons, I journeyed to Derby to see Steven Hamilton give a lecture. Steven, who I have known for many years now, mixes regularly with such illuminati as Roy Walton, Andrew Galloway, Gordon Bruce and Peter Duffie. Occasionally, one of these prophets descends from the north, to be received like Moses from Sinai, by those lesser mortals, eager for fleeting glimpses into that magical Valhalla, centred around Glasgow! Seriously though, Steven had the unenviable task of maintaining the very high standard, which has almost come to be taken for granted, from that part of the world. Needless to say he gave a very creditable account of himself, really knocking out those who were getting their first taste of the "Glasgow experience".
The British Ring convention came as usual in September. It was nice to meet a lot of our readers in person. Sadly though, a lot of familiar faces were not there. Roger Crosthwaite was there, but developed a virus infection. He soldiered on through the late night close-up show on the Saturday, but was far from well and in fact went into hospital for treatment on the following Monday. It was nice to meet Owen Griffiths for the first time. He is transcribing some of Martin Breese's cassettes into booklets. These will be published from time to time. The Percy Press Glass of Water production, reviewed in this issue, is the first.
John Cornelius of the U.S.A. gave a lecture on close-up, which I am reliably informed was first rate. Unfortunately I was not able to catch it. I missed him at F.I.S.M. as well. I seem to have turned missing Cornelius into an art form!
This year, I had to miss much of the close-up. This is because Mike Gancia, who organises it, was compering the main Gala Show and could not be in two places at one time. He asked yours truly to assist with the running of things. In actual fact, the whole thing was so well arranged that I had little, or to be more accurate, nothing to do. One of these days I will describe, or better still get Mike to describe, just how the whole thing is run. Believe me, it is an eye-opener. Over the years he has built up a team of stewards, time keepers and behind the scene "runners" second to none. The whole thing is co-ordinated to a master plan, which is carried through with precision and certainty.
I did not see all of the acts in the close-up competition. Of those that I did see, Mark Leveridge (the winner) and Johnny Johnston (second) were so equally matched that I should have hated to have made a decision between them. Of course, this was only on one table. They have to maintain the standard on all four. It is no good being brilliant on three tables and making a pigs ear of the fourth. Not, I hasten to add, that either of them did. The decisions are taken solely by the judges. Each one making up his/her own mind without any consultation with the others. Indeed the judges all sit at separate tables, so strictly speaking, each one sees the performer in front of a different audience.
In the evening, the late night close-up went on far too long. Frankly I thought that for a show, which starts at 12.30, seven acts each doing roughly 15 minutes was juSt too many. At the start of the show the audience were crammed in like sardines. At the finish there were about six masochists left at each table. Of the performers that I saw, Tommy Wonder and Bob Little made the biggest impact. Bob's zany humour is just right for this type of show at that time of night. I do not think that he actually does a single trick — I certainly do not remember any. He just fools around and gets the laughs. Tommy, on the other hand, is a very smooth and effective performer. His magic is slick and well presented. Regular readers will know all about the quality of his stuff anyway. I have a beauty by him for the next issue. A close-up version of Everywhere and Nowhere. Do not miss it. It is brilliant. I will not mention all of the performers' by name. Just one other — Hans Van Senus — who worked in Chinese costume. He did some of the most skilful sleight of hand that I have ever seen at a convention. Beautiful stuff!
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