During the past few weeks it has been our pleasure to be present and enjoy some of the finest close-up magic anyone could ever wish to see.
It began at the BBC TV Centre with the recording of the Michael Parkinson chat show due to go out before the end of the year. His guests on this occasion being Fred Kaps performing on stage, and also close-up during the chat, performing one trick very slowly when it was suggested that the 'quickness of the hand' was one of the magician's secrets. Great. It was now the turn of Ricky Jay whose name will appear in the next edition of the Guinness Book of Records having thrown a playing card 168 feet, a record only likely to be beaten by frustrated imitators of this and his other card magic using a full pack. Completely different, both in style and appearance from Fred Kaps his act consisted of throwing cards and tricks with them, performing in a casual, off-handed manner which belied the considerable technical skill required to produce the effects.
Richiardi Junior performed illusions which made it a complete and satisfying magical treat which was climaxed with a combined effort by the three magicians with Michael Parkinson being stretched to his full capacity. Mrs Parkinson was not completely fooled by the latter being heard to exclaim that a certain visible part of the victims anatomy did not belong to her husband.
The production was in the hands of John Fisher and his first time effort has every sign of being a winner. He appeared later to pay tribute to Ali Bongo and Ken Brooke for their help and also mentioned that the spirit of camaraderie between the performers had greatly impressed all involved in the production. Nice to know.
The next event was not an act or a show, advertised as 'AN AFTERNOON with RICKY JAY' took place at the Concert Artist's Club. Arranged by Ken Brooke who before introducing the artist presented John Fisher with a copy of Raymond Toole Stutt's 'A Bibliography of English Conjuring 1581—1876' which had been signed by all present. This most definitive book yet published on the subject was a fitting present for the recipient who has been instrumental in promoting magic in the best possible way.
Ricky Jay then emerged from a side door and made his way to a table. Of the many effects performed none were explained, other than the technique of card throwing. This was at the request of Jack Avis who caught the'top change he missed at the Parkinson recording. For those who came to learn 'secrets' of tricks may have been somewhat disappointed but for those whose interest in magic goes a little deeper had plenty to think about. Before performing one effect we were warned he was about to do something unprofessional. The trick was a gambling routine in which a number of winning hands were dealt and the routine appeared to be impromptu and the general impression created was that he could produce a winning hand at request for any of the popular card games. To us it seemed that little could be done to improve it, but Ricky claimed he needed another year before it would be ready for public performance. How many of us, having learned the technical requirements and patter for a trick consider that its presentation requires a further twelve months study? On being asked, Fred Kaps agreed that he would also spend this amount of time perfecting an effect. The realisation that this one fact alone was an essential ingredient in becoming a top class performer could prove invaluable to those of us who decide to set upon it. Apart from the above card routine a signed card to purse effect and the gypsy thread accompanied with 'Pakastani' patter was performed. The other tricks can be seen on the Parkinson show. We gathered that he performs professionally anywhere under every conceivable condition — from behind bars to Rock Concerts before audiences of over four thousand. He doubts the qualifications of many who give lectures after a couple of years in magic and deplores the trend in his own country of magic being so freely available where many of the latest effects are being mass produced and their sales promotion being angled to the general public. We almost forgot to mention he wears his hair long and has a beard to match. Not a particularly important piece of information, but we thought you would like to know that he claims that his act at Rock Concerts and the like would be just as acceptable without it.
The Magic Place has now been in existance for ten years. To mark this milestone in magic Johii Fisher and Paul Stone decided that it should not be allowed to pass without some recognition. They circulated their ideajpd-as a result made a presentation to thej^irecfors of this firm following the Scott York lecture. Frank was presented with a handsome decanter and something with which to fill it, and Ken with a record token for £150. We of Pabular had also been thinking in similar vein, Editor Nick Bolton on behalf of its staff, contributors and subscribers presented each with a suitably engraved glass. Here's to the next ten years.
Tunbridge Wells is an interesting town in many ways, but it is not particularly noted for the entertainment it provides after nightfall. However, Friday is an exception. At the Chalet Rosa you can dine on exotic Swiss and Continental specialities, dance to music played on quadrophonic equipment, and Brian Sinclair, London's leading close-up conjurer, will astound you with his wizardry at your own table.
The chances of seeing magic performed live do not occur often and the opportunities for seeing close-up magic at the table, outside the magic scene, are almost non-existent. There being nothing of magical interest happening in London, Bob Haines on his twenty-sixth visit to this country suggested we make a trip to Tunbridge Wells.
The restaurant is the top place in the area for an evening out and we found the food excellent, the service good and the atmosphere friendly. Having savoured all that we were ready for the magic.
As the diners reach the coffee stage Brian Sinclair approaches the table. He is a bearded, burly fellow well on the right side of middle age, whatever that is. Opening with the sponge balls enables him to make immediate contact with the patrons at the same time involving them in the action and getting his first laugh. His second trick is the best of the lot, getting seated at the table. (We will not tell you how he manages this because you have to see it happen to believe it). The rest of the tricks you all know and they include Chop Cup, Coins through the Table, Ringed, Fido, Card in the Wallet, Egg Bag, Devano Rising Cards etc., etc.
As we watched him pass from table to table it was evident from the laughter and applause that everyone was having a good time, which is what performing magic for the general
public is all about. To achieve this kind of success the ability to handle people is far more important than being technically skilful or possessing apparatus; neither of these will enable you to approach a table in a proper manner, present your magic in a way that will interest people who do not necessarily like magic, or to deal with that ever-present awkward customer who has boasted to his friends that he will catch you out.
Nearly a year working the tables at the ChaletArosa has enabled Brian to learn through experience the demands of this kind of work, demands undreampt of by those of us whose close-up efforts have been confined to familyiparties and magic clubs. Anyone having aspirations in this direction will find that a visit to the Chalet! Arosa any Friday evening to be both enlightening and enjoyable.
Should you get the opportunity, arrive early and discreetly make yourself known to Brian who will make you welcome. Please remember that it would be extremely unethical to bring out your own pack of cards and do your own party piece. It would also be unadvis-able. Brian is a big fellow and the way out is down a long flight of steps. Far better to sit back, watch for the misdirection which you will miss anyway, forget about the secret of 'how the trick is done' and try and discover what makes the people enjoy his performance.
As we were leaving Bob Haines sought out the manager and told him how much he had enjoyed the evening, adding that he was lucky being able to obtain the services of suth a good magician. That way, everyone goes home happy.
DOU^BUE 'THFZ cDRQPGgWITd
If we have managed to get this move into the same issue as Steven Kuske's effect you will not have been wasting your time looking for it.
The principle is very simple and must have been thought of before, though no-one to whom it has been shown claimed they had thought of it previously makes the sleight unique, in one respect at least.
In the effect mentioned it requires that the spectators should believe that the two black tens are on the table when in fact one is the ace of hearts.
When starting this effect instead of taking the two black tens from the pack and then switching one of them for the ace of hearts, try, this. Spread out the cards faces towards you, find the ace of hearts and the two black tens and bring all three to the back with the ace between the two black tens. When the pack is turned face down the top three cards will read black ten, ace of hearts and the other black ten.
Hold the pack in the left hand in the usual position for secretly counting cards using the left thumb. It is a similar position to the one adopted to find a corner short. This explanation should make clear what is required and relieve us of the necessity of providing one of those sketches which tend to make some readers flip over the page.
The left thumb releases the top card which is taken with the right hand, fingers at the outer end and thumb at the inner, and displayed to the audience. Still retaining the card in the same position, the right hand moves down and apparently takes a second card and displays it in the same manner, but this time the left thumb releases two cards and the right takes them as one. Thus you have shown two black tens as the two top cards. The true second card, the ace of hearts is concealed between the two tens. Drop the three cards back on top of the pack whilst you brush the dust off your mat, or straighten it, or perform any other action which gives a reason for not placing the two (?) cards directly onto the table. Deal the top two cards singly onto +he table and proceed with the effect as described.
"THE GEE AT WIZARD OF THE NORTH,''
Performing lij> cclei>r»tni trick ol POCRIN'f; FOUR DIFFERENT LIQUIDS FROM ONE BOTTLE.
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Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.