Just got back from my annual trip to Shangri La, which is English for Bonnie Scotland. Kirriemuir to be exact, and for those of you who may be interested, and there is one, my dear old mum, now in her middle eighties, is just fine. She has no idea what the youngest of her seven children really does for a living. She knows he's written a few books, she knows he has been on T.V. a few times doing magic tricks, but she doesn't really know what kind of a job he has. By her standards, everyone has a job of work to go to every day and at the end of the week you put your hand out and someone puts money in it. She, like most of her generation in this country were brainwashed over the years into thinking that this was life, this was living. A regular job was everything.
And talking about brainwashing, it becomes more and more evident that magicians are being brainwashed into thinking that there are only one or two ways to perform a magic act. You either stand there cracking a few gags whilst performing some effect which you have pulled out of your pocket, or you perform a silent manipulative act or maybe you don a Chinese robe and do a "costume" act. There are variations, of course. Maybe you buy three or four portable illusions and do an "illusion" act.
The difference between my old mother's generation and the magicians peddling their wares today, is that her generation were brainwashed as part of a deliberate policy of one group of people towards another, whereas the magicians of today are actually brainwashing each other. It really is a case of the blind leading the blind.
How long is it since you saw a really original performer? Someone who really brought something of HIS OWN to a really commercial magic act? Something that made that act look different somehow to the others? I can think of a few. The late Robert Harbin. The late Kardoma. The late Douglas Francis. The late Francis Watts. Come to think of it, it is getting late, isn't it. So far all the names I have mentioned are now regrettably no longer with
us, and before anyone points out that Kardoma couldn't perform his act under present day conditions, let me say just three things. Piffle. Poppycock, and Balderdash. If old Kardoma were still around, he'd FIND A WAY.
There are of course a few performers around who could hold their own in the aforementioned company. The Moretti's, Johnny Thompson, Jay Marshall (and he hasn't got too long), Jerry Bergman, and a few more. All with one thing in common. They have all brought something of their own to the magic scene. Try it sometime, and if you think that the foregoing reads like something I have already written so?
LATE NEWS: you will no doubt read about it elsewhere but one of my favourite close-up men is about to hit London. Scotty York by name, gentleman by nature. Scotty is one of the few close-up men who really give more than a little thought to his magic — example: who else would put a coin into a little brass box and make the coin change to the complete inner workings of a wrist watch.. .you think that's good o.k. Now he looks at his watch and where previously there was a watch face there is now the coin.. .yes, the same one. That's originality. He always does an effect with a gold finger, but I won't go into details here because until I saw Scotty perform HIS effect I always thought Goldfinger was a Jewish gynaecologist. If you can get to his lectures, and so far he has two arranged, one in London and one in Birmingham, do so. He is one of the few close-up men who are different. A thought. . .1 seem to remember Scotty telling me that some dealer has ripped off his watch and coin trick, which brings me to Ali Bongo.
Ali is just back from Japan and he dropped me a line which arrived today, enclosing the Japanese version of an old effect of mine. "Easy Money" it was called. I don't know what the Japanese manufacturer calls his version, but as he didn't pay me anything for the rights to manufacture it.. .for him.. .it is easy money.
I have just taken a couple of months off work. . .that's right I haven't done a show in two months until the other night. The tricks were o.k. but I couldn't remember a line. I was halfway through a gag and blew it because I couldn't remember what came next, that's a fact. I had to call a friend of mine the next day to get him to tell me a gag I've been using for yonks.
Goodbye, Patrick Page
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