One cannot envisage these individuals advising youngsters not to let their hobby interfere with their education — refusing to sell them expensive tricks until they had first obtained their parents permission, and not then if a purchase would be likely to bring disappointment — make a special journey to see the first show of someone embarking on a professional career and afterwards, because of their concern for the public image of magic and the personal success of the performer, give the latter guidance and instruction — for free, which are jUst a few of the many non-profit making actions I recall of another magical salesman — Ken Brooke.
For over a decade Ken, together with Frank Farrow have provided a venue — The Magic Place — where magicians could meet and chat seated in comfort undisturbed by anything not directly pertaining to their hobby, without being pressurised into making a purchase. Into this studio come magicians from all over the world — it would be almost impossible to name one top line performer who fails to drop in when visiting London. Only yesterday in walked Johnny Paul — which is about as near the top as it is possible to get in close-up magical performers. For over an hour he entertained the company with descriptions of various bits of 'business' he uses to entertain the laity and irj addition performed his Torn and Restored note.
Within a short space of time Johnny had left us in no doubt the path to be followed by anyone desirous of using magic to entertain people other than magicians. One remark he made gave the clue to it all "magicians say, it's no use going to see Johnny Paul — you don't learn anything". We will pursue the reason why in some future issue.
Within a few months such enjoyable experiences as the above will no longer be a part of the capital's magic scene because the sad news is that The Magic Place is closing down. When the door at 145 Wardour Street closes for the last time it will be the end of an era and one which I, together with countless others, will in the future have much to look back upon with pleasure, and say 'things are not what they used to be' — and they won't.
Whatever happens there will always be the British pub. It was in the Blenheim Bar that Piet Forton dropped in. Within half an hour Gordon Bruce joined him, followed closely by yours truly and only minutes later in walked Ricky Jay and an instant international magical session was in progress. Later when the bar filled up with Magic Circle members drifting in from their regular Monday night meeting Ricky performed his 'Remember and Forget' and changed a £1 note into a fiver — faultlessly. Piet gave us the lowdown on his repeat Torn and Restored thread which will appear in this magazine next month — you can see him perform it at the International Day of Magic in December.
Persi Diaconis came over with Ricky. Another session in which we found ourselves in Pat Page's London home (he was away) at eight o'clock the following morning. Plenty of magic, but nothing explained. These two characters don't talk — they hold the cards so close to the chest it's a wonder they can even breathe. Gordon B. was there which reminds me that Bobby Bernard said "The Gordon Bruce issue of Pabular was the most exciting issue of a magical magazine he had ever read".
There have been complaints that Britain's close-up magicians are starved of publicity. For our part we are not in the business of creating magazine heroes. Performers of above-average ability obtain a reputation by the quality of their work which is then reported in the
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