"A BOON FOR ALL SEASONS" Eric Mason and Barrie Richardson. Available from Eric Mason, 39 Dennis Park Crescent-, Wimbledon, London SW20 8QH.
Neither of the authors will be strangers to Pabular readers and both have inventive and original minds. Eric, of course, invented the Boon writer, in the first place, so his niche in magical history is as assured as that of Elmsley, Okito and the many others, who have given us utility items, with uses so numerous that only the limitations of the human imagination place restrictions upon them.
So what of the book itself. Its presentation is decidedly up-market. Stitched and perfect bound with high quality paper and softboard covers, it is about the most expensively produced paperback that I have ever seen. The artwork and illustrations are "all by Eric and are scattered through the book with the same sort of proliferation as the grafitti in a Millwall lavatory. I am not being derogatory, when I say that. I just mean that there is a veritable abundance of little spot drawings in addition to the textual illustrations, the type that seem to be Eric's stock in trade.
As for the actual magic, I am not really the best qualified person to write about this. My own feelings on mentalism are, by now, fairly well known. Several people, who are into this sort of thing, have told me that it is a marvellous book. Certainly, on going through it, I was struck by some of the ingenious and subtle applications of this simple device. I even learned how to get writing onto a prediction which is sealed in an inflated balloon. Whether this is new or not, it was certainly new to me.
Anybody, who has more than a passing interest in mental magic, would be foolish to pass up this book. It is the most exhaustive and comprehensive study of its subject, so far written. It is eminently readable, well presented and a surprise and delight to all who enjoy % subtle ideas and applications. Highly recommended.
TIPS ON TABLE HOPPING by Kirk Charles. Available is more of a manuscript. It has been cheaply produced and will certainly not sell on sight to those who like a nice looking book for their money. That will be their loss. It is, in fact, a very useful and practical book, which deals simply and unpretentiously with the "nuts and bolts" of working close-up in a commercial manner.
In his introduction, Kirk Charles says, "It is my aim that anyone can take the material offered here and use it, with only a few changes, to fit his or her own experiences and performance needs." In fact, he does achieve this aim and much more. He gives guidance in how to select suitable material, how to advertise and promote yourself, how to negotiate a fee, the type of places to approach for work, relationships with the rest of the staff, drawing tips, moving in on a table, getting started, dealing with drunks/children/difficult customers etc.
The book, being a U.S. publication, is obviously geared up to the American scene. There are bits and pieces, which will not apply to U.K. performers. On the whole, however, the broad principles are the same, throughout the Western world, so for every one piece of information which is not relevant to the British magician, there will be ten that are.
There are no tricks in this book. There is no real philosophy expressed as such — although there are one or two smatterings of one, dotted about here and there. This is essentially a practical handbook, to guide the newcomer to this kind of magic, along the right lines.
If you intend going out and doing close-up magic for money, or even just for kicks, this book could save you a lot of time and heartache. Highly recommended.
SECRETS AND MYSTERIES FOR THE CLOSE-UP ENTERTAINER by Eugene Burger. Published by Phil Willmarth and available from Martin Breese at £7.00.
I have read a lot about Eugene Burger in the magical press recently. All of it has been good. It would seem that everybody who has seen his work, is universally bowled over. Bob Read is quoted as saying, "He's marvellous. Every item's a closer!" Phil Goldstein also spoke very highly of him.
All that I have so far seen of Mr Burger is his photograph. This shows what must surely be, one of the most unlikely looking characters to be a professional magical entertainer. His bald head, long bushy beard and steel rimmed glasses convey the impression of a modern day Shylock, who would be more at home in fifteenth century Florence than 1982 Chicago. However, beneath the beard, one can detect a cheeky grin; an indication that perhaps Mr Burger does not take himself too seriously.
His magic, on the other hand, is a very different matter. It is apparent from this small 98 page booklet, that that is taken very seriously 1074 indeed — especially its presentation and entertainment value. That he was guided in his early days, by the inimitable Don Alan, says much. That he has put his learning to good use is born out by the vast numbers of glowing testimonials, that he regularly receives in the magical press and Chicago media.
The book is in two parts. Part One is headed Secrets. In this, Eugene Burger goes deeply into his own philosophy about the professional presentation of close-up magic. This is a philosophy which has enabled him to earn a good living, doing nothing but intimate magic. He does not do trade shows, pitch selling or children's magic. He works exclusively for adults, in cocktail lounges, restaurants and at corporate/private parties. There are not many magicians who can truthfully make this claim.
The second part of the book: Mysteries, details nine of his effects, which illustrate clearly how his philosophy is put into practise.
This is a book that should be read very carefully by anybody, who seeks to entertain close-up, rather than just "do tricks". It is an important book and one from which we can all learn. Highly recommended.
"SPELLBINDER: SPECIAL ISSUE" Review by Al Smith. August 1982.
SPELLBINDER: SPECIAL ISSUE. Spiral bound book; 50 pages; 27 items. Price £6.00 (or £5.00 to regular Spellbinder subscribers). Available from the publisher, Stephen Tucker, 22 Bodmin Grove, Carr Mill, St Helens, Merseyside, WA11 9ST.
Editor/Publisher Tucker has acquired a knack of collecting an inordinate amount of highly usable magic, from a wide variety of sources — some familiar names ride side by side with less familiar names — and, even better, he also has an entertaining manner of presenting it to his readers. Sometimes abrasive, usually quite manic but always lucid and enthusiastic about his subject.
SPELLBINDER concerns itself with Close-Up Magic as a matter of policy and so SUMMER SPECIAL, quite naturally, presents the Close-Upper's stock in trade — tricks with coins, balls, cups, envelopes, cigarettes and (of course) cards. There is even a special section explaining five of Mr Tucker's previously marketed items, each of which sold individually for about £2.50. You will need a few gimmicks for these but nothing outlandish.
Conclusion: Plenty of material for the enthusiast, varying from easy to not-so-easy. SPELLBINDER: SPECIAL ISSUE is definately
Value For Money. Close-Up fans will approve.
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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.