Lenz

The VAMPIRE CLUB

Meeting of Friday, 25th January.

Those of us who live in London are familiar with the sight of flights of Starlings arriving each evening from all parts of the home counties. They make for a few selected buildings such as, The National Gallery, St. Martin's Church and the Charing Cross Hotel. Here, in their own lingo, they go into active discussion of their pet topics before roosting for the night. London is now experiencing a new phenomena in the form of a flight of Vampires which descend on the Swiss Hotel at about 6.30 p.m. on the last Friday of each month where they discuss and enjoy much magic. I do hope all country Vampires will endeavour to make this flight as soon as possible— they will find it well worth while. Christmas seemed to interfere with their regular habits on the last Friday in December, but they were there in full force in January. Lenz gave them a warm welcome and said how pleased he was to see the old faces again, but I noticed a very encouraging number of new members and of young faces—the youngsters can learn a lot at these gatherings.

Max then proposed opening the meeting with a new feature in the form of a Brains Trust. The brains were supplied by Alex. Gordon, John Bourne, Maurice Burdin, Max and Lenz. Needless to say, with such a team of experts, the experiment was a great success and, at the end of the session, all the Vampires voted for another one at a future date.

Let me give you a very brief summary of some of the interesting questions and answers.

The first question asked, " Do many magicians use too much patter and too few tricks?" The answers to this one were mainly to the effect that it depended on the character of the artist and the nature of his act. Comedy and Magic, in certain instances blended very well but in general, patter should be conserved to all that was relevant to the effect.

The next questioner wanted to know, Is it your practice to use Stooges?" This one brought forward some very interesting opinions particularly with regard to the differences between a "Stooge" and a "Plant". In the main ir was agreed that a stooge should be used only where necessary for entertainment value, or as so often occurs, the time factor makes it necessary to avoid the delay experienced in persuading volunteers.

The next two questions were very interesting indeed and I for one have often given them thought.

" Should Magic and Vent be mixed? " Space will not permit me to go into detail concerning the varied opinions expressed, but I think it was agreed that, generally speaking, it is wise not to mix the two. Lenz pointed out that it was quite a different matter when entertaining children—the more variety you could give them the better—he should know!

Last question, " Should the Mentalist put his act on as a serious one and avoid mixing it with Conjuring or any sort of humorous association?" Here again the team seemed of the opinion that Mentalism and Conjuring are best kept apart. If a performer decided to use both in one show it would be better to separate them and classify as Mental and Visual Magic.

Lenz finished with a lovely bit of humour to the effect that he had seen many Mentalists perform in a manner as to convince him that they were quite mental.

For the first time we have Mr. Hillman, a photographer present and he to'd me that he was using a flash apparatus giving an exposure of 1 /5000 second and I am sure that he did good business for the interval that followed the brains session was filled with flashes.

I could write for a long time on the pleasures of these meetings, but I must now tell you about the Cabaret Show.

Tom Egan came on first. He handed a pack of cards to the audience that they might select and supervise the counting of 12. The 12 cards on being returned to him, passed silently and mysteriously from his left hand, one by one, into his right hand trousers pocket —very beautifully done.

He followed with a shadow show on a screen which was full of character and unusually blessed with animation. I think he should style himself 'The one man Odeon".

Our old friend Edward Victor then took the floor, passing a solid steel ring on and off a length of cord with the greatest of ease. He took us, in fancy, onto the race course with an exhibition of the 3 card trick worked with giant cards, and finished with six cards to pocket. Another short interval followed and it is fitting that I should pay tribute to our hard working pianist, Mr. Savage, who has to conjure melody from his instrument whenever called upon. He gave us two charming solos during this break.

After this came Jack Lowen with an act that he styled New Magic — a very fitting title. I can only describe his first item as a sort of phoney penetration—that is, as far as magicians know penetration. He set out to pass a rubber ball through a much too small hole in a wooden square. To do this he rolled the ball between his hands until it became a long thin rod when naturally it passed easily through the ho!e. He finished by rolling the rod back into the original ball and, to prove it genuine(?) rubber, bounced it on the floor. His next he called "Ships that pass in the night". This title gives an idea of his simple humorous patter. Two ships—wooden rods with holes in the centres. One tied securely to the centre of a rope which was held behind the backs of three spectators. Threading the other wooden ship onto one end of the rope he slid it along behind the backs of his assistants and somehow, passed the one already tied to the centre of the rope, to the other end—I wonder how he did that? He cut a cigarette in half, magically rejoined and smoked it as though nothing untoward had happened. He gave some good card effects too, but space is running short.

Ivor Cole followed with vanishing wand and diminishing billiard ball, before switching into a vent. act. I think everyone thoroughly enjoyed his excellent handling of his wooden partner especially when that partner burst into song and not just ordinary song, but a really first class burst of yodelling!

Bear with me please a little longer, I insist on giving adequate mention to our last performer this evening. I think I have never enjoyed an item as I did this one. I refer of course to Brian Tish Godfrey. It is beyond my skill to do him justice — shall I just say that he is a master of serious humour complete with monocle and Fez. Everything he did— and he did everything — was done in an atmosphere of confusion and indifference.

His table was loaded with all kinds of weird apparatus and even there all was confusion—nothing where it should be when he wanted it. I am not going into detail— sufficient to say that he used everything— Tubes, Frames, Boxes, Cards, Silks and—Oh, I give it up. One final whisper—he should

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