Tips For Magic by Len Belcher

It has been said that the majority of the magical ideas I have originated involve the construction of apparatus.

If this is true, and a careful study of magazine files shows me that it is at least a reasonable assumption, then I have no apologies ro offer; indeed I feel justified on quite a number of counts.

Magic from the pocket is not everyone's meat, neither for audience nor performer, and it still remains true that a balanced blend of sleights and apparatus is the key to success with the non-specialised type of audience.

I have never published a sleight—not one that I can remember anyway—and yet at least half of my programme consists of sleights, major or minor. I think the main reason for my reticence in this respect is that I feel the subject has been well and truly covered in quite a number of standard works.

Such sleights as are published piecemeal from time to time are very largely variations which suit the writer because he has had difficulty with a standard method. It seems to me, then, that very few of them will be of general value to magicians, as they will in most cases have already developed the variations which suit them best.

Naturally this is not true of all the new sleights, but I am convinced that the basic

argument is sound; very few of them are actual improvements.

Now the same argument can be applied to the field of apparatus magic, but here we have a very different set of conditions; wirh a sleight the audience is not expected to see any difference—with apparatus it is. I contend that no magician in his right mind will continually use the same piece of apparatus in front of the same audience, any more than he would find it necessary to develop a new sleight every time he gave a show. They will get tired of the apparatus, but they won't become bored with the sleight because they shouldn't know it is taking place.

My point, then, is this: our sleights are, so to speak our brushes, paints, and paper: our apparatus is the picture we paint, and the overall effect is a combination of them all. You change the picture, but you don't change the skill; you only increase or improve it.

Having thus declared my faith, I can now kick over the traces and tell you that I do propose to describe a sleight later on in this series. It's a coin vanish, and whether it's original or not I have no idea. All I know is

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