Brief Notes on the Second Edition

December 2002

I was tempted, as with Pure Effect, to remove a couple of chapters from this printing just to cause the same kind of fiirore, But I didn't.

I feel it worth clarifying that since writing this book, my move into performing only 'psychological illusions' has seemed to me to be a progression — probably in part my way of resolving the frustrations I felt with magic, which come through in these pages. Of course given the nature of my television work it would have been incongruous and confusing to continue to include conjuring in my repertoire. I should add that I have never for a moment missed it.

However, in that the following work was written at the peak of my involvement with traditional magic, and because my 'psychological' material is still born from the same beliefs and passions set out here, I hope it stands as a worthwhile volume on the subject.

A couple of important notes. Some people took exception to jokes made iii the first edition about the character of Guy Hollingworth. When this was brought to my attention I realised my comments had certainly been misjudged. I'd like to state publicly that Guy does not snort, nor has ever snorted, cocaine before performing or indeed at any other time, and that he is not even the vulgar, flatulent ragamuffin that I occasionally and ironically portray him as here, He is a gentleman and a friend, and apart what seems to me to be a disappointing taste in music there's nothing I can say against him. Apologies for any embarrassment caused.

On a similar note, it was also mentioned to me that an indelicately turned phrase regarding the superb performer Noel Britten's employment of Stanislavski's "Magic if had caused offence to a few people. Upon re-reading it, I realised it could be taken to mean the opposite of what I

intended. I wrote that he had employed the technique 'doubtless unawares,' meaning only unconsciously: I wanted to credit his superlative intuition as a performer in absorbing this technique and making it second nature (as it seemed to me), but inadvertently suggested that he was just plain ignorant of it. I hope my meaning is now clear, and I have removed the ambiguous phrase. Apologies.

Some have complained that I use unnecessarily vulgar language, especially at the very start of this book. I would simply refer the reader to the first draft edition of Tarbell, which was littered with indelicate cartoons, lewd references to Mrs. Tarbell, and rife with the language of the cloaca. No one got upset about that.

I have made one or two other changes, which irritated me from the first edition, and generally speaking these are all typographical..

Other than that, this book is splendid.

This book is dedicated to my friend Teller, whose eloquent and erudite ctrri'spondctwe gave shape to my understanding of the relationship between magic and theatre. (think no one understands that dynaink more than he, nor creates magic as artistically resonant. This book has its genesis in his thoughts.

For Your Reading Pleasure Preface

Having emerged, disillusioned and visibly upset from the gruelling, unhappy period of my life that constituted writing Pure Effect, already described by the London Evening Vagina as 'this sweaty mouth-load of faggy arse-gag..' I am pleased to announce to you, the angry reader, that you hold once again in your hands or feet a collection of my personal choice of words, chosen 1mm my brain and mind, blobbed together into sentence-children and allowed to play violently with each other to form a kind of enormous word-idea, wrapped around cut-up paper and weighing about the same as a fat hamster.

Madonna, surely the world's best female performer after Jeff McBride, once said to me, "Out. Get out." Her words have come to form the backbone of this book, which I know has been a massive conceptual challenge for the printers. As is common with writers, an affection has grown in my heart for this work. My passing it to you is an intimate moment of sharing: in many ways like a sex-act of ideas, except without all that fumbling and flatulence and the girl not being able to find your wotsil.

The aim of this book is to set out, quite unapologetically, a model for performing magic in such a way that it feels real to the spectator — even though he may intellectually rationalise it later. In order to do this, it is not enough for me to provoke questions in your mind: I must describe the idea that I have, an idea that is borne of my own passions and beliefs. On the one hand I know it to be only my set of answers, and I know that any serious performer out there could never make his own magic entirely ft the model I describe. Yet set it out I must, for I would like this to read as something of a tract: a record of my thoughts as I see them now, rather than a series of disparate essays on presentation. However, I am wary of being presumptuous.

I can only talk about my magic, and the vision of magical performance that I have. In exploring my particular vision, I will have to move from discussion of an ideal, to the role that the ideal has in actual performance. It is not my place to dictate what is right or wrong in magic — I am, I repeat, merely setting out my own model, albeit it one which is founded on some strong opinions.

So do not mistake my apparent singleness of vision for a conviction that I have found The Way. I am merely describing a journey, and trying to be as honest as possible about it. I am still young and handsome, and realise that in future years I may look back on this book and cringe. But it feels right now, as I push thirty.

So if I appear to be demarcating your creativity, then pay me no attention. Step back a bit and see it I or what it is: just my current understanding of our wonderful profession. These things are what I passionately believe, and I can only set them out with the conviction that they inspire in me and the importance that they have in my life. Make of them what you will, and take from them what speaks to you.

I wish you all the best with your magic and hope that you constantly re-discover it.

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