Another year, another Blackpool convention, only this year was easily the worst I’ve ever been to. The social side as always is the best thing, if they ever cancelled the convention a huge number of magicians would still meet there every year. I think the organizers count on this fact. The FISM 2011 European Championships completely overtook the usual convention setup which meant less lectures and a closeup session which was not only shorter but took place on stage with video screens outside. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the championships were of a good standard – the bits that I saw were poor – one act was disqualified for half killing a dove on stage.
The highlight for me was seeing Bernard Billis lecture and also perform in the closeup. His closeup set was superb – I really liked his portable hole effect with aces and not coins. He also had an amazing cards across with 3 signed selections travelling from one packet (the packet was cleanly counted after each ace traveled) and arriving in different parts of the packet held by the other spectator. His lecture was fantastic and included some nice routines. What I thought was really great was that his lecture was not about selling anything like most of them are – he asked anyone if they wanted explanations of any sleights and even explained the cards across after a man asked him to. As usual, a lecture by someone of his technical standard was poorly attended, whereas Jay Sankey was standing room only.