Magic Quotes #6

When I see someone spend $500 at a convention, or even $1000 for the trick with the little ball that gets into the glass, or the cup that gets into…whatever, it makes me sick. But when it’s books, thats the best possible investment.

Arturo de Ascanio

Blackpool 2012 – brief overview

Well it’s been a week since Blackpool and I can safely say that I am now fully recovered! It was a great convention with good friends and a fun time was had by all. Highlights for me included Christian Engblom giving us a brief anti-faro demonstration in the Ruskin hotel (with my deck – which funnily enough wasn’t quite right afterwards!) – he then explained various corrections he’d worked out for when a few cards are missed- he was a nice guy and he didn’t have to spend the time with us that he did. Also a hit at the convention was his “Cooler” which is the best deck switch utility card creation I’ve ever seen – it looked perfect and a deck can be rung in and out under the nose of the spectators and they won’t see a thing – it was brilliant.

Chad Long was excellent and his lecture was really enjoyable (a bought of leg cramp brought him to his knees and almost ended the lecture before it began but he carried on anyway) – I bought his colour changing flash drives as I’ve always been a fan of colour changing knifes but had difficulty in introducing them – he’s really modernised the whole thing.

Michael Weber was superb – the most professional and in depth magic lecture I’ve ever seen. He explained everything in perfect detail and not only explained how he does something but more importantly I think was why he did it that way. When asking if there were any questions in the audience he excluded any “what if” questions as he said they are only the fears the magician has and that he shouldn’t have any. He was plugging the Real Secrets mail subscription service which actually sounded really good. Apparently as well as the props which are sent in the post he also sends some strange objects which seemingly have no use for now but will make sense when combined with other objects later on – apparently even the stamp on the envelope could have some secret. Sounds fun and I’m tempted to sign up.

For me the social side of Blackpool usually outweighs the convention lineup – this was no exception but there were a few good acts I did manage to see.  Charlie Fry was the best juggler I’ve seen, I’m sad I missed the South Korean Yu Ho Jin who performs absolutely perfect card manipulation – check out the link if you haven’t already seen this – it’s amazing.

One thing this year which I’d hoped they would’t bring back was having the closeup sessions in the small theatre but with screens outside in the horseshoe area where people could watch. I understand the need to cater for large numbers of magicians but for me they’ve ruined the closeup at Blackpool – the simple reason is that it’s not closeup – it’s on stage. It was busy before but you could always stand close enough to see the person or move to the next table to see them again. Stage at worse, parlour at best – closeup should be closeup.

As is normal as soon as the dealers hall opened we made our way straight to Castle Magical Services which has the best selection of used books at the convention – I picked up Peter Kane’s Variant booklet, some Peter Kane lecture notes and Cy Enfields Entertaining Card Magic Part 1 for just over £5 – bargain.

Also a hit at the convention was Steve Brownley’s debut release – the “Ultimatum” deck which I’ll post about separately soon – it’s two cards at any two numbers and more!

Blackpool 2012 looms…

Another year, another Blackpool convention! I’m getting incredibly excited and am looking forward to a great few days with friends. The lineup seems the same as always with an additional gala show on the Friday. There’s no one on the lineup who I’m particularly excitied about seeing but the social side of the convention wins it every year for me.

Here’s to some lengthy Ruskin sessions!

Magic Quotes #5

It is simply not true that you’re a better magician because you’re better informed. You may be luckier, or you may have more books, more money or more time. Maybe you’re a bit more knowledgeable, but you’re not a better magician.

Arturo de Ascanio

Trick of the month- February 2012

Issue 4 of Steven Hamiltons Profile Magazine contains a superb Paul Wilson trick – “Randall Flagg”. Basically it’s a card at number routine where the spectator freely stops at 3 cards which are added and the card found at that number. This is done from a shuffled deck. The handling is very causal and excellently constructed. It almost has a Dani DaOrtiz feel about it – that impromptu jazz style in which you have to think a bit yet give the spectator a lot of freedom of choice – this leads to a total fooler. Anyone who has the magazines is urged to re-read this issue which also contains a great trick by Jerry Sadowitz.

Shock Treatment – Jackie McClements

I first saw Jackie McClements on an International Magic DVD and thought he was excellent. I’d read about him in the Crimp and a lot of people have heard of his false cut. His Flash Pass is an incredibly deceptive alternative to the classic two handed pass and I’ve been using it quite a bit since. He even does blindfold dice stacking in the lecture!

The main reason for posting this is to give you the heads up that Jackie McClements does produce a booklet called “Shock Treatment” which is available on his website – It contains 12 items in total, my favourites are “The Move” which is an ace cutting display and of course “Shock Treatment” – a routine which has many incredibly magical possibilities. If you’re looking for something new and don’t want to but the latest £30+ monster tomb then buy this booklet instead – you won’t be disappointed.