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IBM British Ring Convention 2009 – Southport – The Presentation of Awards and The Late Gala

September 26th, 2009 - Richard Morrell

The awards were given as follows:

Ali Bongo Micro Magic Competition – Fay Presto
Dealers Trophy – Practical Magic
Rovi Trophy for Card Magic – Kevin Gallagher
Manipulation – Tai Hsiang Chou
Comedy Originality – Not Awarded

The Zina Bennett Close-up Trophy:

1st – Steve Dela
2nd – Rob James
3rd – Kevin Gallagher

The British Ring Shield

1st – Tai-Hsiang Chou
2nd – Dave Andrews
3rd – The Amazing Norvil Josephine

Tony Rix compered the Late Gala, with a Torn and Restored Tissue Paper routine, an interlude with an Axtell Bird and a clock prediction, and some gentle humour, he kept the show flowing.

Brando and Silvana embody everything they talked about in their lecture. She is a Flower Seller, he is running a con game on the street, in the form of a cups-and-balls, find the ball, game. They go through the cups-and-balls routine with various loads including his wallet which she has stolen off him, that magically reappears underneath one of the cups. Finally for the dénouement as they hear the police approach she magically changes from her grey costume into a full colour gown, complete with colorful parasol, and he changes costume as well, and the box he has been playing on, changes into a park bench, where they innocently sit to avoid capture.

Pavels Rain of Ropes was a beautiful particularly continental style act. A portrayal of the seasons, which starts off with rain, and as he opens his umbrella ropes fall out. A wonderful selection of hs creative and inventive rope magic follows, colour changing ropes, jumping knots, blendos and rope splitting, finishes in a round-about way back with the umbrella which now contains a snowstorm, showering Pavel in snow.

Soma is the recent Grand-Prix winner at FISM with his mobile phone manipulation act. He starts by walking on carrying a coffee cup and newspaper, and performs a Torn and Restored paper, utilising a rewind bit, using the Lean illusion and a piece of the paper that flys back from where it was dropped on the floor. He then moves into coin manipulation, in order to operate the onstage payphone, and a series of mobile phone manipulations, vanishes and productions. Finally the act comes full-circle as he reproduces his glasses, the coffee cup and turns the last mobile phone back into his newspaper, as he walks off stage, with his brief-case magically following behind.

Peki was the final act, a one-trick pony which unfortunately left this reviewer cold. Possibly because it utilised a continous production of feather flowers, a prop which I feel should be banned from existence, from a giant production box, coupled with a manic assistant who ran around putting the flowers on-stage like her life depended on it. They finished by producing giant flags, to leave the stage covered in floral abundance.

* IBM British Ring Convention 2009 – Southport – Tyler Wilson Lecture

September 26th, 2009 - Richard Morrell

It was standing room only for the Tyler Wilson lecture, with some getting their seats hours before the scheduled start. A packed audience hung on Tylers every word, an aberrant, adroit, meritorious, display of dexterity, which was the clear highlight of the convention and must certainly put Tyler in the picture for a Nobel Prize or at the very least a Merlin Award. This was accentuated by the fact he completely sold out of his notes and books, but that didn’t stop the long queue of good looking women, with Tyler having the arduous job of having to sign various body parts using nothing more than a blunt wax crayon.

Tyler Wilson certainly did have an envelope, and don’t let him tell you any different, because I saw it. He handed it out for safe keeping before asking for a number between one and a zillion. He then took that number and used it to calculate the cube root in his head. He then used this to set up a running gag using the hot-rod trick however let it be known that Tyler can perform the hot rod without spelling. Ever.

The first trick of the lecture was Scarred Warp, Tylers take on Roy Waltons trick. A hole torn in the card allows you to see that the middle of the card doesnt exist. The method is simply that Tyler stops time a skill I think he somehow acquired from Hiro Nakamura. Tyler showed us his Occams Edge which is a great principle for marking a card on the edge with a sharpie, and having that black line vanish, reappear and change colour. I personally prefer the variant of having the line shorten, which I know is Tylers favourite.

B52 Shooter allowed Tyler to show off the side of him that is 9/10ths Love Machine, 1/10th Card Sorting Machine. A version of triumph where all the face up cards visually shot out of the deck leaving just the selection amongst the face down ones. Finally Tyler showed us a new principle for getting an object into a sealed envelope. In this case it was a card that predicted the thought of number from the start of the lecture. However Tyler showed how you could load anything in there, by producing the entire universe from inside the envelope thus causing a tear in the space-time continuum and causing a temporal alternate reality where magic is cool, and the beer is free. That last bit was fortunately described in the notes.

The crowded room gave Tyler a long and sustained standing ovation, and surged to the front to pick him up on their shoulders, where-by they marched him out of the front door of the arts centre, chanting Tyler, Tyler, and were last seen heading down the coast to Tylers next lecture venue, so they could be part of the next showing of miracles from this amazing thaumaturge.

* Disclaimer: This review may or may not be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, however Tyler has paid me money to do this, which I have subsequently donated to the IBM welfare stand. This product is meant for educational purposes only. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. Void where prohibited. Some assembly required. List each cheque separately by bank number. Batteries not included. Contents may settle during shipment. Use only as directed.

IBM British Ring Convention 2009 – Southport – Eddie Dawes presents Thanks for the Memories

September 26th, 2009 - Richard Morrell

Jonathan Shotton opened the show with his classical magic act incorporating a Linking Ring routine, Dove productions, Card Manipulation and a Snowstorm finale.

Bertie Pearce had to battle against the Southport Airshow fly-over. His excentric style is very likeable, he performed a Grandmothers Necklace routine, tying up a spectator along with a Lawnmower and Toilet Seat, the ropes ended up penetrating the spectators body. He then finished with the Stodare Egg routine, where a silk turns to an egg, along with an explanation of how it is done with a hollow egg, and finally it is shown to have become a real one.

Alan Shaxon recreated some of Robert Harbins magic, A card prediction where three free selections cut from a pack, are then found predicted in an envelope as part of a letter posted to Alan. Next a card was selected, and an empty whisky bottle shown and sealed into a cigar box, the card vanished to appear trapped inside the bottle. Alan finished his spot with the Blades of Opah illusion which saw wife Anne being sawn in half with two great blades, and thankfully taken out of the prop unharmed.

James Long and Louise closed the show. A fast paced, modern, illusion act. James started off by producing Louise from an empty glass pyramid. James then showed us his manipulation skill with cards, and a Zig-Zag illusion followed where Louise was penetrated by blades and tubes, and had her bottom half zig-zagged. The X-Factor illusion saw Louse dissected and magically restored. After James had performed a three-ring linking rings routine, it was time for the grand finale, a magical looking fan-levitation, where Louise is levitating in mid-air held up by just a large fan, and she even travels around Jamess body. A very slick and polished act to close the show.

Eddie has been presenting The Pleasures of Yesteryears for Twenty Four Years, sadly this will be his last year. The audience showed their appreciation with a standing ovation.

IBM British Ring Convention 2009 – Southport – Thom Peterson Lecture

September 26th, 2009 - Richard Morrell

Thoms lecture was extremely funny with some great commercial magic that was easy to do, a winning combination. He started off with a routine called Surprise. A ladies ring was vanished in a flash of fire, and in its place was a Kinder Egg, Thom broke open the egg and took out the surprise and it contained the vanished ring.

Next a combination of two routines Spooning and Revenge of the Spoon. A very magical looking examinable spoon bend, was followed by a cod explanation via a drawing of the spoon, which was initialed by the spectator. This was heated up and eventually was shown to have bent as well.

A Fish Tale used the Fortune Telling Fish along with a stack of business cards, each containing a reading, the one the spectator decided upon, depending on how the fish reacted, could be tailored to the event, in this case it said you will buy all of Thoms products. Obviously you could then give the fish away as a souvenir, a great idea that could be used for many things.

Finally Thom showed us Marked for Improvement, his take on the Paul Harris Colour Stunner colour changing deck routine. A short Triumph sequence and a kicker where all the cards turned out to have writing on the back indicating what the card was.

A great end to an excellent and entertaining lecture.

IBM British Ring Convention 2009 – Southport – The Jeffery Atkins Memorial Lecture: John Styles M.B.E.

September 25th, 2009 - Richard Morrell

John talked about his amazing life in magic starting off as a young lad working for Oscar Oswald who taught him Punch and Judy. He was then called up for national service. Whilst in the Army John developed a comedy routine that went on to be his Chelsea Pensioners act.

John talked about his TV work on the Avengers, Play School and more recently Mid Summer Murders, Inspector Morse and The Darling Buds of May to name a few.

John also mentioned his large collection of Punch and Judy and Ventriloquial Dolls.

He showed video clips of him balloon modelling on the Generation Game and as parts of various adverts. He then talked about his role in advising on films and television, working with names such as Roger Moore and Michael Caine.

This led to more film work most recently Polar Express and 101 Dalmatians. John mentioned working for the Royal Family and notably a controversy with Princess Diana and a story leaked by Andrew Morton that hit the headlines. Lastly he mentioned his M.B.E. and paid tribute to his family and in particular wife Barbara for supporting him through what truely has been an amazing life in magic and a fascinating talk.

IBM British Ring Convention 2009 – Southport – The Thursday Night Show

September 25th, 2009 - Richard Morrell

The Thursday Night show certainly saw a more responsive audience. Yet still the Theatre seem to have awful trouble lighting the acts. Tony Stevens compered with his usual fast wit, and stories about his time on the cruise ships along with a few topical convention gags.

He brought on John Lenahan who practically worked in the dark. He performed a book test, his Slim-Slide cards across and a Hat Tear. Sadly there was more light on Dave Cass and the bust of Bill Stickland than there was John.

Tony Parx act is a blend of manipulation and patter. He started off with some very slick card manipulation, and then started to talk to the audience, with a version of the Sucker Colour-Changing Silk, a Rope Through the Body and a chosen card ending up in a giant see-through bottle after being fired from a gun.

John Kimmons is a Children’s Entertainer as both a Magician and Ventriloquist. Tonight he was in the latter role, as he introduced us to Charlie his little boy doll, and a very funny scripted piece followed. Finally John got an assistant up to help and put a fake mouth on him to present a human vent act, that ended with the volunteer singing ‘I’m a Little Teapot’ complete with actions!

Guy Barrett closed the show and he certainly packed lots of illusions into his spot, Girls vanished, appeared from nowhere, and got squashed, crushed and pulled apart, a little too many boxes and dancing around for this box-jumper phobic reviewer.