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46th Portsmouth Jumbo Day 2009

Reported by Bill Hamersley

On Sunday 1st November 2009, the Portsmouth & District Magic Circle held its 46th Portsmouth Jumbo Day of Magic.  Despite the rather wet weather, the attendance was on par with previous years I have attended this event.

It really is a unique occasion in the UK’s annual magical calendar. A wonderful opportunity to search out a bargain from the magic goods on display. The main hall and two other smaller halls were full of both professional magic dealers and the every popular “bring and buy” stalls, stacked with magic goods for sale.

I attended the interactive workshop on “10 tricks in a wallet”, by Peter Jon Rawson, ably assisted by his son Mark Rawson. The workshop was full, and we were treated to a very good talk and demonstration of many effects which could be carried in a small wallet. The highlights for me being a coin vanish with a tissue, a mentalism card trick, and a thought transfer card effect using Harry Potter cards. A great deal of work had obviously gone into preparing for this hands-on workshop, and both Peter and Mark are to be congratulated for their efforts, which were appreciated by all present.

The auction took place in the Main Hall after lunch, and was hosted by Mervyn Cole in his amusing but positive style. Mervyn kept the auction moving and managed to get through all the lots on sale. As ever many bargains to be had at extremely low prices.

The Alf Crayden Memorial lecture was held in the Main Hall after the auction, and was given by Mel Mellors. The lecture was titled “The Thoughts of Chairman Mel”, the highlights being for me, a hoop and rope routine, a six card repeat (International version), a banknote routine named “Counterfeit”, a mentalism drawing effect, and a memorised deck routine. At the end of the lecture Mel held a short Q&A session, and was very honest in answering the many questions raised. Mel does not lecture that often, and it was very well received by all. Mel was busy selling his lecture notes at only £3 and his DVD’s at only £12 after the lecture.

In the afternoon a lecture on rope magic was given Darren Holden. I was unable to attend, but understand from someone who did, that it was a good lecture covering many basic rope moves.

The Close-Up sessions were held in 3 rooms, and were very well attended. The four performers were Glen Stone, Aaron Gray, Tony Hyams, and Craig Petty who fill in at very short for Rikki Mark who was unable to attend. The highlights being Glen’s street style Cups and Balls, Aaron’s ambitious card routine. Tony’s fork bending, and Craig’s coins and multi-selection card routine.

Mention should be made of Bob & Susan Hamilton, for their efforts in presenting two sessions of magic videos during the day, the highlights being for me seeing David Nixon, David Williamson (at South Tyneside earlier this year), and Ben Earl doing some jaw dropping simulation card shuffles.

The day concluded with the Gala Show in the Main Hall. The show was compered by Rod Newman, who did an excellent job and kept the show moving. The first act was Zane as Joe Swing. This is an act I had not seen Zane perform before and was a mixture of him singing (mainly Frank Sinatra songs) and magic effects.

The second act on was James Brown, who was called on at less than 24 hours to fill in for Jon Allen, who was unfortunately unable to attend due to family illness.

James brought two male audience members on stage and for the next 20 minutes performed an hypnotic act, which was part hypnotism, and part pickpocketing. James received a well deserved ovation at the end of his act. This is the best I have seen James perform over the many years I have had the pleasure to have known him. If you get a chance to see James perform, don’t miss it. I guarantee you will be amazed.

After a short interval, the next act on was Mel Mellors. What can I say about Mel that has not already been said? He is without doubt the funniest magican on the circuit at the moment. Mel brought on stage two little girls, and use one them to help him with a magic trick. What followed next was one of the funniest routines I and all present have had the pleasure to have seen!! He has the unique ability to make a wide range of people laugh. Seeing people in their 70’s and children as young as 7 laugh together is enough proof of this. It is easy to see why the performer is so busy.

The final act of the show was Alex Lodge and a new assistant. Alex perform a fast moving illusion act including the Blammo Box with the production of his assistant, the Mini Sword Zag, the Modern Art, and the Cardboard Box with wooden spikes to conclude. Alex closed his act with the snowflake paper tear into snow shower with fan.

I should mention the efforts of the Buckland Community Centre catering staff, who provided a wide range of hot meals throughout the day, catering for the needs of all.

Congratulations to Harold Straker the current President and all the members of the Portsmouth & District Magic Circle for putting on such a wonderful day of magic.

Full Details on next years event can be found at www.portsmouthmagic.co.uk