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Michael Weber Lecture

September 28th, 2008 - Richard Morrell

10am Saturday Morning saw the start of the Michael Weber lecture. Michael set out to teach some easy to do but commercial ideas, that were well off the beaten track. He started with Self Centered a great, and simple pseudo centre deal demo where you give the spectator the power to supposedly deal centers, but you still end up with the best hand.

Urigami takes a great optical illusion to new heights, where you can seemingly bend a paper outline of a spoon. Michael then went on to teach us all, in just a few minutes, a simple Memorised Deck system, and used it in a hands-off mental card divination sequence.

Finally Back to the Drawing Board was a mental divination. Three spectators drew random images, a fourth mixed them up and looked at one, and Michael was able to duplicate the drawing sight unseen. Michael didn’t explain this as he was selling the notes, and there was certainly a rush to buy after the lecture.

The Presentation of Awards and The Late Gala

September 27th, 2008 - Richard Morrell


Close-up First Place Zina Bennett Trophy: John Van Der Put
Close-up Second Place: Rob James
Close-up Third Place: Will Gray
Close-up Rovi Card Magic Trophy: Rob James
The British Ring Shield First Place: Jonahthan Shotton
The British Ring Shield Second Place: Rev-Illusion
The British Ring Shield Third Place: Joe Ray
Manipulation Trophy: Joe Ray
Originality Trophy: Jonathan Shotton
Dealers Trophy: Practical Magic
Winner of Ali Bongo’s Micro Marathon: Mr Avista

The Late Gala was introduced by Denny Haney who performed classic magic such as the Egg Bag, Diminishing Cards with a card fan and manipulation sequence and his version of Ken Brooke’s Multiplying Bottles.

Richard McDougall performed a very skilled cigarette mime where first he makes an invisible cigarette and it appears, and then he tries to light it but the lighter disappears and then the cigarette, and then when it comes back it multiplies and keeps disappearing until it is replaced by a pipe. Richard then closed with a funny dialogue with a stuffed goose, again you have to see it to appreciate how good this is.

Guy Holloway seemed to be the token novelty act, but this time instead of a juggler a Xylophone player who went through several renditions of well known pieces hitting the xylophone at an incredible speed, he finished with Roll out your Barrel. Quite why this was on such a short show in a magic convention I’m not too sure but he was good!

Finally Mark Raffles closed the show with his comedy Linking Ring routine where they end up linked to his coat, the chair and tangled around his legs, so much so he ends up walking off with the chair and the rings attached to his body. An hilarious end to the show.

Hardcore Card Session – Derek DelGuadio & Jason England

September 27th, 2008 - Richard Morrell

The aim of this workshop was to encourage thinking about the use of hard sleight of hand in card magic. Jason started off by demonstrating some fairly basic but underused false shuffles, with some great tips from him and Derek on the Jog Shuffle, Jason demonstrated a version of the Marlo Gardner poker deal and Derek demonstrated his Truffle Shuffle which I had read about recently as being a very cool looking false shuffle, and it is, very natural and unassuming and looks great. Then both guys gave their tips on false dealing, seconds, centres and bottoms. Jason demonstrated Darwin Ortiz’s Jacks or Better as a great way to get into false dealing, and Derek gave us some tips on a great center deal. Finally Jason finished with his Royale with Cheese trick which is an ace assembly but using Royal Flush cards. A great workshop from some seriously skilled guys.

Eddie Dawes – Jubilee Jubilations

September 26th, 2008 - Richard Morrell

Eddie was celebrating fifty years since himself and wife Amy had appeared at Eastbourne for the first time with their Make Believe act.

The show started with Roy Davenport recreating an extended portion of his Great Grandfather Lewis Davenports act as the Bewilderist. The opening of a vanishing wand, leads into his sleeves being ripped off, and changed into a dove which then vanishes. Roy then moves into some excellent billiard ball manipulation, a Mutilated Parasol, Silk Vanish that appears sandwiched between two plates, and he finishes with a tambourine production of yards of ribbon. All this is accompanied with his waistcoat changing colour several times, and his assistants dress changing to match, they had two or three curtain calls and each time he was wearing a different waistcoat and the assistant had the dress to match!

Alex Proctor recreated a magicians act of the 1920s. Growing Ropes, lead into the Jumping Knot of Pakistan, appearing flower boxes, a silk blendo tube, a linking ring routine, Multum in Parvo, a Floating Ball and finally a vanishing radio.

The Great Nardini was next, what can you say about this act that hasn’t already been said, it scooped the Shield a few years back and went on to win the FISM comedy award. They both play their parts very well, him the bumbling magician and her the long suffering assistant. Lots of supposedly dead dove productions, comedy card manipulations, a brilliant sequence in the middle where Paul pretends to flirt with someone in the audience, and they finish with a great sub trunk exchange, which I won’t spoil if by any chance you haven’t seen the act!

Romany The Diva of Magic had a fantastic stage layout and she plays her character very well, plume productions and bird cage productions fill the stage, and a great ring on ribbon and linking rings sequence.

Finally to close the show Amethyst, Danny and Annette are two of the nicest people you could meet in magic, and what a great act, they started with a cardboard box production, a clear box sub-trunk/escape where Annette was handcuffed into a locked perspex box, it was covered momentarily and she appeared sitting on top. Danny walked through a metal plate that was placed into a small stand that could hold no hint of trickery. They then moved into some smaller magic, Colour Changing Records, Silk Vanish, Drink in the News, Snowstorm which showcases Annette’s excellent singing talent, and finally they finished with an illusion I had not seen before, and I have to say one of the best illusions I have seen in a long time. I won’t spoil it too much, but Annette climbs into a box set on some big metal tracks, and gets cut in half with blades, and then half of her body goes round 360 degrees on the tracks, whilst the other half stays on top of the frame, like a rollercoaster, and then she is restored back at the top, an astonishing end to a great show!

Juan Tamariz – Star Close-up Show

September 26th, 2008 - Richard Morrell

Juan Tamariz was on top form, he started by handing out money to audience members and he played a game of three card monte using jumbo cards. Next was a variation on the old slap trick, but the card was fairly pushed into the deck with the cards in the case, and held by the spectator, Tamariz hit the box out of their hand and the spectator was left holding their card, he then repeated this to much hilarity.

He then performed a trick where a spectator selects a card and he finds a card for the value and a card to indicate the suit. Then he performed another of my favourite Tamariz tricks the supposed optical illusion of changing the Two of Diamonds into the Three using the Ace, and then it actually becomes the Three.

He then moved onto a multi phase Oil and Water each phase getting more impossible and visual. He then performed Mnemonicosis where a spectator calls up someone and asks them to name a card, and without touching the deck he has the spectator find the card in a magical way. Finally he performed Total Coincidence from his book Sonata where two packs of cards are mixed, and then the spectators make random choices which somehow result in the cards matching, and for the finale the two decks are dealt through and they match card for card, which earned Tamariz a standing ovation and brought the show to a great finish.

The Jeffrey Atkins Memorial Lecture – Geoffrey Durham

September 26th, 2008 - Richard Morrell

Friday morning started with The Jeffrey Atkins Memorial Lecture given by Geoffrey Durham and entitled “Finding the Magic Ingredient”. Geoffrey talked for 90 minutes on seven keys to a great performance.

Number One was Find your Voice using musical analogy Geoffrey talked about finding your character and understanding who you are, he demonstrated this using Ken Brooke’s routine for the Multiplying Bottles.

Number Two was Understand your Rhythm he talked about how the rhythm of the multiplying bottles makes it a great closer, he also showed us Bob Swadlings Sympathetic Matchbox trick and said that the Rhythm of the trick helped him present it when he used it on a Countdown TV appearance. The Great Soprendo made a brief appearance as Geoffrey demonstrated his version of the George Sands Sandsational Rope Routine as he used to use it as an opener for that character.

The Third point was Question Everything You’re Told meaning don’t take givens in the magic world as the only way to do something. He demonstrated this point with the Slydini Silks using ordinary handkerchiefs and also showed us his version of the Chinese Rice Bowls.

Point Number Four was Bring it all Together this was about finishing a trick with everything in harmony, Geoffrey again demonstrated his point using a Paper Hat Tear, solving a Rubiks Cube by banging it on his head and his version of the Stargazer rubber band trick.

Point Number Five was Embrace your Creativity he said it annoyed him when people thought something was too much trouble to do in magic, e.g. to prepare the Torn and Restored Newspaper. He showed us his Linking Finger Ring routine to demonstrate his creative approach to his design of the Himber Ring.

Point Six and Seven were taken together, Point Six was “Firsts have Power & Meaning, Lasts have only Power” meaning your opener should be your best trick and can have power and meaning but your closer should only have power so that they applaud rather than analyse the trick. And Point Seven was You are the Magic Ingredient as Geoffrey tells us in his new book it should be your face they remember and you should frame everything so that they remember you. Geoffrey closed his lecture with a performance of his Hydrostatic Glass routine, which brought a well deserved standing ovation for a inspiring, remarkable lecture.