Saturday, 18 August 2012

"The Busy B"


The "Busy B" is the name magician Chris Van Bern gave himself in his publicity. He was a busy man performing all the time, assisting others, touring the theatres and music halls, writing etc. He was a good self-publicist. I have written an article about Chris Van Bern for "The Magic Circular" although I do not know when it is likely to be published. The puzzle is that he claimed to have received a gold medal from The Magic Circle but there is no trace of this, although he was a Member of the Inner Magic Circle with Gold Star which is quite a different thing.
I have also reviewed three books I have read recently “Trade of The Tricks: Inside The Magician’s Craft” by Graham M. Jones (2011, University of California Press, London), “Fooling Houdini: Adventures in the World of Magic” by Alex Stone (2012, William Heinemann, London) and “The Manual of Darkness” (2011, Phoenix, London) a work of fiction by Spanish author Enrique De Hériz, described as “a novel steeped in the History of Magic”. Hopefully my review will appear in "The Northern Lights" the magazine of The Northern Magic Circle.
I would love to review more magic books although the technical ones do require much more study and practice than do the narrative books such as I have just related. 
The Centenary History of the Modern Mystic League (Blackburn and District Society of Magicians) is coming along nicely in time for the centenary in 2014 although there is still quite a bit of material I need to add to it. 


Friday, 6 April 2012

Northern Magic Circle

I have been very busy over the last few weeks. The Northern Magic Circle Convention last weekend in Scarborough was very good with some great lectures, an excellent Gala Show and a friendly atmosphere. I only bought three things  - a NMC sweatshirt, a book (no surprise there then) and a packet trick from Paul Gordon. I have been appointed President Elect of the Northern Magic Circle for 2013-2014 so I am going to be even more busy! Apart from representing the society around the north of England (and beyond) this involved organizing a President's Dinner and a President's Day. I have a few ideas for these but need to make sure there are no clashes with lots of other events going on during my presidential year. 

Thursday, 1 March 2012

First day of Spring

The first day of spring was promising with a lovely day of bright weather. It is ironic that I could not take Holly our Labrador for a long walk as she has been "grounded" by the vet for the week in order to rest her back legs. She doesn't understand why she can't go out for a nice walk.
So working on some magic ready for a show on Saturday night with The Modern Mystic League.
The gala shows at the Blackpool Convention were very good with Korean show on Friday evening outstanding. Yu Ho Jin presented his immaculate card manipulation act which must be the favourite to win at FISM in July. This act was the sensation of the convention.
I purchased some books (no surprise there then :-)) cards and a pass trainer (essentially 8 card shaped slices of stainless steel which you use to exercise the hands).

Monday, 13 February 2012

Magic reading etc

Just finished reading "The Davenport Story" volumes 1 & 3 which tell the story of the Davenport magic dynasty from 1881 to 2010 as written by Fergus Roy husband of Betty Davenport. These volumes are fascinating and there is the added bonus of many picture galleries with photographs, programmes, etc. It looks like the family have kept every piece of paper they have ever had! I highly recommend these volumes to anyone interested in the history of magic. The Davenports just knew everyone in magic. Volume 3 is comprised of three manuscripts  that have never been published before. Volume 4, which I am now reading, is the story of Will Goldston.
I am not surprised that Jason Latimer won "The Magicians" series 2 on BBC 1 on Saturday. His presentations were just so much better than the others although I still cannot get enthusiastic about the format or the show in general.
Had a great time at the MML Auction on Sunday. There were some great bargains. It was a fun afternoon with lots of laughs.
The Blackpool Convention this weekend looks like it will be interesting particularly as there are three Gala Shows.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

The Magicians

Call me old fashioned but I just cannot get enthusiastic over "The Magicians" series 2 on BBC 1. I do not like some of the presentations which make the magic almost "throwaway". Why does every "popular" TV show now have to have "celebrities" and viewers voting? The magic has become secondary and even then it is presented as a clever puzzle rather than an entertaining experience full of wonder. The compere does not know how to fill in between the acts. The tricks vary between the dramatic and the mundane. The show is certainly very different from "The Best of Magic" produced by John Fisher which I think was one of the best series showing the variety of magic.  

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

New Year books

I've already bought too many books this New Year! Seven already!
Volume 4 of "The Davenport Story" by Fergus Roy completes the series and is about Will Goldston. These are fabulous books so well produced and illustrated. The only problem is that they are so large they are too big to read in bed :-)
I couldn't resist "Bradshaw's Handbook - A Facsimile of the Famous Guide" so I can follow Michael Portillo along with "Great British Railway Journeys" on BBC2. There is so much to learn about Britain that is fascinating and in some respects not a lot has changed since 1863.
"Camra's Good Beer Guide 2012" is an obvious good buy as is "Guinness World Records 2012" (which I got discounted with a further discount for £4.50!).
I've also bought a book about blogging.
I am presently reading C J Sansom's "Heartsone" - I like the way his narrative just captures the atmosphere of Tudor legal England. I wish I could write like that!