Magicians Scrapbook →

Two old scrapbooks that contain magazine and newspaper clippings collected by a amateur magician from 1900 to the 1930′s. Covering all aspects of magic from the beginning of last century, from small close up tricks to the greatest Magicians of the time revealing their secrets.

These articles have been scanned in from the scrapbooks and provide a fascinating insight into magic from that era, you can see what is coming up in each volume in the volume 1 and volume 2 index. I was particularly drawn to this article on Do’s and Don’ts for Young Magicians from 1906

Sleights of hand, sleights of mind →

Magicians take advantage of this to manipulate their spectators attentional spotlight. They know, for example, that the eyes give off important social cues, and that people have a natural impulse to pay attention to the objects that others are attending to. They exploit this joint attention by using their eye movements to divert the audiences attention away from the method – the secret action behind the trick – and towards the magical effect.

via Sleights of hand, sleights of mind | Mo Costandi | Neurophilosophy blog | Science |

Review: Noted by Gary Jones

Noted by Gary Jones

Costas was very kind to send me a review copy of Gary’s new release Noted. You can see the demo in the link above.

This was originally published in Gary’s lecture notes as Starter for 10. The original used a simple basic gimmick, but Magic Tao have taken the idea and greatly improved it.

The basic idea behind the trick is that you walk up to a table holding a note-pad and ask if you can take their order, you then change the note-pad into a deck of cards and you can start your magic.

Just recently I have been looking into and playing about with magical ways to produce a deck of cards, including John Carney’s Chill Pack, David Regal’s Sudden Deck and Alex Lourido’s Instant Deck. These are all brilliant methods but I think there is something fun, simple and organic about Gary’s method that means it will probably be the one I use most often.

Whenever you see Gary’s name on a product you know it is going to be a worker, and this is no exception. My mind is already racing on presentational ideas. I am not too keen on the advertised way of pretending to be a waiter and asking if you can take their order. But I am already thinking about using this in conjunction with Jon Allen’s opening line of ‘Is this the fun table?’ I can see myself walking up with notepad and pen in hand, saying I am just double checking, ‘Is this table 10?’ ‘It is, I heard this is the fun table?’ ‘In that case maybe you would like to see some magic?’ As you transform the note-pad into your cards, and effortlessly start the first effect.

Without giving too much away, there is a certain something you need to get rid of, in the DVD Costas suggest using the old, getting rid of the jokers line, but for me I think I will just have a card chosen, and as they are showing it around, I will turn my back and ditch the necessary. The beauty of the gimmick is that it is as thin as a card and you can easily manipulate and show the deck, and have a card chosen for your first trick, all whilst the gimmick is still in the deck.

The up-dated gimmick has been made to look like a notepad, and I have been fooling myself in the mirror, this does look just like a spiral-bound notepad, it really is awesome. It is also plastic coated, so you can write on this with a white-board marker. Gary has some great ideas for this including an invisible deck routine, and drawing a picture of a deck actually onto the notepad.

The angles are also great, the deck is totally covered, and there is little chance of flashing.

I am struggling to come up with any negative aspects to this, however a few things to be aware of, you are probably going to need to open with this, as I can see it would be a little tricky in most working situations to put this in the middle of a set, but then why would you, I think it is designed as an opener, and that is how it should be used. Also you are going to need some experience of misdirection, the handling of the gimmick is pretty much self-working but it does need some misdirection, even if it is just asking a question as in the Jon Allen line above, you need something to cover the change, but this shouldn’t be an issue with some thought. As I say not negative aspects, but things you should know before purchase.

The DVD is well produced, if on the short side, however you don’t really need to know all that much, it is what it is, a very clever idea, open to lots of interpretation, and personalisation, a wonderful opening effect to establish yourself.

The Gimmick as already stated is well made, and very deceptive, I just hope from all the use I can for-see this getting, that it will last, or that Magic Tao will continue to make these, as I can see this being one of my openers for quite some time. In short I can’t wait to go and road-test this and if you want a method to magically produce your cards, this is one of the easiest, most practical, workable, commercial ways that I have seen, recommended!

Magical Sleight interview with Bebel →

Magic is becoming a business by magicians for magicians, it’s as if musicians were doing music for musicians, I think its not healthy for the art. Lots of people are creating extraordinary things but not targeted to a lay audience.

Magical Sleight are going to be releasing some downloads from Bebel, go and watch this short interview to hear his thoughts on sharing magic with other magicians, and what it was like to work magic on the streets.

Full 52 TV Episode 6 →

Dave Forrest of Full 52 is ramping up his Youtube Channel into something he calls Full 52 TV. Go and subscribe to the channel if you don’t already. He runs regular competitions with some amazing give-aways as well as teaching free tricks. It was a real pleasure to spend some time with Dave and Andi Gladwin at the recent Southport IBM Convention. During the convention Dave filmed this recent Episode, you can watch Part 1 and Part 2 where Andi will teach you a great handling of Chicago Opener, you get a chance to win his Master Pushoff DVD, and you might even catch me lurking in the background, and at one point I was even behind the camera, filming John Archer’s hilarious antics, it was all I could do to keep the camera straight from laughing, so thanks for trusting me with that Dave, and please go and subscribe to the channel, tell him The Magician blog sent you!

The Gimmicks Lab →

On the 30th October Jay Sankey will be releasing The Gimmicks Lab project. I am a sucker for a new Sankey release, and can’t wait to see what Jay has planned. You can read a little of his philosophy and thinking behind this on his blog post. But the real reason to link to this was to get you to watch this video, Beginning with the Ordinary. Something I have been thinking a lot about lately. How you can use ordinary everyday objects to segue into the magic, rather than doing what is obviously a staged performance. Obviously there is a time and place for both, but if like me you do a lot of your performing in casual situations for friends, then this is something you really need to consider.

Magic Agora →

Magic Agora’s essential objective is the education of magicians as artists and professionals in the Art of Magic; it carries out a work of investigation and development of the training technology most appropriate for magicians, it puts them together in a common methodology and, as a result, periodically plans training actions destined to offer a good-quality education to the magicians.

Basically an online Hogwarts, this looks really cool, get an overview of how it all works. It looks like they are still preparing the lessons, but this is definitely one to keep an eye on.

The Magic Pub →

The Magic Pub is a new magic forum, where performers help performers. Seems a bit less flooded than The Green Place, and more focused on performance of magic, might be a nice quiet alternative to the existing forums.

Six Hour Memorized Deck →

If you are into Memdeck work as I am, you might be interested to know you can get the out-of-print Martin Joyal book as an ebook from Hermetic Press for $20. If you haven’t learnt a stack you might consider this, as you can learn the rules, and it should take you, as the name suggests, around 6 hours. Although you will have non of the advantages of using a stack with in-built features, so it might be worth reading round first. However the book also contains some great stack-independent routines such as a three deck ACAAN called Red, White & Blue. You can read more about the book on The Magic Cafe.

A Blog in English →

Woody Aragon has just published his new book, A Book in English, this is the accompanying blog, to showcase some videos and anecdotes. I have the book and haven’t yet made it past the tools/sleights section, that isn’t the books fault, it’s just that I can’t stop playing with some of the original sleights in this first part. The Separagon move is superb, I couldn’t stop smiling as I was working through it. I will be making my way through the tricks and will post a full book review shortly, but in short, buy it!

Five Ways to Improve Your Magic


It’s very common to have customers ask how they can make there magic better. While there is no carved in stone formula, there are some practical steps you can take to improve your magic.

Five ways to improve your magic from Paul Richards of Elmwood Magic, courtesy of our friends over at The Magic Session. While there check the rest of the site, watch some of the On Demand Content, and head over to their new facebook page to see the new version of the site.

The Journal of Secrets


Helder Guimarães and Derek DelGaudio launch the Journal of Secrets with a manifesto that is well worth reading, and then reading again, then printing out and sticking in your magic den! Inspired by Bruce Mau’s Incomplete Manifesto for Growth it should be required reading for any magician, young or old, amateur or professional! Can’t wait to see where they take this site, and for the launch of The Ontology Project.

Who Reviews the Reviewers


It’s about thinking carefully, seeing past the tricks and seeing what the performer is trying to achieve, magic is and always will be more than just tricks. The tricks are the bones of it, but it’s everything else which makes it watchable. We are not here as magicians to make you believe we are really performing the impossible, we are here to entertain.

An article from Chris Cox about a review of his recent Edinburgh Festival show, and the problem with people reviewing magic.

I have reviewed a lot of magic shows in my time, and I think I am guilty of the ‘list of tricks’ however my reviews where not aimed at the lay public, and as a magician I do like to read what other people are doing in their acts, but have tried to add a bit more of my own thoughts and feelings into my reviews.

I guess that is the crux that reviews are just that, one persons thoughts and feelings of a show, but I do agree that unless we can get past the tricks and look at the show/act as a whole then reviewing magic will suffer, certainly something I am trying to improve in my own reviewing.

Writers Talk featuring Joshua Jay


Ohio State University Centre for the Study and Teaching of Writing interviews magician and author Joshua Jay. Fascinating, particularly the part where Josh shares some thoughts on the development of his own show, and giving the spectators a peek behind the curtain into the process of magic, a presentational concept I am becoming more enamoured with. Also check out the trick at the end, this might be a sneak peek at The Prism Deck coming out soon through Vanishing Inc.