Friday, July 29, 2011

Opus Magazine

In 1987 I began contributing to Opus Magazine, edited and published by friends Ian Keable, Chris Power and JJ. It contained a lively mix of articles, reviews and tricks and boasted of its "independence" from the magic establishment, a claim made, incidentally, by nearly everyone who ever started a magazine magazine. Nevertheless reviews were honest and forthright at a time when, in the UK at least, every performer and convention seemed to get wonderful reviews no matter how bad they were.

As you'd expect such "honesty" occasionally made for controversy and even landed the editors in some awkward situations when coming face to face with the people they'd reviewed. But it was this very stance and the magazine's refreshingly different voice that gained it quite a following and explains why Opus Magazine attracted many notable names to its pages.

Why do I mention this? Well, because all five volumes of Opus Magazine have now been scanned and are available as pdfs from Opus Magazine's new website.

I'm a big fan of scanned magazines. Not only do they give us an insight into the past but they are vaults of forgotten knowledge. A great idea is a great idea no matter when it was conceived. And magazines are full to the brim with inspiration. Inevitably a volume of any magic magazine is always greater than the sum of its parts. Opus volume one is a terrific read. The passing years have given me some distance between being aware of the magazine's editorial dilemmas and reading the magazine purely for enjoyment. But I was genuinely amazed at the solid quality of the magazine, the range of content and the A-list of contributors. I think you will be too.

Anyone who subscribed to the Essential Magic Conference this year got volume one free as part of their subscription. If you missed EMC2011 you can still subscribe, catch up and get the bonuses and DVDs. Or you can go straight to the Opus Magazine website and purchase volume one along with the other four volumes.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Essential Magic Conference 2011

This year's Essential Magic Conference will take place on the 7th, 8th and 9th of July. For those who don't know this is an online conference for magicians. 3 days of magic, 16 hours of lectures, presentations and performances from 33 magicians. All broadcast live in high quality video and then uploaded for online access whenever suits you. And if that wasn't enough we send you a DVD collection, 8 DVDs in fact, containing video of the entire event.

It's no exaggeration to say that last year's event was an outstanding success being given an 'Epic' rating from our members in an online poll on the last day of the conference. The conference is organised by Luis de Matos, Marco Tempest and myself and we'd like to see you all there again this year. The Speaker list has been finalised and will be posted online in the next day or two. We think you will be amazed. Meanwhile you can visit the Essential Magic Conference website to find out more, sign up for the EMC Newsletter or register.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Double Trouble

This is an extremely simple trick I published in Cardopolis (1984) in which both your selected card and the spectator’s becomes reversed in the deck. Despite the simple means involved the effect is a stunner for laymen. It is directly based on Walter Gibson's Double Reverse which can be found in Annemann's Miracles of Card Magic. See the new Dover edition. It was David Bentley of Chester who first showed me the original effect many years ago.

METHOD: Give the deck to a spectator and ask him to shuffle it, cut it into two halves and give you one half of the deck. You then both shuffle your respective halves and whenever the spectator feels, the cards are sufficiently mixed he is to look at the bottom card of the packet and place it face down on the table in front of him.

By way of example you turn over your packet and point out that the card on the face of the packet is, let’s say the Ten of Spades. Now ask him to look at the bottom card of his packet, emphasising that he need not show you the card, and having memorised it he is to place it face-down on the table.

As soon as the spectator does this you perform a double lift from the face of the packet now face-up in your left hand. Deal the top face-down card on the table in front of you. This is an indifferent card and the Ten of Spades is face-down on top of the face-up packet.

Obviously this is illogical but the spectator, occupied with his own task, will not notice what you have done and will assume that the Ten of Spades is the card on the table. When you do it put more emphasis on the fact that you are making no attempt to see which card the spectator is putting on the table rather than what you are doing with your cards.

Now there are two cards face-down on the table. Pick up the spectator’s card and insert it apparently face-down into your face-down packet asking the spectator to do the same with your card and his packet.

Once more the spectator will be one step behind you and when he is busy inserting your card in his packet you flip your packet over by inserting the left thumb under the cards to lever them over. Your right hand covers the turning of the packet and then lifts takes the packet from the left hand and places it on the table.

When the spectator has completed the action you ask him to follow suit and put his cards on the table. You now place your cards on top of his. Then pick up the deck and cut one quarter of the cards from the bottom to the top. 

Recap on what has happened. Two cards have been selected and lost in the deck. Your's was the Ten of Spades. Ask the spectator for the name of his selection. Spread the deck across the table and reveal that the two selected cards are now face-up in the face-down spread. It happens so quickly that it appears to be completely impossible.

NOTES: The differences between this routine and the original are that at no time do the cards actually go behind the back and more importantly the spectators do see your selected card at the beginning of the trick. It's very simple but very effective.