31 March 2009

Upcoming Scottish Magic Events

Hi folks

A quick post to let you know of a few events taking place in Central Scotland in the coming couple of weeks.First off, on Thursday 9th April, Paisley Magic Circle will be hosting a lecture by American Close Up Magician Gregory Wilson as part of his limited UK lecture tour. The lecture will take place at their usual meeting place at St Margaret's Church Hall, Oxford Road, Renfrew, PA4 0SJ starting at 7:30pm. Entrance to non-members will cost £10.

Gregory will be lecturing at Edinburgh Magic Circle the following night, Friday 10th April. Details can be obtained directly from them.

Finally, on Saturday 18th April, the Scottish Conjurers Association will be hosting a Day Of Magic to celebrate their 85th anniversary. There will be a Close Up Show, 3 dealers - Lomond Magic, World Magic Shop and Aidrian Harris (selling books) - and lectures from Craig Petty, Gordon Bruce and Mel Mellors. You can download a PDF flyer about the day by clicking here and you can visit the Convention page on the SCA's website here.

If you manage to make it to any of these events, have a great time. Sadly, due to a prior engagement, I won't be able to make the SCA's Day Of Magic but I'll hopefully see you at the Gregory Wilson lecture.

Speak soon.

The Cardman :-)

18 March 2009

The Cardman Goes International

Hi folks

A brief post to let you know of a couple of things I've got coming up.

First off, on Saturday 18 April, I will be presenting a lecture for Magischen Nordlichter (click here for the site translated into English) starting at 2pm in their headquarters in Hamburg, Germany. You can get more information about the admission fee from the club directly. German lecture notes will be available and are currently being translated into German by Henning Köhlert. This will be my first lecture where I will be working with a translator. Luckily for me the translator will be a young lady called Sonja Husmann whom regular readers (Hello!) may remember from past blog entries. It should be a lot of fun.

The following weekend sees me flying to America to attend Fechter's Finger Flicking Frolic - aka "FFFF" or simply "4F". FFFF is an invitation-only convention that is only open to 200 people which takes place in Batavia in upstate New York (approx 30 miles from Buffalo) on the last Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday of each April. One thing about FFFF is that all first-time attendees are expected to perform, so I'll need to make sure I'm ready to perform when I'm there!

So, suffice to say, the second half of April is exciting, scary, nerve wracking and I can't wait for it all to start. If you're at either of these events, come up and say "hello".

Speak soon.

The Cardman :-)

The Blog's New Look

Hi folks

Well, you might just have noticed that the blog is looking a little different. Well, for the last few weeks I have been attending an introductory course about Flash (ah-ahhhh!) at Glasgow Metropolitan College. I've been learning how to do some pretty cool wee animations, as well as creating websites within the package. One of the important things that we learn is about making things as easy to read and as accessible as possible. As it turns out, the white writing on black background that I was using for the blog is not the easiest thing to read for anyone with, for example, Dyslexia. So I have decided to change it. It might change again, I'll see how things look in the coming week or 2 and then take it from there.

Hope you like it.

Speak soon

The Cardman :-)

11 March 2009

Search And Destroy featuring The Nowhere Pass by Aaron Fisher

Price: $25 plus $5 shipping and handling anywhere in the world
Available from: Aaron Fisher's website from 4pm EST (9pm GMT) on 17 March 2009

From reading the information above, you'll probably realise that this is not a review. This is, in fact, a preview. Let me just state here that I have not seen the product in question, but I do perform this effect on a regular basis which is why I am posting this.

I first met Aaron Fisher at the 2001 International Magic Convention in London where he was booked to present a lecture. Aaron's lecture was entertaining, informative, and full of excellent magic - all reasons why I hate this guy! Seriously though, over the weekend I spent some time with Aaron and we showed each other a few bits and pieces. "Search And Destroy" was one of the things that he showed that weekend.

It is a handling of a classic Larry Jennings effect entitled "The Searchers" which, using really serious sleight of hand, had 2 Jokers travel through a deck of cards to find a selected card lost within the deck. Aaron's "Search And Destroy" takes all the heavy sleight of hand work out of the effect and, even better than that, puts the effect into the hands of your spectators. The magic happens in their hands. This is a great piece of magic that you should consider having in your repertoire. As I mentioned earlier on, I perform this effect and it never fails to get great reactions.

But that is not all that is going to be on this DVD. There is also Aaron's "Nowhere Pass", his handling of The Bluff Pass. Aaron has this down to such a level that you would never think anything sneaky was going on!

Below is the trailer for the DVD. If you like what you've seen and read, then go order yourself a copy.

Speak soon.

The Cardman :-)

06 March 2009

Spotlight On Carey by John Carey

Price: £15 postpaid in the UK ($25 postpaid for the rest of the world)
Available direct from John via PayPal at

John Carey is one of the UK's top "underground" magicians who, after some cajoling from his friends, has popped his head out into the open to share some of his material. This DVD contains a number of effects previously published in his "Carey's Cards" lecture notes and some previously unpublished items.

The DVD is a low-budget, one-camera affair with John performing, essentially, direct to camera with "Paul" being the off-camera spectator. In fact, at one point you can hear someone in the background sneezing during one of the explanations. There is also, at a couple of points during the DVD, a high pitched noise that might bug some people but not this viewer. It is, however, not the budget behind the making of the DVD that is important here but the material taught on it.

The material covers both cards and coins and although the material is not really, really easy, there is nothing on here that will break your knuckles. Everything on this DVD is attainable with a little handling practice.

Personal highlights include "Summer of '76", "Six Card Oil And Water", "Whispering Queen", "Counting On You" and "Slow Motion Collectors". These are all very nice effects that are more than worthy of your attention. He also gives some good advice on the Hofzinser Spread Cull.

I do have a couple of wee criticisms about the DVD, though. The performances of a couple of effects - most notably for me was "Simple Copper-Silver" - were spoiled by a bad camera angle. This should have been picked up during editing as it spoils the performance of a very nice routine. Possibly, it should have been filmed from the angle that the explanation was filmed from. Another wee criticism is that the lighting washes out the identity of the selected cards during performances.

Those criticisms aside, the material on this DVD is excellent and Carey, while not quite at ease in front of the camera (you really should see him performing this material live - you can book him to lecture at your magic club by contacting him at the e-mail address at the top of this post) gives some very good performances. I would easily recommend this disk to anyone interested in top quality card and coin handling.

To see what I've been talking about, you can see a trailer for John's DVD here.

Speak soon.

The Cardman :-)

04 March 2009

Bill Hicks on Letterman

Regular readers (hi folks!) will probably know that, thanks to my best mate Peter, I am a big fan of Bill Hicks. My sister and I used to stay over at Peter's after a Friday night out at a '70s night in Paisley and Peter would always play some of Hicks's albums as we were drifting off to sleep. From that, I got really interested in his work. Sadly, this was a few years after his untimely death at the age of 32 from Pancreatic Cancer.

One story that has now become legend is that of his 12th and final performance on the David Letterman Show on CBS in America. Hicks performed his set and he, along with the Producers of the show, felt that it had been his best performance on the Letterman show. A couple of hours later, while in his hotel room, Hicks received a phone call from the Producer to say that his spot had been edited from the show due to several "hot points" in his set.

At the end of January, Letterman tried to make amends for this error and played the footage set that Hicks recorded. Not only that, but Letterman invited Hick's mother, Mary, on to talk a little about Bill's life and to publicly apologise to her for having the performance edited out. Below, you'll find the segment, in 3 parts, which has been posted on YouTube and you can watch them below.

Hope you enjoyed them.

Speak soon.

The Cardman :-)