20th May 1932 - 23rd April 2005
Remembered by Barry Allen
I was absolutely devastated to learn of Joe Riding's death.
Joe was instrumental in guiding me in the right direction with magic from when we first met (I was around 14 years old at the time). Over the years we became good friends and would visit each other regularly. His card magic was, quite simply, awesome.
Joe produced 100% commercial effects. Often his manuscripts would sell for around £10 even 20+ years ago - no use for the magician that simply wanted toys for the boys as he would say. I was fortunate to learn at an early age just how commercial his magic was and how it continues to impress laymen - even to this day.
I do not think it is going overboard to state that Joe Riding was one of the most underrated card men ever within the UK. I rarely hear the younger breed of card magicians talking of his work or seeing it demonstrated.
You could walk into a pub with Joe and he would literally mesmerise people with his card skills and one liners. The ladies weren't left out either; he could easily have a queue form in no time once he started on his cold reading and hand analysis.
Joe was not just a man of cards. His rope and sponge ball routines for cabaret gained acclaim from all that either saw him perform or were lucky enough to obtain his manuscripts.
The late Ken Brooke was a great admirer of Joe Riding. Joe told me a few years back that before Ken's passing, he received an audio tape from Ken who stated that Joe's Jumbo effect 'The Irish 3 Card Trick Using 4 Cards' was the best selling item that he ever supplied. If you know the routine, you will value it's worth. Personally, I use this trick every time I go out to bat - along with other creations such as FRED - the best named card effect bar none.
The difference between Joe's magic and other work I have read is the brilliance demonstrated within the actual routining AND how these effects can be adapted for comedy. Coupled with the emphasis that Joe placed upon the 'What If' principle (in other words how do you get out of trouble if something goes wrong) his work oozes both professionalism and a commercial outlook in everything that he ever produced.
Many will not know that Joe also wrote comedy material for many well known comedians over the years. He also had an ability to keep gags topical and I have seen Joe work in stand up cabaret where half of his act has been the delivery of a string of one-liners; all timed to perfection. His subsequent transition back into the magic was seamless. The guy was the Complete Professional and a joy to watch and it was a privilege to class him as a true friend.
Joe leaves his Daughter Pam and his Grand Daughter Sally; my love and thoughts go out to them both.
Every time I think of his Lancashire accent saying "think of a card tell me when you've got one" I will remember the many happy times we have had and the smiles that you brought to so many faces.
Rest In Peace my dear friend.
Barry Allen, 30th April 2005