Number 114 - 31st August 2002


Mandy Muden is organising a benefit for the charity Dreamflight at the Comedy Store on September 16th, at 8.00pm. The line-up so far includes Harry Hill (A MagicWeek favourite), Paul Zerdin, Omid Dhahili, Ian Stone and Lee Mack. The raffle prizes include two club-class tickets to New York. Tickets are 12 each, available from Ticketmaster on 020 7344 0234 - sounds like it will be an excellent night. Dreamflight raise funds to take terminally ill children to Disney World in Florida. 31.8.02


Holiday: You Call the Shots features Las Vegas, on Monday 2nd September on BBC 1. "Rowland Rivron and Joe Mace check out the bright lights of Las Vegas, investigating local entertainment, accommodation and facilities." 31.8.02


A Perry Mason Mystery - Case of the Glass Coffin (1991) is being shown on BBC 2 this afternoon. Last week's Columbo involved a magician being shackled up, inside a mail bag, inside a tank of water, inside a wooden trunk - it all went wrong and the magician died... and I wasn't too surprised! 31.8.02


White rabbits are to star again in Newcastle magic shows, following an admission by the city council it was wrong to ban them. To read the full story: Click Here 31.8.02


Magician Magic Matt is currently generating more work than he can handle (for example he performs at all the Manchester United games and supplies a further two magicians each week). He is looking for good performing magicians based in the North West who would like to get in touch, to perhaps exchange bookings in the future. Also if you are a magician and a Manchester United fan contact Matt: 31.8.02


Kovari kindly sent through one of his Perplexing Pyjama Cords - four feet of special magician's rope that magically becomes ridged! And it's under your control at all times. Designed for the close-up performer who thrives on innuendo... it gets a firm recommendation 31.8.02 the UK directory of close-up and cabaret magicians, mind-readers, hypnotists, pickpockets and illusionists is one year old on September 1st. The site receives a steady flow of traffic, from curious magicians "having a look" and, of course, from bookers and individuals looking to hire performers. The site achieves excellent search engine results and to date has had 13,834 individual visits. 31.8.02


Tom Standage's The Mechanical Turk is Radio Four's Book of the Week on 9.45am on Monday 2nd September (9.15am). "The Mechanical Turk tells the story of the chess-playing automaton built by Wolfgang von Kempelen in the eighteenth century, a technological sensation of its time. This carved figure of a wooden Turk could pick up the pieces and play chess against human opponents, apparently independently - and managed to beat most of the human opposition. Tom Standage's book gives a detailed history of the apparatus, as it travelled around Europe and later the United States, encountering many important figures of the day - including Napoleon, Charles Babbage, Benjamin Franklin and Edgar Allen Poe." Order from 31.8.02


Gordon Astley recently interviewed John Ayto, compiler of The Oxford School Dictionary of Word Origins. Here's the official verdict on "Abracadabra" - Now a quite light-hearted sort of word used by conjurors when they perform a magic trick. The pretence, though, is that it is a magic word, which makes the trick happen. And when it started its life, a long way and time ago, it was a very serious word indeed. Like most magic, it came from religion: it was probably based on "Abraxus" the name of the Basilidians, a 3rd Century Egyptian cult. It turns up in Greek as "Abrasadabra" a powerful word which people would write on an amulet and hang round their neck to cure illness. "Conjure" comes via Old French from Latin "conjurare" meaning "to conspire." And finally "Hocus Pocus" means "obscure talk" or activity, and comes from the pseudo-Latin phrase "hax pax deus adimax," which was used in the 17th Century as a magic formula by conjurers. 31.8.02


Carter Beats The Devil by Glen David Gold (published at 6.99) is now on sale in Waterstone's priced at 4.99 and at for just 3.49 "Glen David Gold's impressive debut Carter Beats The Devil is an inspired delight, a dazzling combination of fact and fiction." 31.8.02


Uri Geller's been doing well on ITV's ridiculous I'm a Celebrity - Get Me Out of Here! (nightly at 9pm) relying on his sense of fun and positive outlook to get through it all (but there may be trouble when he gets home according to The Sun)  Paul Daniels appears live on stage at Warner's, The Corton, Lowestoft tonight  Bingo calling magician Andy Tate hopes to make it to Las Vegas... Click Here  That's it for this week. Your magic news is always welcomed. See you next week, Duncan. 31.8.02