Number 306 - 6th May 2006


Billy McComb 1922 - 2006. Billy McComb died in hospital on April 30th 2006. One of magic's real characters, I first saw his act at Ron's Day in 1973, when I was 14. I remember that he performed a ring vanish with a wand and a borrowed handkerchief... 31 years later we were both on the same bill at the annual Magic Circle Supper in London and he tore the room apart, but this time I can't remember what he did at all - other than how brilliantly funny he was! Very generous with his advice, and equally generous with his magic related stories (many unrepeatable!) he will be greatly missed by his many friends in magic. Steve Dacri has posted a fitting piece on his website Click Here, and magicians from all over the world have contributed their memories on the Genii Forum, Click Here. 6.5.06


The Magic Circle staged their annual Close-up Magician of the Year Competition on Monday evening. Bournemouth based magician James Brown came first with a fast-moving free-flowing commercial act, jam packed with magic. James has a DVD coming out shortly. In complete contrast William Houstoun (2nd) worked silently and deliberately to music, with a carefully crafted piece that captivated the whole audience. Very magical he was too. And finally Tim Shoesmith came third with his own easy humour and gentle performing style. This was one of the best competitions in recent years standards wise, with eight acts competing in all (I think it was eight). Many congratulations to all three winners. William Houstoun was also deservedly awarded the special originality award. 6.5.06


Derren Brown Something Wicked This Way Comes to the Hammersmith Carling Apollo on Friday 26th May and Saturday 27th May. Booking line: 0870 606 3400. This is your last chance to see the Olivier Award Winning Show in a mammoth venue that is normally reserved for rock bands. You've got to see him live... 6.5.06


York Magic Festival (17th - 21st May) have just released their programme details. A varied lineup of close-up magicians, street performers, children's entertainers, mind readers, art exhibitions and films has been announced. The five-day event will celebrate one of the world's oldest performance arts. Organisers believe the festival is one of the first of its kind in the UK and venues will range from city centre bars to art galleries. York Racecourse, whose May Race Festival coincides with the Magic Festival, are hosting a magician on all three days of their event. The event also features Laura London (photo), the youngest female magician to join The Magic Circle. Festival director Tom Sharp said "from medieval street performers to Victorian stage conjurers, magic has always been a popular performance art. The York Magic Festival aims to be a showcase for some of the UK's most exciting magicians." For more information visit 6.5.06


The House of Magic (UK) is now advertising with MagicWeek. Officially opened on September 22nd 2001 by Wayne Dobson the business has grown and now offers online ordering and even a magic school. It is owned by John Milner and Tracie Hughes, who both began their interest in magic as children. Today as well as running the shop they are also busy as working professional performers, mainly in the corporate market. The aim of the shop is to encourage new blood and help fellow magicians whenever possible. John was fortunate to have a friend and mentor in Ken Brooke, who taught him for many years, and Tracie learnt his magic from John. The team also set up The School of Wizardry in January 2003. Classes are held fortnightly, on Wednesday evenings, following academic term times - except that at this school all pupils are sworn to secrecy! The shop is on the outskirts of Stourbridge and is open most days from 10am to 5pm, but if you are travelling any distance it is always best to phone first. They also have a website, offering magic to order online and information about the shop and The School of Wizardry. Visit today! 6.5.06


David Wood - Childs Play It Ain't. Children's playwright, actor and magician David Wood OBE presents the lecture seen at last year's Magic Circle Centenary at 8pm on Tuesday 9th May at the  Pentacle Club. Accompanied by his pianist Peter Pontzen, David explains his approach to entertaining children with magic. Venue: St Laurences School, Arbury Road, Cambridge, CB4 2JX (Map) Tickets £5 for non-members. Contact Alan Maskell, Secretary, on 01223 462647 For more on David visit 6.5.06


Congratulations to Gary Jones on winning the 2006 Devon Magic Circle Close-up Competition. Gary has a very busy schedule; he's flying out to Lisbon May 7th to perform at a one day logistics trade show, then on to Madrid to perform at the Madrid International Fashion Week (May 9th-12th). Gary is now taking bookings for his lecture, No Frills Just Pure Magic, contact: 6.5.06


Radio Magic launch two new features. First a new Book and DVD review feature, where Jay Fortune (photo) and Jon Randall will be reviewing magic books and DVDs, both old and new. And second, a new section where listeners will receive on-air magic advice from Radio Magic's Agony Uncle... Paul Gordon! Plus, you could "win the pot" in "Layman's Tease" - the money in the pot increases every week with each wrong answer, but the eventual winner will be able to spend it all with Alakazam Magic. Visit for more details. 6.5.06


Amethyst cruising for P&O. Amethyst have just finished cruising in the Canaries onboard the Oceana with their Escapology and Illusion show and have more dates lined up for P&O throughout the summer, together with dates on the mainland. Visit or for more information. Tomorrow (Sunday May 7th) they can be seen at the Cedar Court Hotel, Ainley Top, Huddersfield HD3 3RH (Map) appearing alongside The American Drifters and comedian Kev Duncan at the National Federation of Fish Friers Presidents Banquet & Ball. Tickets are £29.50 from Nigel Male (cabaret, four course dinner, and not a plate of fish and chips in sight!). 6.5.06


Professional Performance Case to Table. Designed and built by Jonathon Walker for Alakazam Magic: "No more bending down to reach props! Includes an easy access drawer for smaller props (or can be used as an impromptu servante). The case is mounted on high quality casters for easy transportation and the lid is held in place with key lockable metal clasps for added security. Plus... because of the unique design whereby the lower half forms the table's top, you will always have a clean performance surface as during transportation, as it is protected by the outer casing." For more information and to order visit 6.5.06


The Ipswich Magical Society are pleased to be hosting a Dealer Dem by Peter Nardi and the team from Alakazam on Monday 15th May. Guests are welcome, but please contact the secretary first, Click Here. This event will take place at the Holiday Inn, Ipswich. 6.5.06


Marc Oberon presents his one man show at the Nottingham Arts Theatre on July 1st. The show will include the act that he will be performing at FISM, his Back Art act, manipulation, illusions and mind magic. Plus a short spot from Marc's 8 year old son Xavier. Tickets are available from the box office 0115 947 6096 Show times 2pm and 7.30pm. Prices: £10 (concessions £8). Last year was a complete sell out, so book early! 6.5.06


Merlin's Secret special performance. Following a very successful tour, there will be a special performance of Merlin's Secret (featuring Doctor Bondini as Merlin) at the Carmarthen Merlin Festival on Saturday 10th June 2006. The venue is the Lyric Theatre, the time 4pm. Box Office 0845 226 3509. "Merlin the Magician cannot fight the evil sorceress Morgan le Fay on his own. He needs the help of a young hero who is destined to become King of England – Arthur. Merlin educates the young hero in secret so that Morgan le Fay will not learn of the threat to her power. Arthur learns magic and swordcraft, but the magician keeps back one vital secret! Doctor Bondini plays the role of Merlin in this fully staged play full of magic, grand illusion, song and dance. There is drama, comedy, audience participation, Bondini’s doves... and his own pet dragon! This performance is a prelude to a major magic event at the 2007 festival which will include a unique stage competition to award the title ‘Merlin of the Year’, together with a significant cash prize. The event will be staged by Carmarthen Festivals in association with PMB Productions, the production company responsible for Merlin’s Secret and The Fabulous Magic of Doctor Bondini." More details will be released within the next few weeks. 6.5.06


Magicseen issue 8 is out now, featuring top illusionist and escape artiste Shahid Malik. "We take you on a trip to Shahid's unique house and get an insight into his highly successful career as a professional performer. As well as this we talk to Richard Leigh, owner of False Impressions, and find out what it is really like running a theatre, we spend a slightly disturbing time routing around inside the brain of comedy magician John Archer, plus we send Deputy Editor Graham Hey off into the Phone Box with 30p to have a quick chat with controversial TV magicians Barry and Stuart." And loads more! Visit to subscribe. 6.5.06


The North West Commercial Close Up Forum: 12th November 2006. Following the sell out success of the inaugural Commercial Close Up Forum which was held in Newbury, Berkshire last January, Mark Leveridge is pleased to announce that he, Martin Sanderson and Nicholas Einhorn will be repeating the day on Sunday 12th November 2006 at the Floatel, Northwich, Cheshire. The North West Commercial Close Up Forum will repeat the formula used in Newbury so that the limited number of registrants will be divided into three groups and receive performances and lectures from all three of the presenters, plus will be able to take part in the Forum Discussion when everyone comes together at the end of the day. The content of the day deals with all aspects of working close-up commercially and covers everything from successful ways to work tables, to mix and mingle techniques, to how to deal with corporate bookings. Online registrations are being taken now, Click Here. 6.5.06


A Jumbo Magic Auction is being held on Tuesday 16th May, 2006 run by Manchester Circle of Magicians. Please note the early start time of 6.30pm due to the large quantity of goods on offer. The venue is Salford Masonic Hall, Hemsley House, 41 The Crescent, Salford, Manchester. Star Auctioneers are Mike Shepherd and Derek Lever. For further details email or call Derek Lever on 01253 810113. 6.5.06


Congratulations to brother and sister act Hi-Jinx from Huddersfield, winners of the West Lancs. Stage Magician of the Year competition held on April 23rd. Manipulator Stuart Brown was placed second. For a full report of the competition and convention Click Here. Ace Magic Circle President Roy Critchley would like to thank everyone for making the day a great success. 6.5.06


Ravi Mayar performed at the recent Flora London Marathon 2006. He was the first magician to be hired for the event and will now be hired every year to entertain. For more on Ravi and what he's up to visit: 6.5.06


The Balloon Man, Mike Stokes of Playtime Balloons, will be walking the 50 mile Test Way in aid of Tickled Pink Breast Cancer Charity starting on June 5th. All sponsorship gratefully received. Mike has just been booked to lecture at the Millennium Jam 2007 6.5.06


Mid Essex Magical Society held their annual Close-up Competition last Thursday at their headquarters in the Cricketers Pub, Danbury, Essex. An unprecedented 11 magicians competed this year in a an enjoyable and closely-fought competition. The eventual winner was Richard Graham (photo), adding this crown to the Sorcerers Sorcerers title he won two months ago. Richard's act included Three Fly, a Ring 'n' String routine, Hopping Halves, Pinnacle and a card transposition. The runner-up was John O'Riordan and Colin Davies and Gavin Davey tied for third place. 6.5.06


The Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show, Wonderworks, International Drive, Orlando, USA. Neil Bonner emails: If you happen to find yourself in Orlando, Florida, this summer, a night out at Wonderworks is a must for magicians and non-magicians alike. For a family show in what is very much a holiday town, you might expect the fair on offer to be a little tame. But there's nothing bland or safe about The Liars – Danny Devaney and Tony Brent. These guys can happily keep children entertained – a major feat in itself - yet at the same time, their antics are so off-the-wall, it's a wonder they haven’t been snapped up for their own TV series on Channel 4. Although their routines are perfectly executed, their style is delightfully bizarre. So much so that you feel you are witnessing a one-off event rather than just another performance in a long residency. Top tricks, a quick-change routine and even some comedy juggling make it a great night out! 6.5.06


Durham Society of Magicians (an affiliated society of Northern Magic Circle) would like to congratulate member Robert Temple on winning the N.M.C. 50th Easter Parade Stage Competition on their behalf. In 2004 Robert also represented Durham Society of Magicians in Blackpool Magicians' Club's Seaside Sorcery Convention where he won the British Inter-Society Magical Stage Championship and was runner-up in the close-up. 6.5.06


Matt shows it's a kind of magic. "A stage hypnotist and street magician from Bolton is set on becoming the next celebrity magic act. Matt Grindley trained as a baker when he left school but his love of magic soon saw him taking to the stage in Blackpool, entertaining crowds with his clever sleight of hand and mind tricks." To read the full story by Paul Keaveny in This is Lancashire Click Here. 6.5.06


Edinburgh Fringe. Richard Leigh is presenting a week of pre Edinburgh magic shows at The Magic Cavern in London between August 1st - 5th. Shows currently booked for the week are 'Malcolm Marvelle - Master of Mystery and the lovely Rita' (Currently playing at The Jermyn Street Theatre in the West End) and Chris Cox (from Radio One). If you're heading up to Edinburgh in the Summer and would like to preview your act in London first contact for details. 6.5.06


Martin Sanderson: The Business. Martin's new DVD is reviewed by Gary Young this week, Click Here • The South Shields International Magic Convention is reviewed by Roni Shachnaey, Click Here • David Blaine updates: From CNet: "Performance artist and magician David Blaine interacts with spectators of all ages on day three of his challenge to live underwater for a week in an eight-foot acrylic sphere in New York City's Lincoln Center." Click Here • "Magician Spending Week In Water-Filled Sphere" (includes video clip) Click Here • David Blaine: Drowned Alive? From Part I, Part II, Part III • That's it! See you next week, Duncan. 6.5.06