Number 406 - 5th April 2008


All Wright on the night! Matthew Wright is the Magic Circle Close-up Magician of the Year 2008. Matthew's act ticked all the right boxes making him a very popular winner with the packed Magic Circle audience on Monday, March 31st. Great magic, an endearing persona that charmed the audience, some sharp lines, real skill... originality... fun... this was a finely crafted close-up magic act and Matthew deserves every future success with it. Excellent. Matthew Wright is seen here being presented the award by Magic Circle President Alan Shaxon, together with a cheque for £500, and a guest booking at Fechter's Finger Flicking Frolic The Original Close-Up Magic Convention, in the USA. Bob Swadling presented a number of his own effects and was awarded the Originality prize, together with second place, and Andrew Murray was placed third. 12 acts competed in front of a small audience under close-up competition conditions in the Devant Room, as the bulk of the audience watched the performers live on the big screen in the theatre.


John Danbury's original (tinted) wine glass / bottle cork Chop Cup sequence reinvented the classic Chop Cup magic prop by using everyday objects - a lovely idea, and Chichester's Michael Fairall ignited the theatre audience with his brilliant comic timing and sheer tomfoolery (Mike is an absolute natural). It would be great if there was a "Who would I book to entertain guests at my party?" type award for these competitions, perhaps voted for by the audience.


As is the nature of magic competitions we saw some very good acts - and some not so good ones as well! The number of entries was restricted to the first 12 to apply, meaning some magicians who wanted to enter didn't make it. The Magic Circle has some world-class close-up talent in its ranks; I think it owes it to itself to let that talent shine. Perhaps in future the competition could be expanded into a full day of close-up magic, with lectures, special events, and a competition? Then there would be no need to restrict the number of applicants and it would also enjoy a higher profile. The time allowed per performer (currently a very restrictive 6-8 minutes) could be increased to 12 minutes, and the day (not the competition) made open to visiting magicians. Then the event would double as a showcase for the club's superb headquarters, and perhaps encourage visiting magicians to enquire about joining too. 5.4.08


Drummond Money-Coutts and Tom Lyon are releasing a magical DVD to fund the building of a school in Kenya. In August 2007 the pair travelled around Africa performing magic in towns and villages. They filmed their adventures and editing is nearly complete. Sponsorship of the production costs means that all the money raised from sales of Kenyan Conjurations will fund the building of a new school near Malindi (to be managed by the Kipungani Schools Trust). Preview clips can be seen on and Tom Lyon writes more about the project this week, Click Here. 5.4.08


IBM Ring 85 Irish Magic Convention, Dublin. The IBM Ring 85 convention takes place at the excellent Plaza Hotel, Tallaght, Dublin 24, from 2nd - 4th May. Starring Joshua Jay (photo), Alan Shaxon, Trevor Lewis, Quentin Reynolds, Pat Fallon and Max Marshall - plus dealers, competitions, lectures, close-up shows, the Quentin Reynolds Psychic Game Show and their International Gala Show. "Come and find out about the best kept secret in Magic today... the welcome and jovial atmosphere that the Irish Magic Convention is fast becoming known for." For additional information or to pre-register visit or email convention organiser Nevin Cody: 5.4.08


Alan Shaxon presents his 'My Kind of Magic' lecture at The Darlington Magic Circle, Railway Institute, North Road, Darlington DL1 2PP on Thursday, 24th April. Doors open at 7.30pm and entry is just £5.00. Visiting magicians are welcome, but will need to book by 17th April by contacting the Secretary, Nick Richmon: 01325 352341 Alan is one of England’s leading magicians and current President of The Magic Circle. He was recently awarded the prestigious Performing Fellowship by The Magic Castle in Hollywood. 5.4.08


Close-up: In Depth. On Saturday, May 17th, Chris Power is holding a day entitled Close-up: In Depth. "I’ve been lecturing and performing to magicians for nearly thirty years now and I’ve always found some of the most productive stuff came in the informal sessions" says Chris, "What I’m trying to do here is bottle that concept." In terms of numbers this will be a strictly limited affair. "I don’t want to have a large group of people for this, it’s about teaching and sharing the stuff that I do ‘in depth’, I can only achieve that with a small group in an intimate setting. To achieve this I’ve chosen a lovely old London pub with a great room that’s just right." Anyone who wants to really learn about misdirection, card and coin sleight of hand or just get the inside deal on Chris’s justly famous ‘Coins through Silk’ handling, won’t be disappointed. "When he does something, he puts me in mind of Leipzig, Malini or Daley… you can’t see a thing. His magic is masterful." Dai Vernon. Tickets for the event are £75 and include lunch. For more information email: and take this opportunity to spend some time with one of the UK’s leading sleight of hand magicians. 5.4.08


The Naked Zombie Ball. Classically trained in mime, Raymond Crowe applies mime techniques to the humble Zombie Ball with astonishing results. This is a complete routine for the Zombie using no cloth and no gimmick. Each phase of the routine is discussed in full detail and mini classes in mime techniques are taught. Master just a few of the techniques on this disc and it will change the way you approach the performance of visual magic forever. The Naked Zombie Ball is featured in Magic DVDs this week, and can be ordered from (see "New in Stock"). 5.4.08


Card Capers, Paul Gordon's new informative, fun and full day of card magic ("tricks, sleights, tips, advice, the biz, style, presentation...") takes place on Sunday 11th May in Worthing, Sussex. There are now only 10 tickets left. For more details visit 5.4.08


Paul Kieve appeared on the BBC1 Saturday night show ‘I’d Do Anything’ last week, teaching the 12 young potential 'Olivers' basic magic and sleight of hand. The boys then put on a performance for Paul and Andrew Lloyd Webber, who commented afterwards on the show "It was fantastic - great to see the kids performing the magic!" An interview with Paul about his work on the programme appears on the BBC website, Click Here. 5.4.08


The Secret Life of Houdini and The Secret Life of Houdini Laid Bare by William Kalush and Larry Slomanver. "The Secret Life of Houdini by William Kalush and Larry Sloman is perhaps the most controversial book ever written about Harry Houdini. Today, a full year after its release, experts are still debating the claims put forth in this ground-breaking biography. Did Houdini really work for the Secret Service? Did he sometimes rely on confederates to accomplish his escapes? Were ardent spiritualists in some way involved in his untimely death? The authors have now compiled all of their notes and sources into a beautiful companion volume. The Secret Life of Houdini Laid Bare provides a fascinating peek into the voluminous files that were collected from all parts of the world. Plus, all of the material that was edited out of the biography appears in Houdini Laid Bare for the first time. And scattered throughout the book are more than seventy rare photographs relating to the career of the Great Houdini. Fans of magic history will find that reading both books together will bring each one to life. The books will be sold only as a set. Packaged in a beautiful slipcase you will receive a first edition of The Secret Life of Houdini with a coloured frontispiece signed by both authors. The Secret Life of Houdini Laid Bare with 333 pages and a beautiful dust jacket, has a different coloured frontispiece and is also signed by the authors. Each book is numbered and only 1,000 sets have been produced." For more details and to order visit 5.4.08


Auction at the Leeds Magical Association. Tuesday 8th April, doors open 7pm, auction starts 7.30pm prompt. Props and books in good condition accepted on the night. All welcome, free Admission. For more information contact Franklin Arbisman 0113 2677190. Venue: Friends Meeting House, opposite Leeds University, Electronic Engineering Dept. 5.4.08


An Evening with Marc Paul - Magic of the Mind. Sunday 1st June 2008 at 7.15pm at Blackwell Hall, 90 Uxbridge Road, Harrow, Weald HA3 6DQ (Map). Tickets £15 per person including supper. All proceeds to Diabetes UK, and Colitis & Crohn's Disease. Contact Peter Altman 01923 404918 for more information. 5.4.08


Derby Magic Circle Stage Competition Winner. The Derby Magic Circle's annual stage competition this year was held at The Robert Ludlam theatre in Derby on Friday March 28th. Magical judge Dave Charles awarded the First Prize Trophy to Stuart Brown (pictured) who has now won it a record five times in succession! Mike Jackson received the runners up prize. 5.4.08


Barry Miller’s last Full Evening Show. Last year Barry Miller’s life was saved by the Cardiac Unit at Darent Valley Hospital, Dartford. To show his gratitude, Barry has decided to come out of retirement for one last performance of his Full Evening Show to raise funds for the hospital’s Heartbeat Appeal. Also on the show are Megan Knowles-Bacon, a member of the Young Magicians Club, Carole Wilson, a popular local singer, and Omega a talented dance troupe. Barry’s stage crew, lead by Roy Marsh and Kevin Doig, are also donating their services. The show is on Saturday 10th May at 7.45pm at The Mick Jagger Centre, Shepherds Lane, Dartford, Kent. Tickets are £10 (concessions £8). Box Office 01322 291100. 5.4.08


The Home Counties Magical Society have a brand new website. Visitors to the site will be able to find out all about the Society, with sections including joining instructions, their lecture program, reviews of previous lectures, magic related news, events, show and convention reports, interactive maps and more. 5.4.08


Safire Summer. Following their current UK theatre tour with the Chuckle Brothers, Stuart and Jayne Loughland (AKA Safire Illusionists) will be appearing throughout the Summer in The Billy Pearce Show at Bridlington, Blackpool and Skegness and also in Jimmy Tarbuck's Big Night Out at Bridlington in June. Dates and times to be announced. 5.4.08


The Man in the Iron Mask. Daniel Hunt (half of Amethyst, with partner Annette Claire), successfully escaped from an iron mask secured with padlocks supplied by Timpson's Locksmiths last week, whilst bound in a set of regulation handcuffs issued by the police. Daniel was set the challenge by Chris Deighton of Nor-Mal fabrications in Malton to escape from the bizarre contraption he had made - inspired by the film, The Man in the Iron Mask. Daniel undertook the challenge in Scarborough town centre where a crowd of locals waited with baited breath. Michael Jordan of High Jinx also performed some fire eating, sword juggling and unicycling before the escape. This event was to promote the Northern Magic Circle's Spring Parade, which is to be held in Scarborough this weekend: "Escapologists town centre challenge" Click Here. "Locked in: iron mask man struggles to escape." Click Here. (Photo L to R: Annette Claire, Michael Jordan, challenger Chris Deighton and Danny Hunt). 5.4.08


Martin Sanderson leaves his bag of tricks at home next Sunday, April 13th, when he runs in the London Marathon for St Catherine's Hospice. To sponsor Martin visit 5.4.08


Richard Leigh and Anne George for Trevor George Entrainments (UK) have been producing and directing three brand new magic and illusion cabaret shows for touring holiday circuits in the UK for 2008: 'Soft Cabaret' - a bizarre comedy and magic speciality act, 'Urban Myth' - an illusion act themed and set in a junkyard and 'Amy Lauren' - a magic act working with silks and umbrellas and featuring a self levitation illusion. These acts and any of Richard Leigh's productions are available for Magic Convention Gala shows, dinners and society functions. Contact Anne George who now represents Richard Leigh's work: Anne George, Trevor George Entertainments (UK) 01803 615600. (Showreels) Richard is currently working alongside Jay Fortune directing his new show 'Magik and Mayhem'. Richard is expanding this side of the business and is available to work on any magic act for 'act doctoring' and direction. New magic acts, illusion acts, speciality acts and close-up magicians are always required for constant work through 2008 5.4.08


Jon Brett Magic Sale. John Williams' family are to hold a second sale of his magic, this time featuring books, videos and smaller effects. It will be at 13 Salisbury Road, Boscombe BH1 4EN on Sunday 6th April between 10am and 3pm. Jana Bundy, Secretary Wessex Magical Association. 5.4.08


"Richards' Sleep Stunt Warning For Blaine" Click Here • "Guy gets 'buff' for Houdini role" Click Here • "Historic old hall up for a magic return" Click Here • The British Magical Society Annual Dinner and Cabaret is reported by John Ward, Click Here • Christopher Williams reviews Mark Elsdon's recent lecture, Click Here • Jane McDowell reviews 'The Magic Cavern' Click Here (close-up magicians email to work at The Magic Cavern) • Mick Jagger (Barry Miller item above) and Keith Richards in the same edition of MagicWeek - now what are the chances of that?! That's it for this week - UK magic news and reviews always welcomed, see you next week, Duncan. 5.4.08