Five Times Five Scotland
by Peter Duffie
Published by Kaufman and Company

Reviewed by AnthonyOwen

"[This] is an attempt to bring to the world of magic a sense of the changes in the world at large - the notion of a 'global village'. Ideally, in such a situation, a worldwide cross-cultural intimacy of thought and technique in our art would be available with ease to anyone who wished to study it." wrote publisher Richard Kaufman in his introduction to Five Times Five in 1992. That book focused on performance material created by five magicians from Japan. Late last year Kaufman and Company published Five Times Five Scotland by Peter Duffie, the second book in his planned series.

In the introduction to this 126 page hard bound, dust jacketed book Kaufman writes: "One thing I failed to forsee six years ago was the means by which this 'cross culturization' would take place: the internet." about which he goes on to say: "While there is still a lot of blabbering and mindless nit-picking occurring via e-mail, the internet has, to a great extent, turned out to be yet another place for recycled magazine articles and dealer ads." He obviously hasn't registered for the Circle website mail list!

He says of his planned series of books: " has not been easy to five magicians in any other countries or cities to so far to each agree to donate five tricks. (I have yet to find five French magicians who agree to allow their tricks to be in the same book with one another!)" And this was written before the recent scandals!

Although Kaufman doesn't mention it, this new volume hasn't been without its controversies too, but let's ignore those and consider the contents. The book contains three contributions from ten different Scottish magicians. Whilst the material lacks the variety of unusual props which featured in the Japanese edition (this time it's all cards and coins) the cleanliness of the effects and the construction of the plots taught are very high, no doubt due to the strong influence over nine of the contributors, by the tenth - the quiet guru of Glasgow - Roy Walton; to whom this book is dedicated.

I've long been a fan of Duffie's clear writing style and own creations with cards (he's been a frequent contributor to some of my other publications for several years) and, once again, here he does a great job of the turgid task of turning the description of effects, sleights and processes into readable understandable prose (assisted greatly by Ton Onosaka's illustrations).

Contributing material to this volume alongside Peter and Roy are Gordon Bruce, Dave Campbell, Walter "Sonny" Day, Steve Hamilton, George McBride, Dave Robertson, Gavin Ross and R. Paul Wilson. No doubt those with an interest in this type of material will have their own favourites of the thirty items, but my "tips" are George McBride's Pocket Tweezers, Dave Robertson's Totally Gone, R. Paul Wilson's Card On Case In Case, Roy Waltonâ's Ghostly Spells and all the contributions of Dave Campbell, Walter "Sonny" Day, Peter Duffie and Steve Hamilton.

(Reprinted from The Magic Circular, the house magazine of The Magic Circle, with permission of Editor, Anthony Owen.)


© Anthony Owen August 2000