Travis Perkins Assembly Sixteenth Anniversary Day Of Magic
Ferrybridge, West Yorkshire
Sunday 6th July 2008
Remembered, Reported, Reviewed and Reconstructed for Effect by Al Smith

It doesnít seem like 16 years since the TPA burst onto the magic scene in Ferrybridge, West Yorkshire. Even so, itís still a while and itís flown by. No longer a quid to get in but at £3-00 itís still a bargain. Itís Magicís Pound Shop equivalent.

The Travis scenario is carved in flexible cement and follows a well thumbed footpath. A pot-pourri of dealers and dealerettes (aka as carbooters) costermongering their goods and chattels to a cheery amalgam of free-spending magiconians. There were occasional adjournments, to allow for the presentation of a special featurette or two. Popping up here and there were the tingles and tangles of the rafflette, two lecturettes and the extravaganza that is the showette.

The Dealerettes
In no particular order, the Proper Dealers were Castle Magic, Merlins Of Wakefield, Black Cat Magic and Bradford Magic Studio, AKA Cliff Lount. The carbooters were Bob West, Brian Mayne, Derek Forbes, Humberside Young Magicians, Peter Roberts and the Barnsley Circle Of Magicians.

Not all the big spenders did any big spending and the Long Pocket posse ignored many a bargain. Some things never change. But most of those with things to sell were not too dismayed by prestidigitatorial prudence.

The Lecturettes
First out of the trap with Grand Masters Of Illusion were Daniel Hunt and Annette Claire. An interesting talk, no magic to speak of, but accompanied by archive, mostly black & white film footage of some of the Grand Masters. These included from Robert Harbin, Blackstone Senior, Sorcar and Horace Goldin.

The second lecturette courtesy of Peter Roberts, went by the name of With Magic You Can Do. The material covered a range of general magic, a variation of Card Warp and his keynote routine with a steel ring and rubber band. This is an interesting take-off of the Arthur Setterington linking rubber bands idea and features some startling links and unlinks.

Following last yearís trial run the mini-lecture setting of a single workshop, the formatgot another outing. Two workshops this year. One was something on cards, of which the least said the better, though people who like that sort of thing seemed to like it. The second eventwas an action-packed session on the basics of dice stacking with Daniel Hunt, working hard for his fee.

The Showette
Rather than the more usual arrangement of three or four individual performers, this year the showette was given over to a performance by the Humberside Young Magicians. Coached and coaxed by Hull stalwarts Richard Morrell and Jon Marshall, a quartet of youngsters offered themselves up for approval. These were Jack, Alex, David and Tom. Shifting between rough and ready and smooth, the thing that came through most was the enthusiasm. This might seem a surprising thing to say about magic enthusiasts, but in my experience, which admittedly is not vast, not all magic enthusiasts are as enthusiastic about magic as they sometimes pretend. Enthusiasm is often the absentee factor.

Many magic enthusiasts are really nonthusiasts. These are the folk you never see at club meetings, conventions, magic shops, auctions and any number of events. Nobody can to them all and who would want to? But some faces maintain a presence of sorts whilst remaining faceless in the real world.

Off the soapbox and back at withHumberside Youngsters, another interesting thing was the selection of material. All standard/classic stuff, though usually with an individual twist: coins, cards across, predictions, pope-eye pips, or whatever itís called these days, borrowed ring in loaf, selected card in card frame.

Oddettes and Sodettes
As ever, Mike Shepherd of Castle Magic masterminded the dayís proceedings, ably assisted by The Sheperdettes Ė Mrs. Shepherd, Maurice Johnson, Derek Forbes and Bob West (doing his best). Pat Gresham and Irene Webster did their usual unrivalled work on the turnstiles ensuring that only those who had paid got in. Mike also extended thanks to Mrs Higgins and her team of helpers, who keep the tea and buns and biscuits flowing. The venue is a very pleasant, having undergone serious rebuilding a couple of years ago and now boasts a bar for those who prefer a lemonade or two.

In a magical climate where the question, ďAre there too many magic eventsĒ is not uncommon, the TPA Day remains a cheap and cheerful chopper of a day, with no aspirations to overspend its modest budget. This prudence is passed on to registrants who respond as only those who recognises value-for-money can. Next yearís cavalcade is set for Sunday 5th July, the 17th of its kind. Not displaying the imagined sheen of some pageants in the magic calendar, it maintains an unimpeachable respectability. Low key though it may be, the TPA Day does attract the good, the great and the groovy. This year there were 148 of them. Not at all bad. Next yearís cavalcade is set for Sunday 5th July, the 17th of its kind. Keep an eye on MagicWeek for details.


© Al Smith, July 2008