Paul Gordonís Card Capers
11th May 2008
Reviewed by James Stubbs

Sunday 11 May saw the first of Paul Gordonís annual Card Capers, an 8-hour meet-up for card enthusiasts held in the function room of a pub in Worthing. Anyone who has seen Paul work will know how deeply he believes in the impact of good, direct card magic on non-magicians and how this comes across in both his routining and his presentation. For the 30 or so magicians who attended, this was a golden opportunity to make real progress in their card work, with much more time than is ever available in a club lecture or convention to learn, go back, interrupt, clarify and really understand what is being taught.

The morning lecture took us through a number of Paulís effects from his books and DVDs (or more precisely, from his own working repertoire) at a level of detail which means that I would guess most would now go away and practise them with a view to actually performing them! Closer examination of nuances and subtleties were saved for the afternoon session, but throughout the whole day we were treated to an insight into how good routining and thought-through handling can be cleverly used to dispel the laymanís explanations before they can even come up with them. All of the tricks were within reach of the average card enthusiast prepared to put in some practice and all had the trademark kicker-ending Paul is well known for. Itís not often you hear someone who is so passionate about card magic, and who has clearly put so much time into mastering technique, be so positive about simplifying handling wherever possible if the effect remains strong. A lesson to us all!

Just as practical as the trick/sleights sections of the day was the Question & Answer session. Some people had e-mailed questions through in advance but plenty of time was given for us to ask questions as they arose and as the discussion sparked further issues. The size of the group, and the friendly, sociable atmosphere of the whole event, meant that many felt able to ask important questions which probably wouldnít have been asked in a convention setting. A whole range of issues were considered, including how to get the one-hand top palm right, how to approach groups in a mix-and-mingle setting, deciding on fees, starting off with the first table of the evening, getting work in restaurants, and handling difficult people. Dealing with nerves was an issue of concern to several people, and Paul dealt with the topic very honestly and practically.

Paul intends for this to become an annual event and he has plans for how he wants it to develop. At £25 for the day, this was extremely good value. How many times have I paid that for a 2-hour DVD and been disappointed? Yet here, over 8 hours, I was taken through material I will certainly work on and perform, given advice on handling which answered the questions I really wanted to ask, and highly practical suggestions on the business side of performing. If you enjoy card magic, and want to spend a day with someone who really knows his stuff and does it, faultlessly, for Joe Public, Card Capers comes highly recommended.


© James Stubbs, May 2008