Peterborough Day of Magic
Millfield Hall, Peterborough
Sunday 29th April 2012
Overlooked by Al Smith

The Peterborough Day Of Magic is not a pure convention. Starting at about 10am and running through to 5pm, it’s a Bring & Buy, Sale and Exchange; a Jumble Sale, almost. But with more than several extras. Things to buy and sell, lectures, workshops, car-boot dealers, “proper” dealers, plenty of fun and food and all at a price you can afford.

Peterborough President Keith Downs opened proceedings officially at about 1030am and shortly after this announced the first of two lectures, provided this year by Jimmy Carlo and Dave Forrest. There was also a workshop, courtesy of Mister Forrest.

Jimmy Carlo took the podium first and delivered a worldly-wise session on Kids Stuff; mostly using familiar props, loads of business and non-stop gags. Very entertaining as well as instructive.

Dave Forrest of Full 52 Productions presented his stuff in the early afternoon. This was largely cards and proved a solid contrast to Jimmy Carlo. Thoughtful and very well-worked out effects, all fully explained. Not so many gags as Mister Carlo, but delivered with style and humour. As was his workshop, which followed shortly after the lecture and focused on the torn and restored card.

A first this year was a competition, open to any and all non-Peterborough members. The brief was to present about eight minutes of standup magic—personal choice—and attracted a grand total of two entrants: Michael Wilkie and Wayne Goodman. Mister Goodman collected the gold medal and Mister Wilkie the silver. Bronze was not awarded. It was all good natured and the minuscule entry did not detract. Judges were Dave Forrest and Walt Lees.

Another first was an impromptu dealer dem, which saw Dave Charles of Hocus Pocus Magic and Richard Ballinger of Richard Ballinger Magic demonstrate several of their wares. Hopefully this helped with business, because, sad to say, registrations were down considerably and long pockets were much in evidence.

Despite the lower turnout than usual the Peterborough Day remains a full one and is pleasant enough to whiz by almost before it seems to begin. An unhyped event of good magic, good company and good value. With two lectures and a workshop of this measure, it would be hard pressed to be anything else, really.

The gruesome weather likely deterred a few, but the mildewed malaise that is strangling magic overall and live magic events in particular was probably the key factor.

To say that the level of enthusiasm abroad in the fraternity in recent times (distinguished largely by its absence) is disheartening in the extreme. It’s not just Peterborough of course, and those who can’t be bothered to support live events are missing out. Oh well.


© A E Smith, May 2012