The Session
10th + 11th January 2015


Reviewed by Elizabeth Warlock


This close-up convention celebrating its tenth anniversary was organised once again by Andi Gladwin and Joshua Jay (Vanishing Inc.). Taking place over the weekend of January 10/11 at the Thistle Hotel, Cheltenham, it was a packed programme of lectures, talks and shows presented by many famous names in this field of magic to a record number of attendees among whom it was possible to spot such stars as David Blaine, Dynamo, Troy and Ben Hanlin, there just to enjoy the magic and camaraderie.

In keeping with the current trend, cards featured prominently. Roberto Giobbi showed a version of Fred, an opening sequence for the Cups and Balls, and various deck switches; Daniel Madison demonstrated a number of sleights including the Gamblers' Cop and the Drop Cop, and Boris Wild gave a version of the Ambitious Card, The Trick that Cannot be Explained, Perfect POP being an extension of the Stewart James Open Prediction and a superb presentation of Any Card at Any Number. Luke Jermay, ever the professional, went back to his pre-mentalism days with some expert card work like Four of a Kind, tarot reading using regular cards and a Poker Hand routine. Away from cards actor Peter Clifford spoke about voice production and staging.

Asi Wind opened his lecture with a walk around effect using a stacked deck and various card effects including Double Exposure and Switcher. After a conversation with Luke Jermay detailing his philosophy on life and magic, Michael Weber demonstrated a number of effects like card calling, Colour Prediction and the Ten Card Poker Deal.

The surprise event came from Andi Gladwin and Joshua Jay with Presentation and Method. From Andi we saw Cutting the Aces with reference to the Scarne trick, a blindfold card revelation, and a very effective Magic Square using numbered cards which Vanishing Inc is in the process of marketing. Joshua showed the Butterfly effect, a blind persons card effect using blank cards and a Prism Deck routine using a phantom deck.

Guest of Honour was Derren Brown. In an interview with Peter Clifford he spoke of his early days in Bristol where he performed close-up magic, of his gradual foray into hypnotism and magic of the mind, and later television. Previous to the event registrants had been asked to supply questions via the hotel reception desk, and these were revealed during the interview. These mostly ranged from questions about his stage and television shows. At the conclusion of the interview Andi Gladwin and Joshua Jay presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award, to which Derren received a long standing ovation.

Just prior to and during the convention and at an extra charge there were workshops by Roberto Giobbi, Juan Tamariz and Michael Weber. As a result the show on the Saturday night did not start until 10.30. Presented by Asi Wind it was opened by Chad Long with some of his clever coin productions combined with comedy, Rune Klan who had the audience helpless with laughter with his gags and crazy antics, and Boris Wild performing his beautiful love story with cards which he dedicated to all those who had died in the Paris terrorist attacks. Asi Wand continued with such items as Time is Money and Any Card at Any Number.

Unusually the convention finished with a lecture by Juan Tamariz but not before he had presented his show that had the audience amazed and entertained as only Juan can. There was a version of the Three Card Monte, a chosen card knocked from a deck in a box, the very funny telephone card effect whereby a member of the audience who by using his own phone has to call someone he knows and ask them to think of a card. This turned out to be hilarious as the guy phoned his mother who lived in Moscow with the conversation being in Russian. There was also that wonderful Oil and Water, and Double, Triple and Total Coincidences. After a short break he then presented his lecture which featured an item he had used in his show. At the conclusion of these events he received a long standing ovation.

PowerPoint featured in almost all the talks and lectures and Bob Hamilton assisted by Sue was there with his cameras relayed onto two screens. The attractive set was designed by Matt Clemitson, and James Went was in charge of sound.

Apart from the organised programme, there were informal sessions with enthusiasts gathering between events and into the small hours showing each other their latest miracles. But then that is what The Session is all about.

Elizabeth Warlock, January 2015