Mark Elsdon Lecture
Riviera Magic Club, Torquay
Reviewed by Christopher Williams

I have known Mark now for a few years, but never seen him lecture. All I knew was that he was a nice guy, knew his stuff in Magic, and was a very clever guy with brilliant thoughts in Magic. I was given the task about a month or two ago to find someone to give the Riviera Magic club a great finish to their first full year. Two people sprung to mind, Mark being one of them. At late notice, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to get him...but luckily, he agreed and all was sorted. So, on Tuesday afternoon, I drove to Torquay to meet with Mark as he had stayed over the night before due to having friends in Torquay, and also Gary Jones, Mark Bendall, Trev Stone and Chris Cross. So, we were all sessioning all afternoon etc, Mark showing us some great stuff, and just lots of great ideas going around...anyway, I am side tracking...back to the actual lecture later on in the evening!

Just before Mark started, he introduced himself, and handed out a prediction in a sealed envelope. Mark started with his opening effect for over a decade, Balance. A very clever, and clean handling, for balancing a deck of cards on the tips of Marks fingers, which could be shown all the way around, cards removed from top, bottom and middle etc, very Magical. Then Mark did the same thing with a named finger...again, after showing it is just a normal deck. There is a small gimmick here, but Mark does a good job on teaching how to make it, and hands his gimmick out for inspection. A very nice opener for all, and well worth the effort in making. Mark followed this by having the deck shuffled completely whilst he thought of a card, and proceeded to perform his effect ‘Pre-prefiguration’. Mark first showed this to me at the Session in January, and I was fooled badly with it, and it was nice to see everyone’s faces as they too were all fooled as to how Mark accomplished the effect. An effect done with a shuffled deck, a thought of card, and the spectator dealing, making decisions etc all the way through, ending with a very nice display of a four of a kind found freely by the spectator, matching to the thought of card. I really do think this is one of the strongest FASIDU effects, and personally would love if everyone else in the world didn’t know about this, or forgot how Mark did it, as it really is incredible. is also on Marks DVD ‘Before I forget’, so I don’t think that will be happening anytime soon! (However, get the great DVD if you haven’t already!)

Next Mark performed ‘The Prediction’, which was handed out at the start as mentioned before. This was an absolute stunner! Fooled everyone in the room, and is going straight into my act. A very easy to do, anytime effect, that packs small, but plays BIG! In essence, the same deck Mark had been using the entire time, was shuffled freely by the spectator, and Mark asked the spectator to just grab a bunch of cards from the deck, from anywhere they liked. This was done whilst Marks head was turned. Again, whilst Marks head was turned, the spectator counted their cards so only they knew how many cards they had taken. Then they replaced the cards into the deck. They then thought of a card, relating to their number, which as said, could have been ANYTHING! Finally, the prediction was brought out, no switches or anything, and openly read aloud, proving Mark knew they amount of cards that would be taken, and what card would be thought of. This can be shown to the audience as well, and it is printed on a computer, not hand written, thus making so strong. This is a really cleverly structured routine, and completely fooled me, I thought Mark was using an instant stooge of some sorts, but it is much better than that!

Then came ‘Bring me the head of a packet trick’, to which Mark completely sold out of. A truly remarkable packet effect, again, something I have been doing for years, and something which caught absolutely everyone, and deservedly so. I have a different ending to Mark, as I was never convinced by the original ending, but Mark proved by fooling a room full of Magicians that it does work, and changed my view on the ending, to which I can only thank Mark for doing. High recommendations if you don’t have this!

Mark followed that by Celebrity ME, a nice and Magical way to get your business card out, that made use out of a very clever deck that most of us have and probably never use. Entertaining and Magical, and also, a nice way to open your set should you choose to.

And to finish the first half...Zenner Tech. One of my favourite effects of Marks that he has created. Based on the old ‘Due Tech’ effect, Mark has really taken it to the next level, and it is a real fooler. I got this years back when it first came out, and had I not known how it was done, I know I would have been fooled badly. Another one of those effects, where you can just tell Mark has added his brilliant thinking into the routine. A great close in my opinion to the first half.

So, first half over, people mix and mingle, talking about the first half, Mark doesn’t get time to rest, and is instantly bombarded by people wanting to buy his products before he has even sat down! Twenty minutes later, and after a few more drinks had been bought, it was time again for the second half.

Mark opened with an old marketed effect of his...’Triple impact’. Again, the first time I saw this years ago, I was in shock, couldn’t see how it was done. And yet again, I could see that on the faces of all the other Magicians there that hadn’t seen it before. The great thing about Marks Magic, is not only does it fool Magicians, but they are workers for laymen as well, which is really rare these days. Mark taught this effect, and people just grinned at the method, as it is so simple, yet so difficult to comprehend when you actually witness the effect.

Following this was Marks marketed effect ‘Chaos 2’, an updated on his old effect ‘Chaos and order’...another effect I have of Marks. (I think without realizing it, I have almost everything Mark has released! Scary as I only remember it was Mark who created it AFTER I saw the update versions last night!) It is a nice effect, and much improved on the original, and as with all of Marks effects except Zenner Tech, he teaches how it is done, so you can decide whether you will actually use it, something I think is highly respectful and commendable.

Next came a very entertaining effect...Swindle-esque. An effect based on everyone’s favourite thing to search for on the net, after everyone has gone to bed, all the lights are off, no one watching...that’s right, Binary Mathematics! In reality, the effect used none of that, but it made good patter, and also added to making it a very entertaining and commercial effects, and I think quite a few of the Piatnik number decks are now going to be purchased. I have already come up with my own version of the effect, which has extended it and given it something else, but I still think Mark has really created a brilliant effect, that did have everyone in stitches following along with the story.

Then Mark performed his Rubik remembered routine, where Mark solves a completely normal and un-gimmicked Rubik cube...whilst blindfolded!! An absolute stunner of an effect, and not something Mark teaches in the lecture, but does explain how you can learn it, which is to book him for a one on one workshop, something I will be doing. They workshop isn’t cheap, but totally worth it to someone who will use it. You also get a DVD when you book Mark for the workshop, which will be released by itself at about Christmas, but I think if you really want to learn it, do the workshop, as you will have Mark there to help, rather than asking questions to the TV and not getting a response. This really did get a great reaction, and was one thing a lot of people were talking about after the lecture.

Mark then closed with his most recent release...The Riser Deck. Having one of these in Blue and Red since it was first released, I can’t even describe in words the impact it has on both laymen and Magicians! It really is the ultimate closer to an Ambitious card routine, and I really cant recommend this enough. A card that is placed anywhere into a deck of cards, which is in its box, Magically rises to the top! It doesn’t get any better and more logical that this, and Mark should be really proud of this creation. This was the end of Marks lecture, and a great closer to a brilliant and successful lecture. Mark sold out of a lot of effects, and the title to his lecture was very fitting. ‘Tricks you might actually use’. I don’t think ANYONE went away without one effect they won't be putting straight into their act. A big success, and a big thanks for Mark for doing the lecture in such short notice. Top job!

Mark is a very funny and personable guy, and if your club is looking for an entertaining, Magical and useful lecture that all sorts of club members will benefit from, then don’t hesitate to get in contact with Mark, you won't be disappointed!

© Christopher Williams, April 2008