Paul Gordon Derby Magic Circle Lecture
Breadsall Community Centre

Wednesday 26th May
Reviewed by Al Smith

In some respects, this was a typical card session. Aces appeared and disappeared, aces were controlled, located and cut-to; selected cards were produced, sleights, moves and subterfuges were discussed, dissected and analysed.

However, in truth this was not at all a typical card session.

Paul Gordon is a cardman. Unashamedly and unapologetically so. And why not? He makes his living with a deck of cards so we would expect him to wave the pasteboard flag a bit. But thatís not the whole picture.

Like most of us, first and foremost, heís a magic fan, in the best sense of the word; an enthusiast. And itís his enthusiasm that carries the day. This is not to suggest that the material he performs and explains is insubstantialóit isnít. Heís not trying to build something out of nothing. The material is solid to begin with, but benefits greatly from Paulís energy. It lifts the moment.

This is something we can all learn from. After all, if we canít be passionate about what we do, how can we expect others to be passionate about it? If we donít care, why should anybody else?

And technically there is nothing here to fear. Itís not sleight-heavy. With the possible exception of a straddle faro shuffle, most of the rest is Basic Card Handling. Stuff thatís made even more accessible by Paulís approach to the explanations. Anyone with aspirations to being any species of cardperson should be aware of, and competent with, these basics.

This is not intended to be a blow-by-blow outline of the session, simply because itís impossible to itemise the topics covered. As Paul admits he ďgoes off on tangentsĒ sometimes responding to his own thoughts, but mostly inspired by comments and questions.

The Derby Circle is a go-ahead outfit and the brains-trust is to be congratulated for persuading Paul to visit. The session took place on a regular Derby meeting day, but was open to non-members who are bon fide conjurors. Not sure how I got in, but there we are. Oh, yes, thatís it, I bribed somebody. Attendance was very good and it was encouraging to see that Paulís books and DVDs were finding new homes.

There are some magic nonthusiasts who look down their noses and up their trousers at card magic and somehow conclude that card stuff is incapable of being presented entertainingly. There are several cures for this malady, but the most painless course of action is a refresher course in reality. Oh yes, and have a look at Paul Gordon sometime. Soon. End of sermon.

© Al Smith, May 2010