Monday, 25 January 2010

Chance Photography

Sometimes with photography we don't realise just what we have really taken a picture of until we look at the print or until a friend points out what we have overlooked. There are plenty of examples on the internet and here are just some and one trick photograph.

Here we see how the photograph was actually shot.

[Unfortunately, no information was given about who the photographers were or about copyright. If you recognise your work feel free to contact me and I'll add a copyright notice]

Thursday, 21 January 2010

The LaBaL: January Issue & Facebook Page

Just a quick word about The LaBaL. The January issue is now available. It features reviews of Joshua Jay's Magic: The Complete Course, Magicseen Magazine, David Gemmell's Pasteboard Adventures, Lewis Jones' The Magic Gourmet and Paul Gordon's The Real Secrets of Card Magic. There are articles with opinions on Magic-Con, the public's perception of magic, The Duckworth Lewis Method, Noah Kelly and Stateside News from Paul Hallas. The issue includes a number of card tricks including by Paul Gordon (here are links to Paul’s website and blog) and Chris Wardle (website).

There is now a Facebook page for The LaBaL. It has only just been created and the number of members are therefore low; it would be appreciated if you could join the page, building up the numbers and also provide LaBaL’s publisher with feedback on each issue. It is important to note that The LaBaL is not a glossy magazine; it is a combination of a magazine and a fanzine (Al Smith, the publisher, combines the words and calls it a Magzine) of professional magic in the UK and is for magicians with a serious interest in magic. Details on how to buy a single issue or a full subscription can be obtained by visiting the Facebook page or by viewing the advertisement on the links page of my website.

[The above image is copyright by Al Smith and The LaBaL (c) 2010]

Friday, 15 January 2010

Mystery Magazine for January

The third issue of the new British magic periodical, Mystery Magazine, was delivered this week. Editor Walt Lees and publisher Paul Cooke are certainly pulling out all the stops to provide us with an all colour extravaganza on a monthly basis.

This month the president of The Magic Circle, Jack Delvin, discusses his career and the present status of modern magic in a six page interview. There is also a lengthy review of the International Magic Convention which took place last November. If you have never attended a magic convention, then this article will provide you with a taste of what one is like.

The magazine is, for me, a welcome return of what was best about Abra (Abracadabra magazine) which closed down last year. Paul Cooke, owner of Magic Books By Post, has updated the Abra style of the magazine with an all colour format. The magazine even has its own website with an easy online method of purchasing single issues or a full subscription. While not Abra, it is apparent even after only three issues that it is becoming something more than that and I look forward to seeing what it is like by the end of the year.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

January Updates.

The book The Art of Iugling by Sa Rid, 1612, has been delayed. This has been because I found copies of Sa Rid’s other book Martin Mark-All and I’m including the text in the book to be published. The delay is not a long one. The publication date is now in February. The publication of Hocus Pocus Junior will be not be that long thereafter.

Publication of the first book, and any other book, of the Ancient Greek Drama Series has been suspended for an indefinite period. One of the plays was converted into a film script and I await an answer regarding the option being taken up by someone. I personally do not see it happening but with agents being what they are I am patiently doing as I am bid (for a while) before inevitably forging ahead with my own plans.

I’ve neglected uploading more videos to You Tube. This has simply been down to lack of time. The winter months kept me busier than I expected. The promised videos will begin to be uploaded soon but not at the rate I hoped. I have some academic research which begins in February and which continues through to the summer and this will mean focusing my time on what is absolutely essential. So editing and uploading videos has to take second place for a while.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Entertainment Defying Acts

This week the BBC broadcast the film Death Defying Acts starring Guy Pearce and Catherine Zeta Jones. The basic gist of the film is that a fake psychic tries to swindle Harry Houdini out of a $10,000 prize for evidence of contacting his late mother. There were two main areas of disappointment regarding this film.

The first was that the writers did not appear to know very much about Houdini. It was almost as if the story was about another magician entirely. As it turns out, the original writers had a story that did not involve Houdini at all but, as usually happens with the many handed interference - sorry, contribution - of a production team, one of the main characters became Houdini. After which there was very little obvious consultation of any authoritative biography, of which there are many. They instead used the popular urban myths about Houdini that have been bandied about since his death.

Would the film have been more palatable if a fictitious magician was used? Not really and that was the second area of disappointment. My wife Jill, who knows nothing about Houdini and therefore could not be put off by any form of representation of him in a film, was quickly made so bored by the film that even the dreaded washing of the dishes had a greater allure for her. Followed by any other activity she could think of to do. The pace and plot did not particularly grip our attention and the actors had little room in either to have the opportunity to make us feel any empathy for the characters they portrayed.

[The above image is copyright by the film-makers]