Monday, 2 August 2010

DEALING WITH MAGIC: The Rise & Fall of The Supreme Magic Company

Every now and then on magic websites or in magazines you’ll read the sales pitch that a particular book is the most important thing to have happened in magic that year or whatever. Whether or not such products live up to that description I don’t know but I do know that this book by Ian Adair is an important event for anyone interested in the history of British magic.

Adair modestly deprecates his own effort at autobiography at the start of the book by stating “In writing this book, I didn’t set out to win any literary prizes, nor will I expect grand reviews for my writing skills.” Actually, his book should receive grand reviews for him having at least written and made generally available some form of memoir about contemporary magic in the UK whereas many, whose magical careers have included writing, have not.

It’s never easy for someone to write a memoir on a particular form of career where others in that field are inevitably mentioned. It immediately prompts responses from readers with details that may aid, support or contradict the information given - sometimes in an unkind way. And so it takes a brave person to put themselves into such an arena, especially if it includes a controversial topic such as the demise of The Supreme Magic Company. But that is a process which historians rely on. Sometimes the people who won’t normally put pen to paper on the subject of a period in their life suddenly do in response to someone’s autobiography.

Adair’s autobiography is a very candid one. He writes of his successes, which is natural considering his successful career in magic, but he also includes his personal failures and does so without any trace of self-pity or excuse-making.

The first half of the book is Adair’s autobiography from childhood to present day. The second half of the book consists of mini-essays or memoirs of people and events. That may seem to be a strange thing to do but it has allowed Adair to give space for detailed information on specific topics about The Supreme Magic Company and even his own method of creating magic tricks.

The book is available directly from Ian Adair; for inquiries please email

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