Sunday, 31 July 2011

Teller Speaks About Penn & Teller: Fool Us

In an interview about their new show Tell A Lie, Teller discusses why he regards Penn & Teller: Fool Us as a great television series.
[Thanks to Daniel Lander for providing the link for this video]

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Beware Another Scam

Another fraudster is exploiting my book, A Briefe And Pleasaunt Treatise Entituled, Natural And Artificial Conclusions - this time on Ebay. The seller is selling the book, as a new item, at £21.69, even though the retail price is only £10. Also, I've never heard of this 'bookseller' before, I've never sold them any stock and they don't have an account with me.
If anyone wants to buy a genuine copy at £10, and doesn't wish to do so through my own website, then I suggest visiting Word Power Books - they are a walk-in bookshop and online bookstore that sell to the general public and educational bodies.

UPDATE 30/07/2001: Since writing this blog entry the seller has altered the price to £19.52. Perhaps he reads this blog and doesn't want to be thought of as the seller in question!

Friday, 22 July 2011

The Complete Cups & Balls by Michael Ammar

This is possibly one of the best books on the cups and balls for the beginner – or the book collector. Yes, there are other books on the subject that are considered classics but note that I wrote ‘for the beginner.’ What puts this book a notch above others (along with the quality of Ammar's text) is the layout of each page and how the illustrations are designed. It is not simply that there are plenty of photographs to illustrate each move; the design of the page clearly links relevant text to each illustration – sometimes using arrows to connect text to a particular area of a photo.  There is very little room for misunderstanding what is meant. That value of that point will make more sense if you have read earlier books or booklets that deal with the same subject. It is not unusual for the small number of badly drawn illustrations in them to confuse matters more than help.
Another point in its favour is it discusses timing and misdirection; which many other books on the cups and balls hardly ever mention let alone discuss the principles.
Finally, there is the sixty page bonus of brief essays from renowned practitioners of the cups and balls including Bob Sheets, Gazzo, Paul Gertner, Tommy Wonder and David Williamson.
A question that might sensibly be asked is how much do the DVDs of the same name by Michael Ammar relate to the book – and the answer is very much so. Anyone failing to learn the cups and balls by using the book and the DVDs together should consider getting a hobby or profession that does not involve using their hands. Or consult a neurologist to find out what is wrong with their hand/eye coordination. 
If I am to level any criticism about the book it is that the ‘complete’ used in the title is not deserved. I believe it would require an encyclopaedic publication to get even near deserving that accolade.  But with any publication from any publisher the title is not to be taken so literally; for anyone with a genuine interest in learning the cups and balls and who will truly see it through to the end, this book is as complete as it needs to be. 

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Magicaean World Magic News

Here is a link to a new website that is still being shaped by its owners. It's a website that pulls together news about magic from around the world. The Magicaean is designed to build its content from RSS feeds and other sources; even so, it still needs input from its readers so please visit it and read how to contribute something and keep the site updated. If your website or blog is solely about magic and is regularly updated, then its content could be included or linked to by The Magicaean.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Mystery Man: Google Genius

I was using Google Earth to view the Acropolis in Athens when I noticed that one of the people in the panoramic photos had done something clever. He's a magician in his own way! I've made it into a little video:

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

The LaBaL July 2011

July's issue of Al Smith's The LaBaL is now available. As per usual there's plenty of card tricks and articles with some opinions that might cause some people's teeth to grate. 
For those that didn't know, The LaBaL has its own Facebook page:
The LabaL Facebook page

Monday, 11 July 2011

EMC Day 2 And A Dead PC

After enjoying the second day of the Essential Magic Conference online live broadcast, I shut down my PC only to hear it make an unpleasant noise and then it was no more – the poor thing ceased to work after many years of reliability. Unfortunately, a new PC was not in place until Sunday afternoon; and so, I missed the third day of the EMC.
All is not lost however, for those that subscribed to the conference, the videos of each day’s broadcast is being made available on the EMC website in the members’ area. I can at least see the final three sessions that I missed.
A less immediate solution to my PC’s demise is that it contains many files relating to books to be published or reprinted. They will be retrieved from the hard drive but the conversion to the more up-to-date 64 bit software may mean some re-editing and so on. I’m not sure what kind of delays this is going to cause in my work. It’s a case of get on with it and find out.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Essential Magic Conference Day One

Day One consisted of Sessions 1, 2 and 3; although there were technical difficulties at the beginning, the quality of Day One's EMC was on par with last year's. The majority of the speakers were brilliant; some were excellent; a few need more experience. 
All in all, it was very enjoyable. For me, those who stood out above the rest for performance were Akira Fujii, Lu Chen, Dani DaOrtiz and Rene Lavand; the latter deservedly received a standing ovation from the other speakers. The talks given by Rudy Coby, Apollo Robbins, Topas and Stan Allen were, as one of the other speakers phrased it on the live chat feed that accompanies each live broadcast, "pure gold."
I'm looking forward to the Second Day which begins at 3pm today (GMT).

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Paul Daniels Interview in Mystery Magazine

In the latest issue of Mystery Magazine, there is an interesting interview with Paul Daniels (and I'm not saying that because I was the interviewer). The magazine, as ever, has plenty of news from the UK magic scene, including reports on recent conventions.
The magazine, if you're not already a subscriber, is available as a download or in printed format from

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Penn Jillette Talks About John Archer and Ben Earl

Penn, of ITV's Penn & Teller: Fool Us, talks about John Archer and Ben Earl on his video blog Penn Point. John Archer is deservedly praised by Penn.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Penn & Teller: Fool Us

The third episode of Penn & Teller: Fool Us has been aired and so far all three episodes have been enjoyable. Having said that, a very interesting viewpoint on the format of the show has been expressed by magician Rob James. It's a thought provoking piece and here is the link to it: