Friday, 27 December 2013

Goodbye LaBaL

The LaBaL was a 'Now and Then Quarterly Magic Magzine' (magazine-fanzine) published by Al Smith, and which ran for ten years. It was the successor to Abacus. It featured news, opinion, articles, opinion, magic tricks, opinion, reviews, opinion and more.

In 2013, Al announced he was retiring The LaBaL - perhaps for a new publishing project. In its last issue (October 2013), Al included a thank you to all those that have contributed articles regularly over the years. It is worth repeating that list here (in alphabetical order):

Ian Barradell, Steve Cook, Roger Crosthwaite, Roger Curzon, Eddie Dawes, Keith Downs, Peter Duffie, Alan Francis, Alan Gardiner, Brian Glover, Paul Gordon, Tony Griffith, Paul Hallas, John Helvin, Mike Hopley, Justin Higham, Paul Ingram, Jack Jansen, Lewis Jones, Peter Kane, Walt Lees, Phil Ogden, Jon Racherbaumer, Nick Trost, Stephen Tucker, Chris Wardle and Roger Woods.

I, for one, shall miss the magazine.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Genuine Web Links

I've received a number of messages from people stating that they thought they were connected to me on Facebook - only for them to find that the person(s) involved were just using my name. I can't imagine why anyone would do that where my name is concerned but apparently they have done. Therefore, I thought it might be best to list the sites I do use and provide the correct links.

My website:
MySpace (Please note that I seldom use this account these days)

I do have a Google+ profile but do not use it much.

I have been trying out Vizify but have not been impressed as yet; it seems to generate random errors in the data it presents on its pages.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013


The prints of my pen and ink portrait of Tommy Cooper went on sale this week. I was pleasantly surprised by the prints; it is possible to see the varying tones of black made by the ink wash used on the larger dark areas  and even some of the brush marks. I had not expected that detail to show but it does; it is almost like looking at the original.
At present there is one on auction on Ebay with a starting price lower than the actual retail price. Visit the auction by clicking here.
Alternatively, full price copies can be bought on my website; to visit the page click here.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013


Within a week or so the first of a series of limited edition prints will become available for sale. There will only be fifty copies of each one, making them an extra special collector's item. Each print will come with a letter of provenance from me. Each print will be printed on art paper and signed by me (and dedicated to the purchaser if so wished), ready for mounting and framing. 

More details to follow soon.

Friday, 5 April 2013

To George Osborne

To George Osborne,

You claim that Mick Philpott’s behaviour is the result of being on benefits. Then please explain the following by that theory. During Philpott’s teenage years to the age of 21, he was employed in the army. For two years in that period he dated a young girl named Kim Hill. When Philpott decided a dress Kim was wearing was too short, he shot her in the groin with a crossbow. When Philpott decided Kim wasn’t paying enough attention to him, he cracked her kneecap with a hammer. When Kim dumped him, he stabbed her over a dozen times as she lay in bed and when Kim’s mother tried to help Kim, he stabbed her as well. At the age of 21, the fully employed Philpott was convicted of attempted murder.  Mr Osborne, Please explain how (in your theory) the fully employed Philpott was somehow influenced by benefits to behave like that towards Kim Hill and her mother.

The truth of Mick Philpott’s history of violence and abuse to people is that whether he was on benefits or was fully-employed, he would still be the same immoral person in either instance.  

Here is another question for you Mr Osborne. How do you expect unemployed people to be given work when you have tarred them with the same brush that you have used on Mick Philpott to make anyone on benefits appear to be as bad as Jack the Ripper? 

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Change of Web Address

As of today, the web address of my Ebay shop has changed. This is due to my changing my bookshop name from John Helvin's Books to John Helvin. This is all part of slowly bringing everything under the one brand name. Another change to take place later in the year is that the US mirror site for John Helvin's Books,, will be merged into my main website. That link will automatically redirect to when the change is completed. There will be some subtle redesigning of my website to accommodate the changes.
Here is the new web address of my Ebay Shop

We are performing an annual stocktake over the next few weeks and so that seemed an appropriate time to make the change; the reason being that very little will be listed on Ebay during the stocktake.

None of our other sites will be effected during that time.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Dai Vernon Desktop Wallpaper

Another free desktop wallpaper; this time of a detail of my portrait of Dai Vernon. As before, the usual terms apply. This is free to download and use but only for non-commercial purposes; the image is copyright and legal action may be resorted to if the image is used for any money making purposes. The colour of the image has been intensified on a stylistic whim.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

The Devil Laments Cameron's Christmas Carol

I used the quote from Dickens below last December on my Facebook page in regards to criticism of ATOS.  Like a lot of people, I felt critical of the government creating and allowing such an appallingly unfair process; in particular, I was horrified to hear of people having died of their illness not long after ATOS claimed they were fit for work and should have their benefits stopped. 

I didn't realise that Cameron would provide an even bigger reason to quote it again: 

 'I wish to be left alone,' said Scrooge. 'Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don't make merry myself at Christmas, and I can't afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned—they cost enough: and those who are badly off must go there.'
 'Many can't go there; and many would rather die.'
 'If they would rather die,' said Scrooge, 'they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."
 A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, 1843. 

 And 169 years later, when we are supposedly better than back then, Prime Minister Scrooge policies exist; you can find the details here at The Independent. You can read how Cameron and his chums laughed as he described the welfare policies that are going to make "the poor poorer."

Meanwhile, the Devil laments...

Monday, 7 January 2013

James Randi Desktop Wallpaper

One more desktop wallpaper; this a detail of my sketch of James Randi. As before, to download simply either click on the link and the image will load in a new window and you can download it from there - OR - right click on the link and download from the options that appear.
To be repetitive, the image is copyright and is only to be used in a non-profit way. Any commercial use will result in appropriate action being taken.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Penn Jillette desktop wallpaper

Here is more desktop wallpaper as promised. It is a detail of a sketch of Penn Jillette. There is more to be found at my website and at this website 

To download the wallpaper either 
(1) Click on the link and the image will load into a new window and you can download it from there. 
(2) Right click on the link and choose to download the file.

The artwork is copyright. Use of the wallpaper is free provided the image is not used for profit in any way.