Something really good….for free?

It’s not often that something really good comes along for free in magic. Tricks and effects aren’t cheap – and quite right as you’re buying secrets and often many years of development. But here’s something that really is free and invaluable if you love magic. Josh Jay at Vanishing Inc has spent three years putting together an ebook, “Magic In Mind”, with some of the greatest writers in magic:

Tommy Wonder
Charles Reynolds
Simon Aronson
Paul Harris
John Carney
Jamy Ian Swiss
Dariel Fitzke
Peter Samelson
Derren Brown
Michael Close
Pit Hartling
Eugene Burger
S.H. Sharpe
René Lavand
Henning Nelms
Juan Tamariz
Rick Johnsson
Tom Stone
Darwin Ortiz
Milt Kort
Arturo de Ascanio
David Regal
Doug Conn
Ken Weber
David Kaye
Roberto Giobbi
Eberhard Riese
Brian Brushwood
Whit Haydn
Max Maven
Nevil Maskelyne

Trust me when I say you need to get this. It’s free. It’s inspiring. Get it here:

I don’t really like to use this blog to sell stuff on behalf of others but, hey, this is free and Josh is a decent guy and he’s put this together for the right reasons.



An Evening of Deception 2013 and putting on a show

We’ve done it again – sold out our magic show in a Cheltenham for the fourth year running. An Evening of Deception was an idea I had with Andi Gladwin and Paul Duggan in a pub a few years ago. We all wanted to see live magic near where we lived and went to see a show at a local theatre. Without naming names it was pretty terrible. A guy with a table full of tricks bumbling his way through them in no particular order in the name of entertainment. It was exactly what magic shouldn’t be. So, we hatched a plan.

I had a few contacts at The Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham and pitched the idea for a show. We slotted into their Cabaret week and sold out our one night pretty quickly. It was great fun. In fact posts elsewhere on this this blog catalogue how the other shows ran.

This year we sold out again and I think it was our best year yet. The studio at the theatre only holds 42 seats which is great for stand up magic. Having performed an act for last year’s show I was looking forward to just compering this year but due to one of our performers having to pull out a couple of weeks before the show I had to come up with an act to fill the gap. We tried to find another magician but no one was available for all four nights. So I reached for the magic bookshelf once again and had a rummage.

As you may know, my magic collection, like many other hobbiests, is way too big. But having so many books means there are thousands of tricks and effects to choose from. It was actually great fun trying to find the tricks to do but I had to make sure they were straightforward enough to rehearse and get ready for the show in just 10 days. Add in to that a full time job to do as well! i plumped for Timeless by Liam Montier, Vino Aces by John Guestaferro and Heist from Andy Nyman.

Timeless is fantastic and I’ve been wanting to try it out for an audience for a long time. The same goes for Vino Aces. I first saw it performed by John at The Session convention. It’s a lovely and elegant update of a classic card effect, MacDonald’s Aces. I’m no card monkey and it does require some basic sleights which I’m more than capable of doing. However, doing in front of a live audience meant the nerves kicked in and the shaky hand syndrome struck. Nothing went wrong, but I’m sure many performers will empathise!

Heist by Andy Nyman is simply stunning. A routine where a spectator puts one of their own banknotes into one of four numbered envelopes. He doesn’t know which one. Then another spectator selects a random set of instructions telling him to shred three of the envelopes leaving just one – which contains the spectators banknote! The kicker is that the magician correctly predicted which envelope the money would be put in and which set of introduction would be chosen. It’s a fantastic routine that includes risk, tension, comedy and drama. I highly recommend it. The fun part was getting the props made up. It’s all routines around a gameshow format “Let’s Shred Some Cash!” I think I ordered enough different envelopes to open a stationery shop of my own! Again, magicians will know what I mean 🙂


So all in all the show went brilliantly well. If you’re a magician and have always wanted to put on a show then my advice is to go for it. There’s a real appetite for it amongst audiences and they consistently told us they were blown away and didn’t realise that seeing magic live was so good! I couldn’t agree more. If you are planning on putting on a show then I’m more than happy to offer some advice. We’ve learnt a lot along the way and are always trying to do things better.

Anyway, for the curious here are a few behind the scenes pics for you to have a look at.









A new host and hopefully more blogs

The old Tricktopia hosting site, Posterous, is about to shut down at the end of April so I’ve moved back to WordPress. With the move come an impetus to really keep this blog alive once more. 

We’ve just finished another sell out run of An Evening of Deception so that’s given me a push to write some more stuff. 

Thanks for bearing with me – those of you that actually read this stuff.

Stay Tuned


Annual update

Like so many blogs this one has fallen by the wayside. Why? To be honest, it’s time. The best intentions I had at the beginning were fuelled by a lot happening for me with magic. But the last year it’s gone quiet because I’ve been tied up with the other things in my life. No bad reasons – family, work, music etc.

BUT, last year was good for magic. The Session was a blast – the Chris Kenner interview was fascinating. And the sell-out run of An Evening of Deception was our best yet. In fact, we’re back again this year – so here’s a plug. Check out the Facebook page for An Evening of Deception for details about the new show.  

This week I’m off to see one of our great performers from last years show, Peter Clifford, in his regular Christmas Show at The Tobacco Factory in Bristol. Pete’s magic is always original and this year’s show, Magic Matters, has attracted some great reviews.

Next weekend the Session is back in Cheltenham and it’ll be great to catch up with some friends who I only see once a year! Some great performers this year as well.

Maybe I’ll get back to writing stuff from my hobbyist point of view again soon. I know what I’ve written in the past has been enjoyed by many and irrritated a precious few. That, to me, is a success!

Bye for now.




Getting ready to Session?

I mentioned this in my last post, but this time The Session really is nearly here – just five days away in fact. For the first time in decades, an international magic convention is taking place in Cheltenham, the birthplace of the legendary victorian magician, JN Maskelyne.

For those of us interested in magic, the line-up is going to be difficult to top. My friend, and fabulous local magician, Andi Gladwin, has worked really hard with co-organiser, New York magician, Joshua Jay, to bring a fantastic line-up to the session. 

Over the past few days I’ve been working on the event that I’m helping out with – interviewing Las Vegas magician, Chris Kenner. Chris is a major influence on magic today and will be here to pick up the Session’s Lifetime Achievement award. Not bad considering he’s not yet 50. He’s made major strides in shaping modern magic – starting as a close up and stand up magic comedian to now working as David Copperfield’s Executive Producer. He’s also supportive of young magicians – again shaping the future of magic. But he’s also blatantly outspoken about what is right and wrong with magic today, so expect a home truths. 

Such is his influence, and the calibre of the other performers (I’m really looking forward to seeing Dani Daortiz from Spain as well as Penn and Teller Fool Us magician’s John Archer and Piff The Magic Dragon) that magicians are flying in from around the world to be in Cheltenham.

Anyway, back to the research…