It’s February. And that means the Sheffield Circle Annual Magic Auction Night. Oh joy.

Time to parcel up your unwanted props, books and DVDs and bring them down to the Lounge on Thursday 4 February. Be prompt; lots will be sold in arrival order.

All items must be in working order with instructions where appropriate.

Doors open at 7:00 and the frenzy of bidding will start straight after the announcements at 7:30.

Note: If you’re bringing items for auction I strongly suggest that you make a list, preferably two copies; it makes the Treasurer’s job much easier. Ten percent of the proceeds go to Circle funds.

As usual, silly bids will be ignored or converted into something more sensible at the auctioneer’s discretion.

Admission is free to SCM members. Visiting magicians £3. Hoping to see the rows of eager, smiling faces as usual. And your wallets.

See you on the 4th at The Magick Lounge, 82 Broad Street, Sheffield, S2 5TG.

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Here are the days we’ll be open over Christmas and the New Year:

Thursday 24 December    Closed
Friday 25 December    Closed
Saturday 26 December    Closed
Monday 28 December    Closed
Tuesday 29 December    Open
Wednesday 30 December    Open
Thursday 31 December    Closed
Friday 1 January    Closed
Saturday 2 January    Open

Then back to normal, opening daily from 11:00 to 17:30, closed Thursdays and Sundays.

I’ll probably be around most of the time so if you’re truly desperate for modelling balloons, several really expensive books to sustain you during the holidays, etc., you could always try ringing the shop: 0114 276 0482.

Have a good one!

I’m sure my esteemed reader will have answered all the questions correctly. But just in case…

1. Who was the first Honorary President of the Sheffield Circle of Magicians?

Answer: David Devant.

2. What would you use a French Drop for?

Answer: To vanish a coin or other small object.

3. What was Houdini’s real name?

Answer: Erik Weisz.

4. How many cards are there in a standard tarot deck?

Answer: 78. (22 in the Major Arcana, 56 in the Minor.)

5. The motto of the Sheffield Circle of Magicians is “Ars est celare artem”. What does it mean?

Answer: Literally, it is art to conceal art. In other words, true art conceals the means by which it is achieved. (It’s a maxim from Ovid’s Ars Amatoria, which means that in the best works of art the audience is not distracted by the artist’s technique, but responds instead to the power of the work.) T. Nelson Downs also used a similar phrase in The Art of Magic: “Let art conceal art.”

6. Who is generally credited as the inventor of the Olram Subtlety?

Answer: Ed Marlo (Olram is Marlo backwards).

7. Who said, “A conjurer is not a juggler, he is an actor playing the part of a magician.”

Answer: Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin.

8. Who was the Sheffield magician who gave Houdini the idea for the upside-down suspended straitjacket escape?

Answer: Randolph Douglas (Randini). In June 1914 Houdini was appearing at the Nottingham Empire. The teenage Douglas was at the show. Houdini was his hero and they had been corresponding for some time. They met after the show and it seems that Houdini was intrigued with the ideas of this enthusiastic young man. He travelled to Sheffield after his second show, to Carrington Street where Douglas lived with his mother. After supper Randolph took Houdini up to the attic, had himself strapped into a straitjacket, his feet tied, and then winched upside down on a block and tackle which hung from the roof. He struggled out of the jacket, which thudded to the floor leaving the teenage escapologist gently swinging upside down with his arms outstretched… Houdini recognised the image as a surefire publicity icon and continued to use Randolph’s idea throughout his career, as has just about every other escape artist ever since. (Source: Beedham, Ann. Randini: The man who helped Houdini, Youbooks, 2009. Kalush, William, and Sloman, Larry. The Secret Life of Houdini, Atria, 2006.)

9. Who wrote The 13 Steps to Mentalism?

Answer: Tony Corinda.

10. Balducci and Asrah are both types of which commonly seen magic effect?

Answer: Levitation.

11. Under what name did the stage magician, debunker, and scientific skeptic Randall James Hamilton Zwinge perform?

Answer: The Amazing Randi.

12. In magic a ‘restoration’ is an effect in which something is seemingly destroyed or multilated, and then magically reconstituted. What well-known restoration trick was patented by Horace Goldin in 1923?

Answer: The ‘Sawing in Half’ illusion. The first time this was seen, historically, is a matter of discussion. Robert-Houdin wrote in his Memoirs of a magician named Torrini who performed the trick in front of Pope Pius VII in 1809, but there is no other record to support that claim.

Horace Goldin, in an effort to keep exclusive his rendition of the illusion, patented the format that many people would recognize, using a box with the woman’s head and feet showing, and using metal plates to insert into the box at the cut sections. In the end, his patenting efforts only served to document how the trick was performed, rather than maintain its secrecy.

13. Who invented The Curzon Envelope?

Answer: Roger Curzon. (Anyone naming D**** R**** will have two points deducted.)

Tie-Breaker: In what year was the inaugural meeting of the Sheffield Circle of Magicians held?

Answer: 1920 (18 May).

That’s it. How many did you get right?

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As is traditional, the December meeting of The Sheffield Circle of Magicians was a social evening for members and their partners. There were nibbles, a little magic, and a magic-related quiz (replacing the Christmas Puzzle Sheet of previous years following complaints from certain quarters that this required a level of thought and concentration unfamiliar to some of those attending…).

So the quiz included some general magic questions and some SCM history questions; most were fairly easy, especially for anyone with a little basic knowledge of their craft and their Circle. If you missed it, here’s a chance to try it for yourself:

1. Who was the first Honorary President of the Sheffield Circle of Magicians?

2. What would you use a French Drop for?

3. What was Houdini’s real name?

4. How many cards are there in a standard tarot deck?

5. The motto of the Sheffield Circle of Magicians is “Ars est celare artem”. What does it mean?

6. Who is generally credited as the inventor of the Olram Subtlety?

7. Who said, “A conjurer is not a juggler, he is an actor playing the part of a magician.”

8. Who was the Sheffield magician who gave Houdini the idea for the upside-down suspended straitjacket escape?

9. Who wrote The 13 Steps to Mentalism?

10. Balducci, and Asrah are both types of which commonly seen magic effect?

11. Under what name did the stage magician, debunker, and scientific skeptic Randall James Hamilton Zwinge perform?

12. In magic a ‘restoration’ is an effect in which something is seemingly destroyed or multilated, and then ‘magically’ reconstituted. What well-known restoration trick was patented by Horace Goldin in 1923?

13. Who invented The Curzon Envelope?

Tie-Breaker: In what year was the inaugural meeting of the Sheffield Circle of Magicians held?

The winner of the cheap bottle of wine was Ashton Carter with 11 correct answers. Can you beat that? (Without the aid of Google!) Answers will follow with an appropriate minimum of alacrity.

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Especially for those card magicians who feel unable to rely entirely on their own charm, wit, charisma and rugged good looks, we’ve just added a wide range of designer playing cards to our stock, including numbered limited editions and first runs. Call in and have a look. And perhaps imagine running your eager, sensitive fingers across the pertly perfect pasteboards and listening to the crisp riffle of a finely executed faro.

We can almost guarantee they’ll add even more to the lustre of your performance than Adam’s latest patter lines. Give your lifts a lift and add polish to your passes today, or at your earliest convenience.

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The next event at The Lounge is a lecture from Juan Luis Rubiales on Thursday 5 November.

Juan Luis is one of Spain’s most renowned magicians. His teachers were Leon Camacho, who taught him the craft of prestidigitation, and Juan Tamariz, who introduced him to the field of psychology and performance skills. He is a past Close-Up Champion of Spain.

“He is very creative, he has an authentic and unique style… like his magic, authentic and genuine, a real marvel. Thank you Juanlu for what you are doing.” Juan Tamariz

He performs extraordinary magic with coins and knives and has devised new techniques in this area, developing original routines that demonstrate his high level of creativity and original thinking.

“His magic is absolutely brilliant.” William Kalush

Those attending this event will discover that the magic of Juan Luis Rubiales is for everyone who loves our craft, whatever their level. Much of his work depends on an understanding of method and techniques rather than complex technical prowess.

A pure product of the Spanish School of magic, Juan Luis is a worthy heir to Juan Tamariz: beautiful magic but especially a very strong personality and a creative spirit that is infectious!

The lecture is at The Magick Lounge, Broad Street, Sheffield, S2 5TG, on Thursday 5 November at 7.30 p.m. Doors open at 7:03. Entrance is free for Sheffield Circle members, £10 for visiting magicians. In keeping with the bonfire night date we are sure to see some sparkling and colourful magic!

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I’m very pleased to announce that on Sunday 1 November (All Souls’ Day) The Magick Lounge will be hosting The Voodini Seance Lecture.

Paul Voodini will present a unique lecture and workshop covering the areas of seance, paranormal entertainment, spiritualism, and cold reading. Paul has worked professionally for many years as a seance host, ghost walk host, tarot card and palm reader, and has worked for some of the UK’s leading ghost hunting and paranormal event companies. Paul is proud to present his years of experience in a unique lecture and workshop format aimed especially at magicians, mind-readers, and those wishing to provide entertainment with a decidedly paranormal theme.

The event will run from 10.00 a.m. until approximately 4:00 p.m. The morning session will cover all aspects of what is commonly known as cold reading – what it is, what it isn’t, how to employ it, and other methods of providing ‘readings’, before moving into the realms of seance and the paranormal.

We will then break for lunch before resuming the afternoon session. The afternoon will be occupied with seance, the paranormal, and ghost hunting. All aspects of this intriguing branch of mentalism and bizarre magick will be analysed and explored, before we finish with an experiment with ‘the talking glass’ (glass moving) and an actual seance.

This promises to be both a highly informative and highly entertaining day. Paul is passionate about this work and has written prolifically on the subject matter. You will be taken on a journey through the ‘dark side’ guided by perhaps the most knowledgeable person in the UK when it comes to the art of combining the esoteric with entertainment.

All those who buy tickets will also receive, free of charge, a copy of Paul Voodini’s seminal PDF The Paranormal Entertainer. This PDF has a value of £18 and will be emailed out to you completely free of charge shortly after you purchase your tickets. If you already own The Paranormal Entertainer you may request that it be substituted for another PDF(s) of equal value, or the £18 value be deducted from a more expensive purchase.

The ticket price for this exclusive day-long event is £45. Due to the intimate nature of the venue, ticket numbers are extremely limited so please don’t delay in booking your place.

To buy a ticket, please go to:

http://www.readerofminds.co.uk/seance_lectures_79.html

Paul will email confirmation of your seat at the lecture within 24 hours of purchase. No physical tickets will be issued. If you wish to substitute your free copy of The Paranormal Entertainer with a different PDF, please email Paul at sheffieldmagic@hotmail.co.uk.

To confirm, this exclusive lecture/workshop is on Sunday 1 November at The Magick Lounge, 82 Broad Street, Sheffield. S2 5TG.  Doors open at 9:45 a.m. The ticket price of £45 includes a buffet lunch and Paul Voodini’s Paranormal Entertainer PDF emailed to you. Please book early to secure your place at this event… a day not to be missed!

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