A few of the photographs I took during the Sheffield Street Magic Festival on 1-2 November 2014.

I’m pleased to say that we’ve now had payment for this and are able to pay participants. Shop regulars should have received their pittance fee; if you’ve not had yours, call in or give me a ring. This should be a complete list. If your name isn’t on, contact me immediately.

Peter Antoniou, Russ Appleby, John Archer, Ian Baker, Adam Bell, Steve Brownley, Ashton Carter, Chris Clarke, Nathan Clarke, Connor, Roger Curzon, Darren Dudley, David, Steve Faulkner, Craig Frith, Julie Gascoyne, Ian Hallworth, Peter Hammond, Ian Henshaw, Toby Hudson, Tom Hudson, Ryan Jackson, Ben Jones, Dominic Lawrenson, Nathan Lindley, Looch, Tom Magick, Jared Manley, John Martin, Jordan Maycock, Callum Morris, Gareth Neale, Vincent O’Brien, Gordon Pemberton, June Savory, Ben Smithies, Jake Smithies, Tim Smithies, Wiz Spencer, Andy Taylor, Peter Wall, Tony Wilkinson.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to everyone who performed or helped in any way. I hope you enjoyed your involvement and feel that the Festival helped raise the profile of magic in Sheffield.

The 2014 event was much bigger than 2013, spread over two days and with two evening shows and two ‘junior magician workshops’ (despite the organisation  fee being the same!). I’d love to get your feedback and hear your ideas for improvement if we go for a 2016 Festival. Don’t hesitate to comment below, or email me. Thanks.

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Bus Stop Poster_smPosters are now available for the Sunday Night of Magic at Sheffield’s Library Theatre on 2 November. As with the general Street Magic Festival posters they are available in two sizes: A3 (397 x 420 mm, approximately 11.7 x 16.5 inches) and A4 (210 x 297 mm, approximately 8.27 x 11.7 inches).

Again, if you have a printer I can email a copy to you as a pdf (tell me which size you require) or you can pick one (or more!) up from Magick during opening hours (11:00 to 5:30 any day except Thursday or Sunday). Message me, email me, text me or ring 0114 276 0482.

The genial Steve Faulkner is hosting the show and we have a truly outstanding bill for you: John Archer, Peter Antoniou, Looch, Jared Manley, and Tim Smithies. (And I’ll be behind the scenes stage-managing for this lot; should be fun…!)

In fact it’s such a great bill that for a moment there I was tempted to use the adjective ‘awesome’. Phew.

Please tell all your friends, family, lovers, co-workers, fellow Facebookers, gym members, Twitterers, acquaintances, enemies and that guy in the pub you nod to on Thursdays, tickets can be obtained now from Magick, 82 Broad Street, Sheffield, S2 5TG. Or by ringing us on 0114 276 0482 during opening hours (11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day except Thursdays and Sundays). You can pay by cash, Paypal or any major debit or credit card.

Don’t miss the bus… it’ll be magic!

Ymedeca_3Loungers may recall my asking for volunteers a couple of months ago to get involved with the Ymedaca project at the magnificent Yorkshire Sculpture Park later this year. We’ll be working alongside other groups from the area, including the Cantabile choral group, Hand Tools Users United, The Royal British Legion, Wakefield Pagan Moot, West Yorkshire Astronomical Society and the Yorkshire Sun Society.

Plans are progressing nicely within the core Magick Lounge group (which is basically me and Andy Cooper, so far). Others are now beginning to show an interest, having presumably managed to overcome their aversion to their world of magic becoming embroiled (tainted?) with that of art… I’m particularly pleased that our favourite special effects friend Jared Manley has agreed to help out with certain aspects of fiery ritual sacrifice.

For those at Blackpool who were wondering why Andy and I weren’t ensconced in the Ruskin on Saturday evening displaying our esoteric card handing techniques to the usual eager beer-soaked throng, we’d driven over to the YSP for a photoshoot for Ymedeca. Thanks to Roger and the (press?)gang for standing in for us on our exhibition stand, to Tony for the involuntary clothing loan, and particularly to Andy for doing all the driving while I kept him awake by regaling him with really fascinating tales of my arty adventures in the ’60s and ’70s. (Those I can remember.)

Being in the YSP at night was a great experience on its own — out in the park among looming sculptures lit only by a pale moon and the photographic lights — if a little chilly. (At least the eternal Blackpool February wind had lost most of its power by the time it reached Wakefield.)

The photograph above is montage of three pics I took during the shoot. Not great quality but I think they give an idea of the atmosphere. The lower and top right pics show a couple of the locations. The top left pic is of the entrance to the cafe area where we repaired from time to time for hot drinks and sandwiches while the shots were being set up. This was quite a complex job with seven ‘guardians’, a Platonic solid (some of which turned out to be a little less than solid…), and the reclining artist having to be arranged and lit appropriately. Each took up to an hour to set (we were there from 5:30 until nearly 11:00 p.m.), but we did have stand-ins (Sheffield Hallam students) for the main characters so we could skive off for the aforementioned warming drinks if we wished.

It was a fascinating, educational and most enjoyable evening working with the photographer (sorry, can’t recall his name at the moment), the Sheffield Hallam crew, and of course the artist, Hester Reeve. Perhaps I can persuade Andy ‘primary-bed-wrangler’ Cooper to add his comments?

For more information about the event click here. It runs from 28 June to 7 September, with the ‘Magick Lounge liberalation manoeuvres’ (involving fire, the Ring of Gyges and ritual sacrifice; sandwiches, tea and hot snacks available, Roger) taking place from dawn to dusk on 30 August. Keep that date free. (Although I may not be around for the dawn bit, fascinating as this section sounds, being more of a dusk person myself.)

And do talk to me or Andy if you’d like to take part.

Jared and I have written a new blurb for Bolted! which is intended for a major email promotion next week. What do you think?

Bolted!

A stunning climax to your card routines

Imagine… within seconds of your spectator signing a playing card or business card, you remove a card box from your inside jacket pocket, and from that box you produce the same signed card  securely locked and bolted between two clear acrylic blocks.

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Now that’s impossible!

The effect of having a spectator’s signed card appear in some impossible location is a classic in commercial walk-round and close-up magic. It’s easy to follow and memorable. With Bolted!, Jared Manley takes the basic effect to a whole new level. Consider this:

  1. It is surprisingly easy to do. Jared’s own routine does not require palming.
  2. The presentation is logical, and at the climax the spectator has a card with your name on it. (Compare that with the standard card to wallet where the spectator ends up with a card with his name on it; he’ll remember the trick, but will he remember your name?)
  3. Can be performed with business cards, giving a legitimate reason for a spectator to receive your card. Ideal for exhibitions and promotions where you retain the spectator’s card and he or she gets your or your company’s business card.
  4. The acrylic blocks with the signed card securely bolted between them can be freely handled by the spectator.
  5. The precision engineered prop has been developed through hundreds of performances for ease of use. Resets in seconds.
  6. Not just for magicians. Bolted! makes a great final reveal of an apparently totally tamper-proof prediction.

We’ve re-shot a performance too:

Sample Routine

You explain that sometimes signed playing cards can be extremely valuable, especially if the person who signed it is a celebrity… maybe just like the spectator!

You ask the spectator to select any playing card, sign it clearly and keep it secure between their hands, as this maybe the safest place for it to be at the moment.

You then sign your own playing card and explain that the safest place to keep it could be in your pocket. Another safe place could be in a card box (which you immediately produce from your pocket)… but sometimes that’s just not safe enough.

The spectator now finds that they are now holding your signed card! You now open the card box and slowly pull out their signed card, securely bolted between two clear acrylic blocks.

After they’ve examined the Bolted! signed card you take it back, explaining that you want to keep it safe for when its worth thousands in the future. They can keep your signed card; perhaps it will be worth just as much one day!

This highly precision engineered effect is packaged in a elegant box and comes with an instructional DVD and black storage pouch for the Bolted! unit to be kept in between performances.

Jared Manley's Bolted!We’re pleased to say that new Bolted! stock has now arrived and all outstanding orders have been despatched.

We’ve also recorded a new DVD with some additional points on handling and an extra demo clip. This is being included with all current orders, of course, but if you have the original DVD just send it to us with a £1 to cover post and packing and I’ll happily replace it for you and throw in the little carrying pouch we now include.

The original DVD does cover all the essentials, it’s just that following demonstrations at Blackpool we decided to cross the odd ‘t’ and dot a couple of ‘i’s.

We’ve also got the new packaging… what do you think?

All orders made at the Blackpool offer price of £45 have now been completed. Cost is now £49.95 (plus post at cost), but you do get the new DVD, handy carrying pouch and a rather pretty box!

IMG_0128_smWell, Blackpool came and went as Blackpools do. We had a good one; sales were steady, we met old friends and several Sheffield magicians, saw a great show and half a good one, and even got in a bit of dancing (magic can take a variety of forms).

After an initial surge on Friday morning sales slumped somewhat for the rest of the day, although there was a constant demand for our update sheets. They must have had some effect because (despite the fact that I’d managed to miss Bolted! off the list) we had a steady stream of customers through Saturday and Sunday.

Talking of Bolted!, this was a definite hit. Jared zipped across the Coronation Street set (a popular TV programme about people who shout at each other a lot, I understand) and demonstrated virtually non-stop… including in the Ruskin at night.

Since Blackpool he’s been working hard to produce more and we now have additional stock. Please note that Bolted! is a precision-made item, each one being produced and hand-finished to a high tolerance (vital in card magic) so orders are being dealt with in strict rotation. As I write they’re available off the shelf, but to judge by the number of enquiries coming in, this situation is unlikely to last long. Ring or email if you’re interested.

In case you didn’t go to Blackpool and missed the buzz, here’s the promo: