The Thistle 29th March 2015
EDITOR – MARK JUNNOR
Wakey, Wakey! Good morning campers. Rise and shine and greet a new Thistle with some easy callisthenics. After you read through details of the Close-Up Competition, an interview with that nice young man Cameron Gibson, an SCA stage show from years ago and a version of the 21 Card Trick from Entertainments Organiser Harry Gallacher there will be a knobby knees competition in the lido and a donkey derby in the games field. Meanwhile, anyone for a spot of ping pong?
THE IAN PAUL MAGIC SALE
After Jim Kelly visited Mrs Joan Paul to let her know how well the auction of Ian’s magicana went, she was kind enough to send a note to the Club:
“Dear Jim and Members,
Many thanks for your visit + gifts of lovely roses and chocolates. Also thanks to Gerry for his poem and limerick for Ian – much appreciated by our family.
Hope the sale of Ian’s books will be a benefit to the Club.
A SUCCESSION OF PRESIDENTS*
This was fromÂ WednesdayÂ the 18th night in Perth were I was invited to a gathering of the Scottish Presidents. It was a good night and each of the presidents performed something. George Fitzpatrick accompanied me on the journey.Â Â Trick of the night was when the Aberdeen President had a rabbit (live) pick a chosen card from a fanned deck.
*Apparently this is the collective noun for a group of Presidents.
UPCOMING AT THE CLUB
1st April 2015 – INFORMAL NIGHT (But with practical jokes)
8th April 2015 – THE ODD COUPLE – Double acts – KENNY HURREN
Any pairs who would like to put their names forward for this night are most welcome to contact Kenny. It will be a usual club night with pairs doing any routine they wish roughly 5-10 minutes to give all teams a chance to perform, (if you are thinking of a longer routine just let Kenny know).
22nd April 2015 – ALAN S HODGSON NIGHT – A.S.H. competition – GEORGE FITZPATRICK
6th May 2015 – INFORMAL NIGHT
13th May 2015 – ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN –President’s Night – JIM KELLY
27th May 2015 – A.G.M.
THE CLOSE-UP COMPETITION – 25TH MARCH 2015
President Jim Kelly opened the evening with reminders of upcoming events, including the informal night onÂ April 1st.
Jim then passed things over to popular Competition Host, Harry Gallacher, who gave the running order of performers as well as the competition rules and scoring for the benefit of the two Lay judges (who could score on a 'WOW' factor), the Magic judge (who couldn't) and the entire audience. It was suddenly noticed that one of the Lay judges had gone missing. 'Any non-magicians in the audience?' was the cry, leading to various naughty SCA members pointing at each other. Stuart was quickly drafted in from the audience to fill the empty seat and the competition could finally begin.
Francis Girola was the first performer and, once he had parked his Fedora next to his case, a lady from the audience was enlisted to help with his planned theme of Imagination and Instinct. When she was unable to guess the contents of a mystery envelope, Francis revealed the empty card case within. A second later though and it was full of cards. With Francis confessing to a few nerves, 4 cards were dealt out in a pile with another card beside them. With a choice of coloured Post-Its, one was selected and signed by her to identify the card while the other 4 were shown to be blank before changing to the four Aces. Next was some travelling with the sceptical spectator's card changing places with the four Aces using imagination, teleportation and the soul of her card. Finally, a display of reaching Flow State came from the lady who dealt down two piles of cards to the background music of the audience slapping their laps before Francis showed the cards were all back in new deck order.
Jim Kelly also had a stylish case and asked Phil Gordon to assist. Discussing vivid dreams, Jim recently had one where he was in Monte Carlo playing poker with Omar Sharif. In the dream Jim had been dealt 4 cards
Daniel Kirkpatrick was sporting a smart-looking bow tie and enlisted fellow competitor Gary Dunn to help with his opener involving four coins jumping between Gary's hand and his own and then back again in a puzzling manner. Then, 4 audience members took cards while Daniel tore his own card into quarters. With the cards being returned and mixed into the pack, Daniel went through the deck and identified each one correctly. To end the effect Daniel then turned over the torn card to show each quarter matched one of the spectator's cards and all four cards were missing one quarter, with the torn part fitting exactly. Daniel finished his spot with a very accomplished rope routine and bowed out to some impressive applause.
It was time for a well-deserved tea break for everyone after that. As drinks and confections were consumed, Mike Nowak rounded up £47.00 in people's stray cash towards the raffle. Two of the judges were lucky winners with a bottle of wine and a card and book package on card tricks. Phil Gordon took Solo Flight Aces, John Rossi chose a pack of cards in the shape and tartan of a kilt and Harry G himself won a pack of Micro Card effects to call his very own.
Gary Dunn opened the second half by showing his £20.00 bag of shopping. With Holly from the audience using her phone and Phil Gordon supplying a £20.00 note
Mike Nowak kept things simple with a white plastic cup and a roll of Kitchen Paper.
The last competitor of the evening Campbell Black engaged Gary Dunn for a game of Three Card Monte using two Jokers and a 5. With Gary unable to find the Lady, Campbell eventually owned up that all the cards were actually the 5 and the Jokers had gone. There was a trick with a button moving around his jacket (checked by Gary to confirm it was firmly sewn on) before an effect using colour changing black and white pocket knives. Gary threw in an involuntary paddle move before Campbell vanished the knives altogether and his final effect used the venerable sponge balls which appeared and disappeared from between Gary's hands.
While Harry led the judges outside to confer over their marks, the audience was entertained by the talents of Gerry McKendry, Jim Kelly and Daniel Kirkpatrick with amusements both long and short.
The results were, in reverse order -
3rd Place - Campbell Black
2nd Place - Gary Dunn
1st Place and this year's Stand Up Competition Winner
Other members can correct me here but are these two of youngest members ever (and I don't mean Gary) to finish in the top three? If so, we can only wait to see what they can do in a few more years.
Harry ended the evening by thanking the three judges and Brendan Kirk for timekeeping and working the timing lights. It was only left for Jim Kelly to ask for a round of applause for Harry for once again organising the competition so capably. Needless to say the audience were more than happy to give it.
It was a great end to a really good night. Congratulations to the winners and commiserations to those who didn't finish in the top three. There's always next year (or the ASH night for those for that can't wait till then).
THE SCA INTERVIEW
Another interview grabbed during a very busy night, this time at the Close-Up competition. Bravely facing up to the same questions I always ask, this week we hear more about -
- HOWÂ DIDÂ YOUÂ FIRSTÂ BECOMEÂ INTERESTEDÂ INÂ MAGIC?
I think for me it was quite different, everyone says they did it as a kid. I was in 6th Year at school and I do engineering now at University but my friends all did Arts subjects or Geography and History and I did Maths and Physics so I had a lot of free periods on my own. I decided to basically try and learn something in those free periods and settled on magic as I'd always found it interesting. I'd always watched it on TV.
WAS IT CARDS THAT INTERESTED YOU AT FIRST?
Yes, sort of card tricks and gimmicky things as well. One of the first things I had bought from a real magic shop was 'The Raven' and I could use it quite a lot because I wore a school blazer. But yes, mainly card tricks I started off with.
DID YOU PERFORM MUCH AT THAT POINT?
Just round the Common Room and stuff and I did little talent shows at school. I probably started just a bit before 6th Year and wasn't that good at that point so I didn't really perform that much. I'd only being doing it for a couple of months.
IT'S INTERESTING THAT THERE SEEMS TO BE A LOT OF MATHEMATICIANS INTO MAGIC, ARTISTS LESS SO.
I think it's maybe because magic has quite a lot to do with logic, maybe figuring out how things are done. So, if you're a mathematician you would get an answer. When I started you saw something and it would be like "I want to know how that's done" and you actually go and find out how it's done rather than most people who just say "I want to know how that's done. Oh well, let's go for dinner!"
LET'S GO AND DO SOMETHING ELSE. WHEN DID YOU MOVE INTO THE MORE MENTAL SIDE?
I would say that was about 2 years ago. Even when I first joined the SCA I was still more into close-up magic in general. I started moving into Mentalism....I don't really know why, actually. I think I found some easier methods and that allowed me to focus more on the presentation, which is the side of it that I like. It's less prop-heavy. I like the storytelling side of it and I wasn't very good with that, I think, with magic tricks. I'm better at it with Mentalism. It's just kind of developed and I don't do really do any magic now. I do it for myself, I still practice with cards and stuff but I rarely, rarely perform it.
YOU'VE HAD A SHOW AT THE EDINBURGH FESTIVAL. HOW WAS THAT?
Yeah, it was really interesting. They say that after your first Edinburgh Festival you've got a show that you can take to your second Edinburgh Festival and I would say that's definitely the case. I think it probably took me the first week until I was happy with the way the show went. Definitely an experience. I've come up with two or three routines that are completely mine now and I'm really proud of. Not many experiences can let you develop them that quickly and that easily.Â
DO YOU SPEND MUCH ON MAGIC?
Money or time?
I spend a fair amount of time on it, probably too much time. More recently I've not spent as much money on it. I don't know it that's because I've moved into Mentalism. I think probably it's a little bit cheaper. Books rather than props you open once and then say "No". Also, being a student I have less and less money to spend on magic and want to spend it on beer.
YOU HAVE TO GET THE ESSENTIALS.Â
WHAT WAS THE FIRST TRICK YOU WERE GOOD AT AND DO YOU STILL PERFORM IT?
The first trick I was very good at was a self-working card trick, I don't know what it's called. It's interesting actually because one of my friends fooled me with it at school. He said "I know a trick" and he completely fooled me and I went off and learned how it was done. Actually I managed to get him to tell me how it was done and I still do it all the time. It's one of my favourite card tricks. I could describe it - you give them a deck of cards and you've made a prediction. They deal down and make two piles. They deal down again and make three piles and they're all the same. Like, they're all an 8, including your prediction.Â
OUTSIDE OF MAGIC WHAT ARE YOUR MAIN INTERESTS?
I'm part of the Entertainments Committee at the University here in the West End. I'm into my music as well - I play guitar. We organise a weekly open-mike night on Fridays at the Union. I would say that's probably my main thing. I do quite a lot of sailing as well but that's more my Dad's thing but I do that with him.
WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY THINK OF YOUR INTEREST IN MAGIC AND MENTALISM?
I think they've grown to like it more the better I've gotten at it. When you're not very good it's probably quite annoying to show a hundred tricks at once. Now, I don't tend to show friends and family that often because I go out and perform in real life more. I get a chance to actually try it on people. I think they really enjoy it and they're very supportive. They help me a lot.
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU'VE TRIED BUT COULD NOT MASTER?
Yeah, definitely. I don't really perform them but I'm into gambling sleights. Second deals. Bottom deals. Turnover moves. Stuff like that. There's about a hundred of those I've tried and I can't get anywhere near to mastering them. Maybe one day. Those are the things I try most and fail at most.
MY FINGERS JUST SLIDE ACROSS THE CARDS
Do you play an instrument or anything? When I start to play guitar more, on this hand the tips of the fingers go a bit harder and that meant they didn't grip as much.Â
SLIDEY FINGERS. WHAT AREA OF MAGIC DOESN’T INTEREST YOU?
Not at all? Kid's magic, but I'm not that interested in performing classic magic. Cups and Balls. All the things I'd love to see but don't think suit me at all. It just doesn't interest me to perform it.
HOW DID YOU COME TO JOIN THE SCA?
I was a member of the Edinburgh Magic Circle when I lived through in Edinburgh and I moved through to Glasgow for University. I moved to Maryhill Road and was looking for a local magic club as going to Edinburgh Magic Circle helped me a lot and I found this place and I've been a member ever since.
HOW DID YOU FIND THE CLUB WHEN YOU JOINED?
Great. It's quite a Glaswegian club. Everyone's very friendly. Very happy to help, very happy to talk to you. It's quite refreshing in comparison to Edinburgh where there's a lot of professionals, not many hobbyists. It's quite the opposite here, there's more hobbyists, more into it for the fun which is quite nice.
ANY MAGICAL POSSESSIONS YOU WOULD NEVER CONSIDER SELLING?
I don't know if it counts but I collect Jokers. I've got quite a big collection of Jokers from different packs of cards. I've probably got about 150 or 200, I've never actually counted. I don't know if that counts as a magical possession but I'd never sell that, I don't think. It's taken a while to get that many.
LASTLY, IS THERE ANYTHING ABOUT YOU THAT PEOPLE MIGHT NOT KNOW?
When most people ask me the answer is "I do magic" or "I can read minds". I once sailed across the Atlantic Ocean when I was 14 years old. That's something not many people know, I guess. My normal go-to fact is that I'm a magician.Â
Thanks to Cameron for sparing the time last week. Next week we may or may not have an interview depending how busy the Informal Night gets.
PREVIOUSLY IN THE THISTLE
In recent years the SCA have begun performing public shows again to great acclaim. Check out this line-up from 62 years ago to see how things used to go.
VOLUME 4 - NUMBER 2....FEBRUARY 1953.....EDITOR - FREDERICA
A NIGHT OF MAGIC by "ONLOOKER"
The Annual show of the S.C.A. which is held every year in the handsomely equipped Lyric Theatre, was again an outstanding success. The two nights for which this show appeared were practically sell outs and when one considers that this theatre hold over six hundred people, we have indeed a record to be proud of. The bill of fare was rich and varied and was as follows : -Â
Act No. 1.Â THEÂ MULLENÂ SISTERSÂ made a good opener with colourful costumes and lively singing and dancing, they put the audience in a very responsive mood.
Act No. 2 wasÂ GEORGEÂ PIGOTT, the first conjurer on the bill. He performed a breezy little act consisting of Three Cards to One, Bending Glass (an excellent presentation); The "Lesson in Magic" with borrowed hank and small boy, and onto Lighted Cigarettes and finishing by producing a pipe. Truly "magic a la mode". The continual laughter from the front left no doubt as to the success of the inimitable George.
Act No. 3. Â RAYMONDEÂ andÂ ANNEÂ FAY. This was a novelty act and hadÂ everything,Â commencing with the lady singing. The male half of the act interrupted her with somersaults. Then comedy chit chat; fire eating; eating cotton wool, streamers from the mouth. Now juggling, first with balls, then sticks, blocks and lighted torches, then finishing up with some real strong acrobatic feats with a chair. A hard-working act and much appreciated by the audience.
Act No. 4.Â JOHNÂ RAMSAYÂ this master of sleight of hand waltzed onto the stage and held everyone enthralled with his super sleights. He first changed his hat and cane into a table, produced cigarettes from the air, then threw the cigarettes to the audience. Now the Torn Strip; Coin Productions and Manipulations; Paper Strip Torn, pieces moistened in tumbler of water, sleights with the moistened ball of paper and finally a huge production of Paper Ribbons from the mouth. The performer waltzed off to a terrific reception. John Ramsay wasÂ - well - just John Ramsay, one can't say more.
Act No. 5.Â HELENAÂ HARTÂ the popular B.B.C. Soprano was in fine form and had the audience with her right from the start. She has a lovely stage appearance and was a great success.
Act No. 6.Â DEÂ VEGAÂ had put on a rather ambitious show and had obviously put a lot of thought and hard work into his act, which was as follows: Mysterious appearance from flash; production of Fire Bowl; Fire changed to Flowers; Botania; Vanishing Bowl of Water; Crate Production (all sorts of fruit produced from a small empty crate); Flying Cube; Silk production from Drum and then from the silks was evolved a huge shimmering Silken Butterfly which completely hid performer. This brought lots of well-earned applause. Torn Paper Routine with Boy; Thumb Tie and Hoops (really well done); Card Manipulation and Card Castle; Lady produced from tiny Doll's House; Egg Bag a la de Biere; then "White Christmas" (based on Waller’s Screen of Life). The was the effect - A three panelled screen was shown on both sides, one side red, the other side blue. The three sides were formed into a triangle and when opened it revealed a country scene with a lady standing beneath a signpost. The act could never have been such a success without the capable assistance of Dick Armour and Violet Graham and of course De Vega's wife, who was the lady who kept popping up in such a bewildering manner.
Now followed the interval, just to let the audience get their breath back. Now off again.
Act No. 7Â THEÂ MULLENÂ SISTERSÂ again. This time attired in beautiful Highland costumes. Piano, song and dance routine, then accordion, finishing with a really fast dance routine. Delightful.
Act No. 8Â NEPTUNEÂ andÂ LAÂ RAY. Another partner act opening up with production of Silks and a large aquarium of goldfish, from an empty box. Girl holds stage and performs Rainbow Balls. Cent. now, with two spectators goes into routine with a borrowed 10/- note, which is burned then found in a cigarette which was being smoked by performer. Rope through Girl; "Prepossessed" (done very well). Girl on stage with Silk Fans (nicely performed. Then both performers producing Silks, Garlands and Umbrellas from previously shown empty Pagoda. A nice act of miscellaneous magic and colourful props. This act scored heavily too.
Act No. 9Â JAMESÂ McINNESSÂ the well-known B.B.C. Baritone gave a selection of songs which proved very much to the liking of the audience. Again, our singer had a very fine stage appearance and went over very well.
Act No. 10Â BILLÂ GIVENÂ in "The Old Park Ranger". This was a clever character act in which the performer was made up to resemble an old park attendant complete with stick, bag of salvage and litter box. From the bag he took things that were found in parks: - Papers, newspaper, paper bags, etc. and gave an excellent 12 minutes act of various effects which included: Torn and Restored Newspaper; Toast in Book; Small Scotch; Knotted Ropes and Paper Bags; Freddie the Footballer and then he finished with a sad little story in keeping with his part. This was acting, everything was perfect: voice, action and tempo, a real lesson in stagecraft and an act that drew terrific response from the audience
Act No. 11Â LAURIEÂ ELLIS, a real magician and a most pleasing personality. He had a most beautiful stage setting and the most lavish display of beautiful apparatus that we have seen in Glasgow for many a year. He has a pleasant approach, works quietly and surely, and magic just happens. He opened with Production of Dove from Dove Pan; produced a solid steel ball from an empty hat, placed ball in bowler hat on chair, placed empty hat on candle in candlestick, wrapped Dove in newspaper - dove vanished, appeared in hat which cannon ball recently filled, cannon ball found under hat on candlestick. This classic of Devant's has got to be seen to be appreciated. Mere words can't describe it. Now a large version of the 20th Century Silks, with silk vanished from small bag. Now onto a beautifully worked routine with the Bartle Billiard Ball Stand, another gem of apparatus. Circle of Rope cut repeatedly, but always being restored - nicely presented. Now the Clock Dial centred in a lavish nickelled stand. The hand spun and it stopped at any number selected by the audience, a beautiful trick. Productions of Silks from Small Square Circle and lots of Paper Ribbons; now a masterly presentation of Troublewit - a fast and bewildering series of shapes and designs with a folded sheet of cartridge paper. This brought forth a storm of applause. Now catching three doves from the air in a large butterfly type net - this was very skilfully performed. Now a large plated cauldron was made to issue flames and from the flames the performer and his assistant (who I should have mentioned helped all through the act in the quiet, unobtrusive manner of that priceless possession - a well-trained assistant) produced a load of large silks and finally several rabbits. Then to crown it all he produced from nowhere two large flags mounted on six foot metal staves. A show stopper and a grand act to finish a grand bill.Â
Now a word for the people at the back, on whom such a lot depends. To stage manager George Loney and his staff backstage for the hard work they put in - to the resident staff at the Lyric for their help and consideration - a good job well done! George Loney and his committee have again produced another show which was first class. Now a particular word of thanks to Brothers William Anderson and Joe Copeland for running around backstage, fetching and carrying, setting up and breaking down, chasing artistes and yes, even prompting the singer from the back. Front of House manager was Duncan Johnstone, assisted by Douglas Swanson; liaison officer Will Dale. Thanks to all and last, but not least, the orchestra under the direction of Hugh McMillan. Thanks too to the lovely young ladies who sold programmes, ices and drinks to the audience, they were a decided asset. So another night of magic is over - an artistic success and a credit to magic and the S.C.A.
This hails from Jules Lenier's MENTALISTIC -Folio 1 circa 1994.
It's the best version of the 21 card trick ever, in my opinion. Itplays VERY WELL, in fact no less than two mentalists/psychic readers to whom
Next issue we should have a review of Killer Magic’s first two episodes (will Dee Christopher continue to suffer one indignity after another as happened in the pilot and the first episode?], no doubt a fine TAT from Harry and other things that may or may not appeal to your jaded palate. See you next week. Now, eyes down for a full house. Dirty Gertie, number 30……