The Thistle 10th May 2015


I met a traveller from an antique land who said “In the (rather small) Thistle this week stands two reports – one on SAMS and one on the recent Committee meeting. Near them, on the sand, is an article from 2001 by a certain Steve Maley.  And on the pedestal these words appear --"My name is Harry Gallacher, king of TAT: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair! Or give it a try and see how it works for you”. Round the feet of this neat wee Thistle, boundless and bare, the lone and level sands stretch far away………


13th May 2015 – ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN –President’s Night – JIM KELLY


Just a reminder that Jon Allen will be our guest lecturer for the evening. Jon will be displaying a wide variety of effects

27th May 2015 – A.G.M.

With less than 4 weeks to our Annual General Meeting, Club Secretary Brendan Kirk has posted a reminder on the Forum that I have reprinted below -

The AGM features in the Syllabus issued to all members.

It has been announced at the club by our President.

Mark has mentioned the upcoming AGM in a recent THISTLE and this posting may also be considered as advance notice for anyone who has not been able to attend meetings recently.

Remember this is YOUR club.

Why not play a more active role and get involved in the running of the club?

Put yourself forward for election to the committee and apply some influence.

Help choose theme nights for the syllabus. Suggest potential lecturers for the club. GET INVOLVED!

I hope to see you all then.


3rd June




For anyone who wasn’t able to attend SAMS this year, Kenny Kerr (SAMS President 2012 – 2013) has sent in a full report of the weekend -

Hi Folks,

To everyone who attended, hopefully you all enjoyed the convention and met up with old friends and made some new ones.

For those who missed out on the SAMS Convention or for those who were there and fell asleep, here is a quick run-down on what happened:

  1. 6pm, Janet Colvan opened the registration desk and this also signalled the opening of the dealers.
  2. saw the Official Opening of the convention performed by our president, Brian Jeffrey and his guests of honour – Liz Grant (Provost of Perth & Kinross) and Alan Astra (President of the International Brotherhood of Magicians) along with his wife, Barbara.

A buffet was then laid on, courtesy of SAMS and washed down with some wine, courtesy of Perth & Kinross Council.

The President’s Show then followed and this was introduced by Brian Jeffrey.

The four acts were George Speirs, Gary James, Alan Duncan and John Kelly and they all entertained the assembled company with everyone agreeing it was a very enjoyable show.

This year the close up competition was contested on the Friday night and it attracted eight entrants. Each of the competitors did a grand job and the competition was introduced by Alan Duncan who was assisted by our Stage Manager, George Colvan (Results at bottom of this email).

With the exceptional number of entrants in the close up competition, the Late Night Fun Show (organised by our President) was cancelled due to lack of time.

The rest of the night, for some, was spent “socialising” into the “wee small hours”.

Registration Desk & Dealers opened at 9am and this was followed by a Dealers Showcase where we were treated to a short selection of what was on sale in the dealer’s room.

  1. saw the first lecture of the weekend with Gary James & Ricky McLeod doing a “joint lecture”. The duo entertained us with some of their original magical ideas and “bits of business”. This lecture covered a good variety of magic and was warmly received by everyone who attended.

Then, at 11.30am, Brian Jeffrey introduced “Workshops”. Three separate tables were set up in the hall with Gary James, John Kelly & Ricky McLeod giving personal instruction and guidance to the assembled conventioneers. Folks who attended went away in the knowledge they had picked up something worthwhile from each of the performers.

After a break for lunch, the competitions started at 2pm and Alan Duncan introduced a total of eight acts, four in the Children’s Competition and four in the Stage Competition. (Results at bottom of this email). We did a good bit of advertising for this the previous weekend and were rewarded with a decent turnout of children, which certainly enhanced the atmosphere during the competitions.

  1. saw two events taking place in different venues. In one room, Doc Eason presented the second lecture of the weekend and there was plenty here for everyone to appreciate and enjoy. Doc is a master at his craft and this was apparent in the way he handled not only his cards and coins but also in the way he handled his audience. The room was packed and the ninety minutes (yes 90 minutes) flew past as everyone enjoyed the occasion.

Meanwhile, as I said earlier, another event was taking place at 5pm, namely “The Ladies Event”. The theme was “Lotions and Potions” with a short talk and demonstration of beauty products. Wine, chocolate and various cakes then followed after which Margaret Mclean won the raffle prize. From all reports, the ladies enjoyed the event.

7.30pm saw something different from our traditional gala show when we tried a Dinner / Cabaret show. I believe this was last tried in 1986 at the Inverness Convention but I am open to correction.

In the region of 70 people sat down to a delicious three course dinner followed by tea or coffee. I cannot speak for anyone else but I thoroughly enjoyed my meal. After the meal was over and the tables were cleared, four acts entertained us, namely, The Great Aziz, Jango Starr, Gary Dunn (who also compered) and finally Garry & Jenny Seagraves who closed the show. Anyone I spoke to afterwards voted the evening a great success and thoroughly enjoyed the “concept”. Our thanks once again to the acts who entertained us, you rounded off a magical day.

Our Stage manager, George Colvan, worked wonders during the competitions and cabaret show getting the acts on and off. Given the limited “backstage space” that was available to work in, that was indeed “magic”.

Raffle – The Raffle was drawn and the winner of the £100 was Phil Brannan, from Hamilton (works beside Scott Kennedy) and The Child’s Bike went to “Silly Billy” aka Graham Whyte of Paisley Magic Circle. Most of the other prize winners were in the hall and collected their prizes; however anyone who won and was not there should get them from fellow club members who did attend. SAMS would like to thank everyone who donated a raffle prize – Thank You.

For the second night in a row, the late night show, this time organised by Vice President, Lynne Kennedy, was cancelled due to time constraints.

"Very Late Night" socialising then followed, with a mixture of old and new friends chatting away.

Registration Desk and the dealers opened at 10am.

10.10am brought an additional item to the programme. The Vice Presidents show from the previous night was done in an “abridged version”. Elizabeth McNamara accompanied by Lynne’s two young sons started the show and performed magic for the audience. The boys had been practising hard and they did well as Elizabeth guided them through the routines.

Fraser Stokes then took to the stage and with the help of four volunteers wearing balloon hats, entertained with a comical dance routine.

!0.30am saw the Close-up show featuring Peter McLanachan, Steven Blair, Sean Brannigan and Doc Eason. The close-up was enjoyed by everyone who watched and all four performers blended to make a very entertaining show.

11.45am brought the third and final lecture from Alan Astra, assisted by his wife Barbara. The lecture was mainly on children’s entertainment and Alan showed (and explained) a variety of kids effects. Anyone who is a children’s entertainer would have taken something away from this lecture.

The Farewell Lunch started just after 2pm where our President, Brian Jeffrey, introduced his “top table” to the conventioneers.

Following on, after we had eaten, the presentation of prizes was conducted by Alan Duncan with Provost Liz Grant presenting the recipients with their prizes. (Prize winners are listed below).

After the speeches at the top table, Brian then handed over the President’s chain to Lynne Kennedy. Brian (in the absence of his wife Maureen due to illness) then passed the Ladies / Partners chain to Lynne’s husband, Scott.

Lynne closed the convention by saying that the 2016 convention will be held at Adamton House Hotel, Monkton (near Prestwick) and it will “move forward” a weekend next year to the 6th, 7th & 8thof May.

See you all next year!!!!!

Full list of Prize Winners -

John Ramsay Rose Bowl

Best magic effect in the close competition 

George Speirs - Paisley 

Stuart Leith Trophy
Runner Up in Close Up 

George Speirs - Paisley


Anne Warlock Trophy
Best act in Close Up 
Elliot Bibby – Forth Valley


Brian Jeffrey Award

Runner Up in Children's Magic 
Jamie Fields – St Andrews

Max Raskin Cup

Best Act in Children's Magic 
George Speirs - Paisley

The Fletcher Cup
Second Place in the Stage Competition 
Aziz & George Speirs – Paisley – (Joint Winners) 

Harold McMillan Shield

Best Stage Act 
Steven Blair - Kilmarnock

Jack Silver Dealers Award

Best magic dealer display 
Adrian Harris - Perth 

Ian Adair Award

For Originality 

Gary James - Edinburgh 

Murray Wand for Showmanship

For the person showing the most showmanship at the convention 
Steven Blair - Kilmarnock 
Sir Alexander Cannon Trophy
Scottish Club Scoring the highest points over the year 
Kilmarnock & Paisley (Joint Winners)
The Craig Quaich 
Presented by the SAMS President who in their opinion has done the most for Scottish Magic.

Ricky McLeod - Edinburgh



Thanks to Kenny for sending that to Brendan Kirk for inclusion and to Brendan for forwarding it on.



This is a list of the topics that were under discussion at last week’s Committee meeting. Again, if anyone would like to put themselves forward for a place on the Committee you can do so at the upcoming A.G.M. Club Secretary Brendan Kirk was taking the notes and thanks go to him for all the details.

Committee Wednesday May 6 2015

ATTENDING –Jim Kelly,  Mike Nowak, Kenny Hurren, Phil Gordon,  Mark Junnor, Harry Gallacher, Denis Shields, George Fitzpatrick Brendan Kirk.

Executive Committee proposes to address the discrepancy where Junior members pay fees but cannot vote at AGM.

There was a discussion of Prof. John Brown’s suggestion of video projection of close-up table top magic. A trial is to be arranged for next season.

Mark Junnor raised the issue of whether a PA system would also be useful. There was a debate over the practicalities of cable mic or radio mic and the process of making up each performer. It was agreed that more research was needed.

Mike Nowak volunteered to deliver a Jon Allen poster to Tam Shepherds to reinforce the Facebook advertising and the electronic mailshot already sent

Mike also suggested a variation to the raffle whereby a portion of the Raffle income is set aside as a cash prize. There would be a locked box and a bag of 'say' 30 different keys. A separate raffle ticket for this draw would be for members only. The winner of this would be given chance to choose a key to open the box and, if successful, the money is theirs. If not the key is discarded and an 'Accumulator' starts – in the next raffle there are only 29 keys to choose from and additional money is added. The process continues until a winner chooses the correct key.

Phil Gordon gave a summary of accounts and noted that Ian Paul's auction night added £600.00 to club funds.

There was also the suggestion of a discount from the full fee if it was paid up promptly (i.e. before the end of October).

Dennis Shields queried whether there is a role for the library given the availability of DVDs, YouTube etc. He expressed disappointment at the lack of use being made of the collection.

He also suggested the PANOPTICON in Argyle Street as a potential venue for a Roadshow. Dennis has performed there several times and with its ongoing refurbishment it would be an appropriate venue for a roadshow.

Promotional postcards to encourage membership are to be arranged and distributed via SMPC and Tam Shepherds if agreeable. The President is to ask new (ish) member Davy Gallagher to assist with this. Brendan Kirk will pass on files, pictures and the Club logo to Davy.



Let’s flip back 14 years and see what had just occurred in the local world of magic. This article comes to you courtesy of recent A.S.H. Competition winner Steve Maley.



On the 1st December 2000 an excellent children's show was put on for the Gordon Philips Scanner Appeal in the Crawford Theatre in Jordanhill College. The show was put on with the help of the Glasgow School of Magic and Guest performers. Alan Duncan was the host for the evening and he introduced each of the performers to a capacity crowd of children of all ages & accompanying adults.

Alan welcomed the audience and told them they were about to experience an excellent bight of magic. Then without any further ado he introduced the first performer. The curtains opened and on came Jimmy Fleming with his magic cane which changes into a bouquet of flowers but only usually when in Dundee. With the help of a few magic words though, it managed to transform in Glasgow too.

David Benadict was second on stage & with his Rope of Mystery he bewildered the audience by showing them a rope with two ends become a rope with three ends & then four ends. He could make one rope become two ropes; two loops become one large loop and even place the ends in his pocket & pull the middle out. He concluded his performance by restoring two pieces of rope back to one, just as he started.

Karen Mann, alias Anna Cadabra, added to the Christmas spirit & festivities by producing decorations for her Christmas tree. There were a variety of other effects, including a colour prediction.

To complete the first half of the evening young Kenneth Hay came on stage to explain that he had considered performing a ventriloquist act with a small doll called Katie Cutie (all explained to rhyme and reason). After changing his mind however, the little doll was discarded. Then with the accidental spillage of some magic dust the little doll came to life in the form of Catrina Hay. Together Kenneth & Catrina performed a number of magical effects including the production of silks & the pouring of different coloured drinks all from a jug of clear water.

During the interval there were refreshments available and also the chance to purchase magic tricks and practical jokes - you can imagine the sight with so many wannabe magicians and practical jokers.

The second half of the show started with Alan Duncan junior, a small magician with a big show. With the display of some colourful silks & Alan's magic words, a small white house shown empty transformed into a brightly coloured house containing a rabbit called Delboy. Alan also managed to mix up some rather strange ingredients to make a cake.

John Fox displayed the rather lively antics of Rocky the Racoon & with a little bit of balloon modelling produced a look-a-like of Casper the Friendly Ghost.

To conclude the evening Alex Proctor offered to show the audience a big magic wand providing they would not laugh. This was a wand with mysterious movement, as he cleaned the wand with a silk it rose up through his hands, almost causing an injury. Alex also displayed a storybook about a ghost. The ghost lived, as many do, in a castle. In reading the contents of the book the audience would scream out to let Alex know that the ghost was peeping out from various areas of the book. The ghost was then removed from the book & placed in a small castle only to cause more excitement as the ghost disappeared from behind doors & made his own way back & forth from each side of the castle. The noise of the children certainly raised the roof that night & brought the show to a fine close.

Alan Duncan then welcomed the performers back on stage & thanked them for their contributions towards a marvellous evening of magic & entertainment. Alan also thanked the stage crew of George Colvan and Janet Duncan for their excellent work in lighting & sound.

Although the evening seemed to be over there was still one last surprise. As the children left they met George Fitzpatrick standing at the exit dishing out balloon models to each of the children. It was no surprise then to see little girls petting poodles & little boys sword fencing with each other outside the building.

I'm sure if you ask anyone who attended the show they will agree it was most enjoyable & by raising funds for a worthwhile cause the entire evening was a great success.


When? June 1986. From? Stephen Tucker’s “CHICANERY"

By Marc Erpen (Stephen Tucker].

Hope it's up to the mark.




So apologies to Shelley for the intro and, as stated, rather a small Thistle this week. Next week’s promises to be substantially larger and will cover the Jon Allen lecture, a feature on what can happen when things go wrong for magicians (and we don’t mean failing to get your Elmsley quite right) and other things too ephemeral just yet to list.

Meantime, as I check the internet for interesting images to accompany the articles occasionally you come across something rather bizarre. Would anyone like to guess what particular effect this one is promoting? Hope to see you next week.