Welcome back to another Thistle. This is another work in progress as I am working on a large article on James Randi which should appear tomorrow. Meantime, please enjoy a short report on the Sale and Exchange, an article from the Thistle Archives that will strike a chord with more than a few people and some paper magic from Harry Gallacher in this week’s TAT.


12th November 2014 – FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS* - Bring along a non-magician - Phil Gordon

26th November 2014 – GREAT EXPECTATIONS – Pick-A-Trick – George Fitzpatrick

Just a reminder that the running order (and the

Magic with a Rope ........Mark Junnor

Card Trick (playing cards) ......Ewen Wilson

Mentalism Trick .........Harry Gallacher

Trick using a Notepad......... Jim Meek

Make a Balloon Animal ..........Kenny Hurren

Trick Using a Box .......Denis Shields

Trick Using Envelopes.......... Cameron Gibson

Magic with Silks.............. Daniel Kirkwood

Impromptu Magic Trick............. Mike Nowak

Trick using a Sleight............ John Brownlee

Trick suitable for children under 8............... Francis Girola

Comedy Magic Trick............. Brendan Kirk

Trick Using a Wallet.............. Campbell Black

Trick using Paper Money.............. Mike Archibald

Trick from a Tarbell Vol 3............. Cameron McTavish

Christmas Magic Effect............. John Rossi

Effect using Jumbo Cards......... Phil Gordon

Mix and Mingle Effect........... Jim Kelly

Magic using a Glass or Bottle.......... George Price

Trick from Tarbell Vol 6.......... Paul Temple

Anyone that cannot be fitted into the evening will be able to perform at the following informal night which is:

3rd December 2014 – INFORMAL NIGHT

10th December 2014 – MEMBER’S CHRISTMAS NIGHT AT THE CLUB* - Jim Kelly



14th January 2015 – DIRTY WEE HARRY – Video night with Harry G – Harry Gallacher


28th January 2015 – LORD OF THE RINGS – Ring’n’Rope, Linking Rings etc – Kenny Hurren

4th February 2015 – INFORMAL NIGHT

11th February 2015 – HONEY I SHRUNK THE KIDS – Jumbo card magic – Phil Gordon

25th February 2015 – FATAL ATTRACTION –Magnets, glue, double-sided, wax – Mike Nowak

4th March 2015 – INFORMAL NIGHT


25th March 2015 – CLOSE ENCOUNTERS* – Close-Up Competition – Harry Gallacher

1st April 2015 – INFORMAL NIGHT (But with practical jokes)

8th April 2015 – THE ODD COUPLE – Double acts – Denis Shields

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 – AGM




Last Wednesday was the annual chance to sell trash and buy treasure (or vice versa). Alex Proctor and Gary Dunn were our miked-up auctioneers and the lots fell thick and fast for the attendees.

As I arrived half way through due to commitments I can only give details on the second half but there seemed to be something for everyone (or in some cases quite a lot of things being bid on by the same people).

With more children’s magic props up for grabs than a stall at Kidology, there were also chances to buy books, DVDs, cards, linking rings, magazines all for bargain prices.

While Phil Gordon tallied the final bids and Daniel Kirkwood hurried back and forth with the winner’s goodies and cash, it was like watching a tennis match sometimes as the bids bounced between the prospective buyers. So many items were auctioned by Alex and Gary that there wasn’t even time at the end for people to make a deal for the unsold items. Maybe next time.

Total sales were £665.00 with the Club receiving £62 in commission and thanks to Mike Nowak the raffle raised an excellent £60.00 There were 12 non-members paying £3.00 each providing a further £36.00 for Club funds. It was a great night and we look forward to seeing what treasures will be on offer next year.





When I was asked by the Editor to contribute an article for the next edition of “The Thistle”, I accepted feeling very honoured. Later, when I sat down to put pen to paper, I found myself in a bit of a quandary. Here I was, a comparative newcomer to magic with some two whole years of experience, attempting to impart my scant knowledge to a Magical Association which has been in existence since before I was born. What on earth could I say that had not been said and done a thousand times before and probably with more elegance, style and literary merit than I could ever hope to emulate, let alone surpass?

Something of value kept running through my head. A trick that went wrong perhaps? No, I thought, after an uneasy pause, most of them do anyway. What about the construction of props then, I asked myself? Nothing creative there either, I’m afraid. All the props I have made were only modifications and occasional enlargements of some other clever chiel’s ideas and routines.

Performances leapt before my eyes, and disappeared even quicker than a blink; absolute disasters. No way could I advise anyone on what to do before an audience. Just get out there and do your thing. If the audience is displeased enough to walk out on you, O.K. It’s when they start walking towards you!!!

What have I learned? Yes, that’s it, a lesson.

During the past 21 years in my capacity as a paid henchman of the Government, I have found myself in some “dodgy” situations. I have seen death in many forms, young and old, violent and tragic. I have stood on the hallowed turfs of Hampden, Paradise (Celtic Park for the non-believers) and Ibrox (that other pace), facing a swaying, seething, mass of humanity alternating between shrieks of delight and groans of despair, while I searched my person frantically to find my birth certificate that exonerated me from some remote ancestral stock. On occasions I have peacefully dissuaded some well-meaning citizens who were unanimous in their decision that I was due for a premature and permanent retiral, and in one particular incident I was looking down the wrong end of a firearm.

Events to talk about? Perhaps they are. To remember? Well, time does dull the memory.

I shall NEVER, EVER forget Saturday, 30th March 1974. That day caused me one of the most harrowing experiences of my life. Why? It was the day I ventured into the field of magic as a solo performer with some 8 weeks of magical knowledge behind me. The occasion was my daughter Ruth’s fourth birthday and a party was in progress for her and her friends.  My wife with her usual warped sense of humour (she was drummed out of the Gestapo for cruelty) suggested that I should do a magic show for the kids, twelve little girls whose ages ranged from 4 to 6 years.

What a shambles!! After the third prop was knocked off the table by Ruth’s little sister, aged 2 (Maybe she just wanted to help?), I was wishing I was back at Hampden Park with the strength of my mates around me. And, of course, the birthday presents should have been put aside until the end of the “show”. You know what I man? The props that were knocked over were joined by others as I fumbled them, dropped them, yes, I even broke one (the little perishers laughed at that). My wife, bless her, was obviously feeling for me. She had tears in her eyes and couldn’t speak. I did wonder though why she was holding her sides and leaning rather helplessly against the wall. She still insists that she likes Comedy Magic best of all.

At this point I capitulated. I had learned my lesson the hard way and I think it is an experience that every magician should encounter and endure. But I also learned something else, perhaps even more important, and of which I was not fully aware at the time.

In my confusion I did the only thing that I could think of at the time. I put out an S.O.S. to the man who was responsible for my membership to the S.C.A., Hugh Gillies, a fine children’s entertainer and a good friend. Without hesitation he came over and took immediate control of the situation and finished off the show in great style.

It was a delight to watch, an education on technique, and a sharp reminder to me that the noble art of magic does not suffer fools gladly.

Since that day I have found that magicians are a very rare breed. A new world opened its portals to me that I never knew existed before. I have met and made friends with many of these otherwise ordinary people and found that they possessed very special virtues and codes of conduct which I have found refreshing. Courtesy and good manners were in abundance and I envy their skills in this special field of entertainment. If only other forms of entertainment followed the example of magicians, what a clean, healthy, exciting form of relaxation and enjoyment show business would be.

These are my reflections since my association with the Scottish Conjurers’ Association. I know I shall never aspire to the heights of magical success like Harbin, Ramsay, De Vega etc…but I shall always be grateful to the S.C.A. and its members for showing me the way to achieve it, and in particular to my good friend Hugh (already mentioned) who injected the “magic medicine” into my blood.


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