It is true to say that some of our most successful and enjoyable meetings over the years have been those featuring members themselves, and our May Sunday afternoon get-together was no exception, with the catch-all theme of Magical Allsorts.
I opened the proceedings by revealing a magic table generously donated to the League by Bob Benyon, for the general use of members. I also showed some of Bob’s excruciating sight gags and a Comic Alphabet – the concept of phonetic spelling going back to at least Victorian times but on this occasion with a version up-dated by Eric Notman in the mid-1980s.
Brian Berry was on good form with a bewildering ‘Find the Joker’ routine and a mathematical puzzle with a double kicker ending.
Donald reprised his effect from the workshop, managing to accommodate seven magicians in six hotel rooms, and also demonstrated a small piece of ingenious apparatus for a close-up cut-and-restored rope effect.
The ever-innovative Paul Guy presented his own re-purposing of the Mark Shortland ‘Sketching Svengali’ routine, this time customising it for President Carl. He returned later with a card effect from a facsimile David Nixon magic box, a deck of blank cards transforming eventually into a reiterating pack of the chosen Three of Diamonds.
By strange coincidence, Magic Anne then presented a sponge bunnies routine along with the Irish ‘Tree of Diamonds’ card trick. It was lovely to see Anne performing again.
During the afternoon, Donald the Average took to the silver screen courtesy of Electrickery Craig, who had created a compilation of ‘The Best of Donald’. We were able to see again a constructed, full-sized model of Saint George transforming into the real thing (in fact, Craig’s son, Kieran) and finally riding astride the Dragon – alias our latest MML recruit, Francesca. The dragon’s current den is Donald’s cellar at Monk Mansions. We also saw D the A predicting a dog’s strange name (‘Collard’), helped by Jackie Gilmour, a very nifty vanishing bottle to wine glass and a routine testing an audience volunteer’s sensitivity. It was all vintage Donald, and greatly appreciated.
Roger, a Conan Doyle fan, presented ‘The Bookcase of Sherlock Holmes’ – a card trick using a special pictorial deck as published by the prolific pair of Wardle and Ward in the Key Ring magazine of November 2021. Roger also treated us to The F.A.S.T. Deck Project, from Daniel Dorian Johnson, working on a reversed Stebbins principle.
President Carl rounded up with Supreme’s ‘Glug – Glug – Glug’; the first trick he did in public the age of fourteen, for a church event. Perhaps inappropriately at the time, the patter story was about him drinking under age from his parents’ drinks cabinet. In the end, of course, a bottle of wine became refilled and other drinks were produced. Carl had a fascinating scrap book containing news clippings etc., reporting some of his early performances and including a rejected application for The Magic Circle because he was too young!
Carl’s pies and pickle were the stars of the day, topping off a splendid afternoon among magical friends.