Modern Mystic League
Blackburn & District  Society of Magicians
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June 2022
By the Members, for the Members (and friends!)
It seems that Covid-19 hasn’t finished with us yet. In fact, it has affected the MML more this month than ever before. Our guest speaker Joy Spencer contracted the virus a couple of days before our June meeting, followed by President Carl. Undaunted, members rallied round and a good afternoon was enjoyed by all who attended. It was a particular pleasure to welcome Joan and Christine for their first visit to St Francis. Plans are already afoot for Joy to join us in the future, and we look forward to that.

The afternoon’s entertainment began with the Chairman himself, Roger gradually printing an initially blank deck of cards and then creating for himself some unbeatable hands for various card games. His carefully crafted routine was a real fooler.

Next up was Treasurer Allan, and it was great to see him performing again – first with a ‘lucky card’, then with some jumbo cards and finally with an ESP effect where, inexplicably, the random selections were predicted.

Librarian Donald the Average proved the fallacy of his name once again with an ‘L’ of a driving-test patter line and a slick ‘faulty follower’ routine in which large cards were manipulated to the consternation of the audience. Magic Bunny was also on hand to predict the random selection of cards, with some amusing asides and detours in traditional D the A style.

We can always depend upon Brian Berry to deliver the goods magic-wise, and this time he had us tracing a red spot as it jumped between green ones, culminating in a riot of differently coloured spots. Brian also had a picture-card version of Tommy Cooper’s ‘Bottle and Glass’ classic, the amusing tale (or tail) of a fish in three sections and a ‘passe passe’ effect in which miniature bottles wouldn’t follow physical logic in a ‘do as I do’ sequence, one aways being inverted at the conclusion.

I then took the floor with an item based upon the Lubor Die (reputedly invented by Lubor Fiedler when he was packing to move house), which morphed into the Gozinta Box at the suggestion of Jeffery Atkins in a rare moment of humour. I then traced its application to one of the first tricks I had published in Abracadabra – Cyril the Psychic Spider. 

Describing himself as an ‘optimistic fatalist’, Secretary Paul Guy rounded up the first 90 minutes of miscellaneous magic with the theme of superstition, homing in on the 13th card. He also had fun with a variously-coloured cube in a box and predicted the cost of a menu randomly selected by Anne, all spiced with punning patter in the de Paul style.

After the interval and our first raffle for over two years, not to mention a feast of cup-cakes and biscuits from the presidential duo’s favourite superstore, we moved on to the currently popular topic of Science and Magic, with on-screen examples. Rick Tynan addressed this in a talk at the recent British Ring picnic, and Richard Wiseman is another exponent. Indeed, Morgan and West are now touring with a Science in Magic family show, as did our Bolton friend Keith Kay and the North-East’s Martin Duffy. Dr Matt Pritchard took this as the subject for his successful Hoffmann Award article and subsequent lecture at The Magic Circle in 2018. We took in a variety of optical illusions, ‘betya’ tricks and examples of magicians such as Robert-Houdin using pseudo-science in their performances. It was all fascinating stuff, based on the Arthur C Clarke premise that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Another successful afternoon concluded with thanks to Roger and Joan from Past President Allan.

Brian Lead