The Modern Mystic League


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Blackburn & District Society of Magicians

STAR LECTURE with James Ward
This month, one of our largest post-pandemic audiences greeted James Ward, the prolific creator of magic effects who is probably best known for the long-running Collaborative Conjuring series in the Key Ring magazine – penned with our occasional contributor, Chris Wardle.

James took pains to stress from the outset that he is not a natural performer, but prefers working as an ‘ideas man’ to present basic tricks from a new angle.  His main concern is to provide logical reasoning and motivation for effects, and to embed them in an entertaining story.

His first example was telling a tale suggested by an apparently randomly-ordered pack of cards, which could be presented either in close-up or on stage with a larger deck. There were lots of puns and word-play, with the performer appearing to make up the story on the spur of the moment. Not wanting to sell notes, James generously distributed copies of the script, along with memory-joggers for his other items.

His second effect stood the usual prediction concept on its head, with James predicting the card which would be rejected, rather the one which had been chosen – a unique and unexpected twist.

Next, he dealt with free will versus coincidence in a ‘do as I do’ routine employing the simple cross-cut force and a thick card – an important part of James’s armoury and the subject of one of his books.
After the break came the ‘really thick book test’, using the thick card to force a page.  The patter for this was based on the well-known Soldier’s Almanac, linking cards to book pages.

Telepathy then came to the fore, with a method for divining both letters and long numbers which had its origin in the Eight Kings stack, establishing a pattern which remained undisturbed when cut.  Again, the emphasis was on subtlety and justification.

The final amusing segment was the triple prediction of a coloured silk, a card and a coin with multiple outs which appeared to be totally innocent.

As President Carl said in his concluding vote of thanks, everyone would have been able to take something away from the afternoon and apply it to their own performance to enhance its effectiveness.

Once again, we were indebted to Donald and the Docherty family for a superb spread of biscuits and cakes, served up by Francesca.

Brian Lead