Return of a Controversial Blog

Discuss general aspects of Genii.
performer
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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby performer » September 8th, 2016, 1:31 pm

I am not sure what "audience-centric" actually means. Perhaps it is just one of those pseudo intellectual terms that people use on the Genii Forum to feel important. I have no idea.

However, if it means a trick which brings the audience into it rather than something like the ambitious card or a matrix effect which doesn't, all I can say is that ANY trick can be made to involve the audience. I don't know a single one that doesn't. You can always tell people to blow on a card, say a magic word, ask them a question etc; no matter what the trick is.

And there endeth the lesson.

Brad Henderson
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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby Brad Henderson » September 8th, 2016, 1:42 pm

where was audience-centric used?

to me it is more than just involving the audience in a tricks 'working'. there is nothing wrong with magic that doesn't include audience helpers. to me the issue is when a magician makes their performance choices based on what pleases them v what pleases their audience. a 'purist' for example places his or her own pleasure over that of their audience. the person who buys a new type of invisible deck because one can show both sides is buying that because it appeals to their desires as a magician - it fools them so they assume a real person would notice let alone feel the same. the person who demonstrates skill solely to Demonstrate skill is often putting his or her own satisfaction ahead of tneir audiences.

to be audience centric is to ask 'why should THEY care' as opposed to just 'what do I like'.

performer
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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby performer » September 8th, 2016, 5:36 pm

Thank you for the explanation. It is indeed important to see things from the audience point of view. For the record I have no objection to the occasional trick where the spectator is not involved as a change of pace. However, in the case of close up magic (the stage has different rules) most of the performer's work should involve the spectator in some way. At least 85% anyway. It doubles the reaction so it is well worth it.

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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby MagicbyAlfred » September 9th, 2016, 4:17 pm

Performer Wrote: "I am not sure what 'audience-centric' actually means. Perhaps it is just one of those pseudo intellectual terms that people use on the Genii Forum to feel important. I have no idea."

Brad's explanation of the term makes sense to me. I just used it because I saw it used on the thread and intuitively, to me, it meant primarily making the audience members the center of attention, as opposed to the magician, which I have been focusing more and more upon doing in my performances, anyway. You know, the emotional hook thing...

Did it make me feel more important to use the term? Well, yes it did, actually - as I have long suffered from a low P.I.Q. (pseudo intelligence quotient).

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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby Joe Mckay » September 10th, 2016, 2:28 am

I just got an email from PayPal saying the book has been shipped. Good job, Andy!

As for 'Audience-centric' magic - it is a lot more than simply involving the spectator in a trick. It is about going all out to put the spectator's experience of the trick first over simply trying to come up with some patter for a trick you want to perform.

This often involves creating a trick much more immersive and compelling than you usually find in magic. It is also about making use of the freedom (in terms of method and effect) available to amateur magicians that would be unavailable to most professional magicians.

One of the few examples I saw of this before coming across Andy's work was a trick called 'The Red Car Trick' by Mark Levy. It was published a few years ago in GENII - but you can also find a write up of it over here:

https://www.chambermagic.com/the-red-car-trick

Most amateur magicians impose on their magic the same limitations that a professional magician does. In terms of practicality and other concerns that worry professional magicians. Probably because magic books are mostly written by professional magicians. And most amateurs copy the magic they learn from books.

But Andy's approach is about breaking through all that to pull off the type of magic that is much more offbeat and unusual. One of the features of his work is the idea of having a magic trick take place over a day or longer - for example. But more generally his magic is based around concepts that are inherently fun and interesting - as opposed to just taking a trick and coming up with some patter that helps sell the effect or justify the method.

If you want some examples of this then just check out my list of favourite tricks from his blog that I posted earlier in this thread:

http://forums.geniimagazine.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=46552&start=40#p318422

That list is out of date since Andy has posted a bunch of other great stuff since then. But it will do for now.

I find Brad's suggestion that Andy is continuing in the Bizarre Magick tradition an interesting one. Except taking inspiration from comedy and pop culture rather than gothic horror. I think that is an astute observation. Until Andy started writing in this area - my own explorations of trying to make magic more powerful and interesting did drift in this direction.

I am not really that interested in gothic horror. But at the same time I did find myself thinking that this approach was the best one around if you wanted to frame your magic in order to achieve maximum impact. Contacting the dead in a darkened room and then having that spirit find a chosen card via a Haunted Deck. And so on. This appealed to me since I have a dark sense of humour and would allow for some shocking jokes as well. For instance - if you know anyone who died in a fire - you can show that it was definitely that person who found the chosen card by revealing some ash on the back of the chosen card.

This area of magic is definitely one that is rich in possibility for those looking to change their tricks into something memorable. A lot of it simply comes down to investing in the performance. For instance - arranging a performance late at night in a darkened room. That alone will help make the magic feel like a special occasion. I remember Eric Mead touching on this idea in the Art of Astonishment books. Check out The Gourmet Mystery Show in the second volume.

Still - I always wanted to take magic in a direction different to that explored by the Bizarrists. The performers I most admire in magic are Penn & Teller, Derren Brown and Barry & Stuart. And very little of their magic would be classed as Bizarre Magick.

However - I never found an easy way to take that inspiration and make it work in the context of informal close-up magic for friends. And I feel nobody has done this as well as Andy has. Which is why his work is so important to me.

I will end with a quick shout out to Barry & Stuart. For some reason they are not famous amongst US magicians. Hopefully that will change one day. Here is a good example of their work from British television. This aired about ten years ago:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ET_MKohV0xU

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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby Mac Stone » September 11th, 2016, 8:57 am


observer
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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby observer » September 11th, 2016, 4:11 pm

MagicbyAlfred wrote:Like the Buddhist master said when he was asked how he had carved that beautiful elephant, he responded: "I just carved away all that was not elephant."  


Shame on the Buddhist master for stealing Michelangelo's line.

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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby Jonathan Townsend » September 14th, 2016, 2:48 pm

Worst allergy day of the year so far - a one box of kleenex day ... and then a package arrives.

Thanks Andy! Will savor soon. :)

JonT
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Jack Shalom
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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby Jack Shalom » September 14th, 2016, 6:33 pm

Mine arrived today as well. Gotta say, I'm enjoying it a lot so far.

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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby MagicbyAlfred » September 14th, 2016, 8:46 pm

observer wrote:
MagicbyAlfred wrote:Like the Buddhist master said when he was asked how he had carved that beautiful elephant, he responded: "I just carved away all that was not elephant."  


Shame on the Buddhist master for stealing Michelangelo's line.


You know those Zen Masters - anything for a laugh.

In all fairness, though, I think he did credit Michelangelo.

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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby observer » September 16th, 2016, 5:46 pm

MagicbyAlfred wrote:
observer wrote:
MagicbyAlfred wrote:Like the Buddhist master said when he was asked how he had carved that beautiful elephant, he responded: "I just carved away all that was not elephant."  


Shame on the Buddhist master for stealing Michelangelo's line.


You know those Zen Masters - anything for a laugh.

In all fairness, though, I think he did credit Michelangelo.


it's okay. Mike told me once that he copped it from Praxiteles anyway.

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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby Joe Mckay » September 19th, 2016, 8:31 am

My copy just arrived in the UK.

The book has now gone global!

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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby AaronSmith » September 19th, 2016, 7:16 pm

Mine also arrived in the UK today. Looking forward to getting stuck in!

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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby prodigy » September 21st, 2016, 2:34 am

Mine arrived today :)

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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby El Mystico » September 21st, 2016, 4:55 am

Seems there is no evidence it was Michaelangelo who said it...

http://quoteinvestigator.com/2014/06/22/chip-away/

Mac Stone
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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby Mac Stone » September 21st, 2016, 8:10 am

The Jerx wrote:If you want to make your magic performances more powerful and have them resonate in a way that feels greater than just "a trick" then this is a concept that I think is very valuable.


http://www.thejerx.com/blog/2016/9/18/the-buy-in

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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby performer » September 21st, 2016, 2:36 pm

Mac Stone wrote:
The Jerx wrote:If you want to make your magic performances more powerful and have them resonate in a way that feels greater than just "a trick" then this is a concept that I think is very valuable.


http://www.thejerx.com/blog/2016/9/18/the-buy-in


I read it. Oddly enough it sounds more applicable to a psychic reading than it does for a magic trick. Those who get the most out of a reading are the ones who invest the most and I am not just talking about the fee paid although that comes into it of course. I don't know how this might apply to the cut and restored rope though.

It seems he has refrained from profanity and vulgar remarks in that post. I am glad he is making progress.

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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby Joe Mckay » September 25th, 2016, 5:25 pm

My review of this book can be found here:

viewtopic.php?f=10&t=48843

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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby Jack Shalom » September 28th, 2016, 7:36 am

Andy's blog today contains a link to a free pdf at the end which is a key prop for a very amusing prediction effect:

http://www.thejerx.com/blog/2016/9/27/humanitys-twins

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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby Joe Mckay » September 30th, 2016, 6:08 pm

Thinking about the book some more - I keep mulling over his thoughts on good premises for magic.

It is a very helpful piece of theory for me.

It all comes down to one simple question - "Is this a thing?"

http://www.thejerx.com/blog/2015/9/4/what-makes-a-good-premise

And as a bit of housekeeping - I will link to the only other thread on here discussing the blog. Just so that all the links to other threads can be found from this main thread:

http://forums.geniimagazine.com/viewtopic.php?t=47945 [Nice take on "Sands" in The Jerx]

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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby Joe Mckay » October 6th, 2016, 10:28 am

A lot of my favourite things about Andy's blog are the far-out strange effects he manages to come up with.

But only discussing those aspects of the blog does Andy a disservice. Since he also has a knack for analyzing classic magic problems and cutting to the heart of the issue. This often results in a new approach that strengthens the magic whilst sidestepping the traditional stumbling block in such effects.

A great example of this is Andy's latest post in which he finds a way to step round the classic problems all magicians run into when using progressive anagrams.

http://www.thejerx.com/blog/2016/10/5/transgressive-anagrams

I have always avoided this type of method because I could never find a way to make it feel anything other than what it is. A methodical winnowing down of the possible solutions. But Andy's approach has made me look again at effects making use of this principle.

Stanley Collins discovered the progressive anagram principle. And it brings a smile to my face that Andy has taken the torch from him in order to finally solve the remaining problems in this area.

Kudos to Simon Aronson for his "No No's" take on the concept. And Andy had some great work in this area involving Ouija boards a few years ago as well. But for now - this is the approach that feels most satisfying to me since it can be used with any progressive anagram effect.

And unlike a lot of the other stuff I recommend - it is 100% practical.

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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby jmbulg » October 6th, 2016, 2:44 pm

I also read the anagram discussion with interest and now wonder if one should rethink/design the anagrams such that one preferentially goes into the branchings with two early misses.

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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby Joe Mckay » October 6th, 2016, 6:31 pm

That is what I was thinking as well.

Need to start by researching the best tricks around that make use of this principle. It is all about finding a group of words that will play well in a routine. Although for the right audience - you probably cannot do much better than an astrology sign divination.

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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby lybrary » October 6th, 2016, 7:21 pm

Dale A. Hildebrandt recently released an ebook entirely dedicated to progressive and branching anagrams called "Foam Kangaroo Abs" http://www.lybrary.com/foam-kangaroo-abs-p-869455.html A good place to start exploring the possibilities.
Lybrary.com https://www.lybrary.com/s-w-erdnase-m-11.html
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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby Joe Mckay » October 7th, 2016, 4:13 am

Andy has provided an update to his post on the progressive anagram principle.

See the end of this post:

http://www.thejerx.com/blog/2016/10/5/transgressive-anagrams

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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby Joe Mckay » October 27th, 2016, 1:47 pm

Andy has come to the end of his run.

For now.

If enough come on board at ten bucks a month - he will return with another year of all-star blogging.

He can count me in.

Also - in a recent post he has put together a video for those who like his unique presentation for the Invisible Deck. It is really handy having access to this video - so check it out.

And he has put together a downloadable file for those who want to make use of his presentational ideas for Tenyo effects. Again - very useful.

You can find both of them here:

http://www.thejerx.com/blog/2016/10/24/callbacks

I have never seen a blog in magic (or outside of magic for that matter) that goes to such lengths to provide a service to the readers. The blog is a bounty of creative and practical ideas. And just great fun all round.

I really hope the magic community can get behind Andy for another year of blogging. There is nobody else like him in magic.

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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby Roger M. » October 27th, 2016, 11:12 pm

That really is an incredibly innovative and original presentation of the Invisible Deck.

The whole "mime" shuffling and dealing of an invisible deck of cards seemed (to me) old and worn out 20 years ago.

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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby performer » October 28th, 2016, 6:48 am

The presentation is indeed inventive and original. It is also impractical and far too long winded. And you have to carry one of those new fangled phone things around with you. I consider cell phones to be a blight on humanity. I even considered purchasing a phone jammer until I found out they were illegal.

I would stick to the original invisible deck presentation. Far more entertaining and whimsical. It cannot be old and worn out since although many laymen have seen it it is still a tiny, tiny, tiny amount compared to those laymen who have not seen it.

Who the hell wants to look at a video for 8 minutes then on top of that suffer some awful magician spending another 5 minutes getting to the point?

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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby Joe Mckay » October 28th, 2016, 10:51 am

Yeah - that is always an interesting thing to remember.

No matter how "old" and "hack" a piece of magic is. It will be brand new to 99% of laypeople.

Most work in magic is ultimately for the benefit of the magician rather than spectators. I could take any layperson - and within a week - have them wowing another layperson with strong magic and interesting presentations.

The classic presentation for the invisible deck is a perfect example.

It is almost depressing how easy that sort of magic can be.

But you can turn it upside down and find it quite funny instead.

The biggest secret of magic is how easy a lot of the strongest tricks are.

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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby Steve Mills » October 28th, 2016, 11:41 am

Joe Mckay wrote:Andy has come to the end of his run.

For now........


Joe, I hope you're right, but I doubt it.

I've followed Andy since well before The Great Cafe Castration and have always found him entertaining and intelligent with a worthwhile slant on certain magic presentations.

Right now he's flopping around like a bass on the bottom of a boat - trying to find a way to successfully monetize a formerly free blog. AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN! At least I don't think so. Many have tried and damn few have succeeded. They all have the less than a cup of coffee a day type rationale and try to make a value play based on the time they put into writing. No one cares!

I also think his cavalier and somewhat dismissive attitude toward his readers is self defeating.

Time will tell.......
Let him rave, that men may know him mad.Yul Brynner as Rameses II

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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby Joe Mckay » October 28th, 2016, 12:28 pm

I think it could work out.

The dynamics are unusual. Magic is a small field. So if you enjoy something there is a greater need for you to step in and show your support. Unlike a site asking for donations that already has hundreds of thousands or even millions of readers.

Added to which - Andy has already taken a 10 year break from blogging in the past. So fans are under no illusion that there is a real chance he may head off into the sunset again.

The memory of him doing that last time should act as an emotional pull for those who missed the blog last time he took an extended break.

And to most magicians - magic gives them more pleasure than just about anything else. So it tends to be pretty high up on their list when it comes to spending money. At least it is with me. Most magicians chuck money around on stuff which they half expect is going to be something that they will not end up using. So hopefully people will show support for a site which they already know - with 100% confidence - is a great product. And great value for money.

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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby Jonathan Townsend » October 28th, 2016, 12:34 pm

Glad to have the year of fun postings to read, support the effort to add useful documentation to our craft... happy to have the book... and will likely support his next round to see what comes of it.

:)
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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby Roger M. » October 28th, 2016, 1:23 pm

performer wrote:It is also impractical and far too long winded.............


If I've got enough wind in me to pull it off - I'm sure you have enough wind in you to pull it off Mark!

And if you carried a cell phone with you, you might be pleasantly (or unpleasantly) surprised at how many folks would actually phone you, for the sole purpose of wanting to enjoy a conversation with you :)

Note that I didn't say the spec (or anybody else) thought that the Invisible Deck "shuffle and deal" handling was old and tired ... after doing it 10,000 times myself, I think it's old and tired!

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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby Joe Mckay » October 28th, 2016, 1:33 pm

Of course - Andy does have a habit of shooting himself in the foot when it comes to the funding of his site.

haha

http://www.thejerx.com/blog/2016/10/9/gardyloo-15

I wonder who the magician was?

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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby mrnovember » October 28th, 2016, 7:07 pm

For me, this last year has been one of the most exciting and fun that I can remember in magic- mostly due to The Jerx and Andys writing.There was never any doubt in my mind about supporting the next season of the blog.

Jon

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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby Evan Shuster » October 28th, 2016, 10:24 pm

Yup!
I'm in, too!

I really enjoy Andy's work, and I'm willing to support his future efforts in keeping the blog alive. The content is exceptionally good, and although it may not be for everyone, I do appreciate and support his perspective. Slightly more than $0.32 per day... and yet it is worth much more than that to me.

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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby Joe Mckay » November 1st, 2016, 3:10 pm

Andy has rearranged the funding for his blog.

He is now offering bonuses for those who step on board for another year.

He seems to be close to his target total - and that was before any bonuses were offered. So I really hope we are rapidly closing in on a successful outcome.

I wouldn't mind so much if magic was overflowing with brilliant thinkers and funny writers.

But sadly it isn't.

We need to get behind anybody with this level of talent who is prepared to set aside a substantial chunk of time to providing content and material to magicians. At least I think we do.

So - if you were sat on the fence - have a look at the bonuses. Andy has rejigged things so that he can provide a thank you for those who are jumping on board for another year.

http://www.thejerx.com/blog/2016/10/30/coming-soon

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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby magicam » November 2nd, 2016, 6:37 pm

So was the production value of his book all that was promised? I think I recall RK mentioning that it was fairly pedestrian.

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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby Joe Mckay » November 2nd, 2016, 7:08 pm

The contents of the book were great.

As for the production value of the book. I guess it was nothing special. Just a regular book on the whole. But a nice one. It reminded me of the Hector Chadwick book. I have seen a lot worse. So I am sure Andy went for something special as far as the different options were concerned at his end.

Caring about the production values of a magic book makes no sense to me. So I find it hard to discuss intelligently. But I am probably in the minority there.

I mean I wish Richard Kaufman had used cheaper paper for his brilliant Tenyo books. It would make them a lot lighter and easier to hold. They are gorgeous books but for me - a magic book is a practical object and nothing else. I even threw away the fancy box it came in. lol

Still it is a really fantastic set of books.

As for Andy's book. I am sure most fans of the blog who bought the book saw it is a brilliant bonus.

You could look at the payment in terms of paying for the book - with the rest left over sent Andy's way to support his blog.

Or you could look at the payment as a donation to his blog (which is how I saw it) - with the book as a really really nice bonus.

The book has a ribbon bookmark. And a couple of specially produced props as well.

Also the book itself has a trick built into it as well. I have never seen a trick which such an ambitious trick built into it.

My review of it can be found here. Looking back on the review I realise I didn't cover a lot of different tricks in the book. So just consider it one person's list of highlights after a first reading.

http://forums.geniimagazine.com/viewtopic.php?t=48843

Also - don't forget - Andy is running another donation drive. And he has shuffled things about since his original post a week ago. There are now a few bonuses on offer for subscribers:

http://www.thejerx.com/blog/2016/10/30/coming-soon

There are only 168 hours in a week. And Andy spends about 20-30 hours a week on the blog. Added to which - he is self-employed (as a creative consultant I think?). So for him time is money. In a way it isn't for bozos like me who have a ton of free time which I wouldn't be able to monetise in any case.

So - Andy is just looking to see if he can still justify to himself the ton of effort he spends on the blog for another year. I am just grateful he is prepared to share his efforts for very little remuneration. It is quite Marxist looking at work purely in terms of the labour time spent on producing it. Since I feel creativity and talent should be rewarded on top of any efforts involved. Since the real value Andy has to offer is not in the time he is prepared to spend on the blog but in the remarkable approach he has to creating magic.

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Re: Return of a Controversial Blog

Postby performer » November 2nd, 2016, 9:06 pm

Roger M. wrote:
performer wrote:It is also impractical and far too long winded.............


If I've got enough wind in me to pull it off - I'm sure you have enough wind in you to pull it off Mark!

And if you carried a cell phone with you, you might be pleasantly (or unpleasantly) surprised at how many folks would actually phone you, for the sole purpose of wanting to enjoy a conversation with you :)

Note that I didn't say the spec (or anybody else) thought that the Invisible Deck "shuffle and deal" handling was old and tired ... after doing it 10,000 times myself, I think it's old and tired!


I am old and tired too but I still manage to entertain. In the same way that the Invisible Deck may be old and tired but can still entertain. And the Linking Rings is even worse. It is ANCIENT and very, very, very, very tired but still manages to entertain. And unlike the invisible deck everyone in the entire world has seen the bloody thing.

I will never find cell phones entertaining though. The horrid things should be make illegal along with the awful people that use them. The world was a much quieter place before the damn things came along. Now I have to suffer them in restaurants, trains and buses. The only relief from them was in the subway system since they couldn't pick up the signal but now I hear they have found some infernal modern method of even getting around that.

Why do people talk so loud into them? I don't want to hear their business and it is never important anyway.

If someone showed me a trick with a cellphone I would probably descend into madness and wreck mayhem upon it or throw it out of the nearest window.

As for Andy's blog I must say that it has to be wonderful to have all these magic groupies bowing at your feet and even better wanting to give you money. I must find out how I can do the same.


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