Magic in BoingBoing

Discussions of new films, books, television shows, and media indirectly related to magic and magicians. For example, there may be a book on mnemonics or theatrical technique we should know or at least know about.
MagicbyAlfred
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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 25th, 2016, 10:51 am

This is why I was never a fan of the magician's "candid" explanation to the spectators during g a routine (e.g. "See, I actually never really put the ball [or coin or card] in my pocket, I just palm it here in my hand like this."). It generally leads to one or more of three possible negative results: (1) They literally believe the explanation, and their opinion of the routine and/or magician's skill is thus diminished or deflated; (2) It comes off as condescending or patronizing; and/or (3) it exposes or calls undue attention to important sleights.

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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 25th, 2016, 11:23 am

MagicbyAlfred wrote:... a routine (e.g. "See, I actually never really put the ball [or coin or card] in my pocket, I just palm it here in my hand like this.")...


The example in Vernon's Cups and Balls routine in the moment right before the final loads are revealed...

What's your feeling about changing the line to "I met a guy who told me that the magician only ..."
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 25th, 2016, 12:58 pm

JONATHAN wrote:

"The example in Vernon's Cups and Balls routine in the moment right before the final loads are revealed...[i]What's your feeling about changing the line to 'I met a guy who told me that the magician only[/i] ...'"

Good question. I think it would somewhat mitigate the concerns I have (i.e., it would reduce or eliminate the condescension/patronization factor). However, I personally would decline to deliver such a line, even in that third person context. IMHO, it still unnecessarily directs the spectators' consciousness to a sleight. I want to avoid engaging the analytical side of their brains, and keep them focused on the magically of the routines, not the surreptitious manipulations or modus operandi by which the effects might be accomplished.

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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby performer » January 26th, 2016, 11:44 pm

MagicbyAlfred wrote:This is why I was never a fan of the magician's "candid" explanation to the spectators during g a routine (e.g. "See, I actually never really put the ball [or coin or card] in my pocket, I just palm it here in my hand like this."). It generally leads to one or more of three possible negative results: (1) They literally believe the explanation, and their opinion of the routine and/or magician's skill is thus diminished or deflated; (2) It comes off as condescending or patronizing; and/or (3) it exposes or calls undue attention to important sleights.


I am not overly keen on this either despite the fact that I do the sucker repeat torn and restored newspaper where you pretend to explain how it is all done. Wilfrid Jonson in his book "Mr Smith's Guide to Sleight of Hand" was very disapproving of this calling it "inartistic" and "a hackneyed wheeze" along with other snooty comments of disapproval that made me feel dreadfully guilty when I read it. I always imagine that he is in the audience glaring at me every time I do it.

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Q. Kumber
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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby Q. Kumber » January 27th, 2016, 5:13 am

And one of Dante's most famous routines was Backstage With a Magician.
Harbin finished his cruise ship shows with I'll Do It Again, his (very clever) handling of the T&R Tissue

Guys, give the audience some credit for intelligence, please.


On a side note, the mention of Wilfred Johnson reminds me of the first time the teenage Alex Elmsley went into Davenports and got talking to the Saturday regulars, Jack Avis, Bobby Bernard etc. Elmsley said he was interested in magic and asked what should he buy. They recommended Mr Smith's Guide to Sleight of Hand.

Two weeks later the young Mr Elmsley came back and queried what else he should buy. They asked what could he do from the book. Much to their surprise, he could do almost all of it.

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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby performer » January 27th, 2016, 11:39 am

Wilfrid Jonson was one of my earlier teachers in magic through his books. I am completely self taught in magic from books and never met a magician in my first two years of study. I thank God every day for it otherwise I would have listened to them and become as dreadful as they were. I couldn't get anywhere in my studies reading all sorts of other books until I came across Wilfrid's book on card tricks which at least were easy to do and gave some sort of basic knowledge of sleight of hand with cards. Later I devoured the Royal Road to Card Magic and the books of Harry Lorayne and became more advanced but Wilfrid was the one who got me started.

In more recent years I reacquainted myself with my old teacher when I found a book that I had heard of for years but had never actually seen with my own eyes. That was the aforementioned Mr Smith's Guide to Sleight of Hand. I still have never come across another Jonson book entitled "But Not To Play" but perhaps one day I will.

The Mr Smith book is an excellent one and I have already incorporated one of his coin subtleties into my work. His advice on patter is the best I have ever read. However, quite a few of Wilfrid's prickly observations amused me immensely although perhaps that wasn't his purpose. His remarks concerning the Torn and Restored napkin or newspaper was a case in point. It amuses me so much I cannot resist typing it out for all to see. To clarify one point Wilfrid thought that there was a difference between a "conjurer" and a "magician" and for reasons I have no space to get into "conjurers" were the inferior of the two.

"It is a common practice to follow this trick with a mock explanation. The conjurer (no MAGICIAN would do this) first shows the audience how a duplicate piece of paper may be rolled into a ball and concealed in the hand. He then repeats the trick, pretending to exchange the ball of paper but actually leaving that undisturbed and restoring the paper as he did before. Having completed the mock explanation he disillusions the audience by opening what they suppose to be the ball of pieces and showing it to be a whole piece.

It is surprising to see what a large number of performers are thus prepared to sacrifice their artistic principles (if they have any) in order to "get a laugh". From all artistic viewpoints the practice is abominable and indefensible. Even taking the view of a the conjurer one can see little merit in it-it has been done so often before. A man who descends even to "getting a laugh" from such a hackneyed wheeze must be singularly lacking in real entertaining ability."

There. It was the "abominable and indefensible" bit that amused me and the last sentence above REALLY made me feel guilty. If it had been anyone else but old Wilfrid that said it I would have said he was a stupid git but alas one gets terrified of one's old teachers. Still, it is heartening to see how in 1945 when the book was written the importance of keeping secrets was ingrained in the culture of magicians. Poor Wilfrid would have been horrified beyond measure to see what is going on today with the internet. I wish he was around now to reprimand Widdle over the matter.

I loved this bit from Wilfrid too and it made me laugh out loud. He was explaining why he did not include thimble tricks in the book. "I think there is nothing so ludicrous as to see a man performing tricks with thimbles. The thimble trick should be left to our women conjurers for whom it is eminently suitable"

Note that he called the women "conjurers" which was a second veiled insult. Now I do thimble magic but in the name of God don't tell Wilfrid.

Oddly enough in the Al Koran book by Hugh Miller it was stated that Koran eschewed the sucker explanation in the restored paper trick. I thought at first he must have read Wilfrid's book but then in another Koran book by Martin Breese he reproduces Koran's patter and lo and behold he DID do the sucker explanation. I assume Wilfrid's influence had worn off bu the time the second book came out.

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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 28th, 2016, 2:15 pm

Not sure I'm happy to see the shoelace trick up there
http://boingboing.net/2016/01/28/how-to ... s-app.html
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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby P.T.Widdle » January 28th, 2016, 10:33 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:Not sure I'm happy to see the shoelace trick up there
http://boingboing.net/2016/01/28/how-to ... s-app.html


When's the last time you performed it? :)

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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby Brad Henderson » January 28th, 2016, 11:33 pm

not everyone see the world from such a selfish perspective.

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Tom Stone
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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby Tom Stone » January 29th, 2016, 12:18 am

P.T.Widdle wrote:
Jonathan Townsend wrote:Not sure I'm happy to see the shoelace trick up there
http://boingboing.net/2016/01/28/how-to ... s-app.html


When's the last time you performed it? :)

Why isn't the originator named? Is this Dave Hax claiming it as his own?

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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby Brad Jeffers » January 29th, 2016, 2:20 am

Checking on the Penguin website I see that the creator is Jay Noblezada.

What I find remarkable, is that it says Self Tying Shoelace is their best selling trick of all time!

I would not have guessed that.

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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 29th, 2016, 9:16 am

Give away your own tricks if you like. The work on carrying around pants based tricks... nontrivial.
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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 29th, 2016, 9:24 am

MagicbyAlfred wrote:This is why I was never a fan of the magician's "candid" explanation to the spectators during...


Maybe "candid" is the key.

I agree it's a shift between character in performance and actor talking to audience. What if the audience were already certain that they were not being shown an honest explanation? For example in the backstage illusion there's a backdrop with painted audience and music cues setting the tone.

What do you think?
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 29th, 2016, 12:17 pm

JONATHAN TOWNSEND wrote: "What if the audience were already certain that they were not being shown an honest explanation? For example in the backstage illusion there's a backdrop with painted audience and music cues setting the tone. What do you think?"

I don't think I would see it differently. It would still be what Wifred Johnson characterized as inartistic and a "hackneyed wheeze," just dressed up more, that's all. Moreover, to me, such ploys undermine the magical aura I would ideally like to create.

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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby performer » January 29th, 2016, 2:04 pm

I remember Wilfrid (that is the spelling of his first name on the Mr Smith book anyway) having a testy correspondance about something or other and the letters were printed in Hugard's Magic Manual. I wish I could remember what it was about and who he was arguing with.

I found it ironic that he looked down on "conjurers" so much yet later his books were entitled "Card Conjuring" and simply "Conjuring" although later the combined two books had the title "Magic" in it.

Old Murray the escapologist made a fuss about the word "conjurer" too but in a different way from Wilfrid. Murray would snort if you mentioned someone who did smaller magic if you called him a magician. He would correct you and tell you that "conjurer" was the correct word. You were only a magician to Murray's mind if you did large illusions or a full evening show like he did in days of yore.

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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby Brad Henderson » January 29th, 2016, 3:28 pm

While Noblezada is the one whose name is linked to the marketed version, there is some contention over the actual creator of the effect. rumors have long circulated that the idea was passed without permission from Luke Dancy, the actual creator, through a well known second party to Noblezada who decided to release it as his own.

that's the story.

given the recent Gregory Wilson podcast revelations, I thought it appropriate to mention.

this happens more than one wishes to admit in our field.

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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 29th, 2016, 4:06 pm

BRAD HENDERSON wrote:

"...rumors have long circulated that the idea [for self-tying shoelaces] was passed without permission from Luke Dancy, the actual creator, through a well known second party to Noblezada who decided to release it as his own. that's the story.
given the recent Gregory Wilson podcast revelations, I thought it appropriate to mention."

Good point. But I wonder who, if anyone, holds the copyright? Under federal law, a copyright occurs immediately and automatically upon creation of a work. (Valid registration the copyright gives one the right to sue for infringement) Creation occurs when the work is first fixed into a tangible medium (e.g. a video). I could come up with a potentially platinum song singing it in the shower at the gym. But I have no legal right to or ownership of it, until if and when I notate it on music paper or record it etc. Someone who overheard me singing the tune could then notate or record it, and if I had not done so first, guess who the copyright holder is? Doesn't quite seem fair, does it? Well, oftentimes life doesn't either.

In any event, isn't the issue as,Tom Stone seemed to imply in an earlier post on this thread, whether the individual who posted the Self-tying Shoelace on Boing Boing had a legal and/or ethical right to do so, aside from whether one (such as myself) might dislike or disapprove of the exposure itself?

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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 29th, 2016, 4:35 pm

PS Just to clarify on the copyright issue: The current, lawful copyright holder need not necessarily have been the original copyright holder. Legally valid transfers and assignments of copyrights from the lawful holder to another person or entity are very common (such as when musicians convey their copyright to a song(s) to a record company, as a precondition to the company recording and distributing the song, and end up getting screwed)

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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby P.T.Widdle » January 29th, 2016, 4:39 pm

It was not an "exposure." It was a lesson. BIG difference.

However, I agree about the lack crediting, both by the original maker of the video, and the BoingBoing editor who posted it.

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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby Brad Henderson » January 29th, 2016, 4:41 pm

not attempting to make a legal argument. Only wanted to clarify the history of this idea.

Widdle - what is the difference between a lesson and exposure?

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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby observer » January 29th, 2016, 4:58 pm

MagicbyAlfred wrote:PS Just to clarify on the copyright issue: The current, lawful copyright holder need not necessarily have been the original copyright holder. Legally valid transfers and assignments of copyrights from the lawful holder to another person or entity are very common )


Same with patents (magic related or otherwise).

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Wilfrid Jonson book

Postby Daniel Z » January 29th, 2016, 5:48 pm

Mr. Perfomer

A copy of Wilfrid Jonson's Lets Pretend is available for download from State Library of Victoria in Australia http://tinyurl.com/h348or2

I haven't seen the other one you mentioned.

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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 29th, 2016, 6:00 pm

Brad, I know you were not attempting to make a legal argument. I was merely pointing out potential legal and ethical issues that naturally flow from your observation that there are rumors and/or controversy surrounding who the creator of the self-tying shoelace in fact was.

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Re: Wilfrid Jonson book

Postby Joe Pecore » January 29th, 2016, 6:02 pm

Daniel Z wrote:Mr. Perfomer

A copy of Wilfrid Jonson's Lets Pretend is available for download from State Library of Victoria in Australia http://tinyurl.com/h348or2

I haven't seen the other one you mentioned.

Your link was not working for me.

Try this: http://search.slv.vic.gov.au/MAIN:SLV_VOYAGER1586825
Share your knowledge on the MagicPedia wiki.

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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby P.T.Widdle » January 29th, 2016, 8:40 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:Widdle - what is the difference between a lesson and exposure?


exposure - "Here's how it's done."
lesson - "Here's how to do it."

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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby Bill Mullins » January 29th, 2016, 8:43 pm

MagicbyAlfred wrote:Good point. But I wonder who, if anyone, holds the copyright?


It makes no difference -- magic tricks generally aren't copyrightable.

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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby Brad Henderson » January 29th, 2016, 10:31 pm

P.T.Widdle wrote:
Brad Henderson wrote:Widdle - what is the difference between a lesson and exposure?


exposure - "Here's how it's done."
lesson - "Here's how to do it."


how are these different, exactly?

you said there was a BIG difference. Please clarify.

or is it merely a matter of pronoun usage??

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Re: Wilfrid Jonson book

Postby performer » January 29th, 2016, 11:52 pm

Daniel Z wrote:Mr. Perfomer

A copy of Wilfrid Jonson's Lets Pretend is available for download from State Library of Victoria in Australia http://tinyurl.com/h348or2

I haven't seen the other one you mentioned.


Oh, bloody hell! Does that mean I have to read it on the computer? I consider that sort of thing to be against the laws of nature. Still, It is good manners to thank you anyway so thank you!

It seems to be Wilfrid's first book written even before I was born. Published in 1937.

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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby performer » January 30th, 2016, 12:02 am

Good heavens! I am looking at the book now. How exciting! Very thin book actually compared to his later ones. And he only describes tricks whereas in his later books he has all sorts of tips about presentation and amusing remarks about "hackneyed wheezes" and "abominable and indefensible" practices in magic not to mention my favourite where he says thimble tricks are only suitable for women conjurers "for whom they are eminently suitable"

He makes lots of rude remarks about Professor Hoffmann in his books and I like that sort of nonsense.

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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 30th, 2016, 2:08 am

Bill Mullins wrote: "It makes no difference -- magic tricks generally aren't copyrightable."

Well IMHO they dang well should be! What's the difference in terms of creativity between creating a magic trick or routine versus a song versus a book versus a TV show? Why should those who create the latter receive legal protection, and not the creator of a magic trick?

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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby Tom Stone » January 30th, 2016, 5:39 am

Bill Mullins wrote:
MagicbyAlfred wrote:Good point. But I wonder who, if anyone, holds the copyright?


It makes no difference -- magic tricks generally aren't copyrightable.

That's simply not true, but is a lie mostly propagated by crooks.

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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby performer » January 30th, 2016, 7:16 am

You can copyright the name of a trick or the instructions but that is about it as far as I know. I am not over keen on that shoelace thing anyway for one reason only. It is a hell of a lot of preparation for what is essentially an impromptu trick which only takes a few seconds to perform. I am not sure how practical it is in the real world.

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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby P.T.Widdle » January 30th, 2016, 6:50 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:
P.T.Widdle wrote:
Brad Henderson wrote:Widdle - what is the difference between a lesson and exposure?


exposure - "Here's how it's done."
lesson - "Here's how to do it."


how are these different, exactly?

you said there was a BIG difference. Please clarify.

or is it merely a matter of pronoun usage??


Are you trying to lead me down some Socratic road?

You're correct that language is important, as is intent. The name of this post is, "How To Make Your Shoelaces Appear to Tie Themselves" (my emphasis). The intent of the video maker is clearly to teach one how to perform this trick, He even includes a tip at the end on how best to perform it.

Now, you can argue, "one man's lesson is another man's exposure." But that argument is about venue, and whether it is appropriate for the lesson to appear there, like on cereal box or in a bubble gum wrapper.

But looking simply at the content, it seems clear that this is a lesson with the intent to teach.

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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby Brad Henderson » January 30th, 2016, 7:02 pm

so, me making a video showing you how to perform the sawing a lady in half would be a lesson and not exposure as it is presented as a video and not on a box of cereal?

are you saying that by sole virtue of having watched this video someone is empowered to perform this trick?

is that true?

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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby P.T.Widdle » January 30th, 2016, 8:11 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:so, me making a video showing you how to perform the sawing a lady in half would be a lesson and not exposure as it is presented as a video and not on a box of cereal?

are you saying that by sole virtue of having watched this video someone is empowered to perform this trick?

is that true?


If you made a video showing me how to perform the sawing a lady in half, that would be a lesson. If the video was showing how it was done that would not be a lesson, per se (unless the revelation was the first in a series of more intended to teach).

Whether the lesson is on a blog or a cereal box doesn't change that is a lesson.

And, no, I am not claiming someone watching the shoelace lesson will be "empowered"to perform the trick. That depends on the individual. Whether or not they are empowered to try it does not change the fact that it is still a lesson.

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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby Brad Henderson » January 30th, 2016, 8:27 pm

explain the difference between telling you how and showing you how.

this BIG difference.

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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby observer » January 30th, 2016, 8:46 pm

Sorry, but I can't help being curious -

Are there very many people here who feel that this thread is contributing anything to the theory and/or practice of magic, or to the value of the Genii Forum?

Would very many people here object if this thread were to be closed?

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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby performer » January 30th, 2016, 9:07 pm

Oh, it will give Widdle and Brad something to do.

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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby P.T.Widdle » January 30th, 2016, 9:27 pm

observer,
Currently on this thread, we are discussing (politely, I think) the nature of what a magic lesson is, vis a vis its relation to exposure, and how it may be perceived differently depending on the venue the lesson appears on. Are you having a hard time following?

If, when, and how magic appears in venues other than formal magic settings is a valid, evolving and interesting subject for this community, in my opinion.

Brad Henderson wrote:explain the difference between telling you how and showing you how.


That's not the difference as I see it. It is between showing you how, and showing you how to perform.

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Re: Magic in BoingBoing

Postby observer » January 30th, 2016, 9:50 pm

P.T.Widdle wrote:observer,
Currently on this thread, we are discussing .


"we" are hardly anybody, and "discussing" does not mean "going endlessly around in circles".

All this thread is doing is exacerbating the worldwide bandwidth shortage.


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