Banned from Blackpool for my "Safety"

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Postby CraigMitchell » 08/22/09 02:00 AM

I received the below email today from Mr Derek Lever. I had for many a while heard of an infamous "blacklist" but did not possibly believe that in this day & age it could actually exist. How little did I know.

Let this be a warning to everyone that if you dare voice an opinion that is contrary to that of Mr Lever - you face sanction. Mr Lever does not only disapprove of my right to voice an opinion - but attempted to censor the 'online media' and have my posts on the subject matter removed from the LinkingPage.com and other locations. Unsuccessful in his attempts - he has now deemed me to be 'persona non grata' and due to the inherent danger that Blackpool now offers to my personal 'safety' - I have been banned. Considering that I have just visited Communist China, I am beginning to question who exactly is living in a totalitarian regime ?

As President of FISM 2012 - Mr Lever is tasked with enhancing, promoting, and developing the Art of Magic - both at home and abroad. If this is how he chooses to exercise his role in the run up to the event - I would be extremely concerned. Perhaps it would be wise to read the teachings of Voltaire: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."


"Dear Sir

After reading your various postings over the last few years it is quite obvious you intensely dislike Blackpool, Blackpool Magicians' Convention, Blackpool Magicians' Club and F.I.S.M. Blackpool.

Your pathetic rantings have evoked a great deal of anger both within and outside the magic fraternity and it is quite apparent that our security staff would not be able to guarantee your safety at the 2010 Blackpool Convention. We have today
refunded the 90.,00 charged to your credit card and must advise you that the tickets sent to you are no longer valid. You are henceforth persona non grata and no longer welcome at Blackpool Magicians' Convention.

Derek Lever
Convention Organiser
Blackpool Magicians Club "
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Postby Seuss » 08/22/09 02:05 AM

wow
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 08/22/09 03:03 AM

I accept the right of a business to deny service to anyone. What I find interesting is what I read as a stunning indictment by Mr. Lever against either the residents of Blackpool, the convention attendees, and/or his own staff (or all of the above):

anger both within and outside the magic fraternity and it is quite apparent that our security staff would not be able to guarantee your safety at the 2010 Blackpool Convention.

I think Mr. Lever would have been better served just to say that he didnt like you and didnt want you at his convention. Instead, he suggests that someone living in, working in, or working and/or attending the convention at Blackpool might cause you harm because of your opinion.

And it begs the question; will you be attending the 2012 FISM?

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Postby BlueEyed Videot » 08/22/09 03:10 AM

Wow is right. I was seriously planning a trip to the next FISM and bringing my trophy wife along so we could tour the British Isles afterward.

But if what I just read is true, I doubt I'll be in attendance either. Obviously, the convention is being organized by children. Not a good sign.
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Postby Nathan Muir » 08/22/09 04:09 AM

Some seriously unprofessional and juvenile behavior from Lever. That's essentially a veiled threat from the guy who should be a diplomat for magic.
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Postby CraigMitchell » 08/22/09 06:13 AM

Crime and vigilantism is clearly now a problem in Blackpool. While I am most appreciative of Mr Lever's concern for my safety - I am happy to report that I should be able to resolve his concerns ... I will be employing private security for the duration of my stay in Blackpool. I then need not fear that the residents of Blackpool, the convention attendees, and/or his own staff may cause me harm.
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Postby mrgoat » 08/22/09 06:14 AM

That is stunning, stunning, stunning.

Lever makes threats to people who post negative things?

http://blackpoolmagicsucks.wordpress.com/

Anyone that wants admin log in for the blog let me know. Let's see just how many people we can get banned from the convention! Like a little challenge.

:D
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Postby Chris Deleo » 08/22/09 06:37 AM

what opinions/comments is he referring to?
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Postby Seuss » 08/22/09 06:56 AM

Richard Hart wrote:Wow is right. I was seriously planning a trip to the next FISM and bringing my trophy wife along so we could tour the British Isles afterward.

But if what I just read is true, I doubt I'll be in attendance either. Obviously, the convention is being organized by children. Not a good sign.


Aside from the trophy wife (my trophy wife would kill me for referring to her as such) this is exactly why I meant by wow.

I'll wait to hopefully hear the proverbial other side of the story but as it stands I must unfortunately rethink attending FISM under his management. Shame especially with this the first in an english speaking country.
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Postby Q. Kumber » 08/22/09 07:38 AM

This must be the most ironic thing ever posted on the GENII forum.

Craig has been pretty clear in his utter disdain for all things Blackpool. Fair enough. He is entitled to his opinion. From his comments, my assumption was he had stopped going.

But no, in spite of all his negative feelings Craig registered for Blackpool 2010. Why would anyone want to continually return to anyplace that upsets them so much?

Still, in spite of being made unwelcome, Craig is going anyway.

He should be sponsored by Blackpool Tourism:

"The man who hates Blackpool so much he cannot stay away!"
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Postby Tom Frame » 08/22/09 09:20 AM

Quentin Reynolds wrote:Why would anyone want to continually return to anyplace that upsets them so much?


I imagine that he does so because he loves magic.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/22/09 10:23 AM

I wonder if the rules of FISM itself allow people to be banned for no good reason other than expressing an opinion--a right that is protected speech in the UK (I assume). I'll be contacting Eric Eswin for an informed decision about this.
It seems outrageous to me.
Craig, I think you might be able to find an attorney or rights group in the UK to take your case pro bono, because this certainly deserves a lawsuit since it infringes on your rights. You may be a picky bastard, however you are still a person with rights. Denial of service requires a valid reason.
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Postby Kenardo » 08/22/09 10:27 AM

I wonder what kind of legal alternatives Craig could pursue if he wanted to invest the time and money.
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Postby Roger M. » 08/22/09 10:45 AM

FISM can't ban Craig from attending, and likely will "un-ban" him as soon as they either see this thread, or have enough time to think about the consequences.

FISM isn't your local burger joint, deciding they won't serve you because you don't have a shirt on.......it's the world body associated with magic clubs in each country represented.

Either way, the local organizing group has already displayed their hand, and now have the appearance of a bunch of babies who've been tasked with putting on a FISM event.

If satisfaction isn't achieved for Craig, it sounds like he should contact FISM as a international body, and if satisfaction isn't achieved at that point.......then FISM becomes an instant joke and a bit of a laughing stock.

This is very risky playmaking on the part of the Blackpool FISM folks, and to date Craig hasn't indicated that his style is to "give up and go away".

Please keep us informed Craig, this doesn't deserve to be shoved under the bed, which will likely be FISM's first response to the issue.
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Postby CraigMitchell » 08/22/09 10:49 AM

Richard,

Reading Mr Lever's letter to me - the security concerns appear to surround the Blackpool 2010 event and that I am "no longer welcome at Blackpool Magicians' Convention."

As such - I assume I have been banned from the Blackpool Magicians Convention only. Unfortunately for Mr Lever I do not believe it is within his rights to ban an official delegate of the General Assembly from attending FISM. Especially for so heinous a crime as freedom of speech.

Having said that - any threat of a tourist being physically assaulted in Blackpool is a matter of grave concern and should be reported to the police. If vigilantism is as large a problem as Mr Lever makes out - we need to question whether other visitors to Blackpool in 2010 or FISM 2012 may be at risk ?

What is interesting from a consumer rights perspective, is that the Blackpool Magicians Club Ltd ( a for profit company ) did take my money and did send my entrance tickets many months ago. From that perspective a valid contract has been concluded. Now discriminating against a customer for no apparent legitimate reason in law - may indeed call for further examination of their trading standards.

Despite Mr Lever's ill-feelings towards me, I have extended an open invitation for him to visit at any time. I would value the opportunity to officially meet him in person and guarantee a warm welcome.
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Postby Tom Stone » 08/22/09 11:26 AM

Roger M. wrote:FISM can't ban Craig from attending

I think they can.
The dutch magician Andr Du Lord voiced some critizism against FISM in 1976, and instantly got banned from attending.
Dagens Nyheter, a big Swedish morning paper, asked about the incident, and Hank Vermeyden answered: "The people who get banned are primitive and uneducated people who speaks about things they know nothing about." (Dagens Nyheter, August 1, 1976).

Similar things happened in Sweden in 2006, as well.
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Postby Q. Kumber » 08/22/09 12:12 PM

Tom Frame wrote:
Quentin Reynolds wrote:Why would anyone want to continually return to anyplace that upsets them so much?


I imagine that he does so because he loves magic.


Tom, I love magic too, and there are literally hundreds of conventions around the world I could attend. If one upset me, I'd simply go elsewhere.

If I come to your psychotherapy practice as a patient and tell you that I attend a convention every year and so detest the place that I feel compelled to complain about it on multiple internet forums, yet I still want to go back, what would you advise?

I suspect you might draw me towards two conclusions. One, accept it for what it is, deal with it and quit moaning. Two, Stop going there.

Otherwise aren't we heading towards a version of Battered Wives Syndrome?
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Postby CraigMitchell » 08/22/09 12:20 PM

For those of a legal bent, I have just been advised by an attorney that I am entitled to ignore the repudiation and insist on keeping the contract alive. Should they fail to adhere to the terms of the registration, their repudiation of the contract amounts to a distinct form of breach and potentially makes the Blackpool Magicians Club Ltd liable for specific performance or consequential damages ( non-refundable hotels, flights etc. which amount into the thousands of dollars )
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Postby magicman1953 » 08/22/09 12:30 PM

OUTRAGEOUS .......
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Postby Roger M. » 08/22/09 12:34 PM

Tom Stone wrote:
Roger M. wrote:FISM can't ban Craig from attending

I think they can.
"The people who get banned are primitive and uneducated people who speaks about things they know nothing about." (Dagens Nyheter, August 1, 1976).

Similar things happened in Sweden in 2006, as well.


This type of behavior is dangerous, and from a customers point of view really does just look like children playing with toys.

The liability upon FISM in this instance is present regardless of whether they want to acknowledge it or not.
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Postby David Alexander » 08/22/09 02:17 PM

This is interesting. Up to this point I thought Craig Mitchell was just the Children's Magic Instructor at South Africa's College of Magic.

I never saw him as POWERFUL. Apparently, I was wrong. Clearly, FISM's Thug-In-Chief has recognized Craig for what he is: a man with an opinion and therefore DANGEROUS.

Obviously, Craig can't be allowed to continue expressing his own thoughts to the point that he must be banned from FISM and other associated events at Blackpool as well as his words being censored for the on-line magic community. God knows, we all march in lock-step thought here.

Who knows where the idea of having independently-formed opinions could lead? A free, healthy, and open discussion of problems? Perhaps even, gasp, Democracy? (Apparently that hasn't quite made it to Blackpool, yet.)

Good move on FISM's part to move to shut Craig up. This idea of "speaking one's mind" could spread. Someone else may catch Craig's "disease" and, well, FISM just may crumble under the onslaught of a few people's opinions.
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Postby Chad Findlay » 08/22/09 02:32 PM

I think Mr Lever needs to hire a publicist ... I don't think PR is one of his strong points ...
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Postby Mark Paulson » 08/22/09 02:33 PM

Hey Craig, if you decide not to go, can I have your tickets to Blackpoo?
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Postby Magic Newswire » 08/22/09 02:56 PM

I've heard from many of this "Ban List" and always assumed it was an exaggeration. I guess that this demonstrates the truth of it. I've also been told of a second club in Blackpool that wears as a badge of honor the experience of having been banned from the other. Fascinating. Is there something in the water in Blackpool... wait.. never mind.... forget that I asked... ;-)
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Postby CraigMitchell » 08/22/09 02:59 PM

Mr Lever does have legitimate concerns over my safety at Blackpool.

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Blackpool does have one of the highest rates of physical violence in all of England - twice the national average!
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Postby Terry » 08/22/09 03:39 PM

Craig,

Considering what has been posted about past Blackpool conventions, you must be a masochist for wanting to go. LOL

FISM China apparently sucked since you and MAGIC blasted it.

One thing to remember - if you don't get to see Mr. Lever before it rains, piss on him.
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Postby CraigMitchell » 08/22/09 04:58 PM

Hi Terry

I haven't read Magic's article - but I by no means said FISM China sucked. Sure there were issues - but overall we had a most enjoyable time ( see my final post for a summary ... http://www.geniimagazine.com/forums/ubb ... Post199875 )
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 08/22/09 07:30 PM

I would say that Wittus Witt didnt really blast FISM in his MAGIC article. I know from my own experience that negative comments tend to stand out in even overall positive reviews let alone in those that are mixed, such as Mr. Witts piece. As a result, it is the negative that is taken away.

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Postby Kenardo » 08/23/09 12:08 AM

Craig, might the consequential damages they could be responsible for be only the monies paid by you before their barring notice was received by you? Any payments made afterwards they might not be responsible for. I would guess an English lawyer would know. It probably is basic contract law over there.

I find the barrings at FISMs to be revolting. If those barrings can be substantiated with evidence, I would think that a party with a British lawyer could bring that up to the proper authority in England who would contact the Blackpool group and the international FISM body and advise them of whatever consequences if it happens - if it is against British law.

Good luck, Craig.
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Postby Christian » 08/23/09 04:24 AM

Even if I don't agree with everything Craig writes, his reports are much appreciated and I enjoy them very much.

Before reading about this, I hadn't made up my mind about FISM in Blackpoo. After all, they already have a large convention which I have attended many times (despite the location). So, what can it offer me that I haven't already seen? I know that I wont be spending much time sight seeing, nor will I enjoy a good time at the hotel.

Anyway, this was the final nail in the coffin. I will not be attending anything organized by the Blackpoo club.
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Postby Tim Ellis » 08/23/09 05:29 AM

Maybe Craig will get a special mention in the 2010 Blackpool Programme like Carl De Rome did this year...
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Postby CraigMitchell » 08/23/09 06:01 AM

WOW !
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Postby mrgoat » 08/23/09 06:17 AM

Quentin Reynolds wrote:This must be the most ironic thing ever posted on the GENII forum.
He should be sponsored by Blackpool Tourism:

"The man who hates Blackpool so much he cannot stay away!"


or

"The man that loves magic so much, he will even put up with a [censored] like this!"
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Postby naquada » 08/23/09 07:06 AM

i would be EXTREMELY careful with that twitter id.. terms and conditions of twitter state,amongst other things:

"You must not abuse, harass, threaten, impersonate or intimidate other Twitter users."

they take things that like extremely seriously.. as would anyone.. firstly impersonating Derek Lever.. secondly the ID was obvisouly set up to fuel this argument (it was set up on the 23rd august 2009)
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Postby naquada » 08/23/09 08:01 AM

is it then right to bullying someone electronically? using a system that someone probably doesnt understand or use to impersonate them ?

regardless of the person, the history or anything else, it is not right to use their name and assume there identity to push out statements and comments that appear to be from them.

but I'm glad you removed it.
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Postby mrgoat » 08/23/09 08:40 AM

naquada wrote:is it then right to bullying someone electronically? using a system that someone probably doesnt understand or use to impersonate them ?

regardless of the person, the history or anything else, it is not right to use their name and assume there identity to push out statements and comments that appear to be from them.

but I'm glad you removed it.



There are hundreds and hundreds of fake blogs, fake twitter accounts, fake sites. It's called satire.

I have deleted it because I was asked to by the poor man Lever is bullying. Not because of any moral reason.
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Postby CraigMitchell » 08/23/09 02:49 PM

It seems that Mr Lever has indeed 'banned' many, many people over the years from his Blackpool Magicians Club. The below was sent to me:

"Derek Lever has banned Alan ( New owner of Tommy Cooper Magic Blackpool) plus all, his Family and friends, Including Alans 13 year old daughter who has done no harm to anyone at all, and loves magic, But because of her banning she is not allowed to attend the Blackpool Convention."

There now appears to be a widespread belief that Mr Lever has extended these 'bans' to automatically include FISM 2012. Alan Chester - owner of the Tommy Cooper Magic Shop in Blackpool - writes:

"Anyone banned from blackpool magicians club events and manchester events are also barred from FISM when it comes to blackpool but don't worry folks our shop will still be open and look out for our magic auction at the end of september"

FISM's stated aim is to "enhance, promote and develop the Art of Magic"

I have requested Eric Eswin - FISM's International President - to confirm with Mr Lever that he is indeed NOT attempting to exclude any dealers or registrants from attending FISM 2012 on the basis of Mr Lever's personal ban lists.

FISM is obviously open to any magician worldwide and it is imperative that this be known - especially to those who find themselves on the 'Blackpool Magicians Club banned list'

If you ( or know of anyone who has been banned ) by Derek Lever -and are wishing to attend FISM 2012 either as a delegate or dealer - please contact me mitch@intekom.co.za
Last edited by CraigMitchell on 08/24/09 12:49 PM, edited 0 times in total.
Reason: Awaiting written confirmation per CM
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Postby Kenardo » 08/23/09 03:28 PM

In light of these postings, I think we should all contact our FISM ambassadors and ask that FISM conduct an investigation into these past FISM bans (see Tom Stone's earlier thread) and the past bans at Blackpool and how they may affect the upcoming FISM. The ethics of a FISM host organization should be considered when choosing a FISM site and should be a factor, if necessary, for reversing an earlier decision.

If enough ambassadors are contacted and pushed to speak up, Eric Eswin and the FISM body may have to take action to prevent damage to its reputation and the success of the next World Championship of Magic.
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Postby Tom Stone » 08/23/09 04:48 PM

Kenardo wrote:In light of these postings, I think we should all contact our FISM ambassadors and ask that FISM conduct an investigation into these past FISM bans

It is likely that the individuals who have been banned or mistreated will become targets for severe mud-slinging, if questions are asked. It's easier, and less hurtful, to just accept that some of us are not welcome.
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Postby Nathan Muir » 08/23/09 05:14 PM

Wow, Tom, that's a particularly cowardly approach. Not the way we do things in the free world.
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