Are you a member of The Magic Circle?

Discuss general aspects of Genii.

Postby Matthew Field » 11/14/09 07:10 AM

Roger -- As you know I am a member of The Magic Circle and edit their monthly magazine, The Magic Circular. I show up to the Monday meetings almost every week, although as Paul mentioned, for me (in Hastings) it's about a four-hour round trip. But worth it, for the library and to meet and chat with people like Patrick Page, Alan Shaxon, Bobby Bernard, Michael Vincent, Angelo Carbone, Nicholas Einhorn, Paul Kieve, Alan Alan and others who regularly show up.

There are many younger members who have joined in recent years.

About a third of the membership (of about 1500) live in the greater London area, another third in other parts of Great Britain, and a third abroad (U.S., Europe, Asia, South America, Canada and Australia.

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Postby Paul Gordon » 11/14/09 12:36 PM

My favourite period was when Alex Elmsley returned (mid 90's) to the club. I sat for hours with him...I recall fooling him a couple of times; him and Jack Avis! Boy, was I nervous!

Btw: If you never saw Jack, he was a darned genius. So skilled. Too bad he didn't travel/lecture much!

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Postby JimAlfredson » 11/14/09 01:34 PM

I've been a member for many years. Admittedly, I've visited the U.K. on a near-annual basis forover 30 years [Ready for that, Peter Lane, who chauffered me to the Circle on my initial visit!] So I know a number of members. Prior to my first visit, I knew a number via correespondence, thus I got a very warm welcome on my initial visit. On the other hand, I've visited Rings and Assemblies in the U.S. where I've been pointedly ignored. I commend the taste of the 'ignorers,' but wish they'd given me a chance to be boorish first! As Richard said, the library and research facilities are first-rate, and the lads who 'run the store' are most helpful. Remember, too, the Brits are a bit more reserved than we are, and aren't apt to rush at you with hand extended and say, "Hey! Hawareya fella? Who are you, anyway? What do you do for a living? How much does that make ya," and the like. A great outfit!

Jim Alfredson, MIMC [with gold star]. (How's that for snobbishness?!)
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 11/14/09 06:51 PM

I remember Jack Avis well. He was as boring as watching traffic lights change. I would rather watch paint dry. But to his credit he never claimed to be a performer. I do admit we great showmen need boring amateur magicians to create the things we put over to the public.

As a kld magician I used to be so disappointed when I would read about these supposedly legendary magicians in magic magazines and shocked beyond measure to see them do tricks (never "perform" them) and they were dross beyond belief. I even asked one of them how to do a trick in his own book and he had no idea.

I was better at 16 years old than all the legendary magicians that you were supposed to froth at the mouth at. I couldn't believe it but it happened to be true.

And I still am truly a genius of the first magnitude and you are all very privileged to have me in your presence.
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Postby Edward » 11/14/09 07:56 PM

Mark, you have a wicked sense of humor. :)
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 11/14/09 09:56 PM

That is because I have been active in very wicked activities my entire life.
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Postby Chris Wood » 11/15/09 06:28 AM

I confess I've just joined this forum in order to chip in.

I agree TMC unofficial list was unpleasant at times and I'm sorry that Magic Billy didn't get a good impression because of that. There is always a minority who can skew things if given a voice. Mind you having read some of the posts here I'm not sure its so different. It's good to see that RK prunes them regularly.

The unofficial list at the circle is no more. There is now an official mailing list for member's discussion that is self policing and doesn't do too badly. (Occasionally magic is even talked about!) There is also a forum on the website for chat but in truth the mailing list sees most of the activity.

I would say that the new website now has more to offer for overseas members than ever before, if you haven't checked it out recently it's worth it. Video clips of lectures and the competitions are probably the most useful but TMC certainly see this as the way forward to give overseas members more for their money.

As to the snobbery... it's true that there is still a "gentleman's club" mentality that lingers and sometimes I feel that isn't such a bad thing in respect of behaviour and heritage, at others I sense undertones of a class nature. However the real snobbery in magic is often between that of "professionals" vs. "Amateurs" and that isn't limited to the circle by any means.

There is a growing membership in The Magic Circle (which I subscribe to) that belongs to no clique - is ignorant of past politics and simply wants to move forward into making the society a genuine place where we can share and grow and support each other. What Paul says is certainly true that you get out what you put in and although at times it's not easy, I take comfort in the fact that I've met with a lot of members who feel the same way and they make attending such a rewarding and positive experience.
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Postby Paul Gordon » 11/15/09 06:34 AM

Nicely put, Chris... And, hope to see you soon! (You look so good on my DVD...you laugh in all the right places!) Cheers, Paul
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Postby Francesca Moffet » 11/16/09 08:15 AM

I am not a member of TMC but I love going there after attending a convention. I am very disappointed I won't be able to make it at the end of the month but I hope to go back again next year. I found everyone there to be very friendly and they made me very welcome despite the fact I am not a member.
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Postby Marco Pusterla » 11/16/09 08:40 AM

I'm a Member of The Magic Circle and proud of. Also for me, like others, a round trip to TMC is a 4-hours journey which, added to work commitments, permit me to visit the headquarters only a couple of times a year.

When I moved to England, I decided to join TMC rather than other local clubs for the "prestige" the club has, rather than for the convenience of attending weekly/monthly meetings with other magicians, and I never regretted my decision. I'm not interested in the "politics" going on, or gone: I'm interested in Magic :)
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Postby Jolly Roger » 11/16/09 04:06 PM

I appreciate everyone's input, and interesting comments.
Just so you know, I first joined the Magic Circle many years ago when they used to meet at Chenies Mews. At that time, the Circle was thriving. I would always get there early, and there were many magicians who would meet at the Marlborough Pub in Torrington Place both before and after the meetings. You would never know who you would meet in the clubroom, but at that time there were regular attendees like Robert Harbin, Eric Mason, Fred Robinson, and Billy McComb.

I now live in Arizona, but have attended the Blackpool convention the last few years, and always go to the Circle on the monday night following. One year, Alan Shaxon asked me to lecture at the last minute, as the scheduled lecturer had fallen through.

I love the new headquarters, with it's wonderful library and clubroom. However, I am sad that so few members seem to be in attendance, and I am puzzled by the reason. It may well be that younger members find it too stuffy, and don't like having to wear a jacket and tie.....I don't know. I usually go out to dinner later with friends like Mandy Davis, Rob Cox, Fay Presto, and, up until this year, Ali was always with us.

However, it is not like the days at Chenies Mews, and the cameraderie seems to have vanished. The lecture is over, and most of the members seem to go straight off to bed! With a wonderful headquarters, I feel this is a real shame. What can be done to return the Magic Circle to it's heydey? Magic is more popular than ever, so what are we doing wrong? JR AIMC Silver Star.
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Postby mrgoat » 11/16/09 04:21 PM

Jolly Roger wrote:However, it is not like the days at Chenies Mews, and the cameraderie seems to have vanished. The lecture is over, and most of the members seem to go straight off to bed! With a wonderful headquarters, I feel this is a real shame. What can be done to return the Magic Circle to it's heydey? Magic is more popular than ever, so what are we doing wrong? JR AIMC Silver Star.


I wish so much I could have been part of the Fred Robinson time there. Although as I understand it he spent the time in the pub over the road :)

It's good enough I was taught by one of Fred's only pupils I guess.

Anyway, it needs to be more like the Castle. Simple. The Castle is, to me, what a magic club should me like. Open to the public, but with a secret place for magicians to go. Showcasing the best magicians in the world. Providing a place for excellent magicians to hang out and share info and shoot the [censored].

On my first visit to the Castle I realised that they had it right. I was welcomed so much my the magicians there it felt like a second home! Now, I go about twice a year and there is always someone I know hanging out. It feels like Cheers. I walk in and people turn and go "Hi Damian".

The magic circle is a non-friendly, cliquey, fairly pointless place. The same people talk to the same people each week. Yes, obviously some people there are brilliant. When I used to go, about 8 years ago, I would always sit with the old boys as they had the best stories.

It is a beautiful building. The library and museum are great. But it just feels dead inside?

And only being open on a Monday? Sigh...
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 11/16/09 04:26 PM

The dress code at The Magic Circle is no longer enforced (thank goodness!).

It certainly doesn't feel dead inside to me. I find the time available in the club room to be far too short for the number of people I want to spend time with.
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 11/16/09 04:29 PM

I am tempted to say what Fred Robinson once said about Roger but I shall bite my tongue.
The Magic Circle was bloody awful in the Chenies Mews days and from what I read now it seems to be even worse.
The trouble with the Magic Circle seems to be that there are too many magicians there.
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Postby Jolly Roger » 11/16/09 05:14 PM

Mark.Lewis wrote:I am tempted to say what Fred Robinson once said about Roger but I shall bite my tongue.
The Magic Circle was bloody awful in the Chenies Mews days and from what I read now it seems to be even worse.
The trouble with the Magic Circle seems to be that there are too many magicians there.


How did I know you would say that, McLewis? I must be psychic. For your information, Fred Robinson was wildly jealous of me because I was doing an illusion act on the cruise ships, and he had a day job! Fred did enjoy the pub, as did many of us. There is a pub around the corner from the present headquarters, but I rarely see magi hanging out in there.

I have to disagree with you about Chenies Mews, McLewis. It was an amazing place to be on a monday night. Francis White was always most cordial.........and an excellent auctioneer as well. JR

I was unaware they no longer enforced the dress code at the Circle, Richard. I will test it out when I visit in February.
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 11/16/09 05:40 PM

Fred said that you were so bad that the passengers were tempted to throw you overboard with all your props!

Mind you Fred wasn't exactly edge of the seat material himself. And I know perfectly well he had never seen you work. Perhaps one of his friends or relatives were on board?

Not that I am in a mischevious mood of course.

Of course the only reason you fitted in with the Magic Circle is because of your posh accent and a member of the upper classes and related to royalty. Mind you if you had shown up in your green dress that might have been a different story.

Of course Fred was a mere railwayman so no doubt that is why he didn't approve of a toff like yourself.
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Postby Paul Gordon » 11/16/09 06:00 PM

Richard Kaufman wrote:The dress code at The Magic Circle is no longer enforced (thank goodness!).



It is enforced in a way...but, seems hit & miss! It's a strange situation; one which I still don't understand. Maybe Matt Field can clarify? Matt...where are you?

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Postby Mark.Lewis » 11/16/09 06:15 PM

A DRESS CODE! They didn't have that in my day. So they are still a bunch of toffee nosed gits!
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Postby Jolly Roger » 11/16/09 06:33 PM

Mark.Lewis wrote:I am tempted to say what Fred Robinson once said about Roger but I shall bite my tongue.


It seems to me that you are having difficulty biting your tongue for long, McLewis. I suspect Fred was innebriated when he made those remarks, and was confusing me with Jeffrey Atkins! JR
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 11/16/09 06:38 PM

It can't be enforced "in a way." When I was there earlier this year I noticed the number of people not wearing tie and jacket and was told that the code is no longer enforced.
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Postby mrgoat » 11/16/09 07:16 PM

Richard Kaufman wrote:It certainly doesn't feel dead inside to me. I find the time available in the club room to be far too short for the number of people I want to spend time with.


I imagine as a celebrated magician, publisher and general all round good egg your experience is wildly different from mine.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 11/16/09 07:20 PM

My experience has entirely to do with meeting friends and chatting.
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Postby Paul Gordon » 11/16/09 09:55 PM

Richard, what I mean is that members are asked to dress smart, and if they don't - sometimes a blind eye is turned. I've seen some folk asked to leave - and some not. As I say, hit & miss. PG
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 11/16/09 10:42 PM

How long has it been since you've seen people asked to leave?
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Postby Paul Gordon » 11/17/09 02:26 AM

My last visit was when I last lectured there about 3 months ago. During that visit, there was a "to-do" at the door because someone was wearing jeans. In fact, I've just checked my TMC schedule card and it says "smart atire must be worn..." So, "smart atire" is the airy-fairy phrasing... Paul
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Postby Matthew Field » 11/17/09 05:17 AM

The dress code is no longer in operation (unlike the Magic Castle). That may be why more young people are there. Many people show up early-ish instead of staying late -- doors open Monday at 3:00. I've got a train to catch, so leave at 8 or 9.

This is a ridiculous discussion. The Magic Circle is what it is. It is trying to adapt to the needs of the present day. Are there cliques? Of course. People tend to hang out with friends, but anyone can approach a group and be welcomed.

I, too, wish the headquarters were open more than one day a week, and they are working on that. Other days the building is hired out to companies for private events. It's a money thing. And the library is open to all by appointment.

Don't like it? Don't join. It was better in the "old days"? So was everything else, depending on whose opinion you're listening to.

Me, I love it. Lectures and shows every Monday, the opportunity to chat with some of the great names in magic, a phenomenal library and museum. The magazine ain't too shabby.

But that's just my opinion.

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Postby El Mystico » 11/17/09 05:53 AM

I haven't been to the Circle for over a year, just because I live well outside London. Matt says the dress code is no longer in operation; Paul says he recently saw a "to do" over jeans. since I usually wear jeans, I don't know if I'll be allowed in or not...
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Postby Paul Gordon » 11/17/09 06:08 AM

Matt, if the dress code is no longer in operation - the website needs to be updated to reflect that. So, I can't wait to attend next time in jeans. Are you sure I won't get reprimanded!? Paul
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Postby El Mystico » 11/17/09 06:18 AM

Jolly Roger wrote:
For your information, Fred Robinson was wildly jealous of me


Funny; I spent every Monday evening talking to Fred, and I took lessons from him. He never mentioned you.
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Postby AnthonyBrahams » 11/17/09 07:15 AM

First, I am disgusted at [censored]' comments about Jack Avis. If Mr Lewis is as objectionable personally as some of his postings I would expect Jack Avis to have ignored him. For those who' did not have the pleasure of knowing or even meeting Jack, he was a most pleasant man, with a sense of humour and extensive knowledge of magic as well as an excellent card magician.

Secondly, another former friend has been wrongly commented on: Fred Robinson was not the sort either to be jealous or be in a vendetta. Nor did he mention Jolly Roger in my hearing. Interjection, why don't posters have the courage to use their own names ("stand up and be counted")? Jolly Roger, El Mystico and is [censored] his real name? Maybe I know some of these!

One's time at the Circle is what one makes of it. The Chenies Mews era was for me, the best. I would chat to a few on arrival, then if I was not going to the event would go to the Reference Library where Jack would be helping the librarian and we'd chat for a while. Then over to the pub for a lot of fun, magic and talk with Fred Robinson and Eric Mason primarily, plus visitors such as Barrie Richardson on a UK assignment.
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 11/17/09 07:18 AM

Roger is making a joke. There is something about the Genii Forum which seems to say that nobody is allowed to have a sense of humour. After all how can you possibly take seriously a man that wears a green dress?

Anyway Fred certainly mentioned Roger to me. I and Roger were ripping off the public-oops!- sorry-I forgot we were on the Genii Forum where humour is not permitted-I meant to say we were marketing merchandise to the public at the Mind Body and Spirit exhibition in a dreadful place called London which I have detested all my life. Roger had decided to go for a break on the grounds that he was exhausted after his fight with a smoking scientologist (read my memoirs for further details).

It seems that Fred was somewhat concerned about his own mind, body and spirit so he decided to visit the said exhibition whereupon to his great horror he came across the devil incarnate in the form of me and felt obliged to talk to me even though it was quite apparent that he would rather be somewhere else in case someone from the Magic Circle saw him talking to me.

I told him that His Royal Excellency the Right Honourable Roger Blakiston was in the building and was taking a break whereupon Fred was distracted from the horror of me and centred his horror on Roger instead. He said with a great sniff of derision, "Oh, Roger Blakiston! The cruise ship magician! He was so bad that the passengers wanted to throw both him and his props overboard"
Naturally this gave me great delight and I completely forgot to tell Roger about this until about a quarter of a century later when Fred was well and truly in the spirit world.

I am pleased you took lessons from him. No doubt you learned all sorts of useless introverted card magic which you could amuse yourself in the mirror with. Of course he wouldn't have taught you anything about presentation and psychology of magic since he didn't know that much about it. Don't despair, however. I and Roger will be delighted to advise you on these matters. Roger will tell you how to be so bad that they will want to throw you overboard on a cruise ship and I will tell you how to be so good that James Munton will come along and tell you that you are doing things all wrong.

I bet you don't learn things like that at the Magic Circle.
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 11/17/09 07:36 AM

I knew Jack Avis well and got on quite well with him. He would have been the first to admit that he had no showmanship whatsoever and had the personality of a dial tone. I am quite sure he was a nice man and he was always pleasant to me. But that is not what I am discussing. I was discussing his competence at magic. Do pay attention, Brahams old chap.

I also remember Anthony himself. I wouldn't dream of saying he was a toffee nosed git since I have always been the soul of tact and discretion. I do remember he got a trifle irritable when I once tried to sell him a svengali deck.

As for real names again Anthony is not paying attention. The only person among the three he singled out who has not given his real name is El Mystico who is actually supporting Fred Robinson.
Roger's real name is Roger Blakiston and he is related to the Queen so he is even posher than you are. I have several real names as befits my profession and there is no secret whatever as to who I am. Sadly I am not related to royalty but my grandfather was a Russian horse thief if that is any consolation.

Instead of fussing about my "obnoxious posts" I rather think that Anthony should pay attention to them and see what he can learn. I happen to be one of the world's greatest magicians and he should be honoured to be in my presence.

Besides David Ben told me tonight that I am much better behaved than normal. Of course he had been availing himself of the devil's buttermilk all evening and was plying me with whiskey from his own supply so perhaps that had something to do with it.

Brahams, old chap. You must be terribly ancient by now since I remember you at the Magic Circle decades ago. You were older than me then so nowadays you must be nearly as old as Moses. At your age you must watch your blood pressure.

One of the best ways to do it is to develop a sense of humour.
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Postby Matthew Field » 11/17/09 07:48 AM

Paul -- Jeans are OK. They don't like people looking disheveled. I've never heard anyone be asked to leave (since the new code was adopted). "Smart dress" is what the code says, and jeans fit that description.

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Postby Mark.Lewis » 11/17/09 07:55 AM

I wonder if Criss Angel would be allowed in?
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Postby Paul Gordon » 11/17/09 08:47 AM

Matthew Field wrote:Paul -- Jeans are OK. They don't like people looking disheveled. I've never heard anyone be asked to leave (since the new code was adopted). "Smart dress" is what the code says, and jeans fit that description.

Matt Field


Excellent news! Now, I LIKE to look smart...but, it's so nice to be able to travel nice 'n' casual...especially in a hot summer, or a very cold winter. I might attend more now that I know that! Paul
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Postby AnthonyBrahams » 11/17/09 10:22 AM

[censored]' last post is so full of errors and rubbish I will not reply further except to state: read my post, Jack was an excellent card man; I have never wanted to buy a Svengali deck from you, even if you have another name! Do you?
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Postby Paul Gordon » 11/17/09 11:03 AM

AnthonyBrahams wrote:Jack was an excellent card man


Here, here! PG
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 11/17/09 11:26 AM

Dearie me Paul! Saying Jack Avis was an excellent card man does make me doubt your credibility somewhat. I still don't know if you are any good or not because your videoclip tells me nothing either way. However there are now two counts against you instead of one. The first count was your enthusiastic approval of the Magic Circle which is always a bad sign and the second is your statement that Jack Avis was an excellent card man.

Just because someone is technically proficient and comes up with good ideas does NOT mean that they are "excellent". That is because they haven't finished the job. Avis was boring whether you like it or not and Fred Robinson equally so. Sure they could both do wonderful moves and tricks and invent various tomfoolery with cards but alas that is NOT enough. You are not there to sell tricks; you are there to sell yourself. And neither of them did so and come to think of it 90% of magicians don't do so either.

Besides you spelled "Hear, Hear" wrong.

As for this Brahams personage who seems to take offence easily I well rememember trying to sell him something or other at some silly Magic Circle dealer event years and years ago. I think it was my wondrous svengali routine. I attempted to draw him over and he immediately got on his inbred stuffy Magic Circle high horse and showed great resentment over the matter saying "don't give me the hard sell" and stormed off after I reprimanded him severely. Rather a stuffy individual as I recall with a three piece suit to emphasise his stuffiness. I am quite sure that he is of the Avis/Robinson sleep inducing school of magic. Lots of moves but no presentation or personality to back it up with.

He seems to want to know my various names. I have three. The one that he possibly knows the best is Ronnie McLeod. However I was using the name [censored] when he was most impertinent to me when I merely wished to deprive him of his money.

Anyway I am delighted he is not going to reply to me. After all I didn't invite him to respond to me in the first place. I can only say "Cheeriebye". May God bless and keep you because I can't afford to.
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Postby Paul Gordon » 11/17/09 12:02 PM

Mark.Lewis wrote: I still don't know if you are any good or not because your videoclip tells me nothing either way.


My promo video - http://paulgordon.net/promovideo.html - shows me performing strong card magic garnering lots of laughs and applause. It shows me entertaining and doing it well. So, your comment is silly & stupid! But then, most of your comments are baloney!

All you do is attack people, make nasty remarks and egotistical comments. You do it under the guise of humour. Sad, really...

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Postby Jolly Roger » 11/17/09 12:38 PM

Mark..........I must admit I found your last few posts hilarious, and I thank you for clarifying the Fred Robinson saga. I am also amazed that so many people to seem to be lacking in humour. I would have thought it obvious that the "Jealousy" remark was a joke!

Anthony, dear fellow,......I am not hiding behind a name. Most people in the magic world know me as Jolly Roger. It is the only name on my website www.ComicMagician.com You might like to take a look at it to find out a little more about me. Many artists are known by their stage name rather than their real name. Examples might be David Copperfield, Ali Bongo, Slydini, Silvan, Cardini or Chan Canasta!
JR
www.ComicMagician.com
www.Magician.US.com
www.BestAssemblies.com
www.SpiritualStage.com
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Jolly Roger
 
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