Joe Mckay wrote:
PPS I am sure I saw [censored] pitching Svengali decks (at a local shopping mall) when I was 7 years old. My mum bought me a deck and it was the most magicial thing I had ever seen. At that age I couldn't get my head around the 'long and short' principle, and so the deck really did feel like real magic. I had no idea how the deck kept changing like that! So - It is quite possible, without Mark I might not be on this board now! Funny old world! Actually - one of my interests is in magic that takes place purely in the spectator's hands. And I think this might be because of the wonder that the svengali deck caused me when I fooled myself with it as a kid...
PPPS One thing I remember as a kid, is that Mark's performing persona is quite gruff and not immediately friendly. I always found that to be quite unusual. Still - it is obviously quite memorable...
Quite gruff and not immediately friendly? Yep. That sounds like me. I am like the devil incarnate when I am selling svengali decks. If you have ever sold svengali decks for an extended period you will probably figure out why even if you don't follow that persona yourself. Howard Thurston used to jump up and down before his show saying, "I love my audience" Not me. Every day I go to work selling svengali decks I jump up and down saying "I hate these bastards with every ounce of my being. The dirty vermin are walking around with my money in their pockets and I want it back"
Not when I am performing regular close up magic though. You would then see a different performing persona entirely. Charming, seemingly absent minded and modest. Just an act of course. But don't confuse the nasty, growling grafter with the nice charming magician. Two different things. Jeckyll and Hyde actually.
I wonder which mall Joe saw me work in. If he can name it I may be able to confirm it. Was it in the UK or Canada? I have sold svengali decks in 5 countries. The two mentioned are probably the likeliest.
As for being an amateur they DEFINITELY get more fun out of it (in general anyway) than the professional. I have always said that as soon as money enters the picture the fun goes out of it. I ENVY amateurs and find it ironic that they often envy professionals.
And I never look down on amateur magicians in the same way that many professionals do. We NEED the amateurs. It is the amateurs usually who come up with the tricks and contribute to the art. Vernon was essentially an amateur as was Dr Daley. Possibly the greatest card trick of all time was invented by an amateur magician, Paul Curry and "Out of this World"
Again I never look down on amateur magicians. No. I detest all magicians equally. But for different reasons.