I decided not to go Blackpool a few weeks ago as I needed to fly to the US on Sunday 24th (today) but, as it drew nearer on my calendar, a few friends were added to the roster of performers and it became more apparent that a one day visit, on the Friday, might be completely doable.
So this is not a review of the convention, simply a couple of observations that might be of interest.
I arrived on Thursday afternoon and left at lunchtime on Saturday. I saw only one lecture - Michael Weber - but had to leave before another friend lectured immediately after.
I spent my time meeting friends before doing a couple of laps of the dealer's room.
The purpose of this post is to point out my observation that one day at the convention felt a lot like the old days, when the dealers were only open on a Sunday, and there was a sense of urgency about finding something new and exciting.
There was a need to keep an eye on the clock and make it to the coffee shop on time to meet people. Getting round the dealers room demanded more attention and a firm decision when something attracted my eye.
In short, it felt like the old days and I really enjoyed it. Three days always gives attendees too much time to wander around and become overly familiar and complacent with the dealers. Decisions are put off and often shelved. There isn't that hunger or immediacy that existed when we had just eight hours to find that diamond in the rough.
Two days might be the perfect number but three (and five or six at FISM) just feels too much in my humble opinion.
So, I had a great time for the first time in years. I always enjoy it, really, but I'm usually very, very tired of it all when I leave. This time I left wanting a bit more and I think that's the secret to everything.
It seemed a little quiet this year. Perhaps because I didn't see the full Saturday crowd and am missing the Sunday crowd.
As usual, I avoided the Ruskin. It's a dreadful place for a convention headquarters.
The world's largest convention, in the smallest hotel with much of it closed off until the crush becomes nearly unbearable. I miss the old hotel every time I go near the Ruskin. Even if you skip the shows and go to the hotel, they refuse to open the function rooms until everyone else arrives and you're forced to fight for a drab corner of the room.
Criticism aside, Blackpool Magician's Convention remains unique. The town has improved and there are plenty of places for decent food, though the roaming gangs of drunks still infest the town at night.
As a marketplace for magic, it delivered a lot of terrific effects to watch but, as usual, I found little to buy other than some old books, props and puzzles. Despite everything negative being said, the Blackpool Convention deserves to be recognized as a great institution and I would miss a year without it, but will probably stick to visiting for just one day and wishing I'd stayed for more.
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