Opus Reunion in London

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Matthew Field
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Opus Reunion in London

Postby Matthew Field » December 14th, 2015, 11:32 am

Opus magazine was published from 1987-2005, approximately monthly (for a while at least) over five volumes, by Chris Power and JJ (Johnny Johnston) before fizzling out. Based in England, the magazine had a wonderful artistic sensibility with art direction by Power, and originally had input from Ian Keable (who was Editor for a time) and David Britland. (who also left). The magazine had some great magic from contributors such as Scotland’s Gordon Bruce and did not shy away from “serious” sleight-of-hand and brutally honest reviews and reportage.

There were some notable Opus Events, including six conventions on the Isle of Man, and the two men have made attempts to launch a website (www.opusmagazine.co.uk) to promote a digital version, publish pdfs of their back issues and, well, who knows.

When it was announced that there would be no International Magic Convention in London in 2015, Chris and JJ had a great idea, a one-off Opus “Reunion,” a one day event with some of their friends volunteering to give some talks amidst people just hanging out together and schmoozing. The event was scheduled for this past Sunday, 13 December, in the function room of a charming pub across the street from the British Museum, where Chris is employed. Chris enlisted the help of the Museum’s audio-video staff to wire things up and the word went out; only about 50 people would be able to be accommodated.

The magicians who agreed to speak were Will Houstoun, the award-winning magician, magic historian and Editor of The Magic Circular for The Magic Circle; the aforementioned Gordon Bruce and “underground” card expert Eddie McColl; David Williamson, starring in The Illusionists in London’s West End (he left to appear in the shows matinee and then returned to the Reunion!); psychologist and magic historian Peter Lamont; theatre special effects designer Paul Kieve; and the inimitable Guy Hollingworth. Chris Power was the amiable compere with JJ holding court in the fringe areas. JJ had made the trip in from his home in Portugal. As it happened, Gordon Bruce fell ill and had to withdraw at the last moment.

Among the attendees were many of my magic friends. I spotted Peter McLanaghan, Damian Jennings, Shiv Duggal, John Derris, Dominic Twose, Andy Nyman, Jon Allen, Bob Hamilton, James Freedman, John Derris, Andi Gladwin, Rob James, John Archer, Duncan Trillo, Russ Stephens, Mandy Davis, Darcy Oake and many others.

Chris left the door open to future Opus events, which met with approval from those assembled. It was a long day for me, travelling up in the early morning from my home in Hastings, but what a great time I had! My deep thanks to Chris, JJ and the speakers and volunteer staff!

Photos on my Facebook page.

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Matthew Field
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Re: Opus Reunion in London

Postby Matthew Field » December 14th, 2015, 12:38 pm

Two more names to add to the list of Opus Reunion attendees: Neal Austen and Ian Keable.

Matt Field

mr_goat
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Re: Opus Reunion in London

Postby mr_goat » December 14th, 2015, 1:03 pm

Very lovely to see you too Mr Field.
Yes, it is mrgoat, I just can't log in with old account.

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Matthew Field
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Re: Opus Reunion in London

Postby Matthew Field » December 14th, 2015, 3:18 pm

Also there: Mark Elsdon.

Richard Stokes
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Re: Opus Reunion in London

Postby Richard Stokes » December 15th, 2015, 6:26 pm

Will Houston's Order & Chaos was an outstanding closing effect to his lecture. The spectator thoroughly shuffles the deck, randomising the cards, but at the climax the magician reveals the shuffled deck miraculously matches a second tabled deck which has remained in full view.

I also enjoyed watching Eddie McColl perform a clean, innocent looking strip-out false shuffle.
He kindly showed me more details of his handling in a quiet room within the venue.

Another deceptive move was David Williamson's diagonal palm shift from a peek. A very clever steal which places him way ahead of the spectator.
He also told an amusing anecdote about how he badly fooled Teller many years ago when David was a mere magic shop demonstrator.
David also recalled that Derek Dingle, somewhat tired and emotional, had once interrupted a close-up performance and had thrown David's close-up pad away as he saw this as a ridiculous unnatural appendage.

Peter Lamont, as well as challenging the inadequately researched history of early magic, showed how you could devise a trick that fools magicians but does not fool the public. This experiment sounds counter-intuitive, but he convincingly showed us how this could be done.
Peter also reminded us that in change-blindness no-one has ever been fooled by the gorilla on the basketball court. We forget that it was a man wearing a gorilla mask, not a gorilla. The latter would have been spotted immediately as the gorilla's gait is quite distinctive.

Paul Kieve, theatre special effects expert, gave us the inside story on the curious development of Pepper's Ghost, the invention of lifelike spectres for the Victorian stage.

Guy Hollingworth, after completing his classic card effects, showed us a fascinating fairy tale 'story' deck designed for young children.

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Re: Opus Reunion in London

Postby El Mystico » December 21st, 2015, 11:53 am

mrgoat - you said "very lovely to see you too"
You imply that Matt said it was lovely to see you - but no, all he said was that he spotted you.
Sadly, that is all he said about me too...
It was a fun day; meeting guys I had not seen for 30 years, and bringing back memories of the Marlborough.
And it was such a great bunch of speakers!I was entertained and learned something from them all. (Sadly one of the things I learned was that moving from peek to diagonal palm shift was not original with me...)
The highlight for me was spending a little time with Gordon Bruce on the Saturday evening; such a wonderful man. So sad he missed the day; and great that he is now OK.

mr_goat
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Re: Opus Reunion in London

Postby mr_goat » December 21st, 2015, 11:58 am

:P
Yes, it is mrgoat, I just can't log in with old account.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Opus Reunion in London

Postby Richard Kaufman » December 21st, 2015, 7:04 pm

Going from a Peek into the Diagonal Palm Shift has been around the underground for years.

If you think you've got some balls, try Doc Daley's sleight in the third edition of Expert Card Technique. I think it's called the Double Peek and Bilateral Side Steal.
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