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GENII column Alexander de Cova

Posted: July 28th, 2018, 1:02 pm
by Alex de Cova
First of all, I would like to thank Richard Kaufman for inviting me to have a column in GENII magazine. Quite an honour and I hope you are enjoying my small contributions so far.

In the first essay I dealt with the trick "Forte-X", and a friend wrote in that I was riffing on Paul Curry's "Touch", and that the method has a long history. Both of which is true.

I checked the "World Beyond" and read the deep and informative history, which Stephen Minch wrote. When I "created" my routine (which is years ago), I wasn't aware of the Paul Curry background. It may be that I had read the "Touch" routine, but then it slipped from memory. And it wasn't the inspiration. As I wrote in my article, my inspiration was the "Ultissimo" dealer's prop, which was sold in Germany decades ago. I saw the German magician DIXON (Claus Wegener) perform this effect in one of his lectures in Germany when I was about 14 years old. At that time, I had no idea of Mr Curry, noir could I read English literature or had access to it. And the routine didn't interest me (maybe because of the unnatural stand and the fact you had to buy trick decks).

DIXON used a red(blue double-backer deck and a red deck (I disliked this even more). So my thoughts went to using double-blank cards as the cards where the predictions were written on because that seemed natural to me. The use of blank cards is nothing new, as I have read in the Minch history section. My contribution then is the subtlety of showing what I have written and later the switch of the packets (which I thought up to avoid using the stand).

I hope this clears things up. And I hope you like the material in my little column. All that is published in the column is material from my upcoming book NOTAS. You can look at my website to get more information about that project.

Thank you for your attention,

Re: GENII column Alexander de Cova

Posted: July 28th, 2018, 11:07 pm
by Mr. Charming
Dear Mr. De Cova,

Your column is excellent, please continue!

Re: GENII column Alexander de Cova

Posted: November 24th, 2018, 1:09 pm
by Joe Mckay
Has anybody heard any more about the de Cova book?

It was supposed to start shipping at the start of September.

Re: GENII column Alexander de Cova

Posted: November 24th, 2018, 2:32 pm
by Alex de Cova
Hello Joe,
first of all my apologies for the delay. The printer made a bad mistake, so the first books were trash. It was actually my fault, because I send the wrong PDF format and color profile, but I didn't notice this. So I had to give the order to reprint the books, which is happening right now. I estimate about end of November for delivery of the books to me.

In any case, I will send (besides the printed book) to all the customers a PDF beforehand, so you will have the book in print and digital form.

I have your order and address and all. Don't worry. I just want to apologise for the long waiting time.

As an aside: I only sold 40 (!) of the book so far. I have no idea why this is so - maybe my material is "outdated"? I don't know.

At the moment, NOTAS seems to transform into a work for friends, an "indie" project rather than a commercial project. Probably, I will never ever sell the 1500 copies worldwide I estimated. It is sad, but a fact I cannot change. Fact is that I am not going to do any big advertising any more. The people interested in my work will get the stuff, and the others not.

You are in the boat (and the other 40), so the decision is yours.

If you would like to retreat from your purchase, please tell me, no problem. Otherwise, I would kindly ask you for some more patience, in the understanding of you then having something that only really a handful of people possess.

I always liked the idea of underground, but then - reality is harsh. But I will fulfil my promise and bring the project out. No need to worry.

Best regards,

Re: GENII column Alexander de Cova

Posted: November 25th, 2018, 1:34 pm
by Joe Mckay
Hey Alex,

I am a patient guy. As a magician you get used to being patient when it comes to magic books. All I would recommend is just sending a quick update when problems occur. A small update goes a long way! :-)

No need to cancel my order. I am a big fan of your work and am happy to wait for your book.

Take your time.

I think it would be worth advertising the book or getting it reviewed in GENII. If people don't know about your work - it is hard to blame them for not taking an interest.

For instance - the signature underneath your post does not lead to where the book is for sale on your website. So that makes it hard for people to buy your book. Indeed - I would recommend posting up a link to where people can buy it since I am unable to find it at the moment.

Your work has a strong following in magic. It is just that more people need to know about it. But I agree - your work is aimed at "problem solvers" interested in practical magic. Which is something that is not trendy among a lot of the younger magicians.

Michael Close gave you a great review in MAGIC magazine a couple of decades ago when your first DVDs came out in English. And that is when I first found out about your work. As such - you are more popular than you think among those with an interest in creative and ingenious thinking.

It is hard to keep up with what is going on in today's fragmented magic marketplace. As such - it helps to have quotes from famous magicians who are fans of your work. To help draw attention.

Also - there are not many magic books published these days. Therefore there is a better chance than ever that your book will be a success since there are a lot of magicians who still enjoy reading quality magic books.

I am not sure how famous Alexander de Cova is in magic. So I will discuss his work a bit more here for those new to it.

He is one of the best thinkers in magic. I have studied all of his work that has been published in English.

I first heard about him in the Michael Close review mentioned above. In that review Close mentioned a great trick called Flash Restoration. Apparently Harry Lorayne was desperate for this trick to appear in Apocalypse magazine. Instead it ended up appearing in MAGIC magazine.

Michael had a great story about demonstrating his Pothole trick at a magic convention. And being outsold by a dealer on the next table who was demonstrating Flash Restoration. At the end of each performance - the watching magician would chuck a 20 dollar bill on the table and the dealer would pocket it (which allowed him to clean up at the same time). It is the type of eye candy that is very popular in magic today. So seeing it performed in the mid 90's must have been something special.

There is a bad demo of the trick on YouTube by Stevens Magic. I won't link to it since the performance does not do the trick justice.

De Cova's hero in magic is Patrick Page. And his love for Patrick Page extends to all things Scottish. As such he has a lot of affection for the other magicians from Scotland as well. If I had to sum up Alexander de Cova's approach to magic it would be Gaetan Bloom meets Patrick Page.

As with Gaetan Bloom - de Cova loves to discover counter-intuitive new uses for principles and gimmicks that most magicians are already familiar with. But as with Patrick Page - de Cova does not consider a trick finished until it is totally practical and ready for performance in the "real world". A good example of this style of thinking is Alexander de Cova's cutting edge thinking with the humble thumbtip. Interestingly - the thumbtip was a gimmick that Patrick Page spent a lot of time analyzing as well.

You can get a good overview of the issues that de Cova wrestles with in this series of articles about magic. it contains a wealth of practical advice and common sense about a lot of issues rarely discussed in magic.

You can also find a lot of Alexander de Cova's manuscripts for sale at

I really love his magazine called Scrapbook.

The layout of the magazine reminds me a little of the homemade feel of Jerry Sadowitz's The Crimp magazine. Also - as with the work of Sadowitz - the raw creativity bounces off the page. It is great seeing de Cova cram each magazine with a number of ideas and subtleties for tricks that you may already think you are familiar with.

Everyone loves de Cova's work. Just check out the magic reviews here:

That last review covers de Cova's work on the thumbtip. It is a great resource for finding subtleties you can use to fool your fellow magician. That might seem a silly goal to a lot of magicians. But one valuable thing about such work is that it allows to appreciate a powerful magic principle that you have taken for granted.

That is something I have benefited from. You get to look at an old principle with fresh eyes. And that helps you appreciate the power of the original uses for the prop as well.

I can't wait for your book, Alex! I have always hoped there would be a big compilation of your work. And I am delighted that is finally about to happen.

Re: GENII column Alexander de Cova

Posted: November 25th, 2018, 3:17 pm
by erdnasephile
Here is the direct link to Mr. de Cova's book, NOTAS, Volume 1:

I would second the positive review of Mr. de Cova's thumbtip DVD. If you watch it, you're gonna get fooled badly. Original (and more importantly) very deceptive thinking:

Re: GENII column Alexander de Cova

Posted: November 25th, 2018, 3:18 pm
by Alex de Cova
Thank you, Joe, for this long post! I feel flattered. To clear up: I didn't want to blame anyone. I was just wondering and asking myself whether maybe the material is "outdated" and not "hip" enough - which is undoubtedly true. But then, it is my material and has been used in the real world for quite a long time. And if you work in the real world, yes you aim for simplicity and non-complicated things.

And, of course, it is true that I didn't do enough advertising: I am a marketing bummer.

Yes, I am one of the biggest fans an adorer of Mr Page and have always tried to follow his advice. A lot of his thinking and practical ideas shaped my magical mind to a great extent. And I am very thankful for that because his approach made my life easier in many instances.

I also hold up to high esteem Roy Johnson, Ken Brooke (!) and a lot of the UK, Scotland and Irish guys. Wonderful, offbeat ideas and solutions.

Here is a better link to get information about the book: Hope this helps those interested to gain more info about my little project.

There will be a PDF version on I am confident Chris will handle this better than me :-)

The customers who bought the printed book will get the PDF free of cost from me, as a thank you for the long wait.

Regarding the long wait: It will take probably take more time to read, overthink, practise and build the stuff described in the book. In my current GENII column, you get a little "taste" of my kind of material and how I solve these magical problems. Sometimes I designed gimmicks or props that are relatively easy to build but take time. But I am confident that the troubles will be rewarding in the performances and audience reactions.

Flash restoration: yes, this was a great trick. In NOTAS, there will be the version with a signed card (same effect, same handling for the restoration). I've kept that for me for years. Flash restoration isn't sooo practical, but it is effortless stuff for TV and video.

Thank you for taking your time to read this! ;-)

Re: GENII column Alexander de Cova

Posted: November 25th, 2018, 4:00 pm
by Joe Mckay
Hey Alex,

I was wrong about the signature in your posts not linking to your new book.

Apologies for that. I got mixed up and totally forgot the name of your new book.

Can't wait for NOTAS!

Re: GENII column Alexander de Cova

Posted: November 25th, 2018, 11:41 pm
by ljspen

Years ago I bought every Scrapbook magazine issue from and found the material very useful.
I still read through them every now and then and the material is still useful. And continues to give me ideas for routines.

I just placed an order for your book. Looking forward to it.
Thank you for sharing your work.


Re: GENII column Alexander de Cova

Posted: November 27th, 2018, 3:22 pm
by Joe Mckay
Here is another of my favourite ideas by Alexander de Cova.

You can see a video of it at the link below.

It is such a beautiful move. For some reason I always hit a brick wall when trying to come up with the best use for it.

It so powerful that my mind always spins out of control mulling over the possibilities.

Re: GENII column Alexander de Cova

Posted: December 2nd, 2018, 11:29 am
by Joe Mckay
Hey Alexander,

Bob Hummer has a very sneaky use for a thumb tip in his card on ribbon effect. I know you are interested in clever uses for this prop - so just wanted to give you a heads up.

I will send you the information if you are not familiar with it.