Yesterday the Ipswich Magical Society hosted
their annual convention. As this was my first
magic convention I thought I would review it.
Hopefully this will be interesting for everyone,
but particularly so for anyone who has never
attended a Magic Convention before and isn't
sure what to expect. I can assure everyone that
it was an absolutely fantastic day.
The convention opened at 10am.
The main room consisted of several dealers, some
more known for their internet presence than
others - but all selling tables full of very
competitively priced magic with a willingness to
demonstrate and recommend any product. The only
problem I found with this was that it was all
just to easy to spend too much money.
I won't go into to detail about all the stalls,
but without exception it was a pleasure to speak
with all the people serving. Their knowledge and
enthusiasm for the items they were selling were
second to none.
As usual the "local" store had a very large
selection of very competitively priced items on
sale. Items ranging from well crafted childrens
magic props to wands, to all the current packet
tricks. In fact I'm not sure there was much that
they weren't selling.
Anyone who has already had any dealings with
Alakazam will probably have spoken to Perter
Nardi, and will consequently know of his
abundant enthusiasm for the magic he sells.
There was always a big crowd gathered at the
Alakazam table watching in awe as Peter (and his
assistant) demonstrated many of the tricks on
sale. In fact even in the bar afterwards no one
was safe from seeing a Nardi trick (Especially
the beautiful young woman I noticed). It's
characters like Peter that I believe really make
conventions such fun.
Consequently I made several purchase from this
stall. I also picked up a very reasonably priced
copy of "Corinda's 13 steps to mentalism". A
book I have been after for quite some time.
Everyone must surely know of this company and
will have bought at the very least something
from them. You may know them as Cards4Magic. As
expected they had a very wide range of Decks,
TT's, Gaffed Cards, Wallets, Magnets and just
about every accessory you could probably think
Amongst other things I picked up a nice bundle
of give away magic wands, a couple of well
fitting TT's, a few gimmicked cards to assist
building some of my own tricks, some nice small
leather packet wallets, several half dollars and
a large sponge rabbit (I just need to find a use
for it!) Although all extremely cheap
(relatively speaking) it's amazing how quickly
it all adds up. I could have spent so much more
from this shop.
Studio 9 have a similar presence to the Aquarius
shop, in that they stock an extremely wide range
of magic at very competitive prices. Many won't
have heard of either of these shops, as although
they both have on-line websites they don't sell
on-line. However, I found Tricia Neal very easy
to speak with and if you are looking in
particular for props for children's shows then I
would suggest you browse their site - and give
Tricia, Jonathan or indeed our very own Nick
Jones a call.
There were numerous other dealers there, and in
fact I picked up some real bargains. Amongst
other things I got around to buying some real
magicians rope. And boy oh boy does it work
better than the cordy stuff I have been using.
Also all the lecturers had stalls were you could
chat with them and buy various of their products
- including of course their lecture notes.
Kidwize with Clockwize -
Andy Martin is an extremely talented and
personable performer absolutely oozing with
personality. We saw Andy with 4 different hats
on during the day (and no, this wasn't during
the performance), and in all cases he adapted
very professional to each role.
I had a discussion on the TalkMagic Forum about
the importance of presentation over capability -
and really this lecture left no doubt whatsoever
to the answer to that question. It's just so
much about Presentation.
Andy's lecture was the first of the day - and to
be honest with you I wasn't sure what to expect.
A talk on the do's and don'ts of performing kids
magic. Andy was dressed in the clothes he uses
for his kids shows, (effectively clown like
chef's trousers, and a smart polo shirt with his
logo embroidered on).
The talk started with a 10 minute video clip of
his first performance, and I don't think he
would mind me telling you that it was absolutely
awful. Don't get me wrong it was very amusing to
watch - but there is no way you would have hired
this guy to perform anywhere on the strength of
this disastrous performance. He then went on to
explain how he changed over the years and all
the pitfalls to be avoided and the things that
really work. All in all it was not just an
extremely entertaining talk, but one of those
lectures that you know may just come in very
useful one day.
He ended the talk with another clip from a more
recent show which quite frankly was of such a
high quality that it could have been on
primetime TV. You watched how the kids changed
from being a little apprehensive at the
beginning to all being 100% enthusiastic about
what they were seeing. They were like putty in
As I mentioned before we saw Andy in action 3
times during the day. His lecture, A close up
session and he was also part of the evening
performance that was open to the general public.
In addition to this he was very approachable on
one of the stalls, generally mucking about and
selling lecture notes by the dozen.
At the end of the night I found it very hard to
believe that Andy Martin [aka Andy Clockwise]
was the same person that did the disastrous kids
show seven years earlier that we had seen in the
lecture. You just wouldn't believe that this guy
had ever been anything but the total
professional he now is.
In short Andy's lecture - and all his
performances were nothing but an inspiration to
every magician that watched him.
Mike Austin is a long standing professional
magician and his lecture was both entertaining
and informative. Mike has had great experience
travelling the world doing magic shows and
giving lectures to magical societies and I
personally found some of his insights extremely
The lecture really picked up a gear when Mike
did his infamous Malini Egg Bag routine. This
one routine for me was a highlight of the
conference and in fact I even ordered from him
one of his hand made Egg bags so I can practice
and hopefully one day get somewhere near his
level of performance with it. Of course now I
haven't a clue why I ordered the bag - as it
just isn't the sort of thing I do, but man -
this was so entertaining you really do want to
add it to you repertoire.
In short a very entertaining lecture.
Martin "The hard man of magic" Cox's lecture was
again more about performance than it was showing
the "how to" of magic tricks, and in fact for me
I found this lecture to be the best of the day.
is another performer that just oozes
personality. His lecture showed how important it
is to build up a good rapport with any audience
- whether it is in a pub, club, tables or a
large stage show, and believe me Martin Cox does
this in trumps. By the time he did the lecture
we had already seen him do some close up and
consequently the whole auditorium already loved
To look at he is a cross between Fred Elliot
from Coronation Street - and the Ogre from
Shrek. But he uses this perhaps slightly
intimidating persona totally to his advantage.
By the time Martin had finished is lecture you
felt that you knew him personally, and that I
think is the sign of a successful performance,
Incidentally - and it is almost incidentally -
his tricks were quite accomplished too.
If you ever get a chance to see a Martin Cox
lecture - or to see him perform either as Martin
Cox, or part of the Comedy Magic duo "Cosmik" -
then don't even think about it. Just go. I
guarantee you won't regret it.
This consisted of 3 tables and 3 close up
magicians that went from table to table. The
close up magicians were:- [ul][li]Andy Martin
[li]Martin Cox [li]Mike Austin[/ul] These
coincidentally were also the three lecturers,
and it showed just how versatile all three of
the performers actually are. Close up magic is
for me one of the most fascinating genres of
magic, and being a keen hobbyist myself I
thought I wouldn't have been able to watch these
sessions with constantly trying to figure out
how it was all done. But you know what - credit
to the magicians - I just totally got absorbed
by the performance and was thoroughly
Overview The evening show started at 7pm.
By which time you would have thought everyone
was flagging a little. But this wasn't the case.
The time between the last lecture and the start
of the show just flew by, mostly with chatting
to other people from all over the country, or
being shown various card and coin techniques by
I'm gonna have to kill Tony Harding who
inadvertently taught my wife how to roll a coin
along her knuckles. I've had to give her a half
dollar to practice with, and now I just
constantly hear it dropping on the floor. I
wouldn't mind so much - but already she is
better than me at it!!! Thanks Tony!!
The show was also open to the general public,
and the hall was absolutely packed.
The show was compared - very entertainingly I
might add, by
Richard Whymark who although I have seen
around the Ipswich Magical Society - I must
confess that I haven't spoken to him or seen him
perform before, but was suitably impressed. The
first act was the Kay Goddard dancers - who were
a young and very competent dance group - that
entertained also immediately after the interval.
This was the 3rd time most of us had seen Andy
Martin that day - and I tell you his performance
up on stage was none the less entertaining for
it. Andy's stage magic show reminded me very
much of a Rik Mayall type character doing magic
(although still family friendly. Well just
He soon had the audience eating out of his hand
- and a little afraid perhaps to be called up on
stage to help him. In fact the only volunteer
ended up being an absolutely charming 5 year old
boy called Jordon who I must admit together with
Andy's wonderful direction ended up being a real
There is just so much to be learnt from these
This wasn't the first time we had seen Mike, but
again it was a pleasure to see how he took his
lecture and showed us how to apply it
professionally. My only one regret with his
performance was that he didn't do his Egg bag
routine or linking rings routine again.
Dezzar is a young illusionist act, consisting of
the illusionist Nick Chapman and his lovely
assistant (who's name I can't remember - sorry).
It was a wonderfully choreographed performance
though, that was actually very enchanting to
Nick is a member of various Magical Societies,
one of which is Ipswich, and I must admit that
although I have spoken with him on several
occasions I had absolutely no idea at how
accomplished he is as a magician. From the day
of the convention itself I had seen him do
various things with coins and was already very
impressed with his skills, but I was absolutely
gob-smacked with his on stage presence, and with
his performance overall.
This guy who's age I don't know exactly - but he
can't be any older than 18 was awesome and he
will be one of the big names in the future. Mark
Ian Thom is a puppet master - and he is
very good at it. It was actually quite pleasant
at this point of the show to slightly delve away
from the "magic" theme of the evening.
Whatever I say about Cosmik wouldn't be
complimentary enough. Cosmik are made up of
Martin Cox and his stunningly beautiful
assistant Kerry Scorah. Most people there had
already seen Martin Cox give his lecture and his
close up act - what we were treated to in the
evening was just another example of his
versatility of skills.
It was comic magic at it's best, and I must say
that the rapport between Martin and Kelly on
stage was just like poetry in motion to watch.
Why I have never seen CosmiK appear on TV I
In short this act had a lot of charisma.
This was the last act of the night, and it's
just as well as no one could have followed it.
Loki was Magic Circle Magician of the year 2003
and deservedly so.
To describe Loki I would say he is a cross
between The Joker from the Tim Burton batman
movie, stuck in the land of Dr Seuese's "The Cat
in the Hat". With maybe a bit of "Edward
Scissorhands" chucked in for free.
His act is all done as a mime - so there is no
words - just beautiful mad movements
choreographed wonderfully to music. His act
would have been magical even if there had been
no magic. But there was magic. Beautiful magic.
Sad Magic and Magic of the kind that makes you
just go ahhhhhhhhhhh.
If the only thing I had seen at the convention
had been Loki do his dancing cane routine it
would have been a worthwhile day for me. It was
so wonderful I am not even going to attempt to
describe it - but if you have ever seen anyone
with a dancing cane before - I would put money
on it that it wasn't as wonderous to watch as
I have never seen anyone that can come close to
what Loki achieves in his presentation, for me
it was a truly unique experience that I feel
will probably remember my whole life.
I know this was a long review and probably many
of you will not have read through to the end -
which is fine, but the day was very special to
me and I wanted in some way to share the event
with as many people as possible.
All in all - this was a fantastic day. So thanks
to the Ipswich Magical Society for all their
hard work in putting it on, and getting such a
high quality of guests.
Reviewed by thanks to Simon