Tuesday, March 21, 2017

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday March 17th


The theme was “Coins”, hosted by Steve Irwin, and the night started with Steve doing “Coins Across”, with a smooth transfer of coins from one hand to the other.

David Whitson commenced by promising us that if we could stay to the end of his act, he would share one million dollars with us all.  He showed us that classic trick, the coin slide, then promised if we stayed, he would share $100,000 with us.  Next he used a coin fan to produce a coin, promising us $10,000.  He explained the Miser’s Dream, then promised us $1000.  When we eventually saw the colour of the money, it was the $ 1 million paper cover of a block of chocolate.  He then shared the chocolate with us  - thank you David !

New member Brad Burgoyne did a nice card trick in which he made the chosen card turn invisible, and then found it as the fourteenth card in the deck.

Our host, Steve Irwin, was also telling us about millions of dollars – especially one $5 million dollar note.  He told us a story of $5 million dollars stolen and recovered, and illustrated it by showing us 5 ordinary  bills together with one $5 million bill.  The $5 million dollar bill vanished and then reappeared.

We had new visitors, Anthony Roberts and his father, Jack. Greetings to you !  Anthony did a card and coins item, “The Prediction”.   Much appreciated, Anthony, especially for your first time with us.

Noel Clair continued the session on the “Miser’s Dream” of David Whitson, above, giving us hints on performance of this classic item.

After the official magic time was over, Michael Blakeman, Brad Burgoyne and Anthony Roberts were noticed sessioning on card magic items.  This sort of informal encouragement is one of the aims of our club !

Monday, February 20, 2017

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday February17th


The theme of the meeting was “Ropes and Strings”, and this was introduced by President David Whitson doing a mysterious “Knots on Rope and Knots off Rope”.  This led into a smooth rendition of  “Professor’s Nightmare” / “Equal & Unequal Ropes”. 

Michael Blakeman did the card trick “Triumph”, popularized by Vernon.  The final revelation of the chosen card as the only card facing up in the entire spread is always a surprise.

Andrew Pickard did a sponge ball routine taught to him as a young magician by our Patron, Graham Holstein.  It was neatly done, with good interaction with the spectator.

Steve Irwin took on the classic “Cut and Restored Rope” and did it magnificently.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

What Happened at the meeting on Friday 20th January


Quite a large number of our members performed a variety of tricks , with ribbons, coins, cards (including a nice Invisible Deck presentation, and a smooth packet trick), colour changing silks, and a stage size colour block release for mentalism.   This was an excellent time with much camaraderie. 

We were delighted that a visitor, Brad Burgoyne, attended the meeting for the first time and joined the club. Thank you, Brad !

Your author was also delighted regarding the colour block release referred to above.  I came along with this unknown prop, wondering what on earth it was for, and David Whitson not only knew what it did, but kindly volunteered to do an impromptu demonstration of it in front of the club.   I know what to practise up now !   And that is one of the purposes of our club – to help each other in ways like this !

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday 18th November 2016


The theme of the meeting was “Packet Card Tricks”, hosed by John Ferguson, and he led off with a “Prediction Card” effect in which the spectator chose four cards, and more cards were dealt on top of each of these, then by counting down to the total of the indices of the four cards, the predicted card was revealed.   He later performed “8-card Brainwave”, a.k.a. “Red Hot Mama”, in which the one card of the eight displayed that is chosen by the spectator is the only one with a differently coloured back.

Joel Howlett performed  five close up items.  He did three classic rubber band tricks – Crazy Man’s Handcuffs,  Band through Thumb, and Travelling Cash. In this, Joel asked Tom Blunden to fold a $5 note around one of four strands of rubber band between Joel’s fingers. When Joel flexed the rubber strands, the note moved by itself down to the next strand. It was nice to see these classics carried out again so neatly.  He followed these with sugar grains to filled sugar packet, and torn and restored paper napkin.

David Whitson presented three single-coloured cards to pick, and the one chosen by Al Hirschel was the one he had predicted.  Then David showed us a packet trick of four king cards called the “Mystic Kings”, purchased many years ago.  The chosen king vanished.  Al Hirschel recalled that Alf Hayes who ran De Larno’s so long ago in the Piccadilly Arcade had told him that of all the packet tricks he had, “Mystic Kings” was the most popular ! Next, David had a card chosen, and it appeared sliding out of a large colourful card frame.

“Mind Reading Extraordinaire” was the theme of Michael Blakeman’s item.   He tried to find the card Steve Howlett had chosen by questioning him Steve about it, and judging from his facial expressions what the card was.  He succeeded.  Twice.  This was impressive !  His next item, and the final item of the night, was a chosen card revelation by making the chosen card reverse face up in the middle of the spread face down deck.  This was a very visual conclusion !

Monday, October 24, 2016

Upcoming Meetings for 2017 and Officebearers for 2017

The meetings of Newcastle Society will be held on the third Friday of each month (except December) at 7.30 pm at Mayfield Bowling Club, 2A Ingall St, Mayfield. The Club is opposite Albion Street, beside Park Street on one side and the Mayfield Swimming Centre on the other.


Friday 17th March was Coins - Steve Irwin

Friday  21st April - Silks & Handkerchiefs - Joel Howlett

Friday 19th May - Card Tricks with a Borrowed Deck - Al Hirschel

Friday 23rd June - Rehearsal for Stockton Show - David Whitson
Saturday 24th June - Stockton Show -  Al Hirschel
**  Please note that the club meeting on the 24th June is on the FOURTH Friday, not the Third, in order to be the day before the Stockton Show **

Friday 21st July - Colour Changes and Classic Tricks - David Whitson

Friday 18th August - Cups and Balls, and Ball Tricks Generally - Noel Clair

Friday 15th September - Paper and Everyday Objects - Al Hirschel

Friday 20th October - Apparatus Magic - Andrew Pickard

Friday 17th November -  AGM and "Packet Card Tricks" - host John Ferguson
(this includes gimmicked decks and gimmicked cards)

Of course, you may not be interested in any of these themes.  No problem!  You are MOST WELCOME to bring along something entirely different that you have been working on and do it later in the performance section of the meeting.  The only reason for having a theme is to broaden our horizons, and if yours are already broader than these themes, so much the better !



Office Bearers for 2017

At the November 2016, Annual General Meeting, the following Officers were elected:
Patron:      Graham Holstein                  President:   David Whitson
Vice-President:   Joel Howlett               Acting Secretary:   David Whitson
Assistant Secretary:  Joel Howlett and Monica Howlett    
Treasurer: Al Hirschel
Archivist:  Steve Howlett                       Auditor:  Cyrus Taraparwalla

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday 21st October


Andrew Pickard led the evening, which had the theme of “Apparatus Magic”.  He showed a nut screwed on to a bolt.  When he pressed the top of the bolt, the nut eerily unscrewed by itself. The item was completely examinable.  Next he had a card chosen and vanished in the pack, then used he pack to explode an inflated balloon, and there was the chosen card, from inside the balloon !

The layout of metal apparatus in front of Al Hirschel was so impressive that someone wondered if this was a metal-worker’s shop!  He displayed two brass tubes, one long and one shorter.  After your reporter put a pencil in the short tube, Al said the magic word and opened the two tubes, and the pencil had moved to the longer tube.  Al’s father had given him the next item – the classic ball bearing passing mysteriously through the too-small diameter hole.

John Ferguson caused a silk with a picture of a caterpillar to vanish in a silk box, and then he tapped a crystal casket and a large butterfly silk appeared inside it – the caterpillar had grown up!  A “Foo Can” allowed John to pour water or to show it empty at will.  Next. a large box was shown empty, and then from the inside were taken plates of sweets for everyone – a bit of a surprise.

Another surprise was in store for us as David Whitson brought out a round metal box that was labelled “sweets”. However, when he opened it, an orange spring snake jumped out of it – a quick way to get our attention! He then gave a demonstration of some pretty card fans.  Next, using a whole pack of giant cards, he told a story in which at each point of the story, the cards he showed illustrated the story (e.g. the German waiter said “Nein, nein, Nein!” and David produced three of the nines). We were really absorbed with this, wondering each moment what he would say next and how he would work the cards into the story.

Noel Clair was brilliant at handling a stack of brass coins – make them appear and disappear on command.  He is clearly enjoying coin magic, and did other nice coin items for us.

The apparatus that Steve Irwin had brought was a cigarette box.  He opened it and three cigarettes were present. He closed and opened it, and only one was present.  He was able to control how many cigarettes were in the box.

Michael Blakeman did a nice chosen card to wallet item, showing the wallet empty to start, and then the card appeared in it.  Smooth handling!

Smooth handling was evident too when Joel Howlett manipulated two appearing canes – a visual surprise from thin air !  A colourful silk fountain led on to the production of an elephant silk.  Next he put a needle and thread inside a wallet with a blank card, and he had a card chosen (2D), then there appeared in the wallet a card with the two of diamonds embroidered into it!

Dennis Norman had brought along an optical illusion of two curved specimen plastic pieces to show us.  It resembled the well-known banana illusion, but this one also had a measuring strip – when Dennis “stretched” the banana–like specimen, the measuring strip showed it had lengthened!  He also asked for help with a “Silver Sceptre”, and Joel demonstrated how he had used one.  This is one of the useful advantages of being part of a magic club – learning from each other!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Description of Magic Egg Cup in 1675

This is from "Sports and Pastimes" by "J.M.", 1675.  He says in the above description, "It [is] looked upon to be as  good a Trick, and as cunning a sleight as any that is done by those that know not the manner of doing it.  But, because it cannot be so well expressed in words, I have put these Figures underneath to explain it."

Then we see in Figure A, the whole apparatus put together,  in B the top cover, in C the fake which is covered in egg-shell, and in D the base, resting on a small pedestal.  The author describes the pieces as "made in the fashion of two beehives"....  "To do this Trick, call for an Egg, then bid all the standers-by look on it and see that it is a real  Egg.....   putting it (the Egg) into your pocket in their sight - Open your Egg box again and say, You see, Here is nothing.  Close your hand about the box again, and take off B by the bottom, you say  There is the Egg again."

"I saw one (magician) show this ...  so well that the ignorance of the people cried out "He is a Witch", and if he had not [thus been forced to  reveal to them how the trick worked], they would have thrown him out of a window two stories high"

The section quaintly finishes with this:  "Many other things of this nature are made and sold by Mr Rob Spooner, Ivory turner, at (the sign of) the Acorn in the Long Walk between Christ's Church and the Lame Hospital."