Sunday, September 17, 2017

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday 15th September

Al Hirschel, hosting the theme “Paper and Everyday Objects”, led off the magic with his item Cut and Restored Newspaper.  Later, he workshopped it for us.  Quite a lot of work is involved in preparation !   Al also performed  Head through Business Card,  in which he very carefully uses scissors to cut vertical slits in the card in such a way that it can expand concertina-fashion to form a large ring big enough to slip over his head.

Next, Tom Blunden showed us a column from a newspaper and asked a spectator to cut the item in half anywhere they chose with scissors.  The line at which the item was cut matched exactly the first line in a duplicate item that Tom had placed before in an envelope that had been in open view.

David Whitson  wove a silk into a rabbit shape.  Good fun !  Then he displayed two elastic hair ribbons between his fingers and made them change places.  The contrasting colour change was visual and magical.

A number of “Bar Betcha” tricks featured in the presentation of John Ferguson – arrangements of coins, matches, and so on.  He showed that if you place your right foot close up against a wall, and also touch your cheek to the wall, you will find it impossible to raise your left foot without falling over.  John showed us the “Drunken Shuffle”, in which the chosen card is hopelessly mixed into the pack with cards shuffled every which way, yet the magician is able to restore the order of the pack – all except one card – the chosen card.  This trick had been useful in defusing a potentially tense situation with a few football fan supporters when John and Jenny were on a train to Edinburgh back in 2000 – doing this very trick for them made them our friends for the rest of the trip.  Magic can be very useful !

Brad Burgoyne did a card trick involving a switch between the chosen card, supposed to be in the spectator’s hand, and the card Brad had in his own hand.  The spectator was surprised to find it was Brad who now had his chosen card ! (Overheard among the onlookers: "I know he must be using "X", but he's so smooth I didn't see it")

Two mind reading experiments were shown us by Anthony Roberts.  His aim in the first was to read the spectator’s visual clues to find out what colour of Rubik’s cube the spectator had chosen….  a brave example of pure mentalism.   Next, what coloured die had the spectator put in the bag and what in the box ?  Anthony was able to suss out which of the three colours and two locations were correct. His ability to track bodily and visual signs in spectators is fascinating.  He vanished a marked coin, then gave the spectator a nest of brass pill boxes (from Viking) and the marked coin was found in the innermost one.  The workmanship of the nest of boxes was admired by everyone.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Upcoming Meetings for 2017 and Office Bearers 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 15th September was 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 18th August 2017

President David Whitson was the host of a very enjoyable and relaxed night of magic. He opened with the Zipper Gag Bag followed by a comedy presentation of Sponge Ball effects that included turning round sponge balls into sponge cubes, a sponge rabbit and the David Ginn sucker sponge effect called “The Big Red Hand”.
Joel Howlett performed the Cups and Balls routine taught to him by Jim Mc Keague. This is Jim’s take on a classic piece of sleight of hand magic accompanied by some quirky story telling!! The entire sequence was perfected by Jim in his days as a Svengali Deck Pitchman on Fairgrounds and at Festivals.
Next unopened decks of cards were distributed to members present. These were a gift to the club from George Cornford’s daughter Karen.
David Whitson took the floor once again to demonstrate some of the magical apparatus he was parting with in his efforts to down size. A unique “Radio Rabbit Production” built by the late Barry Whitson and a card effect by Tommy Wonder had members fascinated.
An informal session with club Patron Grahame Holstein finished off the night! Those present enjoyed Graham’s insight into The Elmsley Count and his Sponge Ball Routine.
A business meeting followed……………….

Thursday, July 27, 2017

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday 21st July 2017

Joel Howlett gave a Magic Lecture to the magicians.   It is a long time since the club has hosted a magic lecture.  Beforehand, Joel had said “The lecture will include a variety of material including close up, stand up and even routines that can be used for kids - I am aiming to cater to a wide variety of the members interests...........”

He started by coming on stage with a rose in his hand, then plucking off a petal, he threw this in the air and it changed in the air into a red silk handkerchief..

From this red silk handkerchief, he made a large coin appear suddenly. The coin was at least 4 cm across.  The coin then multiplied until he was holding three of them. We asked ourselves, “How did he produce such large coins ?”

Joel showed us three Australian coins, and emptied them into a wine glass.  When he  very openly tipped the wine glass into a spectator’s hand, the coins had changed into one large Chinese coin.  All this was set in the context of a story about a Chinese magician.

Next Joel did an effect called “Confabulation”, in which he asked a member of the audience where they would like to go on a holiday, another member how much they would spend and another who they would travel with.

Later he tore open a sealed envelope to reveal the exact information provided by the audience members correctly written down – giving us the impression that he had telepathically received our brain waves.

In  his lecture Joel also gave pointers about stagecraft, and tips on presentation, encouraging us to develop our magical skills.

Joel did a card trick.  He displayed about ten cards fanned face up and asked a spectator to choose one.  This card he placed face up on the deck, and then expressed surprise that the card chosen was the only red-backed one in the group – and he showed us this was true.  The other nine cards were all blue backed.  Your reporter’s mouth fell open in surprise at this revelation !

Taking four sponge balls of an intriguing brown-purple colour, Joel pushed each into his fist and out of his fist he pulled a silk streamer saying “Impossible”.  The sponge balls had vanished.

These are only some of the powerful items that were featured in this excellent lecture, and every item was explained in detail, with lecture notes. We cannot put the detailed explanations here.  You needed to be there !!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday June 23rd

Your reporter found it quite difficult to keep track of the tricks that were being performed at this meeting, because they were short items, and lots of them !  As this chain of miracles went past in a bit of a blur,  it was only possible to get down the titles of each….

The host was Al Hirschel, and the theme was “Card Tricks with a Borrowed Deck”.  He led off with the Seven Card Trick, then a Four Jacks Assembly, and lastly a Card Layout to find the chosen card. 

David Whitson did a card trick using an ESP deck.  Next he had a card chosen, then found it on a Chinese sign.

Card magician Michael Blakeman started with an item finding a chosen card, then switched a chosen card on a spectator, then did a trick called the Drunken Shuffle,  then did a trick that resembled Vernon’s “Triumph”.  Michael did a mind reading item in which he looked for the chosen card by looking into the spectator’s eyes for a “tell” when he turned over the chosen card in the series of cards.  In his last item, he found the chosen card by peeling off top and bottom cards of the pack.

The next card magician, Brad Burgoyne, also found a chosen card, then he performed an item similar to the “Drunken Shuffle”.    A hopeless mess-up of cards is transformed into order by one cut by the magician - but in the neat spread of face-up cards one is still face-down - the chosen card.

 John Ferguson performed “Handful of Aces”, and “Spectator chooses the Aces”.

The “Piano Trick” is a nice bit of mathematical magic applied to a card trick, and this was neatly done by Denis Norman.   A card  originally between the spectator's fingers magically and invisibly moves from an "Even" pile to an "Odd" pile.

A visiting magician, Craig Hardwick, had a card chosen, then “thirds” were stacked up and the “rejects” put into a spectator’s fist.  When the fist was hit, cards fell out and the chosen card only remained   -  Startling !

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Magicians you may meet when you come to the Club

One person who will certainly welcome you to the club is our President, DAVID WHITSON:

 David's interest in magic began at the age of seven. He learnt magic from reading books at his local library. As a teenager he joined the Magic Department of the Young Peoples Theatre in Newcastle. After completing a Degree in Drama David launched into a full-time career as a professional magician. He performs at schools, preschools, festivals, clubs, shopping centres, churches, as well as birthday parties. He was a winner of Bert Newton's National Television Program: 'New Faces'. David is a past winner of Newcastle's 'Magician of the Year.'

David's website for his new Eco-show is well worth visiting, and the address is


Another person you may meet at the club is our Vice-President, JOEL HOWLETT, of JD Magic.

Joel's first magic performance for an audience was at the age of seven, when after an audition he was invited to perform on an NBN Television telethon, an experience that intensified and animated his love for magic and the stage. Busking, birthday parties and Saturday Guest Appearances in shows, such as, 'The Rowdy Rabbit Fun Show' at the local shopping centre, helped to establish Joel in his early years as a confident and talented young magician.

Since those early days Joel's showmanship has matured and taken him around Australia and the world, where he has appeared, in his own right:
· As the Australian Representative at Disney World Florida for The Millennium Dreamers Awards
· Featured Guest Artist at the Riviera Hotel, Las Vegas in The Stars of Tomorrow Show:
· Featured Act on 'The Gala Show at the Adelaide Magic Convention, where he also won both the Junior Close-up and Open Stage Competitions:
· Also a guest act at The Australian Centenary Magic Convention:
· Special Guest in 'The World Festival of Magic' Show

Joel's website is  and it's worth while visiting it !

Friday, May 19, 2017

Welcome to the Club


Newcastle Society of Magicians meets 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.  Check at the bar to find the room we have been allocated.

The meeting starts at 7.30 pm with those present performing magic (if they wish) for the others present. Around 8.30pm to 9pm there is a 10 minute break to get refreshments, then a business meeting starts that can last for a half hour to an hour depending on what events are coming up.

Contact Details
If you want to contact us by phone, you can ring our President, David Whitson, on 4947 4980, or our Vice-President, Joel Howlett on 4942 3593.

But, Will I Be Welcome ?

Anyone with a genuine interest in magic is welcome to our meetings.  The usual procedure is to attend for three meetings and then to apply to join the society. The current membership fee for one year is $20.

Because we meet in a registered club, those under 18 are expected to be accompanied by parent or guardian. While this may be inconvenient for some folk, meeting in a club means that room hire is only a modest expense, and we can keep our club fees down.