Sunday, March 18, 2018

Monday, February 19, 2018


The variety spectacular titled “Amazing” that will be showing at the Lake Macquarie Performing Arts Centre Warners Bay on the 5th May 2018.
‘AMAZING’ will be a spectacular mix of Magic, Circus, Comedy, Audience Participation and Las Vegas Style Stage Illusions! Best of all – the entire production is family friendly and can be enjoyed by children from 4 to 104!
Each performer who will be appearing is a world class artist in their own right! Usually a production of this standard and style is only witnessed on cruise ships or overseas.  I’m very proud to be doing this at a local venue at such a reasonable ticket price!!
To attend, you must pre- book. Simply visit and type the word “Amazing” into the search. OR you may simply click the link below:
Be sure to book your seats early as these shows will sell out!

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday 16th March

The magic session opened with John Ferguson, the host for “Packet Tricks and Gimmicked Cards”, explaining the “Gesture Cut” which he had learnt from Sean Taylor’s lecture at the Geniis Sydney on Monday March 12th.

Steve Irwin performed an item in which cards were predicted by laying coins on a portion of the deck.  The coins had C, S, H or D written on them on one side, and a number on the other side.  Underneath the C – 5 coin was the five of clubs, and so on. It was ingenious, and new to us.

Several special decks were shown by Andrew Pickard.  There was the “Crazy Man’s Marked Deck” in which, for example, the chosen ten of spades had a back with a different colour and “10” and a spade symbol very boldly printed.  From another deck Andrew was able to produce the only queen of spades in a full deck of Jacks of Clubs.  Then, he displayed a Svengali Deck, and later, Michael Blakeman showed him other effects using it.

Unable to go home and collect props, Noel Clair had come straight to the meeting, and we were amazed at how much magic he was able to do with just a shoelace and a finger ring !  He did the ring on and off shoelace, and then did a new routine he had developed with this.  He also showed a brilliant illusion in which he wound the lace around his index finger, formed a loop, and threaded the lace through the loop automatically without appearing to do so.  This illusion happened in front of one’s eyes, and “your eyes deceived you”.  The gasps of surprise were audible.  That’s real magic !

Several items were performed by John Ferguson.  He did a Neil Patrick Harris trick in which a selected card appears to jump to the top of the deck.  Next,  he displayed a deck, asked for an ace to be named, and said he had to remove any jokers. He did – lots and lots of them (all 51 cards were jokers !) - until only one card was left – the chosen ace of clubs.

One problem with the trick “Split Deck” is that one has to find a married couple to perform it.  John had developed a presentation (“does your right hand know what your left hand is doing?”) which one could  use with only one person, putting the chosen half card under one hand and the other half under the other hand to show that “you are a very well put-together person”.  He also used a small piece of glass to find a chosen card.  When one breathed on the glass, a picture of the chosen card became visible.  In another item, the chosen card could not be found, but a card frame with an indifferent card it in was tipped on to the table, and the chosen card was revealed instead of the indifferent card.

David Whitson had brought along a copy of the old Wierdo’s Magic Shop trick “Mystic Kings”  Although probably 50 years old, it worked magnificently.  Then he performed the Brainwave Deck trick, which works in the same way as the Invisible Deck, but the chosen card has a different coloured back to the others.  Next, he had a card chosen, and displayed the 52 card display, and as he put it away, everyone saw a giant picture of the chosen card after all.

David then proceeded to tell a story, “Diamond Jack”, in which for every facet of the story he displayed jumbo cards to illustrate it.  For instance, when the (German) waiter denied his crooked deal, he said “Nein. Nein. Nein !” and David displayed three nines from the pack.  It was funny and entrancing.  Spectators love stories !

Michael Blakeman pretended to have memorized the order of a whole deck in ten seconds, and started naming them, then told us it was a reader deck. It was a neatly printed deck in Bicycle, with “distressed” appearance. No-one had suspected it was a reader deck until he told us. Taking a Svengali deck, he showed Andrew how to force a known card.  He then did the Three Card Monte.

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the hour and a half of choice magic !  You just did not know what was coming next !

Sunday, February 18, 2018

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday 16th February 2018

The host for the evening, David Whitson, led off with an attention-getting trick using a drink can that he smashed into his forehead.  (The can had flexible plastic sides.)

Since the Theme was “Ropes, Strings, and Things”, David moved on to several ways of tying knots in a rope without using his hands.  One method was crossing his arms first, and picking up the ends of the rope while his arms were crossed, then uncrossing them.

Noel Clair did several items with rope.  He threaded a shoelace through a plastic frame, then moved the frame so that it cut the shoelace into two parts, then moved the parts together and extracted the shoelace restored whole.   He did ring off rope and ring on rope by several methods with very neat flourishes.  Next was finger ring on and off his finger.

Moving into his rope routine, he performed appearing knots on ends of rope, one full knot to two half knots, rope to circle of rope and back to straight rope.  He took the ends off the rope and put them back on again.

Noel’s use of a finger ring led to a general discussion among the members of whether to use a borrowed ring in these days of suing and litigation.  There was a danger of being sued for damage to a ring by a dishonest person when no damage had actually been caused by the magician.

In response to a question from Noel, we discussed how to achieve a talon of eight known cards on the bottom of the deck in the middle of a card trick when the deck has been in use.

Monday, January 22, 2018

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday 19th January

David Whitson was the host of this month’s magic, with the theme “Free Choice”. David led off the evening with a  presentation of a novelty change bag.  The bag contained a silk which had an outline of a teddy bear – it was “de-fuzzed”, said David. But, with a magical word, the silk changed into one with a fully fuzzy bear.

The next performer was Noel Clair, with his routine “Time Travel Experiment”.  He outlined Einstein’s theory of Relativity for us, reminding us that if we travelled away from earth and back at a speed close to that of light, we could reverse time.
He hoped to do this for us by magic. 

So, he did several things before he reversed time:
  • He set a clock going at 2 pm
  • Inside a handkerchief he broke a match
  • He set fire to matches in a match box
  • He moved a card into a wallet under crossed elastic when it had been under straight elastic
  • He messed up a deck of cards with a shuffle so that they were face and back, back and face
Then he said the magic word, and he showed us that (1) the clock had stopped at 2pm  (2) opening the handkerchief he showed the match was restored (3) the matches in the match box were restored to unburnt condition (4)  the card in the wallet was back under the straight elastic as it had been before (5) the card were no longer messed up but were all around facing the same way as they had been originally.  Time had reversed !

John Ferguson did a mentalist item in which a card was freely chosen (Yes, it was !) and he told us that the cards were all clean on the backs (and showed us) – except for one card.  “I did write on one card  - What card do you think that might be?” he said, and, yes, it was the chosen card, and the card had the message “You will choose the ten of clubs”.  John congratulated the spectator for being so mentally acute that he was able to read John’s mind and choose the very card that John had written about.

Not so successful was John’s attempt to do Wagner’s Supercloser – but if you are going to mess up, it’s best to do it in front of magicians.  John has now worked out what went wrong, and next time, he will put the Aces in C-H-S-D order !

Joel Howlett entertained us with close up magic.  Each of three chip tokens moved across invisibly from one hand to the other.  Yes, we were all staring at his hands, yet he fooled us !  Joel displayed a rectangle of paper with a hole in each corner.  He folded the paper up and unfolded it, and all holes had gathered together in one corner.

He followed this with a card item in which each of four red-backed aces turned face up in turn, and for the ending, all four cards had different coloured backs !

Friday, November 17, 2017

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday 17th November

This report by Joel Howlett - -

The November 2017 meeting had the popular theme “Packet Card Tricks”. The host was Anthony Roberts who was filling in for John Ferguson. Anthony performed a few effects between acts including a trick that was taught to him as a teenager by the late George Cornford.

Performers and Performances included:
David Whitson – Who opened with a “playing card gag” (you had to be there!!) and a demonstration of trick decks and cards. These included the “Fako Deck”, “Forcing Deck” and the “Devano Rising Cards”. David also demonstrated the very popular “Tenyo Card Box”.

Al Hirschel was up next to show off his beautiful brass close up effect made by Viking Hatchem Magic.

Andrew Pickard performed the simple but effective “Rainbow Deck” effect – well done Andrew!!

Steve Irwin performed a version of “Wild Card” with a clever script about Aliens.

And, Yours Truly (Joel Howlett) who performed a series of packet card tricks that included Daryl’s Hole Card, Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Right and John Bannon’s Twisted Sisters.

A short meeting followed and during the AGM the same office bearers were elected for 2018.
Thanks to all who got involved with an enjoyable night of magic! We look forward to more great magic in 2018. Have a safe and enjoyable Christmas Season……………………..

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Upcoming Meetings for 2018 and Oficebearers for 2018

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 16th February was Ropes Strings and Things – host Noel Clair

Friday 16th March – Packet Card Tricks – host John Ferguson
 (this includes gimmicked decks and gimmicked cards)

Friday 20th April – Colour Changing and Classics – host David Whitson   NOTE: Venue id Bellbird Workers' Club, NOT Mayfield Bowling Club.

Friday 11th May (Note – NOT 3rd Friday) – Bellbird Rehearsal, and Card Tricks with a Borrowed Deck – host Al Hirschel.  Venue is Bellbird Workers Club, NOT Mayfield Bowling Club.
Saturday 12th May – Bellbird Workers Club Show

Friday 29th June -  (Note – NOT 3rd Friday) Stockton Rehearsal
Saturday 30th June – Stockton Bowling Club Show – host Al Hirschel

Friday 20th July –  Silks and Handkerchiefs – host Joel Howlett

Friday 17th August – Balls and Others – host Noel Clair

Friday 21st September – Paper and Everyday Objects – host Al Hirschel

Friday 19th October – Apparatus Magic – host Andrew Pickard

Friday 16th November – AGM and Coins – host Steve Irwin

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 2018

At the November 2017 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    
Treasurer: Al Hirschel
Archivist:  Steve Howlett                       Auditor:  Cyrus Taraparwalla