Some More Tricks
by Anthony Owen
Reviewed by Rob James
Anthony Owen is well known as one of the creative forces behind most of the TV magic seen in this country in the last few years. This new modestly-titled ebook from him arrived with little or any fanfare announcing its release.
Some of the tricks have been performed on television: the first item in the book was used by Stephen Mulhern on ITV1 a few years ago. "Big Survivor 2" is a stage trick based on reality TV shows. This is a packs-flat-plays-big presentation.
A trick where someone drinks a cup of coffee and then apparently separates the individual components of the coffee in his mouth, spitting out the milk, water, sugar and then coffee granules was performed by Pete McCahon on "Monkey Magic". This is not really a trick you would want to perform in polite company - or any company come to think about it. But, it is fun to read the method and it is a trick several worlds apart from "pick a card".
Speaking of which, "Some More Tricks" contains a couple of noteworthy card tricks. "Out of this House" combines Paul Curry's most famous creation with a variation of a Lennart Green move that I had never thought about before. It is an interesting handling but adding moves to a moveless classic doesn't improve it that much. One for on the floor at a magic convention. "Re:Monition" purports to be the same effect as a Brainwave deck but a better method. I am not sure about that but it's certainly a good method that will fool people big time.
The most interesting revelation for me after reading this book was how Owen creates moments where the audience's misconceptions work against them to mean they end up convincing themselves that the tricks are much stronger. An effect where a ring vanishes and appears on the spiral binding of a notepad exploits an incorrect assumption that audiences have (and that I had when I read the description of the trick) to make the effect about ten times more baffling. There is a handling of the pencil through coin effect where for the very last phase, the spectator is allowed to remove the coin from the pencil and they will most likely swear that the coin was impaled until the very last minute.
So, some very good tricks and ingenious methods. The main downside for me was the format. Ebooks are not really my preferred medium and the software required to read it is not very good at all. You can't jump to individual pages, and you have to scroll up and down to get to each trick. There is no easy navigation like one would find in a PDF read via Adobe Reader. This, however, was my only real gripe!
I look forward to trying out some of the contents in the near future! This is definitely a recommended read.
© Rob James, September 2005
Available from www.tvmagic.co.uk