Sunday, June 9th
Reported by Walt Lees
MAPro’s (www.mapromagic.co.uk) and Mission Magic's (www.missionmagic.co.uk) Magic: Unleashed day, at the Riccall Regen Centre, midway between Selby and York, was an undoubted success. Some 50 people registered, plus another 20 or so to sell, lecture, organise and run tings. Mark Foster of Mission Magic and Martin Allan, the driving force behind MAPro’ Magic and overall supremo, was well pleased with the support and determined to go ahead with something similar next year.
The centre, itself, is a largish modern one, with plenty of space and facilities for the dealers, lectures and socialising. Turning up to sell, apart from MAPro themselves, were Joel Dickinson & Adam Hudson, Stephen Leathwaite, Magic Tao and Mission Magic. Free bacon rolls were available on arrival and barbecued sausages/burgers at lunchtime were included in the £20 admission fee (part of which was refundable when items were purchased from some of the dealers).
What differentiates this from most conventions is that it is customer led. The organiser does not decide who to book; it is the registrants themselves.
The main events were 3 lectures. The first, by Paul Morley was on the application of standard effects to educational themes. Paul is a Christian minister, and many of his examples were gospel based. But even confirmed atheists, agnostics and followers of other religions could still find plenty of food for thought – as could those believers who are a little queasy about the concept of doing gospel magic. It was stressed throughout that similar thinking could be applied to: bullying, stranger danger, drug/alcohol abuse, road safety, healthy eating etc.
Paul performed many of his specialities; showed some of the Bible-themed Magic Painting books he sells, and had a nice secular routine with a sketch book, which quickly sold out.
After a break, Joel Dickinson, a very energetic young performer, was introduced. Among other things, he is the resident jester at a well-known mediaeval banqueting suite and also has considerable busking experience. His performances combine magic with juggling and visual comedy.
All his effects had the look of being developed from practical experience in front of live audiences. Beginning with a bottle production, he went on to a very effective sponge balls from the mouth; a card routine which involved spectators’ signatures being removed and replaced, coupled with a torn & restored. But, for many, the plum item was his highly innovative Cup(s) & Ball(s) loading technique. Also discussed, were the merits of the diabolo as a crowd puller.
Joel then introduced Adam Hudson, who demonstrated some unusual mathematical curiosities, before showing his take on Any Card At Any Number. He was selling the latter as a manuscript for £5, with all the proceeds going to a charity for sick children.
The final lecture came from Stephen Leathwaite, whose theme was card magic, mostly of the kind that is sometimes termed “semi-automatic”. But there were a few items that would tax the more advanced worker, too. His psychological card force seems sure-fire. I watched him perform it on his stand many times, and never saw it miss.
Also, especially memorable, was his method of bringing a single card to the top – a move that will take some mastering. But his leitmotiv was persevering with sleights that do not come easily.
The festivities concluded with what must be a first for a UK convention, namely Iain Jay and his several cohorts giving those, who wished it, the opportunity to try their hand (or should that be feet?) at fire walking. There seemed to be no shortage of takers, of all ages, who were prepared to risk a few burns to chalk up a new experience for themselves.
© Walt Lees, June 2013