In case you do not know. Tim Ellis is a hardworking blogger. His blog is actually pretty good. Sometimes. But his recent post... well, he obviously has an opinion.
An email is circulating the magic community from a certain JIM McDONALD accusing Shawn Farquhar of ripping off Russ Steven's with his now FISM Grand Prix Award Winning routine 'Shape of my Heart'.
Pete Biro said at the time: "The choice of music was the same, but to say the routines are similar if off base. No resemblance at all."
The email directs people to a blog that's so desperate to seek attention it's current post makes fun of Ali Bongo's recent passing.
In it's posts about Shawn, the author (a Roland from Germany) calls him a name-dropping braggart with inferior technical skill not worthy of being call FISM World Champion - and he says "the contest must have been rigged." He calls Shawn "A disgrace to magic" and says that FISM is now a disgrace too.
Sure sounds like the rantings of a loser.
Yes, my Ali Bongo joke is a bit tasteless. But baby, that's how I roll!
Back to "Farquhar's" routine. The premise is the same as Stevens' version. Even the theatrical approach of using a bar stool. Russ posted a statement on Itricks.com
As some of you may know, I have generally kept out of this situation publicly. The only time I ever got involved was when Shawn was saying to friends of mine that I'd lifted 'his' idea and I emailed him to prove that I hadn't. The fact is, that I was doing this routine for at least TWO years before him and have the proof to back that up. Shawn was very nice in his emails and I accepted that we'd just had the same idea, although when I did finally see his version 'live' in Blackpool a few years ago, the style of performance and staging was uncomfortably close."
Russ made up this routine in 1993. Shawn never asked for permission. And I agree with Pete Biro, yes, the routines are quite different. Both have a different structure and use different sleights. But watch them side by side without the music. Both routines are pretty dull. So naturally the strength of the routine comes from the music. So the music is the key here and I know that Russ Stevens came up with this first.
Also, if you take a look at Shawn's routine without the music this is a pretty bad routine. The sleights are visible. The get-readys for the many, many breaks are done by a push-off deal, which is the worst sleight to use considering the scrutiny of a fixed camera. A pinky count would have done the same result. Or a thumb count. But that is just detail for a routine that is no more than an ambitious card routine.
I thought this man is a professional, a professional should know how to block his angles.
This year FISM was bad. Really bad. They needed a filler, and Farquhar happened to be at the right place at the right time. So he won first prize.
I cannot believe, Tommy Wonder, who was and still is light years ahead in terms of originality, creativity and skill never won 1st prize. He only got to be 2nd. And as much as I dislike mentalism, I think Marc Oberon should have gotten the prize, for his act was really good.
Oh, did you know that Tim Ellis was a judge during FISM 2009? Just saying!
Bonus: I seek attention? Of course, I am a magician. But not desperate. If I would be desperate, I would go to competitions and do the same routine over and over again, until I win. Then, because I am so desperate I would take my prize and hold it up all the time. For years to come.