Wednesday, August 31, 2011

DIcky Kaufman Speaks

Hello All,

While Barry is recuperating, (please don't forget PayPal the usual address), Dicky Kaufman has agreed to do a Q&A on Barry's blog.

This includes exciting news regarding the author of an obscure work. I'm sure that you will find his answers as definitive as did I.

I remain,

Yours sincerely,

Rupert M.A. (Oxon)

Blue Crown, be careful

with your advertisement. I really like the newest addition. The Bold Assembly by Ben Train. Really good card trick. Really bold! I like that.

BUT... DON'T call it "McDonald's Aces without the gimmicks". It's not! The beauty of the McDonald Aces is that they are seen in each packet until the vanish. This is not the case in Ben Train's version.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dis Jointed by Joe Russell

I think I had this here before, but I can't find it.

Where is the magic? Or any effect for that matter? Am I so much into megic, that I don't see it? Is this in any way impressive? There is no secret stuff going on in the video. If you do it, exactly like he does, you will get the same results.

This is the original description of the effect:
Dis Jointed is a revolutionary new method for "Shinko's classic Arm Twist" that turns the screws on the scream factor.

Dis Jointed gives you the freakish ability to twist your normal arm 360 degrees around with bone crunching sound. Then there's a heart stopping "pop" as you physically break your elbow at the joint! You then complete the dislocation by shoving your shoulder back into your arm socket. The freak-fest ends with one more 360 degree twist of your arm as your shocked spectators watch your bones snap back into place!

Dis Jointed can be performed by anybody with normal body parts.

• No pre-set
• No hand switches
• Not misdirection
• No pain

For the ultimate freak-out, perform Shinko's original arm twist first...and then drop them to their knees with Dis Jointed!

Some freaks are born. Others are made.

The best are...DIS JOINTED!

I think Joe Russell didn't get the effect of the original. Or I don't get Joe Russell.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Swiss Money!

Over the last few days all my posts were scheduled post, ergo I was not around to post them. I was in Switzerland doing serious busking. The Swiss currency, the franc, is pretty strong. It always has been strong, but do to the world economics and the failure of the US to keep it's triple A status the franc has become even stronger. So busking there seemed like a wise thing. In Germany you can go to McDonald and get a cheap hamburger for one Euro. In Switzerland the same product costs about 2,50 francs, which converted to Euros is 2,40 €. That is more than 200%.

Luckily I didn't have to pay for my stay so I made money. Lot's of money. To the Swiss people it's just a few francs, to me it's like half my rent. So it was very rewarding to be a German worker in this small non-EU country.

However a Swiss busker will have trouble outside his own country. He will work the whole day, for about 300 Euros or so and will get very little in his own country.

If you are a busker and are busking in a different country you have more to worry about that just the language barrier. World economics really become an important issue.

Sadly the following lines got the most positive reactions:

"As I prepared for my stay in Switzerland I got a list of two points I need to say in order to get popular with you Swiss folk:
1. I am really happy to be a guest in your wonderful country.
2. I will also leave! ... tomorrow!"

Now it's back to the usual...

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Ever noticed that t-shirts with magic related imagery on it are almost always sold out in L and XL? I wonder why?

Friday, August 26, 2011


I just love it when a marked deck and and invisible deck are combined in a non magic context to emulate skill.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Not really magic related, but think of effects using the "Portal"-principle.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sponge Balls Through The Hat

For those who wondered why I don't up date that much...the simple answer: I'm working, busking mostly.

I got this new costume and since then everything works like butter. Part of my costume is a top hat. And playing around with my sponge ball routine I actually made up a simple trick, that is easy to do and very deceptive.

Here is what you do: Reach into your pocket and get out three sponge balls. One is palmed only two can be seen. With you other hand you take off the top hat and then you drop the two sponge balls in the hat. Holding the hand by the brim with the hand that is palming the third sponge ball you approach a spectator, asking him/her to take out the two balls to check them out. Still holding the hat by the brim you lift the hat above the eye line of the spectators. Doing that you also release the third ball into the hat. Ask your participant to hold on to the hat, holding it up all the time, so the top of the hat (because the hat is upside down of course) is visible to everyone. You take the two sponge balls. And apparently place them into your other hand. Of course you hold one back. The hand supposedly holding the two sponge balls is moved to the underside of the hat and the hand is slowly opened while you do a rubbing motion. It has to look like a ball penetrates the bottom/actual top of the hat.

Have the spectator, which is holding on to the hat, look inside the hat to verify that the sponge ball really has arrived on the inside. You take out the sponge ball with the hand that is palming the one sponge ball to show the rest that the ball is inside. You then proceed to drop the ball back into the hat, but you secretly drop the palmed ball. The rest should be clear...

I can tell you four things. First: Not a card trick... Second: Can be seen by everyone, Third: Involves spectators, Fourth: Looks interesting, thereby helps creating and holding the crowd. It is such a nice interlude.

There will be no failure this week. I got too much to do.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cough, Cough!

I got this stuff called crazy slime. It is a black slime that you can play with. I was thinking how to use it in a magic show. Here is the result:

Cough it up: "Smoker's cough, sorry... gee all the tar."
Even works as a nonsmoker "Oh boy, passive smoking still does the trick!"

Imagine this as a little funny bit during a health convention. Or during a cigarette routine.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

WMF dreammagik

I was thinking long about this one. How could I talk about the guy who uploads magic videos without linking to his website? How could I even find out his name, as he protects his name via an online service that blocks the usual "whois" sites?

The thing is, I cannot. All I know is this: He is well aware that he's doing illegal shit. He says it himself on his website:

You’ve known that i’m doing an illegal job, and I do not try to be a scammer.I do earn money from this blog (or portal, site, whatever).That’s why i’m using HotFile, EnterUpload, FileServe and FileSonic.

So he is even doing money if you download that stuff. This is a big fuck you to our art and the creators of the magic he capitalizes on. All I know about him is his email address:

So whoever that guy is, he is this week's magic failure. Of course if you know who he is, shoot me a message.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

So Penn Jillette wrote a book. "God No!"

A while ago I got an email by the publishers of Penn Jillett's upcoming book "God, No! - Signs You May Aleady By An Atheist And Other Magical Tales". I was asked if I care to review this book and publish the result on my blog. My initial response... "Yeah, send me the sucker and I'll review it." A few days later I received the book. And now I fear I have to write the review so I get more free books in the future.

Let's start with the basics. It's not a book about magic. It's 24.99 dollars and a little more that 200 pages thick. There are no pictures and it contains lot's of swearing. But this is not what people tend to be interested in. So let's talk about the content.

Basically its a whole bunch of short stories from Penn Jillette's life that are told to illustrate how people lose faith and how becoming an atheist is a better alternative than sticking to religions.

Penn goes out by telling stories about his parties, how he met his wife, how he used to be a dishwasher and so on. His writing style is very verbose. If you are the type of person not being bothered by this you will have a much easier time going through the book. I tend to love sweet, short, to the point stories. The subtitle of the book made me think there maybe a checklist. But as verbose as it maybe, it is well written and entertaining. Not quite what I expected.

The book gives you a brief glimpse into the minds of people who are unhappy with their belief. And "unhappy" might not be the best word to describe it, but I fail to find another one, as I'm not as eloquent as Penn Jillette, who seems to try to prove on every page how many tiny little details he remembers.

I am torn. I cried when I read the chapter about lying, which centers around Penn and how he lost his father, his mother and his sister. I honestly cried. And you will too, if you don't have a heart made of ice. I will never see a bunch of balloons rising towards the sky the same way.

Honesty, this is what the book boils down to. Penn Jillette maybe overdoing it a bit sometimes, but you can feel the honesty. When he tells you that he doesn't lie to his kids about Santa Claus, I believe he is telling the truth. And when he tells people that telling your children about how there is a Santa is a bad thing, I believe, that he truly believes it is a bad thing. My own opinion about it is different. But I don't have to share Penn's opinion in order to enjoy his book.

Penn Jillette is an extremist. And sometimes we need extremists. And sometimes we need a book written by an extremist. And as long as the extremist is a good person I have absolutely no problem with him/her. Penn is a good person. And reading through the book you will understand, that behind foul languages and atheist beliefs lies good human being with honest moral opinions and a big heart.

So here is my verdict: The book is enjoyable and it is a good starting point if you a generally interested in the thought processes of an atheist. It will probably not be what you expect and at times you will wish Penn Jillette would stay on topic. But aside from that you will be forced to make up your own damn mind. And you will understand, why saying "I don't know" is not a bad thing. In fact it is the first step. -

- I am sure I was not the only one who got a copy of the book to review. And having read the book I am glad to have been and to still be a small little gear in the hype machine. So if I had to rate this book I would give it one of the highest rating that is possible using the Internet lingo. I will "Like" this on Facebook.

The book will "appear" in two days.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Barry Solayme Injured in London Riots

Dear Readers,

Barrington is currently undergoing treatment in hospital following unfortunate events on Monday night. Full details are available at his blog.

On the bright side, his young protege Michael Crass has agreed to fill in while Barrington is recuperating, for which we must all be thankful! Barrington asks that you do not send flowers, but please send any gifts of cash to the usual paypal address. He will, of course, give all the proceeds to his charity of choice, the Barry Solayme Foundation.

Rupert Twistleton-Wyckham-Cholmondley-Fiennes M.A. (Oxon)

'Agent to the Stars and Beyond'

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

WMF Geryn Childress

Edit: Turns out, I made a big mistake. I put together to guys in my mind assuming they are the same person. CLICK THIS LINK AND READ THE WHOLE STORY. I will leave the original post as it is, so you see that I am not hiding my errors. Consider the post following now as false:

Exposure... he's got a website ( dedicated to "teach" magic. Of course he doesn't teach his own material so he is not teaching but exposing. And to round this up: He offers a membership on his website for 25 bucks a year. If you become a premium member this is what you get:

Function 9(Calen Morelli)
Dresscode(Calen Morelli)
Downfall(Dan Hauss)
Titan finger
This is Mentalism(Ellusionist)
Art Of Astonishment 1,2,3(Paul Harris)
Corners volume1 and 2
V2f 2.0
Akira Fuji linking cigarettes
Daniel Garcia’s Fraud
Ponta the smith SICK
Sleeveless Sleeving
Matthew Mello-technique
Andrew Mayne-In Half
Brian Tudor-ShowOff

The moral issues aside for a moment. I am sure that none of the creators have given their permission. This makes Mr. Childress' business even interesting from a legal point of view. He is making money of others peoples creations.

So he is this weeks magic failure. Too bad. He seems like a likable character.
His sponge ball magic video on YouTube has got almost Three-Million hits. Let this roll over your tongue. Three-Million. That is the kind of exposure that many of us wish we could get.

Wanna see what this leads to?

Well, Yippee ki-yay, motherfucker!

Edit: It seems like the above claims are not true anymore. I was told via email by Mr. Childress himself that he bought the website and that stuff was already there. According to him he removed the illegal content after knowing what it was. That is his story. Last time I checked it still was all about exposure, sorry I meant "teaching", still holding up the title.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Effect: The performer has done amazing miracles. Naturally he deserves a break. A candy break. He even brought with him an new kind of candy. It comes in a small jar. It has a weird label. "Some Russian candy" the magician say. He opens the lid and a glow seems to come from the inside.
He takes out a candy, it is glowing. Still, he eats it. "Funny taste, where does it come from?" The label says: "Chernobyl! Aha... at least that explains the glow."
The magician eats more and more of that glow in the dark candy. Suddenly he burps. "I think that was too much... it feels like it is growing in my stomach" He reaches up his mouth and produces a mouth coil.

The nice thing: All is self contained in the small candy jar. A L.E.D at the very top to produce the glow, a mouth coil and the D'light (preferably greenish)

It could also be from "Springfield, USA" depending on the crowd.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

You Guys should read Andrew's Blog!

I love reading a well written article which is about a topic that both interests me and to which I can relate to. I do a have a horrible sense of business. I love magic but I hate the business side of things. So writing advertisement for myself is really something that feels so wrong. It feels so wrong on so many levels. It is the exact opposite of the humbleness that I'm preaching here all the time. But before I elaborate on this... read Andrew's Post... he allowed me to post this. So there is no need at all to go over to his blog and generate a few clicks there. No, no, no stay here and let me quote:

Hate this one, although rather than rage about the obvious people who go out of their way to self-promote, this one’s coming from a different angle — namely, the necessity of self-promotion itself.

It’s such a necessary evil if you want to get into show-business, and if you’re just starting out, you’d better toot your own horn because there’s no guarantee anybody else is going to too it for you.

I’ve got to do some write-ups for possible meetings with booking agents, and I just want to fill the thing with other people’s quotes, to alleviate myself of the responsibility for telling them what to think of me. The concept of putting “scintillating sleight of hand” in my bio makes me want to blow chunks.

Unfortunately, these formalities are important, and I lack the sort of sense of humour that can soften the self-adulation so that I don’t look like I take myself too seriously, while still making it clear that they should take me seriously.

Alan Wheeler brought up a wonderful piece of theory over on the Food for Thought section, regarding Aristotle’s writing about three techniques for supporting a claim: ethos, logos, and pathos. Broken down, ethos is about having a credible source, logos is about the logic of it, and pathos is about arousing emotions. As somebody who loved every minute of his university logic classes (particularly the logical fallacies bit), I’ve always been focused more on the logos side of things, since things like Appeals to Authority, Appeals to Emotion, and Ad Hominem statements generally fall into the realm of bad rhetoric really quickly.

Unfortunately, as Spock said, logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end, and that particular thread was an important wake-up call, especially when it comes to the idea of ethos. If you’ve ever performed close-up for strangers you know the importance of prestige — not just to make yourself look good, but also to make the magic run more smoothly and more effectively manage spectators. That power can be extrapolated to a much-higher level, to the point where you get what you have in show-business, where people without much talent have so much power, simply because they established themselves a long time ago (ethos) and they make us feel good (pathos).
(As a side note, it’s worth mentioning that these three facets can be useful in making a grander illusion look good, and it’s usually observable in its mis-steps.

Insofar as ethos is concerned, a kid may do a great gambling-themed trick that fools people, but he’s going to have a harder time making people believe that it’s based in true gambling skill.)
But the key to be truly persuasive is to develop proficiency in all three. In a weird way, it’s one side effect of American Idol and similar shows that I’m happy about — for all their attempts to manufacture a superstar, the fact that so few of the winners and/or audience favorites are still around in the public eye goes to show that all that despite them being the center of attention for their season, they’re easily forgotten and replaced. Credibility is difficult to fake.

Which is why I hate writing this stuff up. There’s nothing really special about my situation — anybody who’s been doing the same few tricks for a long time knows with relative certainty and predictability what emotions will be evoked from their audience. Heck, you won’t know just that, but when, in what degree, and in what variety. Still, even though I know the opening phase for one of my routines will get a good laugh, will fool them pretty bad, and establish myself as a skilled sleight-of-hand performer (even though it’s a rudimentary move), it still feels fake to write that “You’ll laugh as this sleight-of-hand expert amazes you!” or some other garbage like that.

Still, it’s got to be done, so I’m spending the day plugging away at it and trying not to hate myself too much.

Did you read it? All of it? Go back and read all of it! Attaboy!

This is a personal issue here. I'm in the process of creating a 90 minute stand up show. I'm no longer in a conceptual phase. I already got the posters and tickets and all of that made. But I need to sell my show. And this is when being not humble at all needs to be a skill that one must have. It is hard for me to say: "You need to book this show, as you got the chance to have rare sleight of hand artist featured in your line up of shows next season." All I really wanna say is: "Please give me a chance, I won't blow it."

It's a bit of self betrayal on my part. When I was creating the posters for the show, I had several inspirations to go for. Namely "Thurston" and "Carter"

I always wanted a very colorful poster, reminiscent of the old times, combined with the growing popularity of Steampunk.

I have always been fascinated with the razzmatazz in which the Jules Verne stories were marketed. "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" and "A Journey to the Center of the Earth" are terrific titles for books, as it invokes Wonder. I always wanted something like this. Think about it. "Around the World in 80 Days" is a great title for a magic show.... Well not exactly but something along those lines. "Journey to the center of deception. An adventure full of Magic, Monster and Mystery."

And now that I finished creating my poster and flyers and having done all the ground work to sell my show I am rather proud of "tooting my horn". It really helps to create a character and a world to promote rather than oneself.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Shawn Farquhar on Fool Us!

I assume that most of you readers know how I feel about Shawn Farquhar. So what I'm saying a little later may seem like blasphemy and hypocrisy on my part. But I am willing to bear the verbal abuse I'm going to face.

Shawn Farquhar's short act was really, really good. Not only was it a solid trick with a nice dramatic frame and call backs. Not only was the method implied solid and practical. Not only did it fool Teller. But Shawn Farquhar didn't come across as a dick who looks down on everyone. In fact he came across as genuinely nice and humble.

I'm in awe at writing this. So I am trying to find excuses to still stick to my opinion towards this man. Here are some: Maybe because he was dwarfed in size by Penn Jillette and Jonathan Ross that he appeared more humble. Perhaps it was his childlike enthusiasm for magic that won me over. Or could it be his genuine happiness after Penn announced that Shawn has fooled them. Or it was the the condensed amount of time that the FISM winner had that disabled him to play out his character.

Or... and this is by no means a statement that is carved in stone... it is that either Shawn has changed after FISM, or that my first presumption towards his person was wrong.

I still think that Shawn is not using his natural speaking voice. It's still a higher than normal pitch which gives off that phony vibe. But this time it didn't bother me.

I've been told by a friend who personally met Shawn during a seminar in France, that he appeared like an honest man who was kind and helpful. And I trust that friend's opinion. So I am willing to maybe looking into me having had wrong assumptions. And seeing Mr. Farquhar doing such a dense little piece of really good card magic is what might pull me back. More of that Shawn. Bravo!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

WMF Justin Lane aka Cornflake the Clown

I think this is the first WMF from New Zealand. And all because of a stupid business decision. Let me quote the Auckland Now
The magic community has banned Cornflake the Clown and threatened him with legal action after he awarded his colleague Magic Matt with Cornflake's Magic World Grand Master of Magic Award.
Why is this of any issue at all? Aside from the fake nature of the award.
The Brotherhood of Auckland Magicians asked Cornflake to withdraw the award because it was too similar to the Grand Master of Magic Award they hand out.

Alright, that is very similar and might be confused. But why did Justin Lane hand out the award to his magic buddy Magic Matt?
Cornflake refused to withdraw Magic Matt's award which he says recognised his efforts in making up new tricks and being a great performer.
Oh really? What kind of new tricks? Let's have a look at the demo trailer:

Store bought effects. Well, that could be misleading. Maybe he doesn't have his unique magic published out of fear that someone steals it.

Who is Magic Matt anyway?

Magic Matt came second place in a SCMC according to Justin Lane's Facebook page. What's the SCMC? Well the Shore City Magicians Club of course. I say this without googling it. In fact Matt got this award. A local club contest award. Anything else?
His website claims he is a multiple award winner. So what are the other awards? I guess the Cornflake's Magic World Grand Master of Magic Award kind of counts.

Wait a second, before I get lost in research land... let's focus. Who is the other guy mentioned in the article? Alan Watson..., quick Google search... let me take a look at his website OHHHH MY GOD!

This needs serious updating. It hurts my eyes. Oh I see the picture on the top is always a random one when you refresh the page. I just got lucky and got the "Rainbow Car of Doom!" Dude! Fix your appearance, this was never in style.

Anyway, let's click a bit further. Oh, there is a whole bunch of awards listed. Seems like Alan Watson has a bit of an obsession with proving he is the best. Let me pick one of those awards at random. "1996 - Benny Award - Top Magician" So what's a Benny Award? If it is this, then he is not listed. Let me search some more. There must be something to prove the validity of the Benny Award aside from the website of Alan Watson. Oh, another one, no that's not it either. Gee, there are many Benny Awards. Hey, yet another one. Screw it, this leads to nothing... wait... found it.

Man this looks official. So he won the 2006 award for a Lifetime achievement... So how many Bennys has he won? Five... damn, that's so impressive. Are there no other magicians who tried to get it from 1994 to 1997?

So where am I going with all of this? Alan Watson also got the 2006 - The Grand Master of Magic Award. Naturally it sounds like Alan Watson was pissed when Justin Lane gave his Cornflake's Magic World Grand Master of Magic Award to his buddy Magic Matt. So it sounds like that Alan called the press and started a tirade against Justin Lane, that got him kicked out of the magic club,

But this is not true. It was Justin Lane who called the press and posted this all over his wall on Facebook. Now Justin Lane has his Facebook friends trash talking Alan Watson.

Justin Lane seemingly started it all by calling his buddies multi-award winning entertainers. He was told by other magicians that it is not a good business practice. So Justin Lane made up an award, which is totally similar to a respected award in New Zealand. He knows about the real award and it's 40 year history. By not respecting it's history and his refusal to change the name of the fake award Justin Lane fails.

I can only speculate why he chose that name for an award. Simply because it would stir up controversy and get him press. And any press is good press I guess. A layman reading the articles wouldn't give a crap about any of the awards. But they would remember that some old magician bashes a children's entertainer. And Cornflake is a good name to remember. That indeed would be a smart business move, if it were true, but I doubt that. My guess is that he did it to piss off Alan Watson because there was something bad brewing before that. Well Mr. Lane... I give you a real award. It's called the Weekly Magic Failure.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Audio Rant #12 Putting the Magic in a Magic Show

Gee, haven't done those for almost a year. Completely forgot about that. Sorry!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Wormhole is a fancy Name for a Trick!

Cute, when I started in magic I did that same thing (only with one card) also using magnets. Then I learned palming! And boy things changed!

Also gotta love the version of the trick down below. Music is way too epic, the boy doesn't seem to wanna mess up his cards, so he uses stickers and the handling is not what I call rehearsed.

Seriously, what's wrong about palming a card? I am aware that is scares the shit out of most performers. But it is not that hard, ones you get over your fear of doing it. You can achieve a lot of totally direct effects using that method. It's mainly about when you palm. In the above tick for example, you could have the two cards controlled to the top of the pack.

Unbeknownst to the audience you already have two dummy card sticking out of your back pockets. Hand out the deck (while palming) and slowly turn around calling attention to the two cards in your back pockets. You turn back towards your spectators and while the hands go behind your back seemingly taking out the cards.

In reality you push them all the way into your pockets and bring forth the two palmed selections after splitting them, so each hand holds a card. This would be strong, as the cards are seen sticking out of your back pockets before any hand was even there.

Why the heck do I even go into this...? Move along, nothing to see here.

PS. Why is the trick called Wormhole? Just because you look like you are reaching into your ass as you pull out the cards?