Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Angry Man of Magic - “By your favourite method”

These four words fill me with more dread than the equivalently enumerated phrases 'George Bush is President', and 'Gary Glitter Revival Tour', put together. At any point I see these words in the instructions for a trick, or within the pages of a book, I instantly know I've been short changed. The demo video looked like a convincingly free choice, but when I read the half page of cheaply printed waffle from a emotionally-diseased bubblejet printer and see the phrase “by your favourite method” my heart sinks as low as Granny Mildred's tits!

They then have the audacity to print, "such as the cross-cut force”.

Whisky Tango Foxtrot?

Don't get me wrong, I like the “cross-cut force” as much as the next socially retarded, sleightly inept (geddit?), magician - but I bought this trick to learn something new. Whether it's a new sleight, new method, or new presentation. I didn't pay to be told that the sleight you used was someone elses that you can't discuss.. “but here's another that's just as good”. Why? Because the sleight you're telling me about isn't as good as the one you used in your advertising. If you don't have the rights for the clever sleight, ask for them. If you can't get them, show the promo video with the force you're explaining so myself (and other prospective purchasers) know exactly what we're buying, and not something else. Magicians should be tricking their audience, not their customers.

Oh, and if you're excluding the force instructions because you can't arsed to type them up, then you're a lazy bugger, and you should probably be releasing it on DVD only, through Ellusionist, instead.


Justin said...

Or it could be that magic has produced so many tools that in certain contexts methods truly are interchangeable, and a certain level of independence is assumed of the reader?

Tomsk192 said...

NO! Spoonfeed me... I've no hands, eyes or intellect.

Seem to remember first looking at Roy Walton's work and realising that a certain amount of research was required, for me. Glad it didn't put me off.

Still, I see the point being made here. It IS a good one. So nice to come across work which takes pride in its attention to detail. We always have the option to apply our own 'favourite control' and we probably take it.

Still, Mr Walton amongst others provides a foil to this argument. Perhaps it depends on the target audience?

darkstar said...

Tom. Your point is valid, but your example is broken beyond repair. Complete Walton isn't a "real book" for lack of a better wording. It's collected from vast sources. I'd hate it if I subscribed to a mag or monthly and every issue they explained mundane moves

Tomsk192 said...

Good point