President: Gordon Burtenshaw   Chairman: Matt Parro
Secretary: Justin Price   Treasurer: Simon Vertue
E-Mail: secretary@sussexmagiccircle.co.uk
Newsletter: 21September 2007

ANNUAL CARD COMPETITION - Thursday 20th September 2007

The rules for the competition state that there must be a minimum of three entrants for this and indeed any of our competitions. Luckily this number was reached, and the competition went ahead but coincidentally in a discussion period which followed after the tea break, hosted by Paul Gordon, some reasons were given as to why so many of us fail to enter these events. More about this later.

The three competitors in order of appearance were Matt Parr, Mike Pettitt and John Holden.

Dressed in a white tracksuit complete with ‘hoody’ and white trainers Matt made a dramatic entrance and commenced by having five playing cards chosen, signed by five spectators and then returned to the pack. Matt told us that he would now move on to something else and proceeded to perform ‘Card Warp’ using large cards and accompanied by the music from the film ‘Back to the Future’.

Then, to another dramatic piece of music, he performed some card manipulation including throwing cards, tossing and spinning them and concluded by producing each of the previously chosen five signed cards in varying ways. Matt had obviously put a lot of work into the technical aspects of this act but angles, sightlines and patter could have been improved.

Second to perform was genial Mike Pettitt who had two cards chosen which he declared would match. They didn’t! On turning both cards over however it was discovered that both chosen cards had matching backs and every other card in the pack had a different back. They did match! I have to add however that certain audience members failed to see all the different backs and thus the response to this effect was muted. Mike then performed a routine previously presented by Wayne Dobson at the club, where, from an invisible purse an invisible pack of cards is taken and a card is chosen. The chosen card then materialises and is taken from the purse. Mike’s next novelty item was to place many cards onto the palm of his hand in a circular pattern and in such a manner that they defied gravity. Mike finished his spot by attempting to perform the Eleven Card Trick with Andy. We had ten cards, twelve cards and even thirteen cards at one point but the number eleven seemed elusive no matter whether Mike or Andy counted the cards. A funny and entertaining routine presented with a smile.

The final competitor, John Holden, presented a series of tricks in the shortest spot of the three. His first routine ended up with all the three’s, followed by a prediction that he would end up with an odd card. It was an odd card, a three, but was also odd in that it had a different coloured back and exceptionally odd because Matt’s picture was on the back! John finished his act by producing four large coins from two playing cards.

After the voting was over and the ballot papers counted, Mike Pettitt was declared the winner.

After the welcome tea break (many thanks Alison), a discussion chaired by Paul Gordon considered various aspects of performing.

Nervousness, preparation, dress sense, cleanliness, punctuality and people skills were a few of the topics discussed. Paul freely told anecdotes to illustrate each point which made the whole session entertaining and informative.
Gaining confidence and eliminating nerves can be achieved by being prepared.

Know exactly what you are doing and have an ‘out’ for any situation. If you are fully prepared, know your routines backwards and look a million dollars then you will be able to cope with any slight mishap or distraction that occurs. If you are not prepared and you then have to cope with a problem your act will swiftly go into a downward spiral. One big point raised was that each of us should seek out constructive criticism after we perform and act upon it! Better still, ask for advice from someone whose opinion you trust, before you perform. It may make all the difference.

So the message is: be prepared and grab any opportunity you can to perform, even to other magicians. It can only improve your skill.

Yes, performing magic in front of magicians can be difficult, but just think, performing for normal people after that should be a doddle!
JC

Compiled by: Stuart Harley