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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The International Brotherhood of Magicians! » » Have national (rather than regional) IBM Rings had their day? (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Sealegs
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Inner circle
The UK, Portsmouth
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I have belonged to the British Ring of the IBM since I was about 18 which is getting on for 40 years. Up until the proliferation of the internet the IBM magazine and its annual convention provided all manner of things magical that otherwise weren't available. The chance to see magicians from around the globe that you'd only otherwise heard talk of or read about. The chance to access dealers and their wares, and the opportunity to learn from lectures and see your heroes performing.

All these things can now be provided much more conveniently and readily by the internet.

At it's height the British Ring IBM convention used to regularly get 1500+ people attending for the best part of a week. It was a great event and one of the two magical highlights of the year in the UK. Now the numbers are around 250 and dwindling. Last year there weren't enough people interested for either the close up or the stage competitions to be held. Both of these events used to be recognised as worthy achievement in the world of UK magic. Hardly any dealers now show up. You can't blame them when they'd make more money from not attending and simply continuing to deal with their online business.

In the USA the IBM acts in the same way that local magic clubs do here in the UK. My town of Portsmouth has a club. A half hour drive away there's the Southampton club and only 30 mins drive away there's the Wessex or Winchester club. An hour away there's there are 3 other local clubs. So magic is fairly well served on a regional level here by local clubs. It seems to me that this is what the IBM still does in the USA. (along side other regional clubs of course)

But the regional aspect of the British ring never existed here in the Uk. It was a national club but it's reason for existing seems to have been left behind with the rise of the internet. Unfortunately the British Ring hasn't managed to keep up with the times.

For the last 5 or so years I have paid my subs to the British Ring purely out of nostalgia... no other reason. I wondered if anyone outside the US has any similar feelings or thoughts? Or otherwise does anyone have any suggestions as to what can be done to make the national rings in countries such as mine, more relevant and interesting to todays market of hobbyist, part time and professional magicians?

The British Ring is a huge part of my own personal magical history. I know those that are still at the helm of it give it all that they can and do so solely for the benefit of the members. It's a thankless task I'm sure. (although I do thank them for it) It would be a shame to see the Ring slip away into oblivion.... but unless it can become relevant I can see that happening in the not too distant future.

Maybe it would actually be the kindest thing for it? I hope not.
Neal Austin

"The golden rule is that there are no golden rules." G.B. Shaw
Brad Jeffers
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Veteran user
304 Posts

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Quote:
it's reason for existing seems to have been left behind with the rise of the internet


It seems that what technology gives us is not worth what it takes away. We're headed for The Year 2525 and there's no turning back.
Shawn Farquhar
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V.I.P.
Canada
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Hi Neale,

I know of no other National Ring in the world. The British Ring is unique onto it's own. Somewhere back in time they made a deal to become a one Ring country. It had not happened before nor since. I have to say I have attended several of the British Ring conventions and enjoyed them immensely. The registrants were a tad on the older side, to say the least, but I find that it is magicians like them that are willing to pass on the knowledge. Half the stuff the Internet teaches is wrong and it's hard to figure out for most which is which. The feeling one gets when they attend a convention will never be duplicated online. The only way to make anything better is by the membership. All organizations, not just magic are losing members, but I think there is still plenty of reasons to belong to the I.B.M. Just the fact you care enough to ask this question means a lot...

-shawn
Sealegs
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Inner circle
The UK, Portsmouth
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Thanks for replying Shawn.

I thoroughly enjoyed the last British Ring convention I attended. There was a great atmosphere and chatty friendly quality to it. But it looked like a sick, former shadow of what it was just a few years ago.

Few dealers see any value in attending and it's registrants are ,as you say, mostly from an older demographic that is dwindling. I'm sure the council members and many others freely put their time, hearts and soul into the British Ring. I'm not being churlish in anyway to point out what I see as its decline. I feel sad both for the club and efforts of those keeping it going.

I'm pointing out its potential decline because I hope something can be done to turn it's fortunes around.... so it doesn't become so totally irrelevant to the British magic scene, that it isn't viable and disappears.

I agree that loads of the stuff on the internet is terrible, that conventions offer an experience that can't be had through the internet, and that its the members that make any club. But without appealing to the internet age crop of new potential members to replace those that are literally dying off, there won't be enough of a membership to warrant carrying on.

I paid my subs again this year. Again, mostly out of nostalgia for a club that has given me some great experiences in past years. I won't be going to the convention... I'll be working but even if I was hme I don't think it would excite me enough to go to unless it was on my doorstep.

The magazine, The Key, is generally a good read... but as someone pointed out in their blog recently the pictures inside it are predominantly of old men.

I just think that unless the British Ring finds a way to make itself more relevant to the next crop of enthusiasts it faces a spiralling decline. I hope some way of addressing that can be found and implemented but I don't feel confident in that... And sadly I find myself thinking...well maybe it's just had its time and its's best to just let it fade away?

It's sad I find myself thinking that.
Neal Austin

"The golden rule is that there are no golden rules." G.B. Shaw
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