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kimmo
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Sheffield
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I've nothing against any kind of props that anyone might want to use - I just think it's the personality of the performer that counts. The thread was originally about whether children are different nowadays than in the past. I was going to post that I find children a lot better behaved and polite these days than they were 25 years ago when I started, but it occurs to me that I've probably just got a lot better at my job.

I've also learned over the years that rather than looking for the next best thing, you are far better off working with what you already have and polishing it further.
My new vent character Jambo, has been in my show for nearly a year now and I still don't feel I'm even halfway there with his routine yet. It's a constant honing process.


I don't take the 'World Champion' thing seriously at all - the best kids magicians in the world were probably out working rather than taking part in a competition in the North of England!! I really only entered it because I wanted to see if I could compete with the really prop heavy acts armed with nothing but a piece of rope, a puppet and a set of linking rings (in the event I ran out of time and didn't even use the rings!) I needed to prove to myself that I'd done the right thing when I ditched the big stuff. Of course, what is the right move for me does not make it right for anyone else!
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James Munton
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Yes, but does Kimmo have a "Masters in education and... 1,200+ posts"... hmmmm?

Has he "done many transactions here at the Café as both a buyer and a seller"?

Is Kimmo "a full-time educator (who observes children for a living)"?

No, I thought not.

I have to say, on the face of it Smartini has a much better resumé. And I for one would like to hear a lot more about the problems of performing for kids of second marriages.
Al Angello
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Eternal Order
Collegeville, Pa. USA
11047 Posts

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Thank you Tom for the correction, and I will now defer to the worlds champion childrens entertainer Kimmo.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
lou2
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I've nothing against any kind of props that anyone might want to use - I just think it's the personality of the performer that counts. The thread was originally about whether children are different nowadays than in the past. I was going to post that I find children a lot better behaved and polite these days than they were 25 years ago when I started, but it occurs to me that I've probably just got a lot better at my job.

I've also learned over the years that rather than looking for the next best thing, you are far better off working with what you already have and polishing it further.
My new vent character Jambo, has been in my show for nearly a year now and I still don't feel I'm even halfway there with his routine yet. It's a constant honing process.

Hi,
I agree with the above this is probably the best bit of wisdom on this thread
lou
The Great Smartini
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James,

You continue to hide behind your computer...what this actually means isn't remaining private or anonymous but rather that you feel bold enough to say things to people that are rude or insulting and do so from the safety of your computer. And upon reading your posts I again see no intellectual discussion about the topic at hand but more rude and childish behaviour from a cyber bully. You say what you want when you want without regard for it being appropriate and then when someone calls you on it you blame the other person for being overly sensitive and throw in some more self serving comments on how you feel sorry for them. I'm sure that people who Google your name looking for business will be quite impressed with your ability to have respectful and intellectual dialogue with your magic peers. If you can't participate appropriately in the discussion then why participate at all.

I read Kimmo's comments and I see that he advocates using props that work for you whether they be old or new. I also appreciate that he doesn't take a very familiar take that everything in the UK is the most amazing thing ever.

Finally, I wonder about your choice of using the Hot Book on your avatar. Do you use this with children? Some would argue that using the old Hot Book is somewhat dated and that it sends the wrong message to the children you perform for. Also, I'm wondering how your 1980s Blues Brothers theme plays with children. What other effects do you find works with this theme?

Jeff Christensen
IBM Ring 92 Vancouver, Canada

ps. James, I'm going to be attending Mystery School again this October so let me know if you'd like to share a room.

pps. I don't have a problem with second marriages or gay marriages. In fact my Rabbi likes us to attend the weddings of those who come to our synagogue from the United States.
magicgeorge
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Belfast
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I agree with Calamari and Kimmo, that you can use what you want be it old, new or made yourself out of toilet rolls and sticky-back plastic. However, with the amount of effects out there it does seem rather odd that so many are using the latest props and ignoring the rest. Obviously, I can't say why this is but if there are those that think buying up all the latest props will make them a better performer they are wrong and if there are those that think the latest effects will make them unique they are also wrong as more folks have the latest effects than a lot of the older effects. (If everyone has the new stuff then it gets old very quickly).

I enjoyed James' original post. I thought he made a good point humourously. To me it seemed he was just making fun of the concept rather than Jeff, himself, but I can see how it could've been taken the wrong way. However, Jeff's reply seemed rather deliberately personal and it seemed to escalate from there. I hope you two can sort things out.

George
Tony James
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I'm feeling in a generous mood. I'll share with you a thought. Magic and Music are similar.

If you were to add songs to your show - proper ones, the Sinatra touch - you would if you'd any sense, begin with the good, strong, easy to sing melodies. Wouldn't you?

No? Have you ever tried singing those production numbers, where the tune itself is illusive and the band playing what sounds like a different tune to your line? It's very difficult. Especially live. And yet it's a part and parcel of a top singer's repertoire.

Magic is similar and especially children's magic. There are really solid, easy, dependable effects most of us can do and it's almost impossible not to get a good reaction. Trouble is, they're a bit like those songs everyone can sing in their bath. Everyone does and as many point out here, children have seen those effects over and again.

It's not new! It's always happened. Magicians jump on the popular bandwagon and end up doing similar routines.

There are ways round this. Some exceptionally talented people actually come up with something NEW. But not many. Most of us exploit what's out there and there's a lot more out there if only you know where to find it. I am about to tell you.

In the UK, if you go to the various auctions which take place from time to time you may spot something old and neglected. You may not know what it is. Sometimes you get lucky. An old timer will point you in the right direction. I have been lucky like that several times.

Often the item is unpopular and never caught on with most magicians, not many were made and they only occasionally surface. But - they are the magical equivalent of the musical production number. Not easy to get anything out of. Strange sometimes. Bit off beat perhaps. Surreal. Maybe involving a play on words. British children love clever plays on words.

Whatever it is you buy it, ponder it, and find a way with it. Actually, anyone can do this if they've a mind. Usually it's a pro who succeeds and that just might be because the pro has more experience, has seen a bit more and has more opportunity to work it, stick with it and find the way with it in a comparatively shorter time than someone who might only be able to try it out occasionally.

Whatever the reason, it's usually the pro you see using it. And because there weren't many made, and even fewer have survived, the pro ends up with something unlikely to be found elsewhere in their patch. A little almost exclusive. certainly different.

Of course it's old and a lot of people find old material unattractive. And of course old material often doesn't work itself. That's why these things end up unwanted. Useless. Doesn't work. Waste of time.

If you ever hear people passing those sort of comments, take a closer look and think hard. They may well be right. Impractical props have always entered the market. But it could just be that here is another one for the experienced pro and which the 'No Skill Required' boys can't use.
Tony James

Still A Child At Heart
James Munton
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George,

As soon as I realized just how upset he was, I tried to help Smartini.

In my previous post I was singing his praises and declared that on the face of it he has a better resumé than the World Champion of Children's Magic, Kimmo.

But he's ruined it by admitting he is going to Mystery School for the second time. Now nobody will now believe he is a successful magician.

And the whole Google thing is embarrassing. I did Google my name and it goes straight to my website detailing all my wonderful shows at the White House and for Hillary Clinton and Vice President Cheney and all the lovely reviews from my many other wonderful clients.

Alas, when I Googled Great Smartini, it does indeed go to a Magic Café thread so I can see why he was worried about that.

But I am glad he mentioned my use of the Hot Book, I was first advised to use it by a much older magician, Mark Lewis, and despite my initial reservations it has been a huge success. Which brings us back nicely to the subject at hand that it is not whether a prop is old or new, but whether the performer can weave it into his/her show in an entertaining manner.

I hope we can now get back to the thread. Smartini's latest whinge has distracted us from Tony's excellent points.

Best,
James

P.S. I notice the Clownboy has quietly tried to fix his signature by correcting the spelling of "flies." Unfortunately, he was unable to correct the other mistakes. If he simply copied and pasted my helpful correction all would be well. Perhaps our resident educator, Smartini, could show him how to do that.
tboehnlein
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ohio
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James you should be banned from this board, what you mentioned Mark Lewis's name & admitted to using the politically incorrect hot book in the same thread. Next thing you will be telling everyone you use the horribly indiscriminate Disecto in your kid's show program(shhhh do not tell anyone I do).
Tom Riddle
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"But I am glad he mentioned my use of the Hot Book, I was first advised to use it by a much older magician, Mark Lewis, and despite my initial reservations it has been a huge success"

This really surprises me. I have always thought Mr. Lewis was rather a prude, and would not advocate the use of fire in a performance for children. When you say "much older" James, are we talking mid to late 70's? He was quite elderly when I was a little boy and bought a Svengali pack from him at The Ideal Home Exhibition in Earl's Court. When I got home, the cards were all soiled, and it was obviously a used deck. I felt I had been conned. However, it was a very good trick, but I could never do it as well as he did. Come to think of it, and back to topic, the Svengali is a trick that is as good today as it was 40 years ago. However, it is only good when it is performed well. Most of the millions sold to children over the years are still collecting dust in nursery cupboards!
"Yes, Virginia, there really are people named Riddle...isn't that AMAZING! And to think of all the royalties I'm missing out on! SCANDALOUS!"

Thomas Williamson Riddle III
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calamari
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Quote:
On 2008-03-06 18:27, Al Angello wrote:
Rich
I must respectfully disagree with you, magicians are inventing, new improved, better, biger magic tricks all the time, and along with new improved marketing techniques, soon talent will be totally unnecessary.


Al, you could be right, talent! who needs talent? LOL
"I came, I saw, SHE conquered." (The original Latin seems to have been garbled.)
Tony James
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Now you're taking us back Tom. I remember the Svengali decks. There was a man in England I used to fall across in one town after another. I can see him now but can't remember his name. Always used to find him in the very best departmental stores. never the cheap ones. Every town had it's exclusive departmental store in those days. Excellent places to eat, they had Butteries for light meals and proper restaurants, usually on the top floor affording splendid views across the town. And they sported live music too. A trio or quartet.

And they had uniformed commissionairs on all the doors, bidding one good morning or good afternoon and opening and closing the doors and keeping out the riff-raff. My word, could that fellow demonstrate Svengali packs. Brilliant. Used to hand them the deck. Astonishing nerve. But he couldn't half sell them. Had them queueing with money in their hands. Charming fellow. Scotsman. Not Pat Page. It'll come to me.

And there was another fellow, used to work down in the basement amongst the d-i-y products demonstrating French polish. He would stain a piece of very ordinary timber and then begin to polish it and in no time had a very good finish on it. And he had a lovely little touch to show people how it would look after a bit of work..

He had a magnificent Kipper Box - a rough wooden box in which kippers were transported - and he must have been polishing that box for years. He had built up a finish on it like a sheet of plate glass. Astonishing.

In fact the Kipper Box man had a resemblance to the Svengali Pack man. they could have been Uncle and Nephew. Quite excellent and so polite. Well, of course one would have to be in those places. terribly up market. I worked Punch & Judy in a number of them though not as I recall when the Kipper Box and Svengali Pack men were there.

Now what was his name? And I wonder whatever happened to him. Just didn't see him any longer. Nor, curiously. the Kipper Box man either.

Probably dead by now.
Tony James

Still A Child At Heart
Tom Riddle
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Was his name David Cronin? Worked for many years in Harrods. Always wore a pinstripe suit. Charming man. He also used to sell a fluid at the exhibitions that was a miracle cleaner for spectacles.
"Yes, Virginia, there really are people named Riddle...isn't that AMAZING! And to think of all the royalties I'm missing out on! SCANDALOUS!"

Thomas Williamson Riddle III
Chelsea, UK
Tony James
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No, I don't think so. doesn't ring a bell.

There was Johnny Neptune, a lovely fellow who did a bit of allsorts including Svengali packs. he was the first demonstrator of non-stick pans when they first hit the UK. That's going back a bit.

Good magician too. And an excellent and informative magical auctioneer.

He died far too young.
Tony James

Still A Child At Heart
James Munton
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You know this talk of Svengali pitchmen has me questioning my own original statement that Mark Lewis encouraged me to use the Hot Book. I don't think it was Mr. Lewis. It was another wise old magician whose name now escapes me.

But I hope I can remember the name, because if there was one trick I would try to rescue from a burning house it would be the Hot Book.
Tony James
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Billy McComb had a lot of fun with his. was it he?
Tony James

Still A Child At Heart
The Great Smartini
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I find it quite interesting how many posts actually have nothing whatsoever to do with the original post which was on the use of classic magic props versus newer/updated props. My original response was able to present many sides of this including reinforcing the importance of one's presentational skills.

From here it goes over to folks who are unable to deal with the topic and turn it into something that requires sarcasm, insults. What can you say when this type of behaviour is apparently the norm at the Café and nobody is willing to speak up about it? Why are the people involved in this thread unable to respect other ways of thinking that are different than their own. Are they not willing to engage in meaningful dialogue because they can't support their claims. I share my background and experiences which are real to me and I get told that I'm "creepy" and other than Brad nobody has a problem with it. I guess I don't understand how my fellow magicians don't find this comment offensive and over the line.

To go back to the thought that children are different...the world is in a constant state of change. Things are vastly different than they were in the past. This is the same in nearly every aspect of society and so why do we think that children remain the same while everything else around them has changed? This would seem to be illogical. Why would our children remain in a bubble and unaffected by change? I would argue that this has relevance when presenting magic to children.

I'm looking forward to see if my thoughts posted above are considered and respectfully discussed or if more insults and sarcasm are needed.

jeff
Tony James
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I think some of us have been marking time making small talk awaiting your return. And you have.

Perhaps the difference here Jeff - and I'm going back to some your original thoughts - is that no matter what the influences and effects you detect in children from difficult backgrounds , what we fins when entertaining them is that they behave and react - in the main - like children always have and they respond to the same classic material as children did generations ago.

The reason I would hope is that for a magic hour - as it is here - whatever the child's concerns, they leave them behind as they become enthralled in wonderland of which they are watching through a keyhole but are there, taking part.

That is what all good theatre is about. Suspension of belief or, for the cynics - suspension of disbelief.
Tony James

Still A Child At Heart
James Munton
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Smartini,

If there was any evidence you actually perform magic for children, you might be taken more seriously.

Also, you fail to provide any concrete examples to support your thesis that kids with gay parents or divorced parents (or second marriage parents) react any differently to magic shows than the children of "traditional" families.

You have read posts by plenty of magicians on this thread (who do have experience performing for kids on a weekly basis) repeatedly tell you that kids of today fundamentally enjoy the same principles of good entertainment that they always have.

Unfortunately your hyper-sensitivity and lack of a sense of humor prevent you from seeing any value in the good discussion that is taking place.

You are amongst some of the world's greatest children's entertainers here, including a world champion for goodness sakes, and all you can do is whine that nobody except for Clownboy is taking you seriously.

Best,
James

P.S. I'm glad you've dropped the whole "hiding behind the computer" thing. That was quite daft wasn't it.
Tony James
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I got caught trying to correct this piece. this is what I intended to say.

I think some of us have been marking time making small talk awaiting your return. And you have.

Perhaps the difference here Jeff - and I'm going back to some your of original thoughts - is that no matter what the influences and effects you detect in children from difficult backgrounds , what we find when entertaining them is that they behave and react - in the main - like children always have and they respond to the same classic material as children did generations ago.

The reason I would hope is that for a magic hour - as it is here - whatever the child's concerns, they leave them behind as they become enthralled in wonderland of which they are watching not through a keyhole but are there, taking part.

That is what all good theatre is about. Suspension of belief or, for the cynics - suspension of disbelief.
Tony James

Still A Child At Heart
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