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Simon Shaw, Suffolk, England
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Profile of Bananafish
The Underground Collection. Vol1
PDF: £10.00 ($18.) from :

This is the new collection of card routines by "The Underground Collective" and friends, and it’s special. Very special. Jamie Badman, and Colin Miller have really excelled themselves with this publication, and (IMO) "The Underground Collective" are starting to get a really good name for themselves.

For the £10 ($18.) asking price, you aren’t just getting five new card tricks, you are getting five excellent and strong routines complete with the very well thought out presentations.

Having just read through this booklet with a deck of cards in my hands I am now excited (no not in that way!), excited at the prospect of performing these routines.

They say that there is a mix of effects to satisfy all levels of ability, although to be honest I would suggest that the level is mainly intermediate or above. In saying that I would still have no hesitation in recommending this booklet to anyone of any level, as even if some of the moves are beyond you it is a great example of how routines should be put together, and will give great incentive to keep practicing until you can do them all.

My only grumble if any (and I had to struggle to find one), was that I didn’t know one of the moves in the booklet, and it wasn’t explained in any detail. A quick email to Jamie Badman though, and he sent me an immediate response back with the help I needed. For reference the move was the “Tilt”, aka “Marlo’s Tilt” or “Vernon’s Depth Illusion”, which incidentally is a beauty, but I guess all you cardicians out there knew that already (next time please keep ME informed of these things!).

The Effects
Mixed Cargo
Difficulty : 3/5
This is a beautiful routine, with a real kicker finish. The story goes that it was developed during a furious three-way brainstorm by Jamie Badman, Peter Duffie and Robin Robertson. I just love that! That’s how all tricks should be born. Three magicians in a pub, with a beer in one hand and a deck of cards in the other! Well congratulations guys as you came up with a good one.

card is selected and lost in the middle of the deck. A second card is selected which unfortunately wasn’t the original selection. Has the trick gone wrong I hear you ask? Don’t be a plonker, of course it hasn’t!
Obviously that card is just an indicator card, so for example, if it was a 5 then we’ll count 5 cards down on to the table, and unlike the “Insurance Policy Trick”, the fifth card isn’t just the card that was first selected, but it’s now face up!!! When did that Happen!!!

And does the trick stop there? Oh no. There’s more. By this time there are three piles of cards on the table. If the original card selected was a queen, then the three tabled piles are turned over one by one to reveal the other three queens!

The Three Wizards
Difficulty : 4/5
This certainly could never be described as a mere “Card Trick”, it’s a whole routine that encompasses three completely separate card tricks wonderfully choreographed together, so that it naturally forms a bonus trick at the end. Not only that it has a great story line.

With a single deck of cards the magician offers to show the spectators some stunts often associated with famous magicians. For the first effect he chooses “David Blaine”

A card is freely selected by the spectator, who is then asked to write "David Blaine" on it, followed by their own name as they will represent the lovely assistant. What follows is an excellent “Triumph” routine where the cards are randomly mixed, some face up and some face down until the whole deck is just in complete chaos. It is explained that normally it would take ages to sort out the cards in this state. But not for Mr. Blaine. With a single click of the fingers all the cards are shown to have righted themselves. Except of course, for the David Blaine Card.

The second great magician chosen is Harry Houdini himself. Another card is freely selected by the spectator who signs Houdini’s name and their own name. As Houdini is most famous for his escapology, his feat will be escaping from the deck, surrounded by 51 Guards (Playing Guards?). What follows is an Ambitious Card routine where the big H escapes time and time again, always appearing at the top of the deck. Finally, just to make it extra difficult for Houdini, he is placed in a cell (the Card Case), an elastic band is wrapped around it and the box is placed on top of an empty glass. That way everyone will see if he tries to escape again.

The final magician is David Copperfield. A magician famous for his great illusions. This time a card is selected, but not shown to the magician.

The card is cut into the deck, and the magician claims that this represents Copperfield positioning himself ready for the illusion. The cards are shuffled, and it is explained that the top card will be turned over and that will indicate how many cards down DC will miraculously appear.

Ok – now listen carefully as from here on it gets very exciting.

The top card is turned over, which is in fact the selected Copperfield card, but seemingly this fact is not known by the magician, and so he places the indicator card (who is actually David C.) on to the table, and then counts down the specified number of cards. When he gets to the indicated card, he holds it face down and asks the spectator to reveal their card. Of course they will say (perhaps a little too smugly!) that it was the indicator card that is already on the table.

With slight embarrassment, turning into a knowing smile, you can then say, “Well, that’s why David Copperfield is a master illusionist”, and then turn over the card in your hand to show that in fact you were correct all along.

The finale. (Don’t you just love this routine?)

You ask the spectators who they think the card on the table could be, and when it is turned over it is revealed to be Harry Houdini who obviously escaped from his box, right in front of everyone’s eyes!

So who could be left in the box?

"Ladies and Gentlemen, who ELSE would spend all this time suspended in a box! Above the Below, I give you Daaaaaaaaaaavid Blaine"

Poetry. Pure magic poetry.

The Voodoo Deck
Difficulty : 4/5
This is a very nice black magic trick, that would be ideal to perform at Halloween. The story goes that in your travels you came across a strange deck that seems to impart the powers of voodoo on whoever handles the cards.

The spectator cuts the deck and chooses which half is to be used. The cards are shuffled, and then spread ready for the spectator to touch the card they wish to use. The touched card is turned over within the packet (a great move by the way), and the face down spread cards are placed on the table with the selected card face up in the middle.

The other half of the deck is then spread, face down on the table only to discover that the mate of the selected card is already turned face up!!

As this was pretty weird, it is repeated again with a second selected card.

The third time it is repeated, the selected card is a 6, and rather than just one mate being found in the second half of the deck, all three sizes are found. 666. The number of the beast…[cue eerie music]

As well as the normal pages on effect and workings this trick also has all the patter needed for a great ‘spooky’ presentation, plus a page of additional notes and credits. One of the recommendations is to have a deck of black backed cards in a small black silk bag.

I get a chilling feeling down th eback of my spine just thinking about performing this one J

Pain, Strain and Bachache
Difficulty : 2/5

After the cards are shuffled and cut, the top eight are dealt down on to the table in two rows off 4.

The spectator chooses one of the rows, and the cards from the discarded row are added to the bottom of the deck one by one.

The spectator is then asked to select one of the remaining 4 cards by placing a small object (coin or lighter etc) on top of it.

The deck is then plonked on one of the un-chosen cards and picked up. The spectator is asked if they wish to change their selection, and again the deck is plonked on top of on of the un-chosen cards.

This is repeated until one card remains. All seems more than fair.

You then explain that you are going to use the cards like a reference book, after all if you went to a doctor with a pain, strain or backache, he would look the symptoms up in his book, so why shouldn’t you do the same.

Whilst you are explaining this, the cards are dealt into three face down piles.

The first reference book you consult is pile one. So you turn over the top card. The King of spades.

You explain, that this tells you that their card is a King, and obviously is not a spade.

The card is turned back over, and the top card of the next pile is turned up.
This is the King of hearts. Aha. “Your card is a king – and obviously not a heart”

The card is turned back over, and the top card of the last pile is turned up.
This is the King of Diamonds. “Well, as your card is a King, and isn’t a Diamond Heart or Spade. Then it must be the King of Clubs. Please turn over your card.”

Of course when the spectators card is turned over it isn’t a King at all. It’s an Ace. This calls for either a quick exit, or a little bit of magic.

Luckily for us, the UC boys have supplied the magic. The top cards are turned over again, and this time they are the other 3 aces.

Nice one.

[color=darkgreen]Here it is[/color]
Difficulty : 3/5

This is the only routine in the manuscript that can’t be performed with a regular deck of cards. In saying that the item needed is not only readily available, but more than likely already in your magic box.

In saying that it is well worth while as it is a very amusing and fun trick to perform.

The spectator selects a card, that is then lost in the middle of the deck. The deck is turned face up and spread, and sure enough somewhere in the middle of the deck is a single face down card.

On the back of this face down card is written:-
“Turn Me Over”
So the magician does as told, and on the face of the card there is more writing.
“Look in the box.”
The magician places the card and deck to one side, and looks in the box. Sure enough there’s a card inside with more writing on it.
“It’s on the Table” [This is getting ridiculous!]
Turning back to the tabled face down card that was set aside earlier, there’s now some new writing on the back. [When did that happen?]
“Here it is!”
And lo and behold, the card is turned over and found to be the spectators card. Phew.

But does it end there? Of course not.

The magician explains that that was the “hard way” to locate the card. When he’s feeling tired he will use the easy way.

So what’s that everyone asks?

Well, it’s simple, I just change the colour of all the cards that were not selected. And with that, the spread deck is turned over and it is revealed that they are now all blue backed as opposed to the box and selected card which was red backed….

This is a truly miraculous climax, and is sure to take everyone by surprise.

Bottom Line
These are all very strong routines, all with killer surprise endings. Thanks Jamie, Colin and anyone else that went to make up this manuscript.

Roll on Volume 2!
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Profile of magiclou
Great review bannanafish, I also have the book and think it's absolutely great. A good well written indepth review...we need more of these on the Café.
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Simon Shaw, Suffolk, England
415 Posts

Profile of Bananafish
Thanks for the feedback Magiclou.

I was pretty excited about this, but sometimes I think doing a longer review isn't worth it, as I feel it can put people off actually reading it all and consequently they just skip to the next thread.
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Profile of cataquet
I had a good look at the Underground Collection, and I have to disagree with Bananafish. His difficulty ratings are too high. There is nothing difficult here; everything is at worst a 3/5 difficulty rating... The Tilt is really a card 101 move, so I think that these ratings probably reflect his card expertise. I'm not a card man by any means, but I found that I could pretty much do everything in the manuscript after one good read through with a pack of cards in hand.

Don't get me wrong. I had a few gripes with the document. For example, there are no pictures. So, in an effect like Mixed Cargo, I had to read the explanation three or four times to figure out where to put the packets. Also, what is supposed to be a description of the effect was in reality a description of the events. That is, you read "spectator takes card..." rather than "color changing deck".

For me, the effect that is easily worth the price of the notes is "The Three Wizards" It roughly speaking combines Triumph, Ambitious card and Danbury Delusion to create a beautifully integrated routine. The best part is that no setup is needed! Great thinking here, and it's a routine that I have added to my repertoire.

"Pain Strain & Backache" is described as the easiest trick in the book and the authors' favorite. However, I didn't like the starting point - spectator eventually takes one of eight tabled cards. However, the climax is great. So, I've been working on changing the handling to suit my style.

That's actually a compliment. Normally, I will read a routine and say "Nah!" and then turn to the next one. The fact that I am willing to play with the structure means that it is a worthwhile effect and that the method is a good one.

So, if you are a card man and haven't bought it yet, do so. You won't be disappointed.

Bye for now

Harold Cataquet
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Profile of knave
Nice Review, this is a great book.

However, I have to agree with Harold, there's really nothing that difficult here. Everything should be within the reach of your average card hobbyist - which is a plus point in my opinion.


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Simon Shaw, Suffolk, England
415 Posts

Profile of Bananafish
so I think that these ratings probably reflect his card expertise

Well certainly I hold my hand up to that Smile, my card expertise has a heck of a long way to go. Smile

However, I feel I may have confused the issue a little by not including an index to the rating system I use for all my reviews.

1=easy to do, self working.
2=No sleights, but not so easy,
3=Some sleights used,
4=Advanced sleights used,
5=Suitable for experienced magicians only

I hope this clarifies things a little bit.
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Profile of jbadman
We tried to have something for everyone in the manuscript; a couple of quite easy routines, a couple of harder routines and something... gaffed!

Incidently, if anyone buys this manuscript and doesn't understand a sleight or concept then just mail me; I'll *always* do my best to help.

Jamie. - check out our new DVD now!
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Profile of jgodwin
Got this a few days back and have been working through the contents. This is incredible; I'm so used to buying a book and getting one effect if I'm lucky from it that I like. This collection, I like pretty much everything in it!

'Three Wizards' really rocks; it's not just great construction but the presentation supplied makes this engaging and interesting for spectators - and it's a complete 'routine' being more like three tricks in one. All this and it's from a shuffled deck 'in use'. No gaffs, no setups. The finish is a KILLER.

The other stuff has been reviewed by Bananafish here and I pretty much agree with his comments so I won't dwell on it. I just had to yell a bit about 'Three Wizards'. Stunning.

Guys, this collection is something else. I'm waiting already for Volume 2, though I can't see how it'll top this one.

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Profile of GReaper
Any news a volume two yet? I can't wait!!

'Three Wizards' for me is worth the price of the book, great stuff!!
Grim Reaper

Top Childrens Entertaner (CRB checked)

(AKA Bob Stevens)
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Profile of cmiller
George, we are working on volume two as we speak, we will notify all of the Underground Collective members as soon as it is released.
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