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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Mentally Speaking » » Mental Sweets, by Fabien Arcole and Eric Bertrand - foreword by Marc Paul (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Cervier
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Ok, I read on forums that book was nice, some professional mentalist friends told me it was good, so I bought it. And read it overnight.

And (watch out, spoiler ahead Smile ) it IS very, very nice!!!

But let me go back to the end of my first read. A read I'd done at the speed and with the appetite of a kid looking for chocolate Easter eggs Smile When I reached the back cover, I felt satisfied, but was missing the fireworks I had kind of expected...

Then it started to sink in... For instance, I could feel I wanted, I needed to perform a few of the routines ASAP!!! I could feel the cogs in my brain starting to turn and to click.

I didn't find 'fireworky' stuff in there because there isn't any. As the authors and Marc Paul write, you're not presented with a revolution, but with the authors' take on classics, and with rock-solid workers. That made me think of something I had heard Gordon Ramsay tell a guy in one of his TV shws. The cook had put on the menu something out from a book meant for home cooking, for when you have plenty of time and few guests. Ramsay had told the guy in a professional situation, you need stuff that is simple and fast to prepare.
That's what I feel the material in this book is like: professional, tested material. Solid structures, simple methods, not a glittery dream but stuff that hits home!

By the way, this book is not for beginners. They'll miss the shine. Moreover, the authors refer to many methods and routines without of course explaining them. So you'd better have read PME, 13 Steps, MM&M and be familiar with the work of Max MAven, Bob Cassidy, Richard Osterlind to name but a few. When the authors write "do the so and so move", they assume you know what that means.

Now, about the contents.

The first part is a love song to switches! And I must say the routine they give to illustrate their point are very convincing and very appealing! Their Q&A, though not 'revolutionnary', is clever, yet dead simple and you may find yourself wondering "why haven't I been doing it like that in the first place?".

The second part contains other routines, among which a little jewel called "Orsay". There again, I'ts an excellent illustration of (if not a lesson on) how things should be done. Here it's about, mmm, the principle of progressive anagrams.

The third part is about essays and methods. Very interesting!

When I finished my second read, I realized I wanted to do almost all of the routines, that even though I had different views on some details, I found the book to be clear, well presented, intelligently argumented and an enjoyable read.

I will add, even though the book is not for beginners, they would profit from analyzing how the routines are build! Nothing fancy, but solid and efficient structures. Pro work. Nice. (I can't wait to get better and go out and perform some... Smile)
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bofx
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Wow, thanks Cervier!!! Glad you enjoy the book!

Just to clarify, Orsay is indeed based (mainly) on the progressive anagrams principle BUT in a rather unusual way (and certainly more logical than the "traditional" one IMO).
Robb
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I always respect Cervier's opinions on various threads so I've ordered this.
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Jonathan1000
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I just started reading this book, but I must say that the first item -- a "Q and A" routine -- is truly sensational: It's the cleanest version -- with the most motivated moves -- I have read. Smile

I'm really looking forward to the remainder of the book.
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Ashton
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Quote:
On Feb 16, 2016, Jonathan1000 wrote:
I just started reading this book, but I must say that the first item -- a "Q and A" routine -- is truly sensational: It's the cleanest version -- with the most motivated moves -- I have read. Smile

I'm really looking forward to the remainder of the book.


Agreed! The Q&A in Mental Sweets really is good.
lejulio
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Thank you Cervier for your review. This book looks amazing
mtgoldstein
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I am thoroughly enjoying this book. One of the best purchases I've made
VIEW
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I like this books ambition, but not its execution.

The routines are simple and clear in premise. But not in operation.

Sometimes 3-5 billet switches are suggested when the classic cassidys routines require far less.

At one time, the author suggests switching a billet with hot information while the mentalists back is facing the audience. Really?
bofx
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On May 10, 2016, VIEW wrote:
Sometimes 3-5 billet switches are suggested when the classic cassidys routines require far less.

Here is Eric answer, the author of billets chapter:

"It is absolutely true that the original Cassidy's handlings are more streamlined (e.g. less switches). This being said, I think that the efficiency has to be measured by taking into consideration the objectives sought.
Let me explain with the example of the Name/Place routine. In Cassidy's handling, there is only one switch (real billet #1 against the dummy). But in the end:
> The performer needs to openly read one billet before doing the second revelation, and
> The performer cannot return the billet that was not burnt to its author (because it has been miscalled).
In my handling, I wanted to get rid of these two features, which I considered as weaknesses (because they point to the one-ahead principle). Therefore, I had two additional objectives to reach when compared with Bob Cassidy's handling. In order to do so, I need to do 4 switches instead of one.
So, yes, the handling is more complex than the original one. On the other hand, this handling prevents the audience from thinking "one-ahead". Everything seems legitimate: I do the two revelations in sequence without opening any billet, and immediately after the revelations the billets are returned to their authors.

In other words, this higher complexity is the price to pay for being able to return each billet to his author immediately and therefore destroying the possibility of reverse-engineering the one-ahead principle. If you change the process and don't return the billets, you immediately cut the number of switches by two (at least), but in my opinion, you weaken the effect (of course, this is strictly a matter of personal opinion).

By nature, every routine based on the one-ahead which also involves returning the billets to their authors requires a lot of switches: the billet you return to the participant is NOT the billet you have just read and therefore these two billets need to be switched with one another. Look at the M.O.B. Billet Routine by Mike O'Brien, made popular by Andy Nyman in Short, Punchy & Mental (Lecture Notes) for a perfect example of this, or at the content of Completely Mental Vol.2 by Jas Jakutsch. In his "A Question is Answered" (Theater of the Mind Act Two), Barrie Richardson offers a great variation of Annemann's classic routine with 4 switches to deal with only one billet. And it flies like a breeze (that's the variation I use all the time).

Is the number of switches really important? I don't think so, as long as each one is justified by a clear objective (such as being able to return the billet immediately after having read it).

I would also add that the difficulty of the handling is independent from the number of switches. My handling is certainly a bit more process-heavy (still remaining quite straightforward) but the switches are quite easy to perform: most of them are performed either while moving, or behind a screen, or when the effect is apparently over and nobody pays attention to the billets anymore. They are therefore non-events as far as discretion is concerned. In most cases, only the initial switch can be considered as a "hot" switch, and even this initial switch is easily covered."
Demitri
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Your book sounds very interesting, and I really want to check it out. I wanted to say, though, that one of the weaknesses you speak of with name/place ( I disagree with your assessment, personally, but everyone is entitled to their opinion) can easily be eliminated since you can, quite easily, return the unburned billet if you're so inclined.

Not saying this should detract from your book - I'm all for variations and differences in thinking and execution, I just thought a different side to be given.
mtgoldstein
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I must say the more I read this work the more in love I am with it! Cervier's first post is exactly on point and I don't think I can add to it! The routining is so brilliant it makes you want to perform these works, and Orsay is beautiful! It demonstrates how to slightly alter the standard "technique" into a thing of beauty, the technique disappears. Difficult to describe but it's similiar to Paul Brooks' use of the magic square in Juxtapose so that it's not a magic square effect, or Colin McCloud's usage of which hand in Prophesy so that it's not a which hand effect.

It is true that in order to achieve the ability to near immediatly return the billets and destroy the method more switching is required, but it is a simple slight and is well addressed by Eric ( through bofx above).

I digress but I just wanted to say what a wonderfully rich book this is. Again nothing new and sparkly just great thinking on some classic effects and methods!
mastermindreader
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If you really feel the need to, you can return the last billet in Name/Place the exact same way that I return them in 4DT. (Just pretend to cross out your "notes" when you're misreading the billet.) And the handling of the routine completely negates any suspicion of a one ahead.

When I first started doing the routine- before I published it- mentalists were just as floored by it as laymen.

And the "open read" remains one of the most effective and surefire methods of secretly reading a billet.

Are you seriously suggesting that there is anything suspicious or less than direct in this live network television performance of Name/Place (which I re-framed here as an experiment in remote viewing)? :

mastermindreader
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It should also be noted that no one requested my permission to refer to my methods (there are several) or handlings for Name/Place. I hope that hasn't happened. My stuff is NOT public domain.
bofx
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Dear Bob,
Regarding Mental Sweets, we have sent you an email in September 2015 (ie before the book publication) containing the full text of the book in PDF for approval. If needed, don't hesitate to contact me by MP.
bofx
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Quote:
On Jun 6, 2016, mtgoldstein wrote:
I must say the more I read this work the more in love I am with it! Cervier's first post is exactly on point and I don't think I can add to it! The routining is so brilliant it makes you want to perform these works, and Orsay is beautiful! It demonstrates how to slightly alter the standard "technique" into a thing of beauty, the technique disappears. Difficult to describe but it's similiar to Paul Brooks' use of the magic square in Juxtapose so that it's not a magic square effect, or Colin McCloud's usage of which hand in Prophesy so that it's not a which hand effect.

It is true that in order to achieve the ability to near immediatly return the billets and destroy the method more switching is required, but it is a simple slight and is well addressed by Eric ( through bofx above).

I digress but I just wanted to say what a wonderfully rich book this is. Again nothing new and sparkly just great thinking on some classic effects and methods!

Thanks Mark!!!
Joe Atmore
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On Jun 9, 2016, bofx wrote:
Dear Bob,
Regarding Mental Sweets, we have sent you an email in September 2015 (ie before the book publication) containing the full text of the book in PDF for approval. If needed, don't hesitate to contact me by MP.


Did he respond to you? Can't remember the legal term, but certainly Bob would know - something like negative consent isn't appropriate.
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mastermindreader
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I have just thoroughly checked all emails I received at my regular email address (bobcassidy@rocketmail.com) in September 2015. I didn't receive anything at all regarding this book.

I did discover,though, that I received a notice from Microsoft that a message sent by Eric Bertrand to my public website at bobcassidy.net was returned to the sender as "undeliverable" due to a quarantine on the email address.

I'm not trying to create any controversy here. Just pointing out that I never received or read the book.

Didn't anyone wonder why there was no response from me?

Bob
bofx
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For the Black Friday, enjoy a 15% discount on "Mental Sweets".
http://www.lulu.com/shop/fabien-arcole-a......824.html
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Mentally Speaking » » Mental Sweets, by Fabien Arcole and Eric Bertrand - foreword by Marc Paul (1 Likes)
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