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Graham Nichols
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Michael Vincent's technical skill, grace, charm and warmth put him at the very top for me. Pure elegence from when he removes the deck from its packet, to when your jaw hits the floor. A truly nice guy with or without cards.
Niko
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Max Somerset. You may not have heard of him....but you will.....soon enough...and if you have Sky TV you may have seen him on Max Magic...
-Nik
When you do something right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.
corpmagi
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Jon Allen's no slouch either
A Modern Trade Show Handbook
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wisdom
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A lot of the people mentioned on this thread are certainly technically skillful. However I am not sure that makes them "the best close up card magicians in England"

I would have thought the best card magicians In England (and Scotland, oh all right Wales and Ireland too!) should be defined as the most entertaining ones. The ones with the most interesting and colourful personalities. The ones who have great patter, who use words effectively and who know how to manipulate people as well as cards. The ones who are psychologists as well as technicians. Entertainers who can make laymen gasp.Who can amuse as well as amaze.

Many of the names in this thread have as much personality and performing ability as a dead fish. I didn't say all of them. I just said "many" I won't name names since I don't want to offend anybody.

There is more to magic than finger flinging. I am constantly amazed at the way magicians drool over people who can manipulate cards in a thousand different ways and pay scant attention to someone who excels in the presentation department.Sure they will pay lip service to good presentation but they are not really interested in it. That is why there are so many bad card magicians.

There is a thread on here about who does the best pass. The daftest question imaginable. It is a typical example of people being fascinated in the wrong thing.

A better title for this thread would be "which card magician in the UK has the best patter?" I strongly suspect the one who has the best patter will be the one who is REALLY the best card magician.
AndrewG
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Wisdom, I couldn't agree more. Just when I was losing faith in this forum after being disapointed by, as you say, "who's the best pass". "Who's got the best double lift" inane questions we get a good one about who's a good performer.

Yet still it's trying to veer off into who is the best card mechanic.

We should focus on who is good enough to make a successful living professionally as a magician. That should refine the listr a bit!
Andrew
Euan
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Hrmm.. Quite a few of the people already mentioned do make a successful living through performing.

Euan
wisdom
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They don't even have to be able to earn a living with it. I fully recognise that magic is a fascinating hobby for some people. Art has little to do with money and some professional card magicians are not good performers either although I will concede that the batting average is higher.

No.All I ask is that people who purport to perform card tricks PERFORM them. Not mumble through their words, talk too fast or too slow, work in an arrogant fashion, or use so many sleights that laymen know that something has happened. The layman may not know what has happened but they know SOMETHING has happened.

That is not an example of being a good card magician. A good card magician is someone who has an audience of LAYMEN gasping, laughing and saying "salaami, salaami"

The trouble is that magicians pay lip service to this concept then retreat back into the introverted world of second deals and so called invisible passes. This is because it is a fascinating way of avoiding the real world. They know in their heart of hearts that they should be learning drama and showmanship but they can hide away for the moment in intricate technical uselessness.

I see lots of threads here on "who has the best pass" or "who does the best second deal?". I never see a thread on "which card magician has the best patter?" or "which card magician is the best psychologist?" or "who gets the best reaction from laymen?"

We need the backroom boys, the inventors and even the technicians (to some degree) but these are not good card magicians. A good card magician is someone who can entrance and entertain an audience of laymen. Yes laymen. I am not impressed with magicians who impress other magicians.This is often a sign that the performer is simply a technician with no entertainment skills.

I maintain that a good card magician only needs about 5 sleights.Once he has learned these then he should concentrate on psychology, patter and presentation. Showmanship is everything. He should learn to present HIMSELF presenting magic. It is not the trick that makes the magician, rather the magician that makes the trick.

I am not saying that a card magician should limit himself to only 5 sleights. I am simply saying there are higher priorities. Learn more moves if you wish but remember it should not be your main focus. In fact it is foolish to be skilful beyond the bounds of necessity. It can in fact be detrimental to your work. It makes you use 3 sleights when only one will do. It can make you do things the hard way instead of using the common sense approach of using an easier method when one is available.

My definition of a great card magician may be vastly different from the norm. It shouldn't be. I know that learning the tedious stuff of patter, presentation and psychology is difficult for people to learn. However it is going to be worth more in the end than learning the latest way to do a double lift.

It is the man, not the trick. THAT is how you become a great card magician.
Euan
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Sorry wisdom, but you need both to be a great card magician. All the patter and drama in the world is not going to go very far in covering up a distinct lack of technical skill.

If you only know five sleights you are very limited as to what is the best method to use. Going down the 'easiest method' road is a very dangerous one as though it may be easy it's not neccessarily going to be the best! You are also at a distinct disadvantage when you have to change the method or come back from a mistake.

Do you think Vernon would have been such a good magician if he had very poor technical skills? I seriously doubt it..

Euan
wisdom
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Oh dear!
It appears that Euan is in need of education. I shall be delighted to give it to him.
I did not say that a card magician MUST only know about 5 sleights. I myself know a great many. Technique is inded important. However there are higher priorities. People who get tied up in card intricacies tend to neglect what is far, far more important.

I said you only NEED about 5 sleights. If you know a few more than this so much the better but it is not really that important and in fact can be too much of a good thing on occasion.

Nate Leipzig was no slouch. He only used a tiny handful of sleights. I think 4 altogether. I am sure he knew a few more but he wisely believe that subtlety was better than finger flinging when there was a choice. And there often is a choice.

Eddie Tullock the great trade show magician used a top change,a force, a control, a double lift, a flase shuffle and I think that was about it.

Chan Canasta the great mentalist whose work was 90% cards used two sleights only! A classic force and a false shuffle. Incidentally, his fondness for card tricks puts a dent in the argument that mentalists use when they don't approve of playing cards. We had better argue about that some other time.

I do not agree that it is necessary to have a multipicity of sleights available in order to get out of tricky situations. The wonderful book on this subject "Outs, Precautions and Challenges" by Charles Hopkins has a great variety of methods of getting out of trouble. None of them require great finger flinging technique. In fact most of them require no more than the basic 5 sleights that I am thinking of.

Even Paul Le Paul who said that "there is no substitute for skill" filled his book up with material that was only moderately difficult. The first half of the book had a bit of stuff for you to work on.Yet the actual trick section was pretty easy and didn't require that much digital dexterity.

Le Paul also seemed to agree with you that the simplest method is not always the easiest. I partially agree with that. You have to use the best method available and sometimes this is one which does take a bit of handling. However, in most cases the simplest method is indeed the easiest.

Let me quote to you from Expert Card Technique. There is enough finger flinging in there to last a lifetime. I expect Euan has read the book back to front and inside out as Scottish card magicians tend to do. I also suspect he has missed the most important bit. Here it is.
"The very best method of performing a given trick is the easiest method, and it is the method which should be used. The complication of a trick for complication's sake, a strange malady sometimes noted amongst conjurers, should be rigidly eschewed.

f with a simple cut, you can secure the effect of transposing the packets, and do this undetected under cover of misdirection, the simple cut should by all means be used. To use the pass under such circumstances is unnecessary and unwise; the real card expert invariably employs the simplest sleight which will enable him to reach a given end,concetrating his attention upon doing the sleight well rather than expending energy in making difficult an easy move"

Vernon indeed had great technical skills. However I am sure he would agree with every word I have said. Indeed when he created something he would try his ***dest to shear away unnecessary sleights.

It is well to remember that the effect on the audience is what counts. Some of the greatest card tricks in existence use no sleight of hand whatever.These should definitely be mixed in with more technically challenging material. Furthermore as already stated I will always go with a subtlety rather than a sleight if I deem in my infinite wisdom that said subtlety acheives the same result and is equally deceptive.

No. It is desirable to have "both" as you put it. However it not essential. It IS essential to have the showmanship and presentation skills. The technique should be put on the back burner until this far more important quality is mastered. I would agree that good presentation is far more difficult to achieve than good technique. However that is utterly no excuse for the non achieving of it.

My sermon is over.
Euan , go and sin no more.
John McDonald
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Surely technical profficiency is a pre-requisite for performing miracles with cards. Confidence and full concentration on presentation will be the result.
Best wishes John
Tarbell Magic
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Wisdom,

… That’s the peachiest post I have ever read, even for The Magic Café. Was it also off topic? Believe me; you really do NEED to know more than five basic sleights.

You are a magician first, a showman next.

You are not a singer. You are not a comedian. You are not a bearded lady.

You are a magician.

Therefore, (and assuming that card’s are your forte) that means complete mastery of many sleights.

By virtue, having a mental database (and mastery) of lots of sleights will help you discover an economy of motion, whether inventing, or (for instance) learning a routine from a book, REGARDLESS of any demanding move required.

This really shouldn’t be an issue.

Most of the technicians I have met put as much care and thought into their presentations as they do their practice sessions. The whole idea that technicians have little or no inter-personal skills with their audience is a typical stereotype.

"The very best method of performing a given trick is the easiest method, and it is the method which should be used. The complication of a trick for complication's sake, a strange malady sometimes noted amongst conjurers, should be rigidly eschewed.”

Kawrong! Even Jean and Fred had their off days.

The very best method of performing a trick is the method which is most direct. Period.

Read the above sentence again and think about it.

Of course, that’s just my opinion. I wouldn’t dream of assuming what Vernon, Le Paul, Leipzig, or Hugard may or may not have said on the matter, though I can exclusively reveal that all regularly performed more than five sleights and are ‘names’ we all know because of their skill.

Going back to an earlier post of yours:

“Many of the names in this thread have as much personality and performing ability as a dead fish. I didn't say all of them. I just said "many" I won't name names since I don't want to offend anybody.”

Offend away. Name them!
Euan
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Quote:
"The very best method of performing a trick is the method which is most direct. Period."


Exactly! A quick glance through the Complete Walton volumes one and two will confirm this to be true as will a quick flick through the Paul Gordon books show the opposite.

Sadly the most direct method is not an easy task to accomplish when you limit yourself to five 'easy sleights'.

Quote:
"Let me quote to you from Expert Card Technique. There is enough finger flinging in there to last a lifetime. I expect Euan has read the book back to front and inside out as Scottish card magicians tend to do. I also suspect he has missed the most important bit. Here it is.


"as Scottish card magicians tend to do"... Explain yourself man! I read all the books I buy, what's the point in buying a book if you're not going to read it?

Euan Smile
wisdom
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I see the mud is bubbling. Jolly good.
Obviously the cap fits.
I am highly delighted that the esteemed "weenie boy" thinks that my post is the "peachiest" post he has read for a while. I am glad he likes it.

I would have been quite perturbed if he thought it was the "preachiest" rather than the "peachiest"

On second thoughts I wouldn't. Sometimes the incompetents of card magic need to hear this sermon even if they don't particularly care for it. I don't particularly care for the bad entertainment they have foisted on me for many years but I have had to put up with it.

I am a very busy man with lots of important things to attend to so I will have to come back to this in more detail later.

However, I would like to leave Euan with an explanation of the "Scottish" bit. A very large section of card enthusiasts come from Scotland. No doubt because of the influence of Roy Walton. I have heard Bobby Bernard refer to it as the "Scottish Mafia"
I merely meant that they are bound to have read Expert Card Technique since there is enough finger flinging in there to distract them from learning how to present magic properly.

Incidentally I am Scottish myself.However, I had the misfortune of learning card magic in a certain peninsula jutting of the north coast of Scotland. Namely England.

With regard to my fan "weenieboy" I fear he has a lot to learn.
You are NOT a magician first and a showman second.I nearly spewed up when I read that.
You must always be a showman first, second and last. The magic comes along for the ride.

In fact the very idea that being a magician and a showman are two separate things utterly appalls me. If you are not a showman you are not a magician. It is part of parcel of being a magician. In fact it is the most important tool of your trade.

Now do try harder, both of you. I will return to complete your education later.

In the meantime I do expect both of you to work on your patter and showmanship. You can practice that invisible turnover pass later.
Tarbell Magic
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Alas, there was a typo and I wrote peachiest instead of preachiest. Typos happen, Wisdom:

“Eddie Tullock the great trade show magician used a top change,a force, a control, a double lift, a flase shuffle and I think that was about it.”

I’ll did out Expert Card Technique later and find out what a ‘Flase Shuffle’ is.

As to you nearly 'spewing' when you read my post; I hope it wasn’t over your audience. The poor sods sound like they have enough to contend with already.

“In fact the very idea that being a magician and a showman are two separate things utterly appalls me. If you are not a showman you are not a magician. It is part of parcel of being a magician. In fact it is the most important tool of your trade.”

‘Appalls’?

I didn’t say that. Magic and showmanship are of course interconnected. Remember though, it’s Magic and Showmanship. Not the other way around.

“I am a very busy man with lots of important things to attend to so I will have to come back to this in more detail later.”

Like spending all day posting off topic comments with little regard for others’ opinions and then getting a bit ‘angry’ about it, you mean?

Are you this condescending to your audience, and come to that, do you actually perform any magic at all?

Remember:

"The very best method of performing a trick is the method which is most direct. Period."

Your lesson for today is complete.
jezza
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From some of the magicans I have seen on tv recently in uk on astounding celebrities id say I'm the best card guy in uk , just out of interest ive never seen Michael vincent perform and only seen guy hollingsworths torn and restored which he performs excellently, what would I expect to see from a top guy what effects would I see , are magicians rated in personality audience entertainment or difficulty of what they do, give me an example of an effect of an effect I would see,
Euan
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"From some of the magicans I have seen on tv recently in uk on astounding celebrities id say I'm the best card guy in uk"

:D
tommy
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Is there any place in the UK like "Schuliens" USA Café? If not will one of you Cardicians open one then we can all get out a bit more and show off.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
John McDonald
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We sadly lost Peter Kane recently .... He was so creative. I think he deserves a mention in this thread about card magicians in England. Similarities can be drawn with Alex Elmsley in that he was not an outright entertainer. However, he certailnly created thousands of entertaining plots and subtleties.... without him we would not have had Jazz aces and its variations by Ortiz et al.
Best wishes John
wisdom
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Quote:
Incidentally I am Scottish myself.However, I had the misfortune of learning card magic in a certain peninsula jutting of the north coast of Scotland. Namely England.



Sorry, I should have said the south coast of Scotland. I am as good at geography as most card magicians are at presenting card magic.
Euan
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I wasn't aware that Scotland had a south coast Smile .. How do you feel card magic should be presented then? Share the wisdom.. err.. Wisdom.

Euan Smile
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