Voice of Britain
Another new year and hopefully a happy magical one to everyone who reads my reports. Thanks for the letters and encouragement over the years and it’s a pleasure bringing you news from little old Britain! During the winter months magic conventions flourish here, unlike over in your land when events usually take place during summer months.
THE MAGIC CIRCLE BANQUET.
This annual event, held at the plush Hotel Russell, where I have staged many a Supreme convention proved an exciting occasion.
Nearly 250 attended and the ticket price of over $90 per person didn’t keep people away. Ali Bongo presented a quiz which everyone participated in. After the excellent meal, well-known (in this country) TV perfor- mer/comedian/presenter, Nicholas Parsons proposed the toast to the Magic Circle with President David Berglas in charge as usual, although handing over his office soon. David responded and mentioned that after nine years as President he was standing down. The Circle rewards came next. A brand new award, one for the youth who had contributed most to the club’s magazine The Young Magician of which I have the honour of writing for each issue, was awarded to Gabriel Citron. The close-up trophy bearing Devano’s name, was presented to Ali Bongo. For best trick published in the society’s magazine Magic Circular, The Cecil Lyle Award, went to Mark Leveridge and comedy award went to Richard Dougal.
Donald Bevan of Abra received the John Nevil Maskelyne prize. He couldn’t attend owing to his wife Lilian being ill and so Fergus Roy of Davenports accepted the award on his behalf. Alex Elmsley received the top award, that of “The Maskelyne.” Then it was the cabaret, with Alan Shaxon as a brilliant MC. Rousseau with his cigarette magic, cigars, flowers and a glass of brandy plus smart billiard ball manipulation scored well with his award-winning act.
My friend Mark Raffles who has just appeared at the famous London Palladium, scored heavily with his act, producing doves, sword through the Neck climaxing with his famous egg bag routine.
Vani Pule and MaryAnne from Malta not only presented magic but fire-eating, then performed ‘Modern Art,’ the title given to Jim Steinmeyer’s version of Zig Zag. Just wish dear, old Bob Harbin was around today to see the different versions of his original illusion that have come from his brainchild idea.
DEATH OF BOB BATEY
My dear friend Bob passed away recently, his funeral taking place on December 5th, being attended by many magicians. Bob was well known in Britain and used the name ‘Karlyle’, presenting an illusion show as well as working behind the bar counter of his popular hotel, Rainbow Hotel in the town of Kendal where the famous mint-cake is produced. Many times I joined him at his hotel, staying overnight, together with famous escapologist and illusionist Murray of Blackpool, chatting about magic and magicians. He will be sadly missed.
INTERNATIONAL’S ANNUAL 26th weekend…
Magicians flocked to London to attend Ron and Martin’s famous weekend, a superb event which is truly ‘international’. Magicians came from as far as Russia, Japan Australia and all parts of the world to witness great shows, great lectures and great competitions, with countless magic dealers on show. The event has progressed from the usual Sunday one to a three-day wonder.
Three lectures took place on the Friday evening presented by Tony Van Rhee of Holland, Jim Cellini from USA and Camilo. The Saturday was devoted to competitions, some 13 entrants competing, all at a high standard. A prize of Ãºl,000 (one thousand pounds) was handed over to winner ‘Doc’ Steve Bedwell who baffled the crowd with his many rope routines and other original magic. Second place was awarded (Ãº5OO) to Vadim Komulkov of Russia. Third prize went to Chris Power (ÃºIOO) for his performance of the penetrations of three half-dollars through a scarf . It was something to watch.
Jeffery Atkins, Past IBM International President awarded the prizes prior to the commencement of the International Gala Show.
INTERNATIONAL GALA SHOW.
Presented at the famous London Palladium last year, this time the show took place at the plush ‘Her Majesty’s Theatre. MC’d by Ali Bongo. A real treat was for the British public (the public was allowed in for this show) to see again, the famous – . nTiller girls, a well-known TV dancing troupe of the ’60s, still in tremendous form. The show featured Duo Edam from Russia, Ricard McDougall, Jan Foster and Jorgos. The second half of the program featured Russian magician, Igor Lavrov then Koichi Sugaia of Japan. Kate Medvedeva, also from Russia, struck bad luck, with bad lighting during her dancing cane routine, the Thread also snapping and the cane breaking as well.
Then onto stage came ‘Lefty’ with his master Jay Marshall. What more can we say about Jay and hi’friend’. I guess I know his act off line by line. It’s so good. The audience loved it.
David Berglas entered stage to present Italy’s Silvan who received a special presentation, that of a statuette of himself. Silvan then delighted his audience with expert card manipulations of which he is famed for. The act of Junga Junga was next, unusual in theme and content but very entertaining and to conclude the magical packed show, comedy duo of the Simmons Brothers Brothers brought fun and laughter into the theatre. A wonderful convention of which the MacMillan’s should be congratulated.
Now into 1998, we await the Blackpool three-day convention which will boast up to 3,000 magicians attending. We shall also be reporting on other events and of course any magical news which comes our way from this side of the pond.
To you all. A happy new year. May it be a magical one!