The digital ramblings of an analog conjurer
May 28, 2016 NEO-MOVEMENT
While lecturing across Norway, Denmark and Sweden, I will be teaching many things, including something particularly special called Neo-Movement:
Neo-Movement is a revolutionary philosophy/technique which dramatically improves the effectiveness of all sleight of hand and misdirection; it develops flow, touch, timing and instinct, in ways that nothing else does. By using specific Neo-Movement drills, all techniques rapidly becomes more natural and more deceptive.
Some Neo-Movement will be taught in the lectures and much more in the workshops. Nothing like this is being taught anywhere in the world and this will be the first time I have ever taught it to larger groups. The game has changed… practice and performance will never be the same again!
When back from Scandinavia, I will try and organise some Neo-Movement workshops in the UK.
May 26, 2016 DECEPTION
Deception is a much maligned subject; it’s importance is undervalued and it’s principles are deeply misunderstood. However, with closer inspection, I’ll show you an amazing subject brimming with intelligence and positive application, influencing the way we think about ourselves, relate to others and perceive our surroundings. In short, deception is everywhere, fundamentally informing the world as we know it.
The Shift will be shining new light on the breadth and depth of this incredible subject across multiple domains, including: crime, advertising, art, war, technology, entertainment, religion, science and the natural world… so stay tuned.
May 24, 2016 REDISCOVERY: BRANDON THE JUGGLER
The Discoverie of Witchcraft (1584), is widely recognised as one of the most important books ever written on the subject of witchcraft. The author, Reginald Scot – a member of British parliament at the time – wrote his defining opus in order to disprove the existence of witchcraft and defend those accused of practising it.
The book also contains a brilliant section on conjuring, which discusses the methods of magicians/conjurers in great detail. Written in 16th century middle English, it is an extremely challenging publication to decode, but for anyone interested in the history of magic, it is essential reading.
This ‘Rediscovery’ series will explore some of the overlooked, unnoticed or forgotten content lurking within the pages of this incredible book.
BRANDON THE JUGGLER
Chapter thirteen contains the little-known account of Brandon the Juggler, a ‘street magician’ who not only seemed to have an eye for theatrical staging but possessed considerable performing moxie.
Described as an “Example of ridiculous woonder”, Brandon would gather a crowd, point to a pigeon sitting on top of a roof and paint/draw a picture of a bird on a nearby wall. He would then remove a knife from his person and repeatedly stab the effigy, the pigeon would fall from the roof… dead as a doornail!
Brandon performed this feat for the King – although it’s hard be certain which King – and so successful was his performance, that he was immediately banned from doing it again; as it was feared that the process could also be to used kill a person; “…and so the life of all men in the hands of a juggler…”.
This was a truly remarkable demonstration which involved considerable preparation, substantial showmanship and skillful timing. The effect is about contrast and power; it connects the real world and a symbolic one, involves distance and height, life and death. Two methods are given – and both are brilliant – however, what’s more interesting is the sheer theatre, staging and clarity of the effect.
– The Discoverie of Witchcraft, Booke XIII, Chapter XIII, Of private confederacie, and of Brandons pigeon, 1584, p. 174-175.
May 23, 2016 EYE CANDY
Eye Candy contains three hyper-visual magic effects; no high-concept just pure eye-popping, brain-frying, visual magic to melt faces and destroy minds! This is perfect when you want to do something which doesn’t require very much presentation, audience management, or psychological control… just assault someone’s eyes!
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Pre-order to reserve your copy of Eye Candy. Orders will be dispatched in July.
Framework is a revolutionary new deck vanish which looks like a camera trick or special effect! This is an amazing optical illusion! the spectator can see a full deck in the performer’s hand… and the cards SLOWLY shrink and dissolve away (visually… with no cover)! Yep! The best part is that this is impromptu! No gimmicks… any deck can be used.
For example: a card is selected and signed. The performer takes the signed selection from the spectator and cleanly inserts it into the middle of the deck. The performer now asks the name of the card (let’s imagine it’s an Ace), SLOWLY all the cards visually begin to melt away, the pack appears to be shrinking until finally all the cards seem to disappear leaving only the four Aces!
This can leave the two, three or four cards (which can be selections) it’s up to the performer. The point is that this looks real; it looks like trick photography or some very clever gimmick… even though it isn’t!
Framework is completely impromptu and can be performed with any deck anytime, anywhere! No gimmicks, flaps or special equipment! It ends completely clean and everything can be inspected! This is something special.
The performer offers to give a spectator a memento: the spectator signs a playing card in a couple of separate places, the card now performs several extremely magical, visual, gymnastic manoeuvres (appearing, vanishing, impossibly jumping to different places in the deck, and onto performers person), before the deck is placed away so only the signed card remains in full view.
Now, with only the signed card in use (deck or any other cards are set aside)… the spectator chooses one of the signatures and in front their eyes it transforms into the performer’s signature! They actually see the lines move and form into something new! The spectator takes this home as memento signed by both themselves and the performer! Everything can be inspected!
The construction of Memento is extremely devious; it’s not only visual fooling but deeply psychologically deceptive; this is one of those effects that gets loud screams or WTF’s! This is a perfect close-up effect for working close-up professionals or those simply looking for something super visual. Once again, no duplicates or gimmicks needed… just a deck of cards and a Sharpie pen.
3) THE SDS VANISH:
This is an extremely magical, ‘complete coin vanish’: A coin is held above a spectator’s hand and it melts away leaving both hands completely empty! I cannot stress how magical this looks… it simply appears as if the coin slowly dissolves into thin air above their hand.
The SDS Vanish is a pure expression of magic and will become one of your favourite impromptu effects. It can be performed in any environment, with no bad angles, no lapping, sleeving, special gimmicks or equipment and can be performed in a t-shirt and in slow-motion… all you need are your hands and any coin (which can be borrowed).
The visual element within these effects is the entire trick – just by watching, you experience everything. The best part is that these effects are not difficult to learn! Their construction and the principles involved do most of the work for you! I have kept these effects a secret for many years… but finally it’s time to release them.
Pre-order today to reserve your copy of Eye Candy. Orders will be dispatched in July.
May 22, 2016 LECTURE TOUR: 28TH MAY – 12TH JUNE
I’m about to embark on a series of lectures and workshops across Scandinavia – beginning in Norway and ending in Sweden. I’ll be teaching my approach toward sleight of hand, psychology and movement, through a large amount of published and unpublished material.
The lectures and workshops will be in-depth, intensive events – perfect for those who are serious about getting better. It’s extremely rare for me to teach in this way, so I’m genuinely looking forward to all aspects of the process.
For information about times, dates and locations, please contact Steen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MOVEMENT: IDO PORTAL
I have been studying ‘movement’ for many years. In this series I’ll highlight the the work of several different ‘movement specialists’. Let’s begin with the charismatic Ido Portal.
Ido Portal is one the current leading figures within the world of ‘Movement’. He has transcended his capoeira roots and developed a more flexible, functional style. Recently his popularity has sky-rocketed due to his association with Conor McGregor, thus bringing tremendous attention and renewed interest to modern ‘movement culture’. Ido simply refers to himself as a ‘mover’, and runs his popular MovementX training camps around the world.
Ido’s philosophy is essentially about ‘movement complexity’: Functional movement patterns which flow together creating increased mobility, strength and body sensitivity. This leads to greater flexibility, freedom from systems and instinctive action.
Isolation—> Integration—> Improvisation: Practising movement patterns (isolation), connecting movement patterns together (integration) and letting go of conscious execution (improvisation). This isn’t a fundamentally new method; any discipline requires you to learn basic techniques, then connect those techniques with other techniques, before eventually developing the ability to improvise and adapt. There are also many ‘movement specialists’ who teach functional, fluid movement patterns for increased health, flexibility and awareness. So why is Ido’s approach interesting? Well in short, it’s because of him: his fluid, athletic, capoeira-based style is beautiful to watch and his ‘guru-esque’ teachings are inclusive and charismatic. Slowly, he is transforming into more than just another ‘mover’, he’s becoming a unique counter-cultural brand.
Modern movement is the means and the end, becoming a better ‘mover’ through better ‘movement’. It’s about function not aesthetics, disembodied from any defined style or system; any external benefits/improvements are natural by-products of better movement. As a performer, thinking about movement in this way is very useful – I am not suggesting that you grow a ponytail and start ‘lizard walking’ everywhere – but becoming aware of your movement at a deeper level, and its potential relationship to your craft, can only improve your physical effectiveness and ability to execute.
May 19, 2016 CROUCHING HOFFMAN, HIDDEN ERDNASE
When the Charlier pass was published by Sachs (1877), Hoffmann (1890) and Erdnase (1902), it was known to be an invisible pass, however, the secret of its ‘invisibility’ wasn’t communicated particularly well in print – this therefore caused a misunderstanding to develop about its function and deceptiveness. Over time, it was just perceived as a simple, one-handed cut… the Charlier cut.
Performing the Charlier pass invisibly – without using the free hand/arm as cover – was generally thought be impossible, until Bill Kalush had a brilliant insight while reading an unpublished manuscript (1879) by Marion Speilman.
Since then, I have discovered several other handling’s which have been hiding in plain sight for over a century! I’ll describe these techniques in a future post, until then, if you study Hoffmann and Erdnase very carefully you might find these ‘open secrets’ yourself.
May 6, 2016 COME IN… PLEASE TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES.
I have finally found the time to re-launch my website! There are many developments and changes to come, but for now, at least it’s live and functioning.
Please feel free to join the mailing list and receive two free eBooks: Face Value and Red Herring (two effects which are relatively representative of my ‘approach’). They are free, but they are not just ‘cheap giveaways’ – I have spent considerable time trying to produce quality gifts that are worthy of your attention.
It’s unfortunate that this post has to be so formal and prosaic, however, over time The Shift will become festooned with more interesting stuff than you can shake a stick at! For now, I’ll continue to function as a polite English butler – opening the front door and welcoming you across the threshold of my home – but very soon, I’ll take off all my clothes, run out the back door and jump into the lake… leaving you to wander about the house on your own. So, please don’t steal anything, just be respectful and enjoy the free tea and sandwiches in the drawing room.
May 5, 2016 THIS IS NOT A BOX
This is Not a Box explores the use of honesty and truth within magic effects, while attempting to cultivate new relationships between the performer and the audience. This is extremely powerful stuff… you have been warned!
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Real Magic & The Empty Space: essays which might fundamentally alter your perspective on the art of magic.
1) Fingertip Time Travel
An extremely powerful card effect in which a spectator experiences time travel in their own hands! This effect will immediately find its way into your repertoire… it’s genuine a killer and one which EVERY magician will be able to do immediately.
2) A Choice Illusion
Every person watching can experience a completely different effect; even though in reality everyone sees exactly the same thing! If a single person watches they can experience multiple effects! This illusion is achieved with nothing but words!
3) The More You Know…
The spectator is told and shown exactly how this effect works… and yet the spectator is still completely fooled! This might just be one of the most original card effects you’ve ever read and should be reserved for when you need something particularly impressive.
4) Confirmation Bias
The performer reveals a card that the spectator is thinking of; however, this looks and feels completely real. Simply put, this looks like genuine mind reading and deductive reasoning… REAL! This doesn’t look like a trick, be warned! The spectator can also FEEL what it feels like to have the thoughts extrapolated from their mind… as it’s happening! Yep! Cults have been started on much less!
5) Primary Movement
A coin cleanly travels from one hand to the other under seemingly impossible conditions! That’s it! This looks like you have real magic powers! Can be performed surrounded and with a borrowed coin! The most amazing thing is that Primary Motion can be performed on a single spectator (or a group) with people physically holding your hands apart! This routine has some ingenious choreography and staging which makes a visual miracle.
6) Pocket Time Machine
The spectator witnesses the impressive power of time travel and ‘nothingness’! Any small object you can carry in your pocket is perfect for this effect such as a coin, sweet, piece of gum, pen lid, button, marble, sugar packet, small toy or USB stick etc. This might be one of the best ‘anytime/anywhere’ impromptu effects you’ll come across. More than just a trick with an ‘object’, this looks like you can manipulate space and time… with whatever small object you happen to have in your pocket!
PSYCHOLOGICA (numbered & signed)
‘Psychologica’ is a devastating, in-the-hands handling of ‘Triumph’: it feels like real mind-control, fused with visual and mental magic. Forget every other version you’ve seen, this devious handling pushes ‘Triumph’ into brand new deceptive territory.
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The performer legitimately mixes a deck of cards face-up and face-down (so that they are in a complete mess), the spectator now takes the deck, and the performer never touches the deck again. The spectator also mixes the cards and sees the chaotic mess of cards spread between their hands! Without the performer touching the deck, every card goes the same way except for a card that the spectator was thinking of! While the deck is in their hands! This feels like real magic with an ordinary deck!
No table, no difficult techniques, no gaffed cards or gimmicks and no bad angles. It can be done with a borrowed, shuffled deck if you want. This routine isn’t a pipe-dream; it has been developed and refined over many years of performance in the real world. I have used this routine at professional engagements for many years, but more interestingly… it is one of my favourite ‘go-to’ effects in a private, informal environment when I want to do something special.
*Limited edition (250), each numbered and signed*
Fewer than 60 remaining.