Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Privates and Roberts


So not an essay on anything in particular today just some bits and bobs (hence my hey-larious title)


I think it's safe to say the whopping 9 votes that came in for the great Norman debate represent an accurate cross-section of society in general and therefore:
67% of the population (6 people) think I shouldn't worry about basing a few of my routines on jokes from the instruction leaflet that came with them and can carry on regardless.
22% (2 folks) think I should rewrite the hackier parts
And 11% (1 ballbag) think I should drop the whole shebang and deal only in original thoughts and premisses.

I was momentarily a bit upset that someone clicked the "drop it, you hack" option and then realised that I had titled the option myself and if I had made it a "George, I love you but I think this particular routine is beneath you" option they would've had to click that instead. So you're not really a ballbag, you ballbag. Anyhow, I can't see any reason why I should drop the whole thing rather than rewrite the hacky (they're only semi hacky, they are nearly completely rewritten) parts so maybe it's just someone who doesn't like prop gags. In which case I'm not going to listen to them anyhow.

Quite a few of my friends have read it and were interested in discussing it with me. And even some of my friends who will call things hack quite regularily thought I was within my rights. Which made me think the poll was pretty worthless. People say what I want to hear if they like me and don't if they don't. So it was really just a popularity poll. And 2 out of 3 people think I'm great. Result!

Marcus Keeley noted that what I do is different to what comedians do so he thought it is a horses for courses situation. It was sweet of him to say but I don't really agree with this attitude as it is exactly the attitude that has kept most magicians in the "I can do any material given to me" frame of mind that I despise. I'm playing comedy clubs so I think the same rules should apply to me. Although maybe I can bend a few. Such as performing classic effects or reworking the odd old visual gag. I think maybe that it's cheeky but not wrong. Something that can be done sparingly, with consideration, research and honesty.

So, I'll probably go for the rewrite option and take out anything that is recognisable from the original instruction book. Bye Bye Julia Roberts then :(


I've just read three books by performers in a row. Maybe I'm in a particularily receptive frame of mind or maybe I just got lucky but I can honestly say these 3 books were the best of their kind I've ever read. These books were:

Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life by Steve Martin Fantastic! Things will ring true and familiar for any comedians or magicians reading. And positively toll true for anyone who is both...

How I Escaped My Certain Fate by Stewart Lee Smart man. This book is a comedy nerds wet dream. Skips all the boring childhood stuff to make room for full transcripts of shows plus his thinking behind why he says what he does.*

Confessions of a Conjuror by Derren Brown: Smart smart man. Whether he is talking about magic or life; that man can see the Matrix. I spent most of the book nodding. Like a top observational comedian he says things everyone kind of knows but no one ever says and if they do, not half as eloquently. I also think he's caught footnotitis of Mr Lee.  (Thanks to the aforementioned Marcus for the lend)


Having recently acquired a new phone. It's an android HTC desire. Don't get me started on it or I'll bore you stupid. Suffice to say, it's fabtastic and I can genuinely say it has improved my life. I know. What a geek. (nearly went off into a bit of Catty Mollins material there)

Anyhow. I can't believe how easy it is to put videos up now. I used to have to record a video,find a usb cable, transfer it to the pc,change the format of the video, log in to youtube then do all the uploading stuff, now I press one button on my phone, shoot the video and it's done. So I've popped two unedited videos online this week.

One of me making a 5 petal flower out of balloons. It's not very exciting. It was just an interesting problem how to do this in a neat and simple way. It's easy to work out even numbers of petals but takes a bit of flair for odd numbers.

And one of me performing an old domino trick. I say domino, it's more like a hybrid of a playing card and a domino. Or half a domino. I'm not sure anyone cares what it looks like.

Ironically folks seem to like the balloon one more. Which is kind of annoying as the balloon one was merely to show a few folks how I did something whereas the domino one did have some thought put into it with regards to making an entertaining video. I deliberately performed it for youtube rather than just did a stage presentation in an empty room. The domino one was also in response to some of the dire videos on youtube where you watch magicians pause, look in the wrong place and wiggle their hands suspiciously. ( Try these:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVv27sWl26c&feature=related ).
I suppose mine's not that great either (I found myself distinctly irritating when I watched it back) and one of the drawbacks of youtube is you convince yourself that you are good by watching people do things very badly...

The Magic Cafe

I do try to be helpful on magic forums but occasionally I just like shooting the breeze and cracking a few jokes like I would with my friends. Unfortunately, I forget they aren't my friends, they're magician/childrens entertainers and most of them haven't a clue what I'm talking about. Which does kind of make things funny while also making me look a bit mean. Try here, here and here.
The first one is just me being silly but he got a bit cross. It was his final reply that made me laugh the most. He did get me, though, as I wanted to say something about lazy stereotyping but I was genuinely in the pub when he replied (with a pig under my arm, dancing a jig, eating a potato).
The second one gets funny near the bottom and unto the next page talking to the lovely Stephen Ablett. I do try to have serious conversations with him. But it's hard...

Apologies if I've upset anyone. I am just being silly not mean!

That's me for now. I have an idea for a video project which I will be contacting my chums about this week. Keep an eye on your inboxes.
All the best

Ta ta

*He really loves footnotes +

+ See what I did there

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