November 28, 2007

Is Derren Brown the greatest showman alive today?

Filed under: Magic — Joe Brewer @ 3:21 pm

When Derren first hit the UK TV scene 8 years ago it created a storm. Derren brought a much needed freshness to TV magic. Primetime UK TV magic has had a rough ride with magicians such as Paul Daniels ridiculing volunteers.

Derren Brown says explicitly at the begining of all of his shows that he does not use stooges, and all of the results are acheived by suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship. Before he hit primetime TV Derren had a history in stage hypnosis and magic, in fact some of the magic advisors for his shows include Max Maven, Andy Nyman and Luke Jermay. These are people at the top of their careers because of their original creative thinking and memorable performances. But gradually, as Derren says in his first book “Pure Effect”, he gradually left behind the props and started to concentrate on magic of the mind.

So why does Derren have the edge with his performances? Whenever I watch his shows I am amazed at the seemingly fine line between what is real and what is not. He uses a lot of hypnosis, something that I am very familiar with, and alot of methods that a regular magician would use. However, it is very difficult to tell when he is using either, or even if he is using a mixture of both. When he is apparently reading someones mind, it is as though you are watching him read that persons mind. Derren has no props, so there is nothing for him to hide behind.

Here are a few clips from his first TV series:



The following performance is of a presentation called “smoke”. This is explained in full in his first book “Pure Effect”.

Unfortunately this and his second book, “Absolute magic” will never be reprinted.


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September 9, 2007

Secret Cabaret DVD

Filed under: Magic — Joe Brewer @ 5:04 pm

I’ve just discovered that The Secret Cabaret featuring Simon Drake is available on DVD. This is really cool news for many magicians who have been asking for this and patiently waiting for many years.

For those of you that have never heard of The Secret Cabaret or Simon Drake, this is a Channel 4 magic show which featured dark magic and allied arts, and aired twelve episodes in all around 1990 late at night. In each of the half hour shows, viewers would be subjected to Simon Drake impaling himself with knives, swords, hatpins, burning his assistants until only the bones remained as well as other deliciously macabre things. All of these were shot before a live audience in an equally dark theatre.

Here are some clips:






Unfortunately the DVD does not contain any of the interviews and acts containing the allied arts.

One of the acts that was on one of the episodes was a guy called Stevie Starr who was billed as “The Regurgitator” appeared at the student union bar when I was at university in Chelmsford. A few years ago I heard that he had died when he failed to bring back a billiard ball, but apparently he is alive and well (and regurgitating). Here are a few videos of him doing his stuff:




Great stuff 🙂 I’ll be putting this on my Christmas list even though I have most of the episodes on VHS. More videos and the shop for buying the DVD can be found here

EDIT: Why wont the image show up in the top left 🙁

January 8, 2007

Panda paddle update

Filed under: Magic — Joe Brewer @ 12:49 pm

As an update to this, I have been contacted by Akira Fuji (the guy in the video):


That is only one handmade with panda.
Orignal is Mikky mouse design by Tenyo.
But Mikky paddle was finished products.
sometimes, you can see in yahoo auction in Japanese.


Looks like I will be trawling through the Japanese ebay in the next few weeks….

January 2, 2007

What is this paddle effect called?

Filed under: Magic — Joe Brewer @ 3:24 pm

… and more importantly, where can I get it?

I found this effect being demonstrated on a video of what looks like a Japanese TV show – I’ve no idea what the show is called, but the effect is really cool.

If anyone knows what it’s called, or where I can get it please let me know 🙂

December 6, 2006

2006 South Downs Magicians Christmas Party

Filed under: Magic — Joe Brewer @ 2:23 pm

The Christmas parties put on by the South Downs Magicians are always great fun, and this year’s was no exception. With close up magic around the tables by yours truly, and the main caberet by Robin Carr and appearances by Len Angel, Jonathan Cann and Paul Bromley.

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