Tuesday 11th June 2019 saw a group of Manchester Magicians gather at The Irish World Heritage Centre to compete against each other to find out who was to be crowned the best Close Up Magician of the year in Manchester.
Unlike the infamous wizarding Battle of Hogwarts, there were no injuries sustained, and we are pleased to confirm that everyone attending behaved with decorum, and thoroughly enjoyed themselves!
The evening was slightly quieter than usual, due to personal reasons among members, and the fact that David Blaine had inconsiderately decided to perform his show at the Manchester Apollo, just a couple of miles away, on the same evening. However, we must commend our President David Owen for choosing to join us at The Order of The Magi, instead of taking advantage of the complimentary tickets offered to him to see Mr. Blaine’s show. We doubt that was an easy decision!
We’ll not bore you with a list of competitors and their routines, but we can reveal that amongst the offerings were a wide range of magic tricks using Lego, pyramids, poker chips, coins, lottery tickets, and even the “Fork of Death”, as well as the obligatory packs of playing cards. The extremely varied choice of routines by our members is always a great source of wonder and enjoyment to all.
The standard of the evening’s offering by all participants was extremely high, and our Entertainment Secretary reported that it was the closest run competition for many years, with only a small number of points separating all competitors.
The Order of The Magi Close Up Magician 2019
Congratulations to our newly appointed Life Member, Mike Sharples who was awarded the trophy for Best Close-Up Magic Performance 2019. A thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining 15 minutes of trickery, and an award well deserved.
The Sly Smith Trophy for Best Card Trick
John “Sly” Smith was unable to attend this year’s Close Up Competition, so the unenviable task of deciding who was to be awarded the trophy for the best card trick of the evening fell upon one of the visiting magicians in the audience. After some deliberation, it was awarded to Adrian Sullivan for his very spooky routine using the hand of an Egyptian Pharaoh to locate a chosen playing card
Congratulations to both Mike and Adrian on their awards.
We would also like to extend our gratitude to all the participants in the competition, members and non-members of The Order of The Magi who turned out to support our performers, and finally, and most importantly to the evening’s Judges.
Don’t tell anyone, but the job of Webmaster & Social Media Manager for The Order of The Magi is relatively easy. I’m given some of the content and of course the programme of events for the year, and all I have to do is share them on the website, Twitter, Facebook etc. whilst drinking lots of tea.
The rest of the “job” is to browse the internet for interesting magical related news articles, cartoons, facts, events etc.
…And reply to any enquiries that come through the Social Media accounts
Now anyone who has spent any time on the internet will know that there are some interesting characters out there at the other end of cyberspace! And anyone who has had the pleasure of running a social media account for an organisation, whether it is a business, magic society etc. will probably have interacted with some of these characters. We accept it as part of the role.
Sometimes these characters can amuse us, confuse us or just leave us scratching our heads wondering if they should really be left alone with a computer unsupervised.
I recently had a message sent to The Order of The Magi’s Facebook page from a random member of the public that was certainly strange, unique, and a little odd:
“Is anyone available to chat?”
“I have some questions, considering the original magi come from Persia, and your located in Manchester, would you initiate a man who has a birth right to be initiated considering you stole my ancestors books and spilt blood in the name of your king! If this is the society of magi I would like special consideration!”
The Facebook page is quite clearly associated with a performing Magical Society in Manchester; The finger flinging activities of Tricksters, Cardicians, Illusionists and Children’s Entertainers in the North-West of England. Apart from the name of the society (which has been in place for 110 years) there is absolutely no association with Persia or Iran, the biblical wise men, or Zoroastrianism.
Either this person, who it turns out was not living in either Manchester or Iran, was very mistaken about our origins, or perhaps, just perhaps he was an internet troll. Either way, I decided that his enquiry deserved a reply:
“Thank you for your enquiry.
Unfortunately I think that you may have mis-understood the background of The Order of The Magi, Manchester. We are one of the oldest societies within the U.K. for performing magicians (entertainers). The name of the society was chosen 110 years ago.
As far as I am aware, none of our members have stolen any books, and I would be very upset if they had spilt blood (theirs or anyone else’s). If you have evidence to the contrary, please forward it to us, and I will mention it to our President (we do not have a King) at the next meeting. If we do have any books that belonged to your ancestors, I’m sure he will make arrangements to return them to their rightful owners.
You are more than welcome to join The Order of The Magi, however we are not currently accepting claims of birthrights, and all applicants must fill in the application form on the website, detailing your interests in magic (performing), your experience as a magician etc. On receipt of this, and the annual membership subscription, I have no doubt that the members of the Council will give your application the consideration it deserves. I cannot promise that you will be given any special consideration, but I will be sure to discuss this with our President at the earliest opportunity. If you live more than 20 miles outside of the city centre of Manchester, you benefit from a special membership rate of £22.50 (U.K. Sterling).
If you have any more questions regarding The Order of The Magi, Manchester, or about performing magic please do not hesitate to contact us. Unfortunately we are probably unable to help you with any historical matters, and questions regarding such details should probably be directed elsewhere.
Have a Magical Day!
Despite the message being marked as “read”, I never did get a reply!
If you would like to join The Order of The Magi, Manchester (A society for performing magicians and entertainers, and not relating to the activities of Persians 2,000 years ago), please check out our membership page for details and an application form. We usually meet every 2nd & 4th Tuesday of the month at The Irish World Heritage Centre, Cheetham Hill, Manchester at 7.30pm.
No matter what your background, we promise not to spill blood or steal any of your books!
It is with deep sadness that we inform you of the passing of Jack Griggs, Lifetime Member and Past President of The Order of The Magi.
Jack was a much loved, and active member of our magic society; President from 1976-77, Life member, and Council Officer. Outside of the society, he was a Punch & Judy performer, accomplished magician, inventor of many magical effects, author, artist and former editor of The International Brotherhood of Magicians’ magazine – The Budget.
Away from the stage, Jack had a distinguished career in both the RAF, and Greater Manchester Police, retiring in 1992 as an Inspector.
His funeral will be held on Wednesday 16th January 2019 at 10am at Blackley Crematorium, Victoria Avenue, Manchester, M9 8JP.
Afterwards there will be a reception at Hopwood Unionist Club, Manchester Road, Heywood OL10 2AP
Family flowers only please; donations in lieu to Springhill Hospice via the Funeral Directors – Mitchell Funeral Services, 94-96 York Street, Heywood, OL10 4NS. Tel 01706 360368.
Our condolences go out to his friends and family. He will be greatly missed by all at The Order of The Magi. Rest in Peace.
Record Attendance at The Order of The Magi – 31st December 2008
The Christmas Party was held on Tuesday 9th December with a record attendance of 110 members and guests enjoying a most convivial atmosphere. As people entered they were greeted by Barrie Horridge operating the Bunco Booth complete with ‘monopoly’ money which was given for punters to bet with. Continue reading
2008 North West Dealers’ Day Report – 9th December 2008
A ‘Bird’s Eye View’
Reported by Vivien
An ominously gloomy, chilly November morning and three black-clad women grouped close to the massive dark cauldron, ready to work their sinister magic; references to “The Sisters of Eastwick” were conspiratorially whispered as, outside, leaden grey moist clouds gathered. Continue reading
2007 North West Dealers’ Day Report – 10th November 2007
A ‘Bird’s Eye View’
Reported by Vivien
Icy gusts of rain-laden winds, sombre skies, an obliviously rapt huddle of apprentices within, intent on a sinister lesson in the creation of evil-looking mouse-eating snakes and I was inexorably drawn into the vile laboratory. Continue reading
Manchester’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade – 11th March 2007
reported by Geoffrey Newton PRO
We didn’t have to brave the snow this year as the Sunday morning proved to be a bright and dry day. At 11.00am Mike Sharples arrived at the IWHC with ‘our’ truck and we merrily set about decorating it. Continue reading
12th December 2006
A ‘Bird’s Eye View’
Reported by Vivien
This year’s exceptionally well-attended Christmas party was on 12th December at The Order of the Magi’s headquarters at the Irish World Heritage Centre (IWHC), where President, Barry Horridge, did us proud. Continue reading
Wow what a lovely evening. Where shall I start? At the beginning of the rainbow I think. We were welcomed into the Irish Centre with an overhead rainbow leading us into the dining hall which looked fantastic. Each table adorned with a golden pot and chocolate coins with cleverly created rainbows reaching upwards with the table number and pretty themed balloons swaying above. Continue reading
The Order of the Magi President Mike Sharples and Immediate Past President Geoffrey Newton were invited to meet the President of Ireland Mary McAleese when she recently visited the Irish World Heritage Centre in Manchester, the Magi headquarters.
Mike presented her with a framed coloured Magi logo with an explanation of the motto. Continue reading