Presidential Ponderings – May 2017

As entertainers, we (hopefully) bring a little joy and happiness to our audience. On the night of Tuesday 22nd May, the heart-breaking news began to break of the terrorism attack at The Manchester Arena after the Ariana Grande concert. I myself had just returned home from what seemed to be a particularly tough gig, but suddenly everything was put into perspective. The feelings of joy and happiness experienced by thousands at Manchester Arena would suddenly be replaced with feelings of fear, worry, terror and tragedy.

At least 22 people went out for a night of entertainment but sadly would never return home. Many more were injured, and thousands of concert goers, the majority of whom were children and teenagers, will never forget the horrific events of that night. It is hard to imagine the effect that night had on the brave staff at the venue who stayed to help, the emergency services who had to deal with the aftermath, and the hospital staff who treated the victims. Ariana tweeted that she was “broken from the bottom of my heart, I am so, so sorry. I don’t have words.” and has announced that she was to postpone the rest of her tour. She and her team of fellow entertainers and crew must be totally devastated that a wonderful night, sharing their talents of music and entertainment, ended so tragically. Finally, many of our members will have family or friends who work at The Arena, or who were affected by the terrible incident. I sincerely hope all are safe and well.

Given everything that happened, it was an extremely difficult decision whether to hold a meeting of The Order of The Magi in Manchester less than 24 hours later. Should we cancel the meeting or carry on in spite of the events the night before? Manchester Comedy Store cancelled a benefit show for fellow comedian Jim Taveré saying that “As much as we feel that people should carry on as normal we’re not sure that today is a good day for comedy”. This was an understandable sentiment in the circumstances.

The decision to hold society meeting certainly wasn’t made lightly, but I personally believe that the right decision was made. In this context, the saying “the show must go on” seems rather flippant, but perhaps it goes just a little way to express the spirit of the people of Manchester, those working in Show Business, and our members. To those who came to Geoff’s excellent lecture, thank you for your support. To those who didn’t (or couldn’t) attend the meeting for whatever reasons, it is of course very understandable. Each of us has to make a decision based on our own personal circumstances, feelings and beliefs.

At times such as these it’s important that we, as entertainers, keep entertaining; bringing a smile to those around us, a little joy and happiness. A world without entertainment would certainly be a terrible place. It can’t undo the terrible events of that night, but perhaps you can change the future, in a small, positive way. The world always needs a little magic!

Believe something and the Universe is on its way to being change, because you’ve changed, by believing. Once you’ve changed, other things start to follow. Isn’t that the way it works?
– Diane Duane, So You Want to Be a Wizard

Stay Safe & Keep Entertaining

Stuart Cassels
President

It’s All Greek To Me! The Origins of Modern Words in Entertainment & Magic

I am sure, like me, many of you will be familiar with this expression without knowing the real significance. It was only on a Classic Greece holiday that I found out just how many words we use every day in the English language actually have Greek origins.

Here are a few examples.

  • Antiqua – antique, antiquity, ancient.
  • Biblos – book, bible.
  • Cosmos – (world) cosmopolitan.
  • Dynamis – (power) dynamite, dynasty.

The list goes on, so what has all this to do with magic you are surely already asking. Well now having an interest in the subject I started to look up words relating to our art and found some interesting results.

The first word that came to mind was morph(e) meaning shape or transforming bringing about metamorphosis – the substitution trunk.
Scopos means watcher and leads to horoscope cinemascope etc (oops! etc that’s Latin).
Pyr or pyro means fire, hence pyrotechnics.
In Greek mythology the name Luna is sometimes used as a nickname for any goddess associated with the moon. Remember the Luna Trick – children’s effect a la die box.

I could go on but I feel our website will not have space for more than a page so I’ll finish with a few words from the entertainment world generally.
Cine means motion so we have cinema. The theatre name of Adelphi comes from Adelphoi meaning brothers. Presumably this refers to the brotherhood of actors appearing on the stage. Theatron (theatre) was a place where the audience of a Greek tragedy sat to watch the performance. Finally choreography appears to derive from khorus (chorus) and/or khoreia (dancing in unison). There you have it then, now it’s all Greek to you too!

Geoff Newton

Webmaster Note: I couldn’t leave this post without adding a favourite of mine – Hippodrome, from the Greek word Hippos – for Horse (and not Hippopotamus, which means “water horse”). Originally a Hippodrome was an ancient Grecian stadium for horse racing and chariot racing. The word was resurrected in Victorian and Edwardian times for buildings constructed specifically for animal & variety acts (such as the World Famous London Hippodrome, and more locally The Rochdale Hippodrome), which often became theatres in later years. Thank goodness they never raced hippopotamuses / hippopotami!

The modern word circus, now associated with entertainments such as clowns, jugglers, acrobats and magicians, originates from Roman horse racing tracks (circuits) which were very similar to Hippodromes. But as that is a Latin origin, and not Greek, it might be best to leave that for another post!

The Joe Abrahams Stage Competition Trophy

The late and much respected Past President Joe Abrahams

The late and much respected Past President Joe Abrahams

Thanks to all of you who were able to attend last night’s Magic Auction. Whether you were buyers, sellers or runners your participation was greatly appreciated. We received a good figure from the sale of Joe Abraham’s estate which will enable us to purchase a new trophy for the stage competition – “The Joe Abrahams Trophy” to be held later this year. Will you be the first to receive it? You’ve got to be in to win.

Joe was a very active member of the society, Treasurer and Past President, and it seems only fitting that the funds raised from the sale of his magical estate, kindly donated by his family, are used to purchase a new trophy, to remember him by.

We hope to see you all at Geoff Newton’s ‘Key Ring’ lecture on Tuesday 23rd May.

Finally if you are a society member and have not yet let Mike have your mobile number please do so in order that we can send text alerts to announce meetings, new etc.

John Archer Lecture – Manchester, April 2017

The Helen Moran Memorial Lecture this year took place on 25th April and was presented by John Archer. There was a good turn- out of members and visitors and included Peter Moran.

Helen Moran Photo

Helen Moran was a much respected honorary member of The Order of The Magi, who worked very hard behind the scenes. When Helen sadly passed away, she kindly left a bequest to provide the first magic lecture of the Society’s year.

I last saw John at South Tyneside a few weeks ago as a performer and it was great to see a lecture where he showed not only how his effects were achieved but how to and where to obtain the laughs. By the use of various methods he illustrated how a magician screws up can be turned into a positive result with hilarious consequences.

He went on to show the envelope routine that fooled Penn and Teller and brought him a trip to Las Vegas. It was indeed clever thinking and one can understand why they were fooled!

His coincidence routine with a very attention grabbing story was simplicity in modus operandi, but needed presentation work to achieve the right angle. Apart from two decks of cards all it needed was some ******** (you should have been there) and you were off.

His dog pet name was a much improved and simplified working of an effect he has demonstrated at a previous lecture and now a lot stronger.

A mind reading routine of a chosen celebrity went down well.

A routine with ESP cards was another hit. All routines were described in great detail with all the pauses and asides clearly shown. Yes, I can understand why this man fooled Penn and Teller!
On your behalf I would like to thank Peter for continuing the sponsorship to keep in our minds all the hard work and massive input Helen Moran put into this society.

Report by Geoff Newton

(Webmaster Note: Parts of this report, which features in full in the members’ only Magi Magazine, have been edited to keep John’s methods secret. For full explanations, we recommend that you speak to John Archer directly, who will be able to advise which of his lecture note packs contain the relevant tricks)

 

 

The Order of The Magi Christmas Party 2016

The IBM British Ring President goes to The Order of The Magi Christmas Party

After a gruesome journey of roadworks and long delays on the motorway we arrived at the Irish World Heritage Centre in Manchester. This palatial venue with panoramic views over the city was the ideal location for a party.

As we arrived midst a general knowledge quiz which appeared to be very popular with the 60 or so guests present, we were formally introduced to President Alan Johnston who made us very welcome and was charming throughout the evening. Being in Manchester the meal was Lancashire hotpot which was delicious with good helpings all round. After this British Ring President Clive Moore drew the raffle in a humorous way.

Next, the cabaret, a delightful young couple Jez Mansfield and Emma, his started with a silent magical janitor act featuring the empty box routine which then produced Emma. After this Jez did some nice patter card work in a light hearted manner. The act was rounded off by the singing talents of Emma sat at the piano, with many songs she had written herself.

Next Geoff Newton introduced Bunny Holly and the Cricket Bats, a comedy stint featuring Mark Sharples dressed as a giant Rabbit.

The whole evening was a great success, very friendly and well organised Mike Sharples and Geoff Newton had done an excellent job throughout the whole evening hosting and compèring the event.

Jean Ellison

The Centenary Dinner & Cabaret

The Centenary Dinner & Cabaret – 31th March 2009

Report by Richard Blackie.

One hundred and fifty people attended this special event, and we were treated to a wonderful evening of celebrations with quality food and top class entertainment. Continue reading

The 100th Birthday Party Show

The 100th Birthday Party Show – 11th March 2009

by Geoffrey Newton, Public Relations Officer
An event like this, which of course only happens every one hundred years, has to be something special and it certainly was. “Team-Magi” certainly pulled out all the stops to make this a most memorable occasion. Continue reading

Record Attendance at The Order of The Magi

Record Attendance at The Order of The Magi – 31st December 2008
Christmas Party

Geoffrey Newton
Centenary President

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

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

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