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 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

Magi Annual Dinner – 23rd March 2007

Magi Annual Dinner – 23rd March 2007

Birds Eye View

The tickets looked normal enough – except for the inscription “Broomsticks at 1.00 a.m.”, but, on arrival at the venue at the Irish World Heritage Centre, numerous white chandeliers, complete with gold-coloured candle flames, were hovering silently, eerily; tables were adorned with centrepieces, each artistically created from a broomstick, small cauldron, black furry spider, winged ball in full flight and Continue reading