The world’s largest magic convention has come and gone for another year. This was my first magic convention and this event will be one to repeat. From the thousands of products for sale from hundreds of sellers to the numerous lectures and shows, the convention was a great success. The whole place was a bustle of activity and every corner from the dealer’s hall to the pub and toilets, the sound of cutting and shuffling cards could be heard.
This three day event was packed full of activities and entertainment. The following is just a report on what I managed to see and what I thought.
I arrived at our lovely B & B on the Thursday night, and went out to explore the local beauty. Wrong word I feel, however there was a sense of excitement brewing in the air, anticipation growing as the magical weekend approached. Ok a complete fabrication. The town was rather empty as it is off season, and the cold, rain and wind gave an overall dull and depressing atmosphere. This however was all about to changed.
The day started out a little later than expected for me and Alan Rorrison. Leaving the B&B at around 11 o’clock we hit the Winter Gardens. The architect of the building itself was beautiful; not at all reflecting the exterior. As we entered the first dealer’s hall I was overwhelmed by the number of dealer’s all trying to push their wares. It truly was like walking through a historic market place. Being shoulder to shoulder as we all tried to find the best deals and latest special Blackpool release. The first walk around went by in a blur, being introduced to some truly great names in magic and seeing some amazing demonstrations. Once finishing our first loop I was already to begin again and scour for items I missed the first time. But as a pleasant surprise we walked into yet another hall full of dealers and even more products for sale. From big time dealer stands like Alakazam to one man dealer stands like Garrett Thomas, both halls had some great stuff for sale.
After a few hours of wandering around the venue we headed to the Galleon bar for a late afternoon drink. Sitting around the table we got out our purchases of the day and had a play with them.
For those of you have not been to Blackpool before, there is a great pub called the Ruskin which is not too far from the Winter Gardens. It would appear that every person who attends the convention gathers to this drinking hole and jams. What could be better than four hours of good company, drink and magic?
Waking up early we hit the Dealer’s halls straight away. Money was exchanged and products bought. The overwhelming sensations that I had on the first day slowly ebbing away as I came accustomed to the surroundings. At 10.45am I entered the Pavilion Theatre and unknown by me that I was about to watch a brilliant lecture given by Michael Weber. The simplicity behind his brilliance was very compelling. Every time he revealed his method, everyone in the room simply thought “Why didn’t I think of that”. A few simple methods that had a big impact. The little gimmick that made a coin sound was brilliant, and to the annoyance of all around me I played with it for the rest of the weekend.
However I think that most would agree that the Weber wallet and the nut and bolt effect were the highlight of the lecture, gaining a well deserved applause. Although this lecture was truly inspiring I think most would agree that the Wayne Dobson and Friends show was the highlight of the whole day. Of course Wayne Dobson couldn’t resisted the temptation of bringing up the conflict that occurred between him and David Penn and Craig Petty. The jokes he produced showed the true brilliance of the man. They were clever and creative, and on the whole part very funny. The main part of the show comprised of individual acts from Wayne’s closest friends; Joe Pasquale, Michael J Fitch, Brian Sefton, Duncan Trillo, Russ Stevens and John Archer. Each act was very entertaining, and for people who attended all I can say is chicken midwife. The amount of respect that Wayne Dobson has within the magic community was reflected by the standing ovation he received at the end of the show.
It was not long until we were back in the Ruskin jamming again, and drinking JDs and coke (the drink of the weekend). Watching a table with Garrett Thomas, Daniel Madison, Michael Weber and Mathieu Bich was inspirational, brilliance oozing from them. Later I saw some truly revolutionary card magic from Ollie Mealing, fooling us time and time again. All I can say is that it was elegant, original and brilliant.
Getting back to the B&B in the early hours in the morning, I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. Oh did I mention that on the way back to the B&B I got propositioned by a prostitute?
The day started later than the day before due to the late night. However once at the Winter Gardens we strolled around the dealer’s hall once again. It was amazing to see that there were so many things we had missed, even though we had browsed the halls about 5 times now. The first lecture that we wanted to see was not till later, so even though it was only just the afternoon we headed to the bar. At 4:30pm we walked into the much anticipated lecture by Garrett Thomas. Although the lecture didn’t contain all original material, everything was interesting and gave a new light on the theory of magic.
The bustle that had been present on Saturday was slightly lacking as the evening ebbed on. Even the Ruskin was not as full. This however, made it much easy to jam and talk as you could actually hear each other. Some great ideas were born that night.
I have until now not mentioned what tricks and effects that I thought were the highlight of the weekend. There were just too many. Here are just a few that I got: The Trilby Deck by Kaymar Magic and BBM, The Cooler by Big Fin and Xbox by Kevin Schaller. I am not going to lie, although there were hundreds upon hundreds of tricks for sale, not many of them were brought out for Blackpool. A lot of them could have been bought online a month ago. Which was slightly disappointing.
So what was the highlight of the weekend for you? And what was the trick of the event?