Thursday, May 17, 2018

Upcoming Meetings for 2018 and Oficebearers for 2018

The meetings of Newcastle Society will be held on the third Friday of each month (except December) at 7.30 pm at Mayfield Bowling Club, 2A Ingall St, Mayfield. The Club is opposite Albion Street, beside Park Street on one side and the Mayfield Swimming Centre on the other.

Friday 11th May was the Bellbird Rehearsal, and Card Tricks with a Borrowed Deck – host Al Hirschel.  Venue was Bellbird Workers Club, 409 Wollombi Rd, Bellbird.
Saturday 12th May – Bellbird Workers Club Show

Friday 29th June -  (Note – NOT 3rd Friday) Stockton Rehearsal(at Mayfield Bowl as usual)

Saturday 30th June – Stockton Bowling Club Show – host Al Hirschel

Friday 20th July –  Silks and Handkerchiefs – host Joel Howlett

Friday 17th August – Balls and Others – host Noel Clair

Friday 21st September – Paper and Everyday Objects – host Al Hirschel

Friday 19th October – Apparatus Magic – host Andrew Pickard

Friday 16th November – AGM and Coins – host Steve Irwin

Of course, you may not be interested in any of these themes.  No problem!  You are MOST WELCOME to bring along something entirely different that you have been working on and do it later in the performance section of the meeting.  The only reason for having a theme is to broaden our horizons, and if yours are already broader than these themes, so much the better !

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday 11th May

AL HIRSCHEL was hosting the evening, with the theme “Card Tricks with a Borrowed Deck”.  He commenced with the Seven Card trick, which he is very keen on.  He also laid out cards in a matrix – aces, jacks, spades and others while he told us a story of a storm swept island. Good entertainment !

NOEL CLAIR then took the floor, starting off with “Dr Jacob Daley’s Last Trick”.  In another item, he managed to switch a group of indifferent cards for the four aces.  Next, he vanished all four aces and then they reassembled together.
He then moved in to a demonstration of some card manipulation – the one handed Charlier cut, the double fan, and a double card waterfall.  Smooth and well practised !

“Handful of Aces” was the name of a card item from JOHN FERGUSON.  All four of a kind were produced from a borrowed, shuffled deck.  The item came from the lecture notes of Sean Taylor, who has devised so many imaginative items.  John also did “Flip Card”, in which the chosen card, reinserted in the deck, which is circled with a rubber band, is caused to flip out on the top of the hand holding the deck.

DAVID WHITSON gave a demonstration of card forcing.  This is a very useful technique for card magicians, and David is well proficient in it.  We need to learn multiple ways of forcing!

STEVE IRWIN performed a very neat “Any Card at Any Number” trick, in which the chosen card was returned to the deck, and then the spectator picked a number – the chosen card was found at that number in the deck.

GRAHAM HOLSTEIN, our club’s patron, recalled with obvious fondness the first card trick he had ever learned, and he demonstrated it.  He took a deck of cards, held it in dealing position inside a towel, and offered the towel to a spectator for him to cut the deck.  Graham retained the bottom half, and the spectator rolled up the top half inside the towel.  Graham was able to predict what the face up card of the spectator’s half deck would be when the spectator unrolled the towel. This had a big impact on the club members – even more so, when Graham kindly showed us how to do this item.

Members commented afterwards that this evening was one of the best club evenings they remembered!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018



The variety spectacular titled “Amazing” that will be showing at the Lake Macquarie Performing Arts Centre Warners Bay on the 5th May 2018.
‘AMAZING’ will be a spectacular mix of Magic, Circus, Comedy, Audience Participation and Las Vegas Style Stage Illusions! Best of all – the entire production is family friendly and can be enjoyed by children from 4 to 104!
Each performer who will be appearing is a world class artist in their own right! Usually a production of this standard and style is only witnessed on cruise ships or overseas.  I’m very proud to be doing this at a local venue at such a reasonable ticket price!!
To attend, you must pre- book. Simply visit and type the word “Amazing” into the search. OR you may simply click the link below:
Be sure to book your seats early as these shows will sell out!

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday 20th April

The theme of the magic was “Colour Changes and Classics” and was led by David Whitson. 

The first magician to entertain us was Steve Irwin, who did a baffling routine of colour changes of silks in his hands – white to red, vanished the red – red to white – white to red.  It was fast, eye-popping magic.

Then Noel Clair picked several coins from Graham Holstein’s ear.  Noel thought that this trick, taking coins from a spectator’s ear, was the single most successful of all tricks he did.   He moved on to the colour changing knives and showed them changing from ebony handles to ivory and back as he told us an intriguing tale of an Indian Maharajah who owned them. 

From this, Noel went into a comical effect with an egg bag that kept changing the colour of the bag every time he handled it.   Noel then did the classic disappearing pen and pen-cap.   Finally, using elastic hair holders around his fingers, he told us a story of a green coloured band chasing his one true love – the pink coloured band - despite the opposition of the girl’s father – an orange coloured band - trying to stop them jumping from finger to finger.

The classic colour changing colouring book was displayed for us by Andrew Pickard.  He recalled as a child being given a book of blank pages for him to draw in, and as he grew older, he was able to draw nice outlines (by magic!) and then as he grew older still, he was able to fill the outlines with colour (by magic!).

John Ferguson did the card item “Eight Card Brainwave” in which a spectator chooses one of eight cards.  The remaining seven cards are shown to be red backed.  John waves over the chosen card, and when the spectator turns it over, the back has changed to blue.  John also presented an item in which a bottle of solution changed colour to red when he swirled it.  When next he shook the bottle, the colour changed instantly to green.  He explained the chemistry behind this.

A spectator was asked by Michael Blakeman to spread the deck face up, and then to photograph the whole mess of cards.  The spectator then moved one card to a different place while Michael looked away. Michael then looked at the photograph and was able to name the card that had moved.

Our host, David Whitson, and a spectator each took a piece of white paper and bunched it up.  They put the papers into a box, and with a magic word, David produced from the box masses of multi-coloured streamer.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday 16th March

The magic session opened with John Ferguson, the host for “Packet Tricks and Gimmicked Cards”, explaining the “Gesture Cut” which he had learnt from Sean Taylor’s lecture at the Geniis Sydney on Monday March 12th.

Steve Irwin performed an item in which cards were predicted by laying coins on a portion of the deck.  The coins had C, S, H or D written on them on one side, and a number on the other side.  Underneath the C – 5 coin was the five of clubs, and so on. It was ingenious, and new to us.

Several special decks were shown by Andrew Pickard.  There was the “Crazy Man’s Marked Deck” in which, for example, the chosen ten of spades had a back with a different colour and “10” and a spade symbol very boldly printed.  From another deck Andrew was able to produce the only queen of spades in a full deck of Jacks of Clubs.  Then, he displayed a Svengali Deck, and later, Michael Blakeman showed him other effects using it.

Unable to go home and collect props, Noel Clair had come straight to the meeting, and we were amazed at how much magic he was able to do with just a shoelace and a finger ring !  He did the ring on and off shoelace, and then did a new routine he had developed with this.  He also showed a brilliant illusion in which he wound the lace around his index finger, formed a loop, and threaded the lace through the loop automatically without appearing to do so.  This illusion happened in front of one’s eyes, and “your eyes deceived you”.  The gasps of surprise were audible.  That’s real magic !

Several items were performed by John Ferguson.  He did a Neil Patrick Harris trick in which a selected card appears to jump to the top of the deck.  Next,  he displayed a deck, asked for an ace to be named, and said he had to remove any jokers. He did – lots and lots of them (all 51 cards were jokers !) - until only one card was left – the chosen ace of clubs.

One problem with the trick “Split Deck” is that one has to find a married couple to perform it.  John had developed a presentation (“does your right hand know what your left hand is doing?”) which one could  use with only one person, putting the chosen half card under one hand and the other half under the other hand to show that “you are a very well put-together person”.  He also used a small piece of glass to find a chosen card.  When one breathed on the glass, a picture of the chosen card became visible.  In another item, the chosen card could not be found, but a card frame with an indifferent card it in was tipped on to the table, and the chosen card was revealed instead of the indifferent card.

David Whitson had brought along a copy of the old Wierdo’s Magic Shop trick “Mystic Kings”  Although probably 50 years old, it worked magnificently.  Then he performed the Brainwave Deck trick, which works in the same way as the Invisible Deck, but the chosen card has a different coloured back to the others.  Next, he had a card chosen, and displayed the 52 card display, and as he put it away, everyone saw a giant picture of the chosen card after all.

David then proceeded to tell a story, “Diamond Jack”, in which for every facet of the story he displayed jumbo cards to illustrate it.  For instance, when the (German) waiter denied his crooked deal, he said “Nein. Nein. Nein !” and David displayed three nines from the pack.  It was funny and entrancing.  Spectators love stories !

Michael Blakeman pretended to have memorized the order of a whole deck in ten seconds, and started naming them, then told us it was a reader deck. It was a neatly printed deck in Bicycle, with “distressed” appearance. No-one had suspected it was a reader deck until he told us. Taking a Svengali deck, he showed Andrew how to force a known card.  He then did the Three Card Monte.

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the hour and a half of choice magic !  You just did not know what was coming next !

Sunday, February 18, 2018

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday 16th February 2018

The host for the evening, David Whitson, led off with an attention-getting trick using a drink can that he smashed into his forehead.  (The can had flexible plastic sides.)

Since the Theme was “Ropes, Strings, and Things”, David moved on to several ways of tying knots in a rope without using his hands.  One method was crossing his arms first, and picking up the ends of the rope while his arms were crossed, then uncrossing them.

Noel Clair did several items with rope.  He threaded a shoelace through a plastic frame, then moved the frame so that it cut the shoelace into two parts, then moved the parts together and extracted the shoelace restored whole.   He did ring off rope and ring on rope by several methods with very neat flourishes.  Next was finger ring on and off his finger.

Moving into his rope routine, he performed appearing knots on ends of rope, one full knot to two half knots, rope to circle of rope and back to straight rope.  He took the ends off the rope and put them back on again.

Noel’s use of a finger ring led to a general discussion among the members of whether to use a borrowed ring in these days of suing and litigation.  There was a danger of being sued for damage to a ring by a dishonest person when no damage had actually been caused by the magician.

In response to a question from Noel, we discussed how to achieve a talon of eight known cards on the bottom of the deck in the middle of a card trick when the deck has been in use.