07 Jun 2013
NB: After being asked to take notes for the evening, I decided to do a proper job of it and promptly turned up 20 minutes late, missing the first two acts! I was reliably informed by the Billet’s (ex - Ed) ‘assistant editor’ Paul Sunderland, about these two acts and have described them as described to me.
The competition, which was compared by Henry Norris, kicked off with Steve Hord’s impressive trick, in which he turned an unfolded, blank card box into a properly printed card box. When the box was folded back into a box shape, Steve then opened it to reveal that there was a full deck of cards inside the box!
Stevie B then did what could only be described as deadpan with a dove-pan (Paul Sunderland’s words).
Then it was Mark Waddington's turn. His act included a trick where a chosen card was found to be the only card in a big-sized deck to be turned the wrong way. Also Gemma was on stage for the first of her many appearances as the night's official assistant. She had rope tied to her top and when it was removed, a bra was attached!
Charles Boyd did a trick where a blank card appeared in a deck and changed to a proper one, and then another blank appeared and also changed.
Paul Sunderland then stepped onto the stage and nearly fell off straight away because it tipped up at one side. Not long into the act Alex Wright started making fun of Paul, and as far as everyone was aware this was much to Paul’s annoyance… But was it? Alex was then invited onto the stage after claiming "I could do that trick with a bag over my head and my hands tied behind my back." Gemma was back on stage tying Alex up and putting a bag on his head, while Paul instructed Ivan Robinson to put some antennae on his head so that he could transmit his thoughts. Alex then tried to escape (nearly falling in the process). Paul then guesses Ivan’s card, smiling smugly at Alex, but Alex escapes from the ropes, takes the bag off his head and takes a playing card out of his mouth. It is Ivan’s card!
Keith Pickles then took to the boards, telling us that he has decided to buy a car. He said he needed help deciding which car to get so he asked what colour he should buy. When a colour was chosen he wrote it on a very squeaky chalkboard, which had most of the room cringing. He then asked for a good price for a car and a make of car, writing the two suggestions down on the chalkboard. He then told everyone to look at the undersides of their chairs for an envelope. When the envelope was found Keith took it to the stage and revealed the contents to be a correct prediction!
Steve Naylor had everyone giggling straight away when he commented that Keith’s act involved a stooge, right after Paul and Alex’s act had involved two! He then did a series of tricks with a ring and rope, in which each trick was apparently part of a competition involving a French, German and English magician. Naturally, the English magician won in the end with the best of the tricks!
Dennis Calvert then donned the stage with some rope magic. Gemma was returned to the fray and looked rather worried as Dennis tied the rope around her neck. Mark Waddington was called up to take one end of the rope, which was pulled through her sleeves and Dennis the other. When the rope was pulled, it came loose, luckily leaving Gemma’s head still attached to her body!
There was then a break and when everybody had returned to their seats the show restarted with last year’s winner Melvin Shalks attempting to defend his title. He told us about OPEC and how petrol was very costly and that to have reduced prices on petrol, somebody would need to infiltrate OPEC. Melvin revealed three cards, each one representing the candidates who could do this. The first, which he turned round to reveal a cartoon body of a Frenchman, with a picture of Colin Gough’s face on, he told us, was Colin Du Gough, a French diplomat who would always be found in Paris. The second card was diplomat Stevie O’B, who was to be found in Irish pubs and the third was Keith McPickles, a stingy Scotsman. After mentioning Keith, he not so subtlety advertised the annual dinner before completing the trick brilliantly, to much applause.
Ivan Robinson started his act with a gag trick in which a blank book was handed out for someone to find any word on any page. When Ivan was told the book was blank, he asked ‘well what does the title say?’ It was called, ‘What Women Can Tell You About Sex’! He then did a rising card trick in which Mark Waddington (the other official assistant for the night) chose a queen – ‘appropriately’ was shouted out by Paul Sunderland from the audience.
Steve Gore stepped up with a furry friend. His puppet, a shaggy dog named Patch, was seen to blow a balloon up and then to make it magically disappear by letting it go so that it flew away behind him. Patch then wrote a prediction on a white board and a card was then chosen. The prediction was wrong, but patch wiped the board and the prediction instantly changed before our very eyes.
Then Colin Gough was up next. He started by turning on a CD player, which instructed him to do a trick in which he must throw away two of his five cards leaving three, but each time he did, he was left with five cards still in his hand. He continues annoying the man on the CD, by ending up with the wrong number of cards in his hands. By the end of the trick, he has the right amount of cards in his hand and lots of cards on the floor!
Brian Wright started with a funny joke about customs, before inviting Gemma to the stage for one last time. Brian spelled out a card value, taking a card from the top and putting it on the bottom for each letter. The card he was left with was of that value! He then asked Gemma to do the same with the next value down, she failed and Brian succeeded with that value as well. Each time Gemma tried she failed, encouraging Paul Sunderland and Alex Wright to shout out and tell her to get it right. Brian got each one right until he was left with one ace!
Peter Bainbridge did a series of tricks with a coin and a silk.
Then finally it was Alex Stephenson’s turn to perform; it was his first competition since joining the BMC in February. Unfortunately he had injured his thumb playing football (the hazard of being a keeper!) and could not perform the trick he had hoped, so he instead invited Mark Waddington back to the stage to select four cards at random. The four cards were revealed to be the four jacks. They were turned to reveal the backs of the cards to had all changed colour, then turned again to reveal that they had all changed to aces!
Henry then instructed us that voting would then take place. That was followed by much confusion about how many votes each of us could have and whether we would put our hands up for our chosen act or whether we would write our votes down. Eventually, we wrote on the back our raffle tickets and placed our votes in a bucket.
The results were as follows:
3rd. Steve Hord, Steve Naylor and Dennis Calvert.
2nd.(Paul Sunderland and Alex Wright) and Steve Gore.
And the winner was Melvin Shalks, for the second year running.