06 Sep 2013
I’ve mentioned the celebrations at Huddersfield a few times. It was certainly worth going across for the celebratory show on the 27th June. I’d have planned to go to the events during the day as well but it was Northern Magic Circle’s Junior Day as well and I wanted to support both.
Plans went to pot when Louise realised that she needed the car the same day for work, a new Booths store has opened up in Ripon and she was there to support the new staff at that store and to provide customer relations. Anyway, I was stuck.
I could get a lift to Junior Day with one of the parents but would have to miss out on the celebrations in Huddersfield.
Fortunately, Steve Gore was able to offer me a lift as he was going to both. Of course as President of NMC, he’d make every effort to see some of it. Unfortunately, Victoria was working so Deanna stood in as the President’s Lady’s stand-in. A great ambassador for magic, Deanna even presented her chain escape, which brought much delight for those attending.
It was a shame that numbers continued to be down. That being said, the close-up competition was very enjoyable with some fine magic and from the younger less experienced end, a lot of potential for the coming years. We had time to see a couple of the workshops taking place on the day. Moira Fletcher presented a talk with no magic, instead trying to encourage thanking outside the standard presentations of effects. One example of this was to try and come up with a theme for Professor’s Nightmare or Unequal Ropes. Paul Daniels created a routine referring to the ropes as the 3 Bears. I’m looking forward to seeing one of the youngsters present a 3 Giraffes story for the effect.
Alan Duncan taught some manipulation technique with cards, coins and rings. A hands on effect, hopefully we’ll see one or two of the Junior members trying their hand at manipulation. We had to leave around 4 O’clock for the show in Huddersfield but certainly enjoyed what we saw. Well we dropped Deanna at home and had time to say hello to Victoria. It was nice to Jenna again as well. I’d missed the ankle biting stage as Jenna was getting around on two legs and not walking but racing around!
Off we went to Huddersfield. Before going in to the LBT (the Lawrence Batley Theatre) we caught up with one or two familiar faces. Amongst them were Jon Harris, who’d seen some parts of the day’s events earlier in the day. Ray Roberts was there with Margaret and I caught up with Ernest & Jean Ainley. They couldn’t be at Junior Day as it was the same day as Brighouse Gala. I also saw Shahid and Lisa Malik. Ken Mitchell was also there and I think he’d seen some of the day’s events too.
A real surprise and a treat for me, was seeing Arnold and Joyce Baumanis. Many of our current members won’t know them unfortunately. Arnold and many other will be on video from our meeting from several years back and I’m sure one meeting a night of archive films could be arranged. On seeing him, I remarked to Arnold that he must have a portrait of himself in his attic that keeps getting older, he looked the same as last time I saw him.
Well we settled down to watch an enjoyable show. I didn’t have pen and paper so can only glance over what happened. A couple of acts over ran (one by 10 minutes) in the first half but that didn’t detract too much from the overall show. Al Conway introduced the acts with jokes and tricks along the way. A shame that in the second half, his material turned a bit nearer the knuckle. Such humour certainly doesn’t offend me but it was a family audience and the same audience after 9 O’clock. Just an opinion but one expressed by several. I should mention that Al also acknowledged that they had a founding member in the audience. I wonder if he’d thought they’d be doing so well all these years later.
The Bernie Heys Dancers opened both halves and there was a choir from Kirkheaton School who won the hearts of all the audience (okay many of the audience probably knew them) with a delightful magical medley.
Brian Sefton was the first act on with his dove act. I was sat next to some lay people and it was wonderful watching them marvel as doves were produced from all over the place. Okay from the loads, but I wasn’t going to tell them that, was I?
Dave Andrews was there with a vent act which was technically very good but a bit sedate for my liking (Dave’s a very good manipulator, winning this year’s shield at Spring Parade in Southport) although the children seemed to enjoy the misbehaviour of Jessica.
John Danbury sang and did some magic along the way. If I’m honest, his clowning antics detracted from the act and I’d have preferred to have had more of the serious and well presented magic. If I’m really, really honest I’d have preferred it if he’d just sang as I thought he had really good voice (later impaired by his antics) and would have enjoyed some “swing” as a nice departure from the magic. What can I say, I love the big band sound and all that!
High Jinx closed the first half with the act we were treat to at our Dinner last year. This included Origami Box, the wonderful tandem strait jacket escape to “duelling banjo’s” which always raises much laughter and their Snowstorm brought the first half to an enjoyable close.
The second half featured John Archer, who was on great form, establishing his mark early on for much friendly ridicule. I’ve being on the receiving end at a NMC President’s Dinner and have to say, John gets it spot on, causing no offence, a rare skill. A magic square was presented with the numbers being entered into the 16 square grid rapidly in less than 15 seconds! There were also some funny ditties on his ukulele. John finished off with a strong effect in which a box with several little nik-naks was set to one side of the stage. Three people went onto the stage and each took an item back with then to their seat. John was able to tell them which items they’d chosen.
Closing the show was Amethyst. With a rapid array of illusions, they dazzled and amazed the audience. The place slowed for a delightful colour changing records, I always enjoy watching, maybe because I know the sentiment behind the effect and the music to which it’s presented. Their act and indeed the show closed with The Rev! the wonderful effect where Annette is chopped in half and her upper torso runs round the track and around her lower half. They closed our 60th anniversary show with the same effect and many of us saw it again at Southport earlier this year. Well the show was a wonderful way to celebrate their 60th anniversary along with many other events during year and congratulations are extended to them with a wish for a many more years of magic and fun.
Well that’s about it for now. Thanks for reading.