The convention took place in several different locations on the seafront in Great Yarmouth, including the Britannia Theatre and Long John’s Showbar (both on the Britania Pier), the Hollywood Cinema and the Marina Centre.
Although we didn’t enter the stage competition this year, Jay entered the Ali Bongo Micro Marathon. The Micro Marathon is a fun, friendly competition, but Jay still wanted to make sure that he looked his best!
The British Ring have very kindly let us use two of their photographs of us at the convention:
This year’s convention is in Great Yarmouth and we’ll be taking the trophies back with us, ready to be presented to the next winners.
I wanted to make sure that the trophies were handed back in the best possible condition, so I spent a morning last week cleaning and polishing them. How do you think I did?
While I was cleaning them, I had a good chance to read all the names of the previous winners, and it’s amazing to think that we’ve been added to them.
There are some well known names on there, including Ali Bongo, president of the Magic Circle, adviser to Paul Daniels and David Nixon, and one of the inspirations for Jonathan Creek; and John Archer, the first magician to fool Penn and Teller on their television show, Fool Us
Some of the names are probably less familiar to most people, but are greats in the world of magic – Ron MacMillan, founder of the London magic shop; Walt Lees, editor of the only weekly magazine for magicians; Roy Davenport; Scott Penrose; Brian Sefton.
One name on the trophy has special meaning for me. We have a family tradition that every year we go to the pantomime on Boxing Day. In 1998, it was Cinderella, and Buttons was played by Dominic Wood. He performed magic in the pantomime, and from that moment on I was hooked. Fourteen years later, and I’m on the same trophy that he won!
The trophies are all safely packed away in their carrying cases, ready for the drive down tomorrow. We’ll tell you all about it when we get back!
Jay and I had a holiday in Blackpool last week. We saw the tower, and the piers and the beach. As you can tell, it was a bit windy!
But we weren’t just in Blackpool to see the sights. We were here for this:
FISM stands for the Fédération Internationale des Sociétés Magiques – and every three years they hold the World Championships of Magic. This year it was held in the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.
2012 is the first year the convention has ever been held in UK. We arrived on the Sunday, and went to the registration desk to pick up our name badges and tickets. We also got a FISM bag, with all sorts of goodies in it, including a miniature Tommy Cooper teddy bear.
The main part of the convention is the competitions – there were 100 entrants in the stage competition, and 50 in the close up. The stage competitions were held in the Opera House and were very popular, as you can see. The Opera House is a very beautiful theatre. The standard of magic was amazing. We mainly watched the stage competitions, as that is where our interests are. We watched one of the close up acts via a video link, as the actual hall it was being held in was so busy. The crowd were applauding so loudly that we could hear it through the walls of the building!
There were over 100 magic dealers from all over the world, each with their own stand. They were spread out across the Empress Ballroom, The Arena, and the Ice Room. This is a photograph of the stands in the Empress Ballroom, plus one of the ceiling. (I love old buildings, and I tend to get a little distracted looking around sometimes…)
We also went to several lectures over the week, learning new tricks and picking up interesting ideas. Conventions are a brilliant way to meet other magicians, and we met some well known magicians – Eric Jones, Shoot Ogawa, and our favourite, Topas. We also met up with some friends from our local magic club, the North Wales Magic Circle.
One evening, there was a special trip to the Blackpool Tower. There were drinks in the Tower Ballroom, and then we all went to watch the Tower Circus. The whole audience was made up of magicians, which created a wonderful atmosphere. The show itself was absolutely amazing, full of incredible athletic stunts and brilliant clowning. The show closed with the famous water finale, where the entire circus ring fills with water and dancing fountains.
The finals of the competitions were held in the Opera House on Saturday. All the acts were absolutely breathtaking, and there were several well deserved standing ovations. The winners were announced on Saturday evening, with Yu Ho Jin from Korea winning the Grand Prix for stage magic, and Yann Frisch from France winning the Grand Prix for close up magic.
Last weekend we took a trip to London. After our success at the IBM British Ring Shield Competition, we were invited to perform at The Centre for The Magic Arts – better known as the headquarters of the Magic Circle.
The Magic Circle has a junior section called the Young Magicians Club, whose members range from 10 to 18 years old. Each year they hold a one-day convention for the YMC, called J-Day, and we were asked to perform in the evening show.
We got to London late on Saturday evening, so sadly we didn’t have much chance to see the sights. On Sunday we made our way over to the Magic Circle with all of our props. From the outside, it just looks like an ordinary building, but once we stepped in through the doors, it was a completely different world.
The first thing that we saw was the amazing circular staircase, with scenes from the history of magic painted all along the walls. We were given a guided tour of the building, starting in the basement where the library and museum are. On the ground floor is the club room, then one floor up is the Devant room (named after the first president of the Magic Circle). Up one more floor is the theatre. There are posters of magicians everywhere, and scattered throughout the building are small display cases with pieces of magic history.
J-Day itself was made up of lectures, visits to the magic dealers, stage and close up magic competitions, and an interview with TV magician Dynamo; then the stage show itself in the evening. Jay was one of the judges for the stage competition, along with former president of the Magic Circle, Alan Shaxon, and Dynamo.
It was a whirlwind of a day, with so many things going on, and talking to so many people.
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