Merlins of Wakefield is one of the few remaining ‘real’ magic shops in the country, and when Mark and Phil come out ‘on the road’ it’s an event not to be missed. We were pleased to play host to them for our September meeting.
The extensive and, indeed, comprehensive range of Merlins now covers everything from close-up and packet tricks to large stage apparatus, incorporating books and antique collectors’ items . . . and the company is also the official sponsor of Magicseen Magazine.
The first half of the afternoon comprised a whistle-stop tour of well over twenty items, entertainingly performed rather than merely demonstrated, and accompanied by many light-hearted asides and much amusing banter. We were treated to everything from Mark Lee’s own ‘Drift’ and a nifty colour-changing pen-knife to Steve Cook’s ‘Joker’s Diary’ and the ingenious Burgess ‘Transformer Card’. There was a dramatically flaming wallet alongside an impressive range of flash products (!), a striking Aldo Columbini rope effect, a very clean paper to £20 note and ‘Royal Revision’, blending the ideas of Billy McComb and Geoff Maltby. There were, in addition, delightful oddities such as the ‘Size Surprise Cards’ and Mark Southworth’s mechanical marvel ‘The Box’, described by Peter Eggink as ‘ingenious!’
Merlins now offers the very impressive Tora range of immaculately crafted apparatus, with Mark and Phil demonstrating a cube which produces four nesting dove cages and the beautiful ‘Colour Changing Dice – Three Times’.
During the second part of the afternoon members were able to ‘get up close’ and explore the products for themselves, the guys patiently explaining details and offering tips for handling. There appeared to be a brisk sale, with a Waccaroon spring puppet being given away for every purchase of over £30.
President Roger Woods, himself a recipient of Merlins generosity through a free competition on the web-site, offered a heartfelt vote of thanks on behalf of us all.