We always knew that Mo Howarth had impeccable judgement when it came to things magical, and this was proved for a final time when he requested the appearance of David Stone at what was to have been his President's Day.
David appeared in a whirlwind of ideas, with the running gag of a bottle production accompanied by myriad sight gags - a burnt shirt which led to a sucker follow-up later, lots of funny business with the kissing of hands and numerous visual in-jokes with the aforementioned bottle productions plus Past Page's drink from sleeve.
There was an ingenious idea for the card-in-balloon in which the card adhered through casual contact, along with cheekily simple versions of card-to-pocket and card-in-wallet.
There was sleight of foot, fun with a missing ring which was eventually found inside a ball and a hilarious sequence in which a pack for cards was dropped into a bowl of water, only to remain unscathed. This was 'bizarre' magic with a different meaning, reflecting the dictionary definition of: 'Eccentric, and mixed in style.'
Gimmicks shown included the Mirage effect, which apparently allowed a pack of cards to slowly diminish one by one, while the M-Case, used in the water episode, proved very popular. 'SPLIT', used to great effect by John Archer, also proved to be a popular purchase at the end of the afternoon.
David introduced us to the first trick he learned, fashioning a sort of Bermuda triangle from a pack of cards, with all of the torn pieces dropped into it immediately vanishing and leading to an Omni-deck climax. He also showed considerable attention to detail, instructing us how to position a pin in the trouser pocket so that it did the job of popping a balloon efficiently without causing any collateral damage.
There was even a fleeting reference to children's magic and the production of a very lengthy paper coil from behind the ear.
This was, indeed, a tour de force and we were not surprised to learn that David had received a rare standing ovation at the Magic Circle only a few days earlier.
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What you cannot purchase, of course, is David's personality and his delivery was, to say the least, idiosyncratic - full of fun and boundless (nay, manic) energy.
Roger was thanked for officiating, and in turn showed his appreciation to Margaret and Betty for their assistance in the kitchen and, indeed, for producing some of the home-made refreshments. Joan, unwell and sadly unable to attend, was not forgotten.
Mo would have been proud.
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