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August  2018

2018

Members’ Day with Brian Catlin

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The second half opened with some amusing reminiscences from David Hemingway inspired by Brian, and a lovely gag involving a lot of alliterative letter Bs which had obviously been honed over the years.  You had to be there, I guess.

Then came our newest member, Alex Self from Halifax.  As only a small number had witnessed his initiation performance Alex reprised some of it, including sponge balls worked along with a pair of mini Gozinta boxes and some excellent coin work with old coins – some half crowns and pennies, which reminded us of Brian again.

Norman Greenhalgh was next up, with some exemplary card effects – one of which he had forgotten as a result his stroke but had miraculously recalled again while doing the washing up!

Roger mixed some more reminiscences, again inspired by Brian, with a couple of excellent card effects; one creating a card by the blending of two others (twice) and a poker-hand routine from the latest Genii.

Martin Seed rounded off the afternoon with a couple of items, one of which worked rather better than the other . . .  but that is what a members’ day is all about; trying out material with the support of colleagues.

President Anne brought the session to a close, thanking Irene and Kate for their help in the kitchen and Norman for brining along the confectionery.    

Brian Lead


There are always some unexpected gems which emerge from our Midsummer Members’ Meeting, and this year was no exception.

We began with the eagerly-awaited debut of our very own Lorraine Hamer, who took us back to her first brush with magic in the form of David Nixon, whom she had watched on television as a child.  Over thirty years later came her introduction to Trevor Dawson; her new boss who also turned out to be a magician.  Lorraine spoke of her close involvement in the production of the MeMeL over many years, and concluded with a colourful ribbon effect aided by Lorenzo. It was a very promising start to the afternoon.

For many years, Brian Catlin has added a touch of magic to the AGM of the Mahatma Magic Circle in Liverpool, and he had kindly agreed to come along as a special guest with his forty minutes of magic – or a magic life in four tricks. He began with recollections of Wild’s toy shop in Manchester where, as an apprentice engineer, he bought his copies of Abra - and Clippo for half a crown.  This was the trick which the Linking Ring hailed in 1939 as the most popular effect of the decade.

In those days of rationing Brian was too young to join the Order of the Magi, and so became a member of the teenage Top Hat Club at 26, Salisbury Road in Chorlton-cum-Hardy.  Members in the early 50s included Alan Alan and Peter Kane, who provided the inspiration for Brian’s second trick.  Often, members of both Societies found themselves at different ends of the same café.  The youngsters learned from each other, and presented a regular ten minutes of magic. Brian spoke of the impression made by Kalanag and Calvert, with his vanishing elephant, before girls came on the scene and two years of National Service duty in the RAF called, on 24th June 1957.  

Later, Brian rediscovered The Royal Road to Card Magic, which he had previously dismissed, and attended his first Blackpool Convention in 1973, soon homing in on the stand of Ken Brooke, who he regarded as ‘the master’ where performance was concerned.  He bought a Malini egg bag from Ken for £4, and treated us to a lovely demonstration of how it should be done (not over-done) . . . just to produce the egg.

To conclude, Brian spoke of his admiration for Fred Kaps, Tommy Wonder and Juan Tamariz, explaining how they had influenced his own magic.  It was a charming trip down memory lane, which resonated with a number of our senior members and was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

The second half opened with some amusing reminiscences from David Hemingway inspired by Brian, and a lovely gag involving a lot of alliterative letter Bs which had obviously been honed over the years.  You had to be there, I guess.