Geoffrey Durham has put his lifetime of experience of performing magic on the stage, on televison, on radio (yes, magic on radio)into this wonderful book called 'Professional Secrets'.
There I go again, using wonderful in one of my book reviews. A few people have commented that my magic book reviews are always so positive to the authors. They feel that somehow I am presenting biased reviews that always favour the commented upon books. Yes, I am ... BUT ... these are only a few of the many magic books I have in my shelves. I write these magic book reviews simply to let you know that these are the good books that I recommend. So yes, I do shout loudly from the rooftops about them, only because they are good.
Geoffrey Durham is an Englishman who started his performing career in the early 1970's and continues to this day. He did everything from working backstage to doing gigs in British working men's clubs (which is on par to working comedy clubs for dealing with tough audiences). Immediately I hear of someone who has honed their trade in these clubs I take notice. You get boo'ed off the stage very quickly if you aren't any good at what you do in these places. The rest of his magic career has been between stage shows and televison performances. He's pretty much done it all.
He says some interesting things in this book and this is my favourite: "If I've learnt one essential thing in my past 30 years it is this..no one in the world ever wanted to see a magic trick. What they want to see is an interesting, unique person performing a magic trick"
I agree with this entirely. I discuss this in detail in my ebook, so check it out if that paragraph interests you.
There are three great aspects to the content and tricks discussed in this book.
1. These are performance pieces that Geoffrey Durham has honed and polished, in some cases, over decades. He takes us through the evolution of his performance of the trick and from this you begin to realise that he has done all the hard work for you. He gives a great example with his Gypsy Thread routine. It never worked well for him so he deconstructed the trick and rebuilt it to accomodate all the performing elements he was seeking. I've made it sound like a a big piece of apparatus he uses but the Gypsy Thread uses a piece of cotton - that's it.
2. Because Geoffrey Durham found the construction of many tricks to be lacking some fundamental element of design that would make it so much better, he set to making his own props. The great thing is that he shows you how to do it in this book. None of the tricks are all that hard to make and if it is beyond you, then there is enough detail in this book that you could easily out source the work.
3. The book is littered with these terrific essays on performance and audience psychology and management. Again I say to you, if a professional is willing to tell you what they have learnt then you should listen closely. There is so much good information for any magic performer of any level in their magic career.
The tricks include:
- Hand Flashers
- Chinese Rice Bowls
- Prediction Box
- Linking Wedding Rings
- Coin in Bottle
- Egg on Fan
- Selbit's Blocks
- Dictionary Test
- The Gold Medallion
- The Magic Square
- Asrah Levitation
This Geoffrey Durham book is in my special collection that I go back and re-read every year or so and every time I do I learn something new and valuable.
I highly recommend it.
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