Thursday, August 25, 2011

Magic gone wrong - a tale of boxes, rope, razors and blood

Last week I had dinner with my dad, his wife and a few friends. One of the friends, Caroline, told me this story about her husband, Jeff.

A few years ago Jeff, a lively, funny man, was at a large corporate event featuring a couple of magicians. He was invited on stage to take part in an illusion. The magicians tightly bound his hands and feet with rope before locking him inside some sort of box or cabinet.

Once inside, the magicians continued with their patter and the audience waited for the climax to the trick. However, after a minute one of the magicians seemed to notice something that alarmed him - a trickle of blood appearing from the bottom of the cabinet door and running onto the stage.

Foregoing the rest of the trick they flung the door open to find Jeff freed from his bonds but clutching a razor-sharp box-cutter and bleeding badly from both wrists. He was whisked away to hospital where they stitched up his gashes and released him.

The magic show never finished.

Apparently while tying Jeff up these magicians had slipped a box-cutter into his shirt pocket and whispered instructions to him - when they closed him in the box he was to cut through his ropes and free himself. Jeff had done his best, and with gusto, but with unfortunate and unforeseen results.

Neither magician thought that having a man bound at the wrists, stuffed into a pitch-dark box and asked to cut himself loose with a razor (again, limited mobility and no vision at all) was a sensible way to accomplish their illusion.

It turned out they were wrong.

Jeff got taken to emerg and was stitched up but not before getting a host of scowls and reproving looks from the unsympathetic nurses on duty who assumed he was either an attention-seeking self-harmer or just suicidal but lacking either coordination or conviction.

He must have dined out on that story for years afterwards.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

David Williamson cups and balls

I recently dug out an old VHS tape of David Williamson (the superb and rather oddball genius) which included his two-cups-and-balls routine.

Hey, I thought - I have a day off today. Why don't I sit in my living room during an exceptionally hot day and try learning it?

So I did.

Well, I sat and I practiced. And sweltered in the 32 degree heat. That's celcius, by the way.

I won't say I learned it, but I've made a little headway. It's astonishing how much time these things take, just to get the sequences down pat.

But at least it's a start.