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March 2008

19 entries from February 2008

The next stolen generation...

Well yesterday Australia officially said "sorry" to the Aborigines.

Today the first claim for compensation has been lodged.

Andrew Bolt has a lot to say on the issue and his opinion, though unpopular, is very logical but it lacks the emotional appeal that the less factual argument of the other side has. (This piece from Andrew is very ironic).

Another blogger made a valid point: "What about the sorry from the UK for all the white children taken from their parents and shipped to Australia? Someone tell me about that!"

Well Mr Brown... we're waiting...


Where on earth is Alkbncd?

I've had a lot of calls lately where I answer the phone and then the person on the other end of the line hangs up. Nicholas Johnson explained to me that the Telemarketers now have computers that dial five numbers at a time, the first person to answer gets to speak to the Telemarketer, the other four lines are hung up on.

Today I got lucky.

First person who called asked to speak to the manager. I said the manager wasn't in, and they said they'd call back later. Weak effort.

Less than a minute later the phone rang again and I was greeted by the sweet pre-recorded song of the Telemarketer hold music. This lady was more persistent. She wasn't put off by the fact that the manager wasn't in, she'd talk to anyone who was authorised to discuss phone accounts. I yelled out to my "boss" and got authorised on the spot.

I couldn't hear her very clearly (as she was calling from a garbled internet line) and I asked if it was her 'Claris Telecoms' line or my Telstra line. Of course it was mine she said. She could hear me as clear as a bell. (I assumed she said "bell". All I heard was "berwww"). I suggested I should change from Telstra to her provider but she insisted I stay with Telstra as they are fantastic. She then explained she had a great deal and quoted me the following rates:

Mobile 29c per minute, National calls 14c per minute.

I explained we were paying:

Mobile 15c per minute, National calls 11c per minute.

She replied saying that, because I wasn't happy with the quality of my line I should try her offer, and I'd get better sound quality.

I asked her how that was possible... was she calling from an internet line. She admitted she was. She told me she was calling from a long way overseas.

Where?

A place called "Albushka". (That's how it sounded). I asked her to spell it for me, so she put me on to her supervisor.

He reiterated the rates, I reiterated that they were more expensive but the lady said I'd get to use the internet line instead of my bad quality Telstra line. He said that I wouldn't change lines, I'd stay with Telstra, I'd just get his fantastic rates.

I asked him if he was also in "Albushka" and he said he was. I asked him to spell it and he asked me if I wanted to take advantage of their fantastic rates.

This exchange went on for 6 times.

I said "Can you hear me?" He said he could, so I asked him to answer my question and spell "Albushka". He spelled it.

A L K B N C D

He said it was in India. I asked if it was near Mumbai and he said it was.

He then explained that he was only allowed to continue conversations with customers who expressed interest in signing up.

I said, "Well you called me, take your time."

He replied "You are obviously not interested. Goodbye."


Getting back on track...

Sorry I've been so slack in posting lately.

Since we got back from Bangkok it's been go, go, go! We've been preparing for the Comedy Festival Shows: finishing the scripts, creating the props and new effects, organising the promotions, sorting our group ticket sales, working with LightFM and our other sponsors, finalising poster and pamphlet distribution, getting lighting plots organised, preparing music, hiring backdrops.. etc, etc, etc

The shows are now listing on the Comedy Festival Website here and here, please spread the word and email the links to all your friends - (the Festival launches on Thursday with a full program guide in The Age) and if you'd like to take advantage of the $10 ticket deal, you have about a week left, so call now on (03) 9486 4445.

Meanwhile Sue-Anne is preparing to head off to Hong Kong, I'm trying to get our freight back from Bangkok and the phone just won't stop ringing (which, of course, is a very good thing!)

I'm still trying to catch up from Christmas! I got a few great books that I was able to read in January ('Controversy Creates Cash', 'Heartbreak & Triumph', 'Turning the Tables: The Story of Extreme Championship Wrestling', 'Mr Lucky', 'Loaded Dice', 'Look Me In The Eye', 'Suppertime', 'The Magic Shop', 'All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome', 'Paul Zenon's Dirty Tricks') and I was lucky enough to be given 'Super Mario Galaxy' which I've got to play just a little on the Wii, plus Sue-Anne gave me these...

Powerisersmain

... a pair of Powerizer jumping stilts... I've somehow managed to get up and wander around on despite having only two tries on them (so far!) And I've got to tell you, standing up on a pair of these things is a lot scarier than getting sawn in half with a chainsaw!

2008 is already looking amazing! We're doing another season at The Magic Castle in Hollywood as well as lecturing there in July/August (I'll be performing in The Parlour while Sue-Anne will MC the show in The Palace), plus we've got several offers to do magic conventions overseas... and as much as we'd love to do them all, squeezing them in is the biggest problem.

We've also revamped our corporate shows for 2008, with several new ones in development, and we're getting some really interesting proposals for big shows later in the year (including compering work which we both really love).

Plus there's quite a few more projects in the early stages of development which, of course, you'll read about here - or in our monthly email newsletter (do you get it already?) even that's getting a facelift this month too! (If you'd like to be on our emailing list, send me an email with the word SUBSCRIBE to [email protected] )

As for me, I think I'm going to take a little lie down...


Comedy Festival Shows - Special Offer!

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The Melbourne International Comedy Festival launches in two weeks, but before it does we have a SPECIAL TICKET OFFER for all our blog readers and their friends.

Magic Unlimited is presenting two shows from March 25 to April 6.

The first is a great one hour school holiday illusion show perfect for all the family, it's called ILLUSIONARIUM and you can read about it here. Two shows daily at 11am and 2pm at the Northcote Town Hall.

Illusionariumflyerfrontmini

The other is a much darker, adults-only show that's more like a live horror movie than a magic show. SOMETHING ABOUT NEEDLES & RAZORBLADES. Info is here, but basically it's a "Comedy of Terrors", a gentle parody of SAW... a tale about a man who has broken the seven deadly rules of magic and must pay the price. 9pm nightly at the Northcote Town Hall. 

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For the next two weeks, all tix for both shows are only $10! You MUST book by emailing me at [email protected] or calling (03) 9486 4445.

Please spread the word about these shows, we'd love to see every session full and with your help we can. Email your Melbourne friends and family, and get them to email their friends and family too.

Both of these shows are going to be fantastic (and I'm not biased at all! *g*) and this ticket offer represents great value. Low prices and no booking fees! Get a group together and take advantage of us and we look forward to entertaining you at the Northcote Town Hall next month!


So You Think You Can Dance?

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We watched the debut of the Australian version of 'So You Think You Can Dance' last night. Yes, it's just a dance version of 'Australian Idol', but because we've had to create proposals for similar shows based around magic for various TV Production Companies over the last five years, it was interesting watching it and imagining magicians instead of dancers.

First, if you didn't see it, you can see a clip here

The first thing you'll notice is the passion the dancers have for what they do.

Next you'll see the energy they put into everything, even the smallest and slowest movements.

Then you'll notice that most of them have only five to ten seconds to prove themselves on TV, as opposed to ninety seconds on 'Australia's Got Talent'... and they do it.

Finally, you'll see that the really, really good ones get you were it counts, and move you emotionally.

Now take a look at the performers on the magic talent contest 'Phenomenon'.

I'm not singling them out, but they are ostensibly the best in the USA. How would Australian magicians fare on such a contest? Could they cut it in similar conditions to 'So You Think You Can Dance?' Or is it that magic doesn't belong on TV?


Back from Bangkok

We got back from Bangkok yesterday afternoon and I had a show last night so we're still a bit beat. I'll fill you all in on the details over the next few days. It was a quick trip over to do a night of magic for a Marriott hotels conference. It was all booked at the last minute so we flew in on Tuesday, did the show Wednesday and couldn't fly out until Friday afternoon because there simply weren't any earlier flights available. The client was very happy with the show (close up over drinks from both of us, 30 minute stage show featuring a customised Marriott IT trick, then a second 30 minute show closing with The Houdini Trunk). The trunk added a lot of complications, international freight, customs etc, but it all came together in the end and now we can get back to planning our Comedy Festival Shows. (News about them tomorrow!)