Previous month:
October 2008
Next month:
December 2008

49 entries from November 2008

An Open Letter From Bananachek About The College of Magic

Banachek recently visited the amazing College of Magic in South Africa and wrote this letter about his experiences there. Sue-Anne and I want to echo his thoughts 100%. The College is truly a beautiful place and a role model for the entire magic community.

If you can't visit it in person, take some time to visit it here on the web.


"Open letter to S.A. Magicians and College of Magic.

I left S.A. in 1976. I had lived in Port Elizabeth and attended school there. This was just prior to all the changes that were about to happen with apartheid. Through the years I had longed to come back, it just never seemed to fit into my schedule. Then Craig Mitchell sent me an email, he stated that there was a strong interest by S.A. magicians to have me come over. I suggested I add a benefit show for the collegel since I was going to be there. Thankfully Craig set everything up. Prior, my schedule was horrific. In fact the day I was to fly to S.A. I had a show in Phoenix, Arizona the night prior, I had to be up at 4 am to get home to Houston, to drive home for an hour, change cases, fly to Amsterdam for 11 hours then take another 9 hour flight to Cape town. There my wife Heidi and I were met by Craig, David Gore & Marian Williamson from the college. We arrived at our hotel close to midnight, exhausted.

The next few days were very interesting as we did some of the touristy things, petting Cheetahs, cable car to the top of Table Mountain, Hout Bay and the like, yep, South Africa was as beautiful as I remembered. Thursday I was on the radio, this sold the remaining seats in the Theater. Craig had done a terrific job promoting the event.

Friday, I was able to attend the school and watch classes: ventriloquism, juggling, close up, stage, mime. I was amazed; the students were humble, polite and so happy to be there. These kids were getting a full rounded education, this is a brilliant organization. Finally that night, I attended a Pizza party for the top students at the College, once again the students were incredible. As time went on we found out more about the students. This is so much more than a school. Many of the kids have no parents, they live in squalor conditions and the school is the one outlet that lets them know there is more to life. During the day, for many, it is a safe haven from the stark reality of the townships they live in. It introduces wealthy kids with poor kids, both learn from each other, and if they excel, they get go to parts of the rest of world. To put this in perspective, my wife went to luncheon down on the ocean. Some of the children were able to attend. One small child kept staring at the ocean. When my wife asked him about it he informed her that although he lived not far away he had never seen the sea. I was told that many of the children that come to the college for the first time spend a fair amount of time in the bathroom, reason being is they have never seen toilets like the ones we take for granted. This is very sad yet it shows what an amazing project the college of magic really is.

I could go on and on about Craig, David and Marion and the rest of the staff at the college and how wonderful they are and what incredible human beings they are but I suspect that those in S.A. already know this. Craig is an incredible organizer and a determined young man and the S.A. magic scene is lucky to have him on their side promoting S.A. magic. David and Marion have hearts of gold, they truly love each and every child that comes their way. For many they are surrogate parents and these kids could do no better.

I lectured for two days straight and I have to say I was a little worried at first I would not have enough material. Don’t get me wrong, I have lectured for over 6 hours before at one event but I wanted to share so much with my fellow South Africans. I also wanted to be able to present enough material for the students as well as please the professionals. This is a hard line to walk, as anyone who lectures will attest to. Turns out my fears were for naught. I did not have enough time to share all I wanted. As a result I may have to come back some day ?.

On the second day of lecturing. I started to lose my voice. At this point my exhaustion was probably showing. I was worried about the show that evening. I do have to say that I am not sure I would have been able to hold up except for the support and enthusiasm of so many of South African magicians. I do thank you all for that. It was lovely and very humbling. There was not an ego in the room and that is how it should be, we are all brothers in this art and I learn from others just as much as they learn from me, beginners and professionals alike, they all have something to contribute. I thank Mo for taking the time to get up on the lecture stage and trying out a fork bend, it could not have been easy.

Back to losing my voice. Luckily I had an hour to head back to my hotel and then over to the theater. That gave me about two hours to rest my vocal chords.

It is always a little unsettling to teach some of the things out of your own show then go and perform them for some of the same group. As a lecturer you worry that the "wow" factor will be removed for those who attended your lecture. That nothing appears original to them now. A little side note, years ago in the college market I always received A’s on originality. Then I started to write books and teach my work. Next thing you know, other magicians are performing my metal bends, my PK touches and other routines out of my books, suddenly my originality factor went down, I started to receive B’ and C’s. Funny how my sharing hurt my own originality.

Anyway, that night I went on at the Baxter, I felt tired but overall I suspect the show was well received due to the standing ovation. I understand standing ovations are not that easy to get. The wife said I was off, but understood how tired I was. The great thing about performing so long is that even if I have what I believe is an off night; the audience is still entertained and enjoys it. I can’t remember the last time I really had a bad show the audience did not like. In fact I can’t really remember ever having a show like that ever. My fear about the originality factor being swept away by my lecture was unfounded. The magicians in S.A. had enough brains and understanding to appreciate my work, I should have know that, they seemed to love each and every subtlety even though they had read them previously and heard me talk about then in the last two days

I really have to say, that my experience with all and any South African magicians has been exemplary. Now I am sure there is probably some ego infighting at times, there always is but I have never seen it. Each and every South African magician I have ever run into has been most professional, positive and a great role model. I don’t think my wife and I could have had the wonderful positive experience we had, had it of been any other way. I will let you into a little secret. My wife hates magician conventions and hates magician functions. She rarely participates unless she has to in such functions but in S.A. she was overly complimentary about the magicians she came in contact with. That is rare. She tends to think we are a bunch of weird egomanics ?, and finds magicians often petty. Having said that, she wants to come back and meet each and every one of you again.

For those interested: after Cape town we were up early and off to Oodtshoorn where I insisted my wife ride an ostrich. Then off to PE to visit my old neighborhood. I rented a house on the beach where we could watch whales and dolphins swim from our bed. After a week we went on Safari at Victoria falls. Funny to think that the morning I left I watch a mother lioness feed her four cubs a water buffalo. Less than two hours later were on a plane to "Jay burg" (as my wife likes to call it) then to Cape Town, then to Heathrow and then off to Houston. Took us over 32 hours to get home. Then repack and head off on a tour of Hoodwinked the next day.

I have many fond memories. But none of them will be as fond as those I took away from the college of magic.

I know the economy is difficult in S.A. but I can’t express enough that if you have extra money and want to donate to a charity, adopt a child at the college of magic. It is indeed a really worthy organization and changes lives. If you can’t afford to sponsor a child, send them a trick to teach or a prop you are not using anymore. Or get a few of your fellow magicians together and sponsor a child together. Every little bit helps and every little bit makes a huge difference.

If any magician is wanting a lifetime experience they can do no better than heading over to Cape Town and meeting these children and sharing what they know. I always try to give back to the magic community when I can, in this case I went in thinking that was what I was doing but in reality I was given so much in return. This visit to South Africa changed my life in so many positive ways.

Thanks to each and everyone of you for making this the best trip of my life.

- Banachek"

'The Art of the Spin' at it's finest!

On November 15 I posted this fascinating article about how magicians can write themselves a glowing press release.

On November 17 another blogger seems to have taken this advice literally HERE.

Now before anyone accuses me of bagging a fellow Aussie's attempt at putting on a big show let me make it clear - I did not see'Las Vegas Confidential' and I don't know whether it was good or bad but I give James Karp the greatest respect for putting his money where his mouth is and putting on a big show.

The whole point of this post is this blogger's superb example of taking less than stellar reviews and making them shine.

Here's how he quoted the press reviews:

John Shand, 13 Nov, The Sydney Morning Herald

THE new century is still young, but here is its funniest show so far. Nothing else has doubled me up like this, a mirth vociferously shared by those around me.
…a couple of cute magic tricks, and sparsely clad females cavorted leggily in all scenes...

Jason Blake. 16 Nov, Sun Herald

when it comes to describing Las Vegas (Confidential)… fascinating or educational …
James Taylor's choreography is… showgirl shape-throwing, Eurovision twizz and… bump 'n' grind…

Angela Saurine, 13 Nov, Daily Telegraph

The show boasts… impressive moments, such as a fun scene where Alex breaks into an energetic performance of The Gambler with other male cast members. It's a very different slant on the Kenny Rogers classic, complete with bare-chested cowboys.

As Katrina Retallick was ill with laryngitis, understudy Diana Holt stepped in as Francesca, the lead female role. Her strong voice was a highlight. Underbelly's Tony Nikolakopoulos is a standout as mobster Tony ``The Tool''.

And here are the full reviews with the quotes (in red) and in context:

John Shand, 13 Nov, The Sydney Morning Herald

THE new century is still young, but here is its funniest show so far. Nothing else has doubled me up like this, a mirth vociferously shared by those around me.

The problem, confidentially, is that Las Vegas - The Musical is not intended as a comedy.

We all have ideas that, on sober reflection, we promptly dismiss. This show was such an idea, minus the dismissal. It was dreamed up by James Karp, who wrote the script - if that's the word for dialogue devoid of wit, plot or characterisation. Mr Karp is usually a magician, and this may be his ultimate trick.

Caught in the illusion is Alexander "The Great" Dean (Tamlyn Henderson), a gambling-addicted magician employed by a mobster (Tony Nikolakopoulos) in a Las Vegas casino. He's advised to clear out by Tyche, the Goddess of Fortune (Simone Karp) - no, seriously - and by the Latino barman (a rollicking Garry Scale). Meanwhile an FBI man (Alistair Toogood), hot on the scent of the Mob, is more or less raped by the predatory Tiffani (Tiffani Wood). Performance quality is an irrelevance.

Alexander falls for chanteuse Francesca, which brings us to the night's only winner. That role was to have been played by Katrina Retallick, but Lady Luck stole her voice, so Diana Holt bravely faced the music.

Ah, yes, the music. This was a jukebox mishmash, containing some of the worst songs ever penned - Las Vegas and, for variety, Dov'e L'Amore - and some others that had no business being so abused.

To distract us from the dialogue and music there were a couple of cute magic tricks, and sparsely clad females cavorted leggily in all scenes, whether they had reason to be there or not. Christopher Hurrell had the job of directing, James Taylor of choreographing and Peter Casey and Michael Bartolomei of looking after the music. Mark Thompson and James Karp designed the set - basically a digital projection screen - which Nigel Levings lit, while James Ionnides and Karp came up with the flocks of feathers, other skimpy costume bits and more feathers.

If you need a laugh . . . no, on second thoughts, read Hunter S. Thompson's Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas. The Vegas he saw with a head full of LSD was, confidentially, infinitely less frightful.

Jason Blake. 16 Nov, Sun Herald

2 out of 10

THE expression "train wreck" is barely adequate when it comes to describing Las Vegas (Confidential). After all, there's always something grimly fascinating or educational to see in a train wreck. No, this is a fiasco, an embarrassment to all involved in its making and an insult to its audience.

Based on "previously untold true events", the plot revolves around Alexander "The Great" Dean (Tamlyn Henderson), a stage illusionist and headline act at a Vegas casino managed by Mob figure Tony "The Tool" Spitori (Tony Nikolakopoulos), to whom Dean owes a million bucks or more.

With encouragement from his personal Goddess of Fortune (a ludicrous role written for producer-writer James Karp's wife, Simone), a love affair blossoms between the feckless Dean and the understandably wary Francesca, a singer. In order for it to survive, however, Dean must work out an exit strategy from the dangerous situation he finds himself in.

Responsibility for this mind-bendingly inept jukebox musical lies with Karp - a stage illusionist himself - and it bears all the hallmarks of a vanity project gone mad.

Without exception, the scenes are sketchy, the dialogue dull-witted and the characters hopelessly cliched. Humour only arises because Karp is unable to distinguish the funny from the laughable. Some episodes exist only as framing devices for magic tricks, all of which look silly in this context.

Design-wise, there's nothing to arrest the eye other than the migraine-inducing glare of the stadium-style jumbotron screen dominating the stage. Karp's choice of songs - ranging from Que Sera, Sera to an excruciating version of Robbie Williams's Me And My Monkey - is as strange as it is unappetising.

Director Christopher Hurrell struggles to make the basics - entrances, exits, scene changes - work and James Taylor's choreography is a mess of showgirl shape-throwing, Eurovision twizz and tawdry bump 'n' grind, much of it inexpertly realised.

Rhythm and sass are what's needed and both are utterly absent. Henderson shows some determination in the lead role yet not for an instant do we care about Dean or anything he does. Leading lady Katrina Retallick was indisposed on opening night and would do well to stay that way.

Our sympathies go to understudy Diana Holt, who gamely played the thankless role of Francesca. Tiffani Wood, of the late and unlamented pop act Bardot, is rather too obviously there as an audience drawcard but her role - a hooker-singer named Tiffany - is restricted to a couple of Shania Twain-style workouts in the second act. Garry Scale certainly earns his fee playing an elderly Mexican barman in what appears to be a tribute to Tattoo from Fantasy Island.

Tosh from top to tail, Las Vegas (Confidential) is rubbish and a rip-off.

Angela Saurine, 13 Nov, Daily Telegraph

YOU'D expect a show about Las Vegas to be kitsch and offbeat but this musical borders on the bizarre. Written and created by illusionist James Karp, it is a tale of showgirls, gamblers and henchmen in the 1960s and '70s.

With a flimsy narrative, the love story between the main characters, illusionist Alexander ``The Great'' Dean (Tamlyn Henderson) and beautiful chanteuse Francesca, develops too quickly to be believable.

Former Bardot member Tiffani Wood's role as burlesque starlet Tiffany Hills is much-hyped, but her character doesn't appear until the second half. Some people in the first-night crowd had already left by that time.

The show boasts a few impressive moments, such as a fun scene where Alex breaks into an energetic performance of The Gambler with other male cast members. It's a very different slant on the Kenny Rogers classic, complete with bare-chested cowboys.

As Katrina Retallick was ill with laryngitis, understudy Diana Holt stepped in as Francesca, the lead female role. Her strong voice was a highlight. Underbelly's Tony Nikolakopoulos is a standout as mobster Tony ``The Tool''.

But overall, many in the audience were left wishing what happened in Vegas had stayed there.

5 Things Most Magicians Don't Know About Agents

1 - Not all agents are bad

One of the common complaints I hear from acts, not just magicians, is about "lousy agents" who try to rip them off.

Yes, it's true. There are a lot of rip-off agents just as they are a lot of rip-off acts. Agents who pay you $1,000 and charge the client $2,000. One magician I know did a show in Taiwan for $10,000 complete with dancers, illusions etc and, at the end, the client was happy... but he did mention he didn't think the show was worth the $20,000 he was paying for it. Who looks bad? The act!

If you ever discover an agent is overcharging for you, get them to take you off their books immediately as it will really hurt your reputation, not theirs.

Most agents take anywhere from 10%-30%. Some put it on top of your fee, others take it out of your fee. I prefer the agent to take their commission out of my fee because that way, if the client calls me direct for a quote, they get the same price.

To me this is good business. Yes, I earn less than working through an agent who puts their commission on top of me fee, but by doing it this way it encourages the agent to use me more because it makes them look good. Think about it. A client calls an agent and is quoted $1000 for your act, they call you and get quoted $1000. All seems above board. On the other hand, they call the agent and get quoted $1200, then call you and get quoted $1000... the agent looks bad.

To me, paying the agent's commission is a small price to pay to keep the agent happy, and encourage them to give me more work.

(One alternative to this is to have your set price of $1000, and offer your act to agents at $800 + $200 commission. This can work, but can be tricky because many agents charge different percentage commissions).

Be aware of the agents who take double or triple commissions (often because there is also an event-manager or a referrer who recommended you to the client and also wants to get a commission as well). Deal only with agents who are totally upfront about what the client is paying for you (the Gross Fee) and what the agent is paying you (the Nett Fee).

This can sometimes be tricky to figure out when the agent is also the event manager, and may be taking an "organisers fee" on top of their commission. However, in that case the client is usually aware that it's a separate charge to your fee and can decide if it was worth it.

The fee issue is very easy to work out. An honest agent will have no issue with you talking money with the client. Ifthe client refuses to give you a contact phone number for the client, that's usually a warning sign that things may not be 100% above board.

2 - Agents don't get upset if you don't hand out their business cards

Often, agents will send you a wad of their business cards to hand out at the gig. Unfortunately, these cards are often cheaply produced and usually have absolutely no information about you on them... unless you write your name on them and then they look even cheaper.

The reason the agents give you these cards is they don't want you to hand out your own cards.

They feel that, because they got you this gig, they have a right to a commission on any work generated from it.

Agree or disagree, that's just the way it is.

But do you really have to hand out their cruddy cards? No. The aim is to direct any future enquiries back through the agent, and Jeff Hobson has a suggestion that is fantastic on some many levels.

When someone asks you for a card, ask them for theirs.

If they don't have one, have a pen and paper ready and write down their name, phone number and nature of their enquiry, then tell them you'll have so-and-so call them first thing in the morning.

This makes you look professional, as though you have people working for you, and it's much better than simply giving out a card and hoping the person will call you sometime in the near future.

From the agent's point of view, you call them the day after the gig with a few leads for them to call that could immediately give them fresh commissions! You prove you're honest, in demand, and working for them!

3 - Agents actually want to get you the gig

This can be hard to believe sometimes but remember, if you don't get the gig, they don't get paid.

Many magicians feel the agents really aren't promoting their act well enough to the clients, and that's why they think they're not really trying, but often you are just one of several acts they are proposing to the client, so if any of their acts get the gig they get paid. So how do you get them to push yours more than the other acts?

The easiest way is to provide the agent with a simple, one paragraph blurb they can read or email to the client (with a great pic) that will make the client fall in love with your show.

Some acts however, have resorted to more desparate measures to get agents to push their act ahead of the rest. Some offer higher commissions (ie: up to 60%), some offer bonus Myer Shopping Vouchers to the rep as an under-the-table bonus in addition to their commission. One even invites them up to the Gold Coast to stay at his house for holidays! These are generally considered poor form in the industry, while others say it's simply good business.

Other acts will wait until the end of the year and send the agents who got them the most of their work expensive Christmas hampers filled with champagne and chocolates as their way of saying thank you.

The bottom line is, if you deliver excellent shows every time (and most agents send their clients assessment sheets after the show) then the client will recommend you more frequently.

An act that bribes the agent to recommend them, but then fails to deliver can cost the agent their client... and an agent would rather lose anact than a client.

4 - The Agents don't work for you

That's right, they work for their client. It's the client who pays the bills, not the act. As frustrating as many clients can be, as irritating and as ridiculous as their demands are, at the end of the day what the client says goes.

Here's proof.

How many times has an agent called you and asked you to put a date on hold then you've never heard a word from them again? You have to phone them and ask them if the gig is going ahead or not... and usually it's not.

On the other hand, I know clients who've called an agent just to enquire about an act, and then been inundated by phone calls from the agent trying to clinch the sale.

Get used to it.

5 - Agents don't care about your act

If I was in the business of selling shoes, I'd want to learn everything I could about the product I was selling so that I could answer any question my customers had.

In fact, we've done a lot of shows at conferences where particular manufacturers have 2-3 day seminars educating their sales teams about all the ins and outs of a particular product.

Not agents.

You try getting an agent to come see your act.

They won't even watch the $20,000 promo DVD you've sent them.

Even an emailed link to a YouTube clip is out of the question.

And yet they are the people who are supposed to sell your act to their clients.

Sue-Anne and I have even scheduled meetings with Speaker's Bureaus where we've gone in and made presentations to the staff, given them promo materials and done magic live for them. (Admittedly, many Bureaus have a very fast staff turnaround as they often work solely on commissions)

The only reason MOST agents will sell your act to a client, is because the client requested it (or something very similar to it).

You can send out so much material telling an agent you do stage AND close up, you can even call them and chat about it or visit them and do it for them on their desk, but if they've only ever sold you as a stage act... that's probably all they'll ever sell you as. Last week an agent called me asking me if I do close-up and they were genuinely surprised when I told them (for the 46th time) that I did.

Another agent called saying the client wanted a magician and a comedian, and the agent was wondering if I might be able to add a little comedy into my act.

You can just imagine the myriad of lost opportunities that go by simply because agents don't listen... they don't care about your act.

How do you get them to care? (Take a look at the '24 Years of Living Next Door to Ellis' DVD for a very sneaky tip!)

If you do find an agent who has seen your act AND likes it, they will be your very best ally and ultimate sales tool. Nurture them, spend time with them, be gentle with them.

With 'Magic Unlimited' we only represent about 30 acts, but we know each of the performers as friends, we know their acts, their strengths and their weaknesses and which performers work best with each other. We are able to advise our clients in a very practical way as to how to best use our artists to make their event successful.

Another agent I was speaking to yesterday said she represents 1,500 acts.

Yes, you can be listed with every agent in the book, but with agents it's quality not quantity that counts.

Find a handful of good agents and keep in touch with them on a regular basis. Establish a two-way relationship with them and you'll both benefit greatly.

Otherwise, you can always sit by the phone hoping it rings.

A fascinating trend

Other magicians have reported this happening to them, but until you get the call yourself, it's pretty hard to believe.

Last night I got a call from an agent because their client had just called them requesting a show for tonight. Now I know some performers will put their fee up or charge a premium for last minute bookings, and that is their perogative, but "due to the economic situation" this client wanted a big show for a small price.

They had already decided how much they wanted to pay for my show!

Their figure was half what I usually charge for my most inexpensive show, but their budget was set and it was "take it or leave it."

I left it.

As I said, quite a few other performers have told me of similar situations where companies have decided that "due to the economic situation" they would slash their Christmas party budget, but still expected to get the same entertainment at a much lower price.

In a similar vein, I had another agent call last week with a client who wanted me to entertain at her company Christmas party. She'd had me before, for her son's 6th birthday party... he was now 21.

A long time between drinks but it's nice to know they still remember me!

Unfortunately, she was shocked at my price. Apparently she thought she would still get me for what she paid 15 years ago for a kids party.

They didn't want to spend any more than $200 on the entertainment, and they were a Diamond Company.

I guess the diamond business isn't crash hot right now!

Searching to say something

Since I installed the new Lijit Search box (see the top right hand corner of this blog) people seem to have been taking advantage of it in many ways.

It displays a "cloud" of terms that people have been searching and puts the most frequently searched terms first.

Now, thanks to the ISP feature of this blog, I know who is visiting the site and we do have quite a few regulars.

What the Lijit Search cloud has revealed is very interesting, and in some ways a little sad.

One key player in the quest to keep Sue-Anne and I out of the ASM has gone out of his way to make it clear to others he can't stand me. He's spread rumours, made presentations, sent legal letters and even made physical threats of violence - telling others what he'd do to me if I ever showed up at an ASM meeting.

One would think that now we've been rejected from the ASM he would be happy.


He's now spending his days in front of the computer visiting this blog.

Take a look at the current Lijit search cloud.


Do you know how many times you have to search to get a particular term to the top of the cloud? Can you imagine the time it would take to manage three separate terms? Here's a clue.


That's 445 search hits... today!

Now what I can't understand is, if this person simply cannot stand the sight of us, then why is he spending so much time on our blog? Surely he's not attempting to provoke or harrass in some way, that would be poor form.

As much as I appreciate the increase in the hit count he's giving our blog, and I'm not going to ban him or anyone else from it, I feel sorry for the fact that he can't find a more productive way to spend his time.

Like I said, it's a little sad really.

Magic Makers

For those ASM members who have received the latest copy of 'Magic Makers', just a couple of corrections and observations:

1 - Brian Pleasants said, regarding the discussion on the controversial membership rules:

"To my knowledge, there has only been one applicant rejected."

He was referring to me, but Sue-Anne was the second applicant to be rejected by the club.


2 - Alan Abbott made the point:

"Several years ago the submission of one particular application for Membership was perceived by a number within the Society to represent a threat to our harmony. It seemed that agreeing to this one particular application would lead to the resignation of a number of Members, including some from the experienced core who had been responsible for the revival of the Society. The possibility of one new applicant causing a number of existing members to resign was hardly consistent with harmony, or to the maintenance of progress."

The new member would not "cause" the other members to quit. Resigning from the club or existing in harmony is their choice. It seems childish that some members would refuse to exist in harmony within a club just because someone they didn't like joined, but it seems malicious that they should try to blame the disharmony they would cause on the new applicant.

"If you let him play I'll take my bat and ball and go home!"

(Along similar lines, Corrections Victoria are considering letting murderer Carl Williams attend his mother's funeral because if they don't it could lead to "increasing tensions (within the Williams jail unit)." In other words, who runs the Jail system... Corrections Victoria or the inmates who kick up a stink if they don't get what they want?)

I can understand a club having rules to dismiss a member for bad behaviour (not that that ever happens) but to not let them join because of what other members might do?!


3 - Alan Abbott explains how the controversial membership rules came into being:

"This difficult situation led to the development of the current policy on new admissions. The questions of how many objections should cause an application to fail, and how many years should elapse before a re-application would be accepted were widely debated. In November 2005 the results of this process of debate and compromise were included in a draft membership application policy published in Magic Makers. All fifty or so members were invited to forward their suggestions for improvement or clarification. So far as I am aware no such suggestions were received. Accordingly the policy was implemented."

Nick Morton said this:

"This is why changing the rules of the club can only be achieved by a vote of the whole membership at the AGM. The committee cannot simply change rules to reflect their own bias;"

Which is a good reason as to why the current rules are invalid, they were never voted on at the AGM.


4 - Finally, Brian Pleasants made this odd comment:

"I would hazard a guess that many members who objected to this one application have also served ASM well for many many years and in their time have made significant contributions. Should we have alienated their feelings and risked their resignations for the sake of one person who at some time in the past has done something to offend them. I think not. If we lose a couple of people because of this situation, then so be it. Our membership will continue to grow without them."

Is Brian actually saying the people who objected to "this one application" (meaning me, or maybe he means Sue-Anne because she was rejected too) are obviously good members the ASM cannot afford to lose, but if anyone should resign because they don't like the membership rules, the club is better off without them?!

Brian does finish with a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel though:

"I will be happy to continue my service to the society but I can tell you folks, I would be gone if expected to work in the same room as the subject of this letter."