Blackpool FISM President Derek Lever has issued a statement over on the Magic Bunny to clear up all the internet buzz going on about FISM 2012 and the banning of certain people including Paul Daniels.
- The contract to run F.I.S.M. is with myself and Blackpool Magicians Club.
- Blackpool Convention and F.IS.M. Convention are separate events.
- People banned from Blackpool will not automatically be banned from F.I.S.M. There are only about 7 people who are banned from Blackpool and these are for serious reasons such as shoplifting, abusive behaviour/drunkenness, obscenity and fly pitching.Colin Richardson was banned (since lifted) not because he was running a convention but because he posted a Carl De Rome e.mail on their forum saying that all Blackpool Magicians Club competitions were fixed. Colin refused to delete it and only removed it after receiving a letter from my solicitor. Nobody has been banned because of personal differences. Despite press headlines I did not say that Paul Daniels was banned. I said that we had not invited him for the past 15 years and we did not intend to invite him for 2012. If he wants to come and buys a registration he is quite welcome.
- 90% of magicians who attend conventions don't read forums. Most of the vitriolic postings are by the same 9 people. If they believe that their comments will make me resign/lie down and die they obviously don't know me very well.
- When all the bleating is over I will still be getting 3,000 magicians attending Blackpool Convention, 3,000 magicians attending F.I.S.M. and will produce one of the best World Championships ever.
This is very good news.
It means that, despite the letter Craig Mitchell received where he appeared to be banned because of his "pathetic rantings" about Blackpool, perhaps this was not a "serious offence" but merely a "difference of opinion" and he is not banned at all.
And though Derek was quoted in the press saying Paul Daniels "is not welcome in Blackpool and we will not be inviting him. We don't want him in Blackpool, he is a has-been." Derek's statement above means Paul will be made quite welcome as a paying registrant.
Derek is quite right. If you are to take the very serious step of banning someone within the magic community it must be for a "serious offence" and not a "personal difference".
I've only recently discovered that I've been banned from the 'Australian Society of Magicians'. Not just from their club meetings, but from any event they are even affiliated with:
"You are therefore banned from attending any event run by the club, at the club premises or otherwise, sponsored by the club, or affiliated with the club in any way. This decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into regarding it. Should you attempt to enter any such event the relevant authorities will be called to remove you."
That's a pretty serious ban!
That means, if the ASM sponsored a magic exhibit at the Melbourne Museum (as they did earlier this year) and I went to see it, they'd call security, or maybe the police, to have me removed!
I know you must be thinking "Tim must have done something pretty bad to deserve that!"
President Nick Morton emailed me explaining why he felt the need to ban me:
"Given your previous dealings with the club, your previous history with individual members and your unsuccessful attempts to join the ASM, the committee does not feel it would be meeting it's primary duties of care as mentioned above by allowing you access to the club."
As far as I'm aware, my previous dealings with the club have been fine. I've attended on and off since the late 1970s and have helped promote the club, involved them in 'Magic Week', performed and lectured for them, been a guest artist at their one-day convention, contributed to their magazine, etc.
My previous history with individual members - this would fall under the "personal differences" category - five people in the club of over one hundred, don't like me. I have no issue with them. Though I'm not thrilled that some spread fairly nasty rumours about me when I applied for club membership, and one tried to attack me at the Losander lecture (though I was unaware of it at the time, president at the time Charles Gauci said later "On Tuesday night a member who has had a dispute with him was going to physically throw him out. I stopped him from doing this as I believed it was inappropriate behaviour.") The issue seems to be that, though I can be in the same room as them with no problems, they can't stand to be in the same room as me. I've attempted dispute resolution with them, but they want no part of it.
Finally, my unsuccessful attempts to join the club... Why should that result in a ban? Twice, respected ASM members (one was President at the time), asked me to join the club and sponsored me. This was followed by rumours and campaigns against me by the five members who don't like me. The first time I simply withdrew my application to join because of the hate campaign, the second time both Sue-Anne and I were rejected because a past president had changed the club constitution so that any application could be rejected if five members objected in writing. (Objectors remained anonymous, reasons were irrelevant).
(Most ASM members are unaware Sue-Anne and I were rejected as members, and almost all are unaware we have been banned by their committee.)
So Derek, having been the victim of being banned for "personal reasons" I applaud you for taking a stand and making sure no-one is treated like that at your conventions.
As for the ASM, I still consider it to be one of the best magic clubs in Australia and I really hope it can overcome the "hiccup" it's been suffering from for the last few years and get back on track.