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Born in Stockholm (Sweden), now live in Sapporo (Japan). Hold a Ph.D. in computer science and work with computers during the days, perform magic in a bar during the nights (and weekends, for kids). Also used to teach historical fencing back in Sweden.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Sold out magic shows at Le Dobule Fond

I was in Paris mainly for work, but figured that I might be able to find some time during the nights when I could do other things than work. I found a place not that far from my hotel where they have magic shows a few nights every week. It is also a bar, and they also do some magic at the tables.

出張でパリに行っていたが夜にもしかしたらちょっと暇な時間もあるかもしれないと思って、マジック見せて貰える店とかを調べてみた。僕のホテルからそんなに遠くないところに「Le Double Fond」というバーで毎週3回くらいマジックショーがあるみたい。テーブルでマジック見せて貰えるし。

The place is called "Le Double Fond", which means something like a "fake bottom" (in a box or drawer). When I went there, I was met by a friendly guy that told me that the place was booked for a private party, so I could not get in. He told me that after the magic show was over, they would open the place to people like me again, so I went away and had some food and came back later.


Of course, the magic show was then over, but they gave me a table and I ordered something to drink. One magician came up to me and said something in French that I did not understand (I understand some French, but not that much). He then excused himself and fetched a young waitress. She explained that since he only speaks French, they would go get me a different magician that can speak English. I said that once he starts doing magic I probably understand enough French to keep up and do what he asks me to do, but they said nono, we will get you an English speaking magician.


I watched the French speaking magician do a few card tricks at a table close to mine, and a coin routine at another table. Then a magician that spoke English very well came to my table and did a long oil and water routine with a funny story for me. This was the same magician as in the rope magic DVD I had just bought.


The table magic was very short, basically just one routine, at all the tables. The magic is completely free of charge, though. You only pay for what you order, and the prices are the same as the normal bars nearby. 


The guy who did magic for me asked me if I am a magician, so I told him that it is not my main line of work but that I perform two or three days per week in a bar in Japan. He asked me if I was interested in seeing the show they have, and I said yes. He went to check for me and came back with the sad message that the show for the next evening was already fully booked. Since there was only 1 of me, if there was any cancellation I could perhaps still get in, so he suggested I call the next day. I did, but there were no cancellations. It was Gaetan Bloom who was doing the show, and I would have loved to see him live. 

僕にマジックを見せてくれた人が「自分でもやっているんですか?」と聞いてきた。本業ではないが週に2~3回日本のマジックバーでマジックをやっているねと答えた。ショーも見たい?って聞かれて、次の日のマジックショーに席が空いているかどうかを調べて貰った。結果、予約で満席だった。1人だけなので、明日誰かキャンセルしたら入れるから電話してみてもいいかもと言われた。次の日に電話をしてみたがやっぱり満席だった。金曜日のショーも満席だった。土曜日はもしかしたら…と言われたが土曜日にもう日本に帰る飛行機の中にいた。Gaetan Bloomがショーをやっていたそうだから、凄く見たかった。

The Friday show was to be done by Dominique Duvivier, I think, but I would probably not be able to get away from work before 21:00 (the starting time of the show) on Friday. I asked anyway (and in fact got off work at around 20:45 on Friday), but the Friday show was also fully booked. They might have seats for Saturday, I was told, but then I was in an airplane flying back to Japan.

I stopped by anyway on Friday evening too, since I got off work a two minutes walk from Le Double Fond. Then I got to see some rope magic ("professor's nightmare") and also saw some card tricks performed for another group of guests.


Overall, the table magic was quite similar to the magic that is popular in Japan. The magicians were good, but not the best I have seen. One thing I would have liked to see done differently is that when they did magic at one table they did not seem to care much about people at other tables. From where I sat, you could see a stack of coins being palmed etc. very clearly when magic was performed at the table next to mine.


It was also interesting for me to see how French people watch magic. Some people were just enjoying the show while others kept saying things like: "I bet you have the other coin in your other hand" or "can you do it again if I hold this card in my hand like this?" and things like that. Overall, this too seemed quite similar to how things are in Japan.


So in the end, even though I came all the way from Japan, I ended up not seeing a single magic show. The shows seemed to be very good, though. If you are in Paris, you should book these shows in advance. The staff told other guests too that it is best to book well in advance.


Magic shop "Mayette Magie Moderne"

In Paris I stayed in a hotel that was a 3 minute walk from the magic shop "Mayette Magie Moderne". This is said to be the oldest magic shop in the world, and they have been in business for more than 100 years. Currently the shop is owned by Dominique Duvivier and apart from the products every magic shop sells, they also of course have the complete collection of things that Duvivier has created.

パリに行って、世界1古いマジックショップ「Mayette Magie Moderne」から歩いて3分くらいのホテルに泊まった。100年以上営業して、今Dominique Duvivierというマジシャンがオーナーになっている。どこでも売っていそうなネタもあるがDuvivierさんのネタも勿論全部売っている。割と沢山のネタのクリエーターなんだ。

I bought a rope magic DVD produced by the shop, and a safety pin DVD by Gaetan Bloom. I also bought some card pips made out of sponge.

ショップのオリジナルのロープマジックのDVDを買った。フランス人のGaetan BloomさんのアンピンのDVDも買った。次の日にカードのマークの形のスポンジも買った。

The shop was smaller than Magic Dream, but it was also busy with lots of customers. There were families there buying props for their kids to use, there was a middle aged woman there buying a very large close-up mat, and many more.

Magic Dreamより狭い店だったがMayetteにもお客さんいっぱい入ってきた。家族で入って子供が練習に使う道具を買った。おばさんが入って、めちゃくちゃでかいクローズアップマットを買った。色々な人が入って、忙しかった。おすすめのネタ何かありますか?と聞いたら、主にDuvivierさんのネタを見せ出した。

Magic shop "Magic Dream" in Paris

I went to Paris for a conference and found some time to visit the magic shop "Magic Dream". The shop was quite large, and it was full of people. People kept coming and going, but there was always quite a lot of people there.

出張でパリに行ってきた。ちょっと暇な時間も出来たから、Magic Dreamというマジックショップに行ってみた。広かった。お客さんがいっぱいいた。人が出たり入ったりしたがずっと結構な人数がいた。

I found some magic props made in Japan, with Japanese explanations. That would be fine for me, but I would guess that most people in Paris do not read Japanese. I found some funny pens that are made in Japan that I have been wanting to buy but that are generally sold out in Japan. In Paris they were on sale, 50% off, so I bought two sets.


I also bought a cute little shoe that is similar to the one David Copperfield used in this clip


Finally, I bought a set of cards that you can use to do lots of different cute tricks, like show a drawing of a sheep, pull out some cotton from the card, and show that the drawing is now of a shaved sheep, things like that. This was a product they had designed themselves, if I understood correctly.


The staff were very friendly and helpful. It was a very nice shop.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Magic show for the MACS English school

A week ago, I did a magic show for the children at the MACS English conversation school. I have been there many times before, and the kids are always very enthusiastic and seem to enjoy magic a lot. I did 30 minutes or so of magic, and then we had 30 minutes or so where I taught them two simple magic tricks that they can do themselves.

Since I have been there many times before, I was running low on new material. I was told that there would mainly be kids that had not seen me before, so I packed a bag full of things that usually go over well with kids, like sponges and picture cards. This year, I also finished with a signed card into a sealed PET-bottle, which especially the teachers thought was extremely mystifying.

My own favorite new thing was a quiz show style part, where we had a team of all the children and a team with all the teachers and they had to draw questions from a bag and if anyone in the team knew the answer the team got one point. The teachers kept drawing very difficult questions that they could not answer, while the kids got fairly easy questions regarding English, and since it was an English school they were supposed to know the answers. As to what was magic about this game, I made a magic prediction of what the final score was. This is a part of a trick from Tom Stone's book Maelstrom that I made to fit the English teaching environment. I find that children get tired after watching 10 to 15 minutes of magic, so when as in this case I am asked to do longer shows for kids, I try to find something that is not so tiring for the brain but that is still fun enough to keep everyone interested, to get 5 to 10 minutes of relaxation in the middle. I have also used a version of the "everyone gets bingo at the same time"-trick, where I usually make all the kids get bingo at the same time, and none of the teachers get bingo at all (though they get lots of numbers that fall on their bingo cards too).

Anyway, I had fun, the kids seemed to have lots of fun, and the teachers had fun, so it was a success I think.