HUMOUR: Glossary of frequently misunderstood magical terms


Frequently Misunderstood Magical Terms.

(From Page 144 of the book TIMELESS MAGIC)

AFGHAN BANDSn. Groups of musical dogs.

GUNG HO SILK BOXn. An enthusiastically performed silk box.

DOVE PAN: n. A device used for cooking birds.

ZOMBIE BALL: n. The Magic Club’s annual dinner dance.

SUCKER TRICK: n. Any trick purchased by mail.

ELECTRIC DECK: n. A battery operated device for lonely magicians.

PATTER: v. Polite applause from your relatives.

SILENT ACT: n. An act without patter.

MENTALISMn. A predictable act.

ILLUSIONSn. Thinking that you are entertaining.

SLEIGHT OF HANDadj. Having small hands. “Digitally challenged”.

MAGICIAN’S CHOICEn. Get a real job or continue to be a bankrupt outcast.

MISER’S DREAMv. The fantasy that you can go another year without buying a new costume.

SPRING FLOWERSv. Pieces of paper that look more like springs than flowers.

BLINDFOLDn. Something you can see through.

SPIRIT SLATESn. The tab kept at the bar at a Magic Convention.

PRESTIDIGITATION: n. The uncontrollable fidgeting that takes over the audience two minutes into a magic convention gala show and continues for the next seven hours.

MENTAL EPIC: n. Trying to work out exactly what percentage of your fee your agent has actually taken.

SUB TRUNKn. The area below your torso.

HEAD CHOPPERv. The person in charge of the swords.

ZIG ZAGmed. A spinal condition peculiar to illusionists assistants.

MISDIRECTIONv. Following an agent’s instructions on how to get to a gig.

KID’S PARTIESv. Getting paid $80 to do something that even the parents, who love their child very, very much, aren’t prepared to do.

SERVANTEn. Term used by the booker to describe the magician she has hired to ‘entertain’ the kiddies.

PACKn. Term used by the magician to describe the audience at a children’s party.

BREAKAWAYn. A small child who wanders into the middle of your show – and suddenly has no parents.

FRENCH DROPv. Wrestling move used to control children.

PALMn. Part of the hand used to stun a child before executing the French Drop.

BOBO SWITCHAust. Sending another clown to a party when you’ve got a better paying gig.

GLIMPSEn. Sneaking a look at your watch after every trick to see how long you have to continue.

DOUBLE FACEv. All your friends in the magic fraternity.

DOUBLE BACKn. What you need to hold the knives if you have a lot of friends.

GAFFcoll. The tape that holds all your props together.

BOTTOM DEALn. A novel way of distributing the cards without using your hands.

BICYCLE CARDSv. The things that go in your spokes to make that really cool motorbike sound.

MARKED CARDSv. Damaged cards at cheaper prices.

THE PASSAust. Chatting someone up after the show.

ELMSLEY COUNTn. A technique of giving change at a magic shop.

PROPSn. Used to hold up old magicians.

FLASH PAPERv. Fancy letterhead.

SEMI PROFESSIONALn. A truck driver.

BLINDFOLD EFFECTSn. Magic you can do with your eyes shut. (See: ‘Self-Working’)

BOOK TESTSn. Attempting to perform a trick while reading the instructions.

BREAKAWAY PROPSn. Tables, Square Circles, Milk Jugs… anything bought by mail order.

DITCHn. What magicians would like to crawl into when using ‘Breakaway Props’.

FLIESn. What Copperfield does, but most of us leave undone.

HOUSE CURTAINn. The curtain at home you take publicity shots in front of.

LAYMANn. A good lover.

MAGICIAN’S WAXn. A substance found in magician’s ears when the conversation drifts away from themselves.

PASSE PASSEn. Most magicians’ patter.

PULLv. Most magicians have one on stage.

SELF WORKING EFFECTn. A term used by dealers to fool magicians into buying a trick. Most‘self working effects’ are way too difficult for the majority of magicians anyway. (NB: The author of ‘The Expert At The Card Table’ was S. W. Erdnase. “Self Working”?)

SHELLn. A hollow imitation of the real thing. (See: ‘Joe Labero’).

SIGHTLINESn. How much of the audience you can see when you put your hand above your eyes like a salute and peer out at them.

STOOGEn. An assistant you train to pretend to be a ‘volunteer’ who, once on stage, behaves like Larry, Curly or Moe.

STRIPPERSn. The next step down on the entertainment ladder below magicians.

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