Frequently Misunderstood Magical Terms.
(From Page 144 of the book TIMELESS MAGIC)
AFGHAN BANDS: n. Groups of musical dogs.
GUNG HO SILK BOX: n. 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.
MENTALISM: n. A predictable act.
ILLUSIONS: n. Thinking that you are entertaining.
SLEIGHT OF HAND: adj. Having small hands. “Digitally challenged”.
MAGICIAN’S CHOICE: n. Get a real job or continue to be a bankrupt outcast.
MISER’S DREAM: v. The fantasy that you can go another year without buying a new costume.
SPRING FLOWERS: v. Pieces of paper that look more like springs than flowers.
BLINDFOLD: n. Something you can see through.
SPIRIT SLATES: n. 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 TRUNK: n. The area below your torso.
HEAD CHOPPER: v. The person in charge of the swords.
ZIG ZAG: med. A spinal condition peculiar to illusionists assistants.
MISDIRECTION: v. Following an agent’s instructions on how to get to a gig.
KID’S PARTIES: v. Getting paid $80 to do something that even the parents, who love their child very, very much, aren’t prepared to do.
SERVANTE: n. Term used by the booker to describe the magician she has hired to ‘entertain’ the kiddies.
PACK: n. Term used by the magician to describe the audience at a children’s party.
BREAKAWAY: n. A small child who wanders into the middle of your show – and suddenly has no parents.
FRENCH DROP: v. Wrestling move used to control children.
PALM: n. Part of the hand used to stun a child before executing the French Drop.
BOBO SWITCH: Aust. Sending another clown to a party when you’ve got a better paying gig.
GLIMPSE: n. Sneaking a look at your watch after every trick to see how long you have to continue.
DOUBLE FACE: v. All your friends in the magic fraternity.
DOUBLE BACK: n. What you need to hold the knives if you have a lot of friends.
GAFF: coll. The tape that holds all your props together.
BOTTOM DEAL: n. A novel way of distributing the cards without using your hands.
BICYCLE CARDS: v. The things that go in your spokes to make that really cool motorbike sound.
MARKED CARDS: v. Damaged cards at cheaper prices.
THE PASS: Aust. Chatting someone up after the show.
ELMSLEY COUNT: n. A technique of giving change at a magic shop.
PROPS: n. Used to hold up old magicians.
FLASH PAPER: v. Fancy letterhead.
SEMI PROFESSIONAL: n. A truck driver.
BLINDFOLD EFFECTS: n. Magic you can do with your eyes shut. (See: ‘Self-Working’)
BOOK TESTS: n. Attempting to perform a trick while reading the instructions.
BREAKAWAY PROPS: n. Tables, Square Circles, Milk Jugs… anything bought by mail order.
DITCH: n. What magicians would like to crawl into when using ‘Breakaway Props’.
FLIES: n. What Copperfield does, but most of us leave undone.
HOUSE CURTAIN: n. The curtain at home you take publicity shots in front of.
LAYMAN: n. A good lover.
MAGICIAN’S WAX: n. A substance found in magician’s ears when the conversation drifts away from themselves.
PASSE PASSE: n. Most magicians’ patter.
PULL: v. Most magicians have one on stage.
SELF WORKING EFFECT: n. 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”?)
SHELL: n. A hollow imitation of the real thing. (See: ‘Joe Labero’).
SIGHTLINES: n. How much of the audience you can see when you put your hand above your eyes like a salute and peer out at them.
STOOGE: n. An assistant you train to pretend to be a ‘volunteer’ who, once on stage, behaves like Larry, Curly or Moe.
STRIPPERS: n. The next step down on the entertainment ladder below magicians.