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Son of Simon Says - More Close-Up Magic of Simon Lovell Review

Official Review

April 11th, 2009 12:11am
Reviewed by David Acer
Let's face it - magic books can sometimes be pretty dry reads, so it's nice to see one that captures a little of the author's personality (although an argument could be made that boring books have also captured a little of the author's personality). Take Son of Simon Says - every page bubbles over with Simon's playful style, and, much like Woody Allen's books, if you read the material in Simon's voice, it's very entertaining. On the other hand, if you've never heard Simon's voice, his rambling prose may strike you as a tad unfocused.

Having said that, this book, a 39-trick, 200-page follow-up to his best-selling Simon Says, is essentially divided into four sections. The first, "More Thoughts of Chairman Lovell," contains an extended essay on pocket management, presentational motivation, creating wonder, working in bars, and other issues that are of interest to anyone who wants to take tricks from the printed page and use them in the real world. (This is a process I liken to a scene in The Abyss wherein a rat is dropped into a bowl of liquid oxygen, struggles fiercely for awhile, then finally adapts to its new environment).

Section Two, "Card Stuff," contains the type of material that Simon excels at creating - simple card tricks framed by quirky presentations. Highlights (for me) include "Star Trick" (a fun, easy production of a selected card, then its three mates), "Two Cards and a Glass" (a devious two-card transposition), "Granama" (a cleverly motivated torn-and-restored card), "The Murder Mystery" (a terrific prediction effect that gets tons of mileage from simple means), and "Waiting for God" (a surprising card trick using your cell phone).

Section Three, "Not Card Stuff," features, among other things, a handful of obscure bar bets and stunts that Simon has picked up, varied and adapted over the years. "Matchbox Betcha" is in that rare category of bar bet that will fool as well as entertain, while "Matchbox Betcha Number 2," "Teethy" and "Cancan" could all help you create a reputation for being a fun guy to hang around. Conversely, "The Texas Chainthumb Massacre" could help you create a reputation for being a disturbing guy to hang around, and actually requires a small degree of self-mutilation in order to achieve the effect. The rest of the chapter contains more performance-oriented bits, like an interesting business-card printing effect by Pat Page, a fun origami gag, and a nice way to construct a rose from a cocktail napkin, plus three feature routines.

Finally, the title of the last section, "For Advanced Maniacs Only," doesn't actually refer to the skill required to execute the routines therein, but rather the level of madness necessary to perform them. A look at the trick titles should clarify: "The Incredible Card in Dove Number Two," "Ring in Rat," "Lobster Watch"... need I say more? These items are very much tailored to Simon's character, and although entertaining to read, I doubt anyone else could do them as he can.

So what we have here is a big book from a very creative, real-world performer, and it quickly becomes clear as you read through his tricks that every last one would be fun to watch. Moreover, Simon has peppered the book with entertaining anecdotes from 30 years in the business.

In terms of negatives, there isn't much to point out. Some of the card tricks are variations of standard plots (sandwich effects, Do As I Do, Collectors, etc), so you might already have versions of these in your repertoire. And no credit is given to Ed Marlo for originating the "Ring in Rat" plot. But these minor gripes aren't enough to overshadow the fact that, if you buy this book, you'll find lots of material you can use, and quite a few laughs to boot.

David Acer
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Product info for Son of Simon Says - More Close-Up Magic of Simon Lovell

Author: Lovell, Simon
Publisher: L & L Publishing
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $45.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

Everything has been given away-moves, patter and the all important "why" of every item. Just when you thought it was safe to sneak back into your local magic emporium, another Lovell tome appears to shake the shelves and throw a bit of dust around. Within the pages here, you'll find some more thoughts on the performance of magic along with forty routines, bits and more. The material is split into cards and non-card stuff, with the difficulty level ranging from really, really easy to a few knuckle busters for those with a lot of free time on their hands. Everything in these pages has been (and is still being.) used in Simon's professional work for the paying public. Everything is here for you - the effects, the patter, the moves and all sorts of extra thoughts on each and every item. There's even a few guest items from top performers like David Acer and David Oliver.

Contents include: More Thoughts of Chairman Lovell - So What Do You Need to Learn Sleightwise to be a Magician?; The Mob and the Magi.; Pocket Management; Logic and Thinking; A Quick Word About Bar Magic; The Magic Moment.

Card Stuff - Lovey Dovey Sandwich; Star Trick; The Namer; Two Cards and a Glass; The Murder Mystery; Super Play It Straight.; Imagination; Collectors 21.; Sidney the Hamster; The Flipster; Granama; Five-and-a-Half.; The Angle of the Dangle; Bermudarama; One Way to Bermuda; Blind Man's Buff; Mousehunt by David Acer; Ace-O-Rama. by Shaun Robison; The Wyoming Wobble; The Bucket Cull; Waiting for God; Harry's Catnip Principle

Not Card Stuff - Matchbox Betcha; Matchbox Betcha Number Two; Don't Touch by David Acer; Two Pieces of Silliness; The Texas Chainthumb Massacre or Grand Guignol Revisited; Business Card Flash.; Coins, Dice and Grandfather's Beer.; Imagiro; A Hair of the Dog by Bob Neale; Twisted Roses; Chop Wallet

For Advanced Maniacs Only - Fantasy in Salt and Vinegar by Ash Lee; The Incredible Card in Dove Number Two.; Lobster Watch.; Ring in Rat

Extra Bit - The Frisk of the Risk.

Hardcover, 216 pages, beautifully illustrated, full-color dust jacket.

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