Fully Booked | 52 Memories
By Harapan Ong - Sunday, May 26, 2019
Today, we turn our attention to a book containing material from 52 Memories by Jack Parker, a bright mind from the UK whose life was unfortunately shortened prematurely by cancer.
When I was first bought this book a decade ago, I genuinely had no idea who Jack was - I was simply impressed by the production quality of the book and intrigued by the unfortunate story behind Jack. However, after reading through the tricks in the book, it has become one of my most cherished books in my collection, and I must say I am thoroughly in awe of Jack’s magic. His magic is well constructed and cleverly put together. There is nothing in this book that I would consider to be particularly knuckle-busting - instead, Jack relies on the simplest of moves to accomplish his miracles.
One of my favourite chapters in the book is the chapter on Moves & Tools, which describes a selection of different sleights Jack has come up with. What I like best about this chapter are the little finesses and touches Jack has added to classic moves to improve them in subtle ways. Some highlights for me are:
Outjogging Jordan: Jack’s finesse to the Jordan Count that breaks the move down so that it can be done more slowly, deliberately and more convincingly. Each card is outjogged after being counted, emphasizing the number of cards in the packet to the audience and makes it very clear there are only four cards. The technique here can be applied to the Elmsley Count too!
The Zen Spread: A one handed Ascanio Spread for three cards - it is a utility move to make your card magic look much more natural. It can be applied to packet tricks, Ace Assemblies… you name it.
The Ballerina Double: This move has become quite popular amongst magicians who enjoy performing visual magic. It is a flashy, twirly way to do a Double Lift, and Rich Aviles has applied it for his Ballerina Change (described in his book, Above the Fold).
But the moves are just the beginning. There are some tricks in here that are just so clever that it made me sigh out loud, wishing I had come up with the trick before he did.
As usual, I am going to point out a few of what I feel are the best tricks in the book:
- HofCity: Probably the easiest, most commercial handling I know of for the classic Hofzinser’s Ace Problem. Two spectators select a card each, and are each found in a very interesting manner, resulting in an impossible transposition. It has a fresh new approach to the Ace Problem, and it’s brilliant.
- Oddservation: What a FANTASTIC trick. According to the book’s description, J.C. Wagner uses this trick in his working repertoire, which is testament to the practicality and commercial value of this routine. It is a very interactive card trick which has a spectacular finale of having the cards in the spectator’s hands transform into the four Aces!
- Sunken 21: I have this trick in my own “magician-fooler” arsenal. It is Jack’s very clever take on that old chestnut, the 21 card trick. Instead of having to deal the cards into three rows of seven multiple times, it is only dealt once and you instantly know the freely selected card, under test conditions. Tomas Blomberg’s contribution to the method, also described in here, is fantastic and is the method I use.
I have been describing only card tricks, because most of the tricks in this book are card tricks. There are a few non-card items in here, including a ring vanish and reappearance sequence and a very interesting method of making a coin penetrate from the inside of a can of Coke. However, for the most part, I think I enjoy Jack’s card work the most, and I feel that his card material is where Jack’s brilliance really shines through.
One thing I really like about this book is that the plots of the tricks in here are versatile - in other words, they are very easy to build upon to create your own variations. Even if you are not a fan of Jack’s versions of these plots, the material will certainly give you some food for thought and make you come up with your own versions using your own moves.
Another thing I really like about this book is how easy it is to read. It may be a small thing, but the format of each trick’s written description is such that the list of sleights required is listed in the content page and at the beginning of each trick. This makes researching for the description of certain moves a lot easier, and I wish more books will follow in its footsteps.
Overall, I think that this book is a must-have in every magician’s book collection. It is not an easy book to carry around due to its size and weight, but I feel like this book is best enjoyed when you are relaxing at home on a rainy weekend evening, cards in hand and with your mind focused on some of the most interesting magic you will ever learn.
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