Looch the Mind Reader

Since I enjoyed reading his book “SAD” (Simple and Direct Mentalism) so much I thought it would be pretty apt to interview the author himself.  Read on to delve inside the mind of one of the UK’s most respected practitioners of our art:
Most beginners are directed to read “13 Steps to Mentalism” by Tony Corinda as an introduction to the art of mentalism.  Can you explain what first sparked your interest off in mentalism and what steps you first took upon this path?
When I was a teenager I witnessed an American street magician perform for me in Florida, it was the first time I had seen magic in person and not on TV. I was blown away with the way in which he misdirected me to look at certain things at certain times. The trick itself, although impressive wasn’t anything extraordinary, but it was the way in which he controlled me throughout his presentation that hooked me.
 
I ended up buying a Mark Wilson book to learn some basic magic tricks and sleights. After a couple of years I was studying Bobo and then T.Nelson Downs, the classics of coin manipulation. It wasn’t until Banachek brought out his original Psychological Subtleties that my real interest in Mentalism came about. I hunted the book down and remembered being disappointed in it. The hype surrounding the book had hooked me in and I remembered reading it and not understanding much of it. It took me a while to realise I needed to go back and get a understanding of the basics and the fundamentals of mentalism. This is where I got into Bob Cassidy’s work. He was and still is a huge inspiration on my work.
At what point in your journey did you first perform before a paying audience, what was the reaction to this performance and what steps did you make to transform your interest into a career?
My first ever paid gig was at the Cutlers Hall in Sheffield when I was at University. Talk about baptism by fire. It was a black tie event with over 600 VIPs, The headlining act was Paul Zenon. I was absolutely terrified of approaching the first table, I paced back and forth for what seemed like eternity (and probably was) before going up to a lone guy sat at table and introducing myself. I quickly realized why he was sat alone, he was a twat. A complete and utter arrogant, horrible little man who took great pleasure in purposely ruining my first ever effect (a self working card effect) Fortunately the second table was much better, a genuinely pleasant bunch who owned one of the Tennis clubs in the area. They booked me on the spot for my second gig a couple of weeks afterwards.
As a seasoned professional you will have learned so much from each and every performance you have made.  If you could turn the clock back and meet your younger self what piece of advice would you give to yourself?
One thing to mention is that I may have a lot of experienced performing for paid events, but the words “seasoned professional” could be interpreted as a “Full time professional” which for some people seems to be an issue. I am a specialised teacher working with the most extremely challenging young people in the UK. Those horror crimes you read about in the newspapers and watch on the news I’m often responsible for to deliver education in a secure environment. I earn a lot of money doing that. Having said that It doesn’t seem to affect my performing career, I perform several times a month at every type of event imaginable, ranging from Corporate parties & trade shows, to weddings & birthdays. There are very few events that I’ve yet to have the privilege to perform at. If I could go back and face myself 10 years ago I would tell him to “Don’t get sucked in by the Hype Machine. Everyone is looking for the next big thing that will make them a star. Focus on your own ideas and develop them to the best of your ability.”
Most professionals talk of the finer details that make a huge difference in how our performance is received.  What detail do you think is most often overlooked by the amateur mentalist?
Being original with your presentations. Just because so and so does it a certain way doesn’t mean you should. Develop your presentations so that they are you. Your audiences deserve to see you, not just a clone of other performers. There are so called pro’s out there who have lifted whole sections of my scripts and used them on their show reels. Stolen ideas that I’ve shared with them in private and released them as their own with a few contextual tweaks.
 
If you are an amateur who is serious about mentalism then write your ideas down, keep a diary of them and let them develop organically over time. Don’t rush these things, it’s a long process, I have routines of mine that are evolving constantly and its only with experience of performing them for real have I been able to objectively look at them, analyse them and rework them into something that works and something that is me.
Derren Brown has made a huge name for himself by performing mindreading and psychological stunts.  Do you find that you’re often compared to him and what separates your performances from his?
Derren has changed the game in so many ways for mentalism and psychological magic. He is the only real comparison the younger public in the UK can make, so in that way its an obvious comparison. At the same time however, it’s a good, Derren is a fantastic performer and without him, I certainly wouldn’t be getting as many bookings as I am, I suppose it’s a double edged blade in a way, on the other hand he has had the monopoly in mentalism for the UK. Anything you do will be compared to him on some level because he’s covered so much material throughout his career. I can’t think of one “classic” that he hasn’t covered in his specials. This I feel should be the catalyst for the younger generation to push things forward and evolve the performance art. Take it in different directions, the whole psychological angle of presentation has been done to death and from speaking to friends like Luke Jermay, Iain Dunford  and Todd Landman I think the next wave of mentalism in the UK will be fresh, exciting and going back to a more traditional performance.
In an impromptu situation someone who has heard that you are a reader of minds states “What am I thinking right now?” how would you handle this situation?
He doesn’t know what he’s thinking, he just thinks its a clever thing to say, tell him so, and give him a few seconds to actually think of a specific thought. Then have him visualise that thought on the back of his business card and peek it using whatever means you wish. To be honest I tend not to get into the whole challenge mentality when you meet someone who asks that question. They always think that they were the first to ask and it can get quite boring.
 
At one point a few years ago I had a small envelope in my pocket that contained a stock reading and prediction that I would be asked by a man to tell him to read his mind. My friend Bob Cassidy gave me some wonderful advice on this years ago, he says that that “It” doesn’t work that way. The mind operates on many levels at the same time. I am a reader of specific thoughts. If you focus on a thought in a certain way I can very often receive it from you. Likewise, if I project a thought to you in that same specific way, you may well be able to pick it up from me.
 
Another idea I once heard was a less tactful, but funny none the less. “You’re wondering if I know about you and that guy from work” you can make these up on the fly depending on the situation but use with caution, it’s not my style but some may be able to make it work.
You are perceived as a creator of strong effects and workable material.  What single idea or item are you most proud of and why?
There’s a couple of routines that I particularly like and am proud of. “Intuitive Aiii” was my first mentalism card routine that I developed, I still do it now and it always goes down as the real thing.
 
“The Hustler” is another great routine, it’s one of those opportunistic routines that you can perform impromptu. In recent years I would say that the AREA book test, in particular the new principles that I discovered such as the MW principle, I am extremely proud of. To develop a completely unique principle in mentalism is very difficult and I feel I hit the nail on the head with that one. The most recent item that I’m fond of is a concept that has a working title of the “F*** Off” routine. Is been named that because of the reactions it’s gathered from people (including one or two notable professionals)
Outside of mentalism what other interests and hobbies do you have?
I love music. I listen to it all the time, I have genres and artists that I listen to depending on my moods but my collection has all sorts ranging from, Classical, Electronica to Drum & Bass and Heavy Metal. I couldn’t live without music. Other areas of interest are drawing, good food, going to the gym, and spending time with friends and my fiancé.
Most performers have a little story to tell regarding a performance they have done.  Perhaps something went disastrously wrong; perhaps you received an unexpected reaction.  What story do you have to share?
There have been so many unusual, strange and funny reactions over the years. I’ve had a few phone calls from people wanting me to help with personal problems, sick relatives and other such traumas, it’s very awkward and a little sad because even though you explain you are an entertainer these people will believe what they want to believe and it can become quite upsetting for them. There’s certainly a huge level of responsibility for mentalists to be sensitive and not let their egos take over.
 
If I was to choose one articulate reaction I would probably say when I performed for a young offender in a secure children’s home. I had asked him to think of a pet he had when he was younger. I started to describe a memory from when I was younger about a pet rabbit I once had. As I was describing this memory this kids eyes got wider and wider until he jumped up and kicked back his chair screaming expletives at me. He made a run for the door but all doors inside are locked and he couldn’t get out. When I managed to calm him down, he kept asking how I knew. It turned out the memory I was describing from my childhood was the same as what he was thinking about. Basically we both had white rabbits called thumper and they both were a handful. The particular memory I was recalling had happened to him also and he thought I was reading his mind for real. It was quite a surreal moment.
 
I also remember quite a few times where I relied on my gut instinct to get me through certain situations. Naming cards or drawings etc without genuinely seeing them and then getting them correct is quite baffling but it’s happened at least a dozen times over the years. I think our gut instinct or intuition is something we should all learn to to trust in certain situations. It really is a wonderful tool.
Do you ever get asked wether you have a supernatural gift and if so how do you personally answer this question?  
Not as much as you’d think. I usually respond by telling them I can read people like a poker players reads tells, but instead of playing poker I can read certain thoughts. For example if someone punches you in the face, you don’t need to be psychic to work out they must be angry at you. I pay attention to subtle things that the majority aren’t even aware exist.
S.A.D by Looch is available here at a £29.99

Isabella’s Star 2 by Peter Turner (An external product review by Magic Scene Magazine)

ISABELLA STAR 2 Peter Turner

Available from: www.magicbox.uk.com

Price: £39.99

With a limited run of just 300 copies of its first printing, Isabella Star 2 (IS2) – The Star Goes Supernova – is mentalist Peter Turner’s reworking of his original Isabella Star concept.

Imagine being able to tell a complete stranger their star sign and their exact date of birth without asking any questions. Sounds unbelievable…well that’s exactly what you can do with IS2. This is about as close to real mindreading as you can get.

It’s not limited to one spectator either, you could use this on as many spectators as you wish and it works every time! For those unfamiliar with the original concept, the book starts off by explaining Peter’s original Isabella Star routine and then moves onto the new and improved version.

Where the original was geared more towards a stage performance IS2 has now been engineered to work perfectly in any situation, even close-up. IS2 also removes all the hard work that was involved in the original making it much easier to perform without fear of messing up.

The book is excellently typeset and has clear illustrations throughout. Broken down into various sections, each process of the routine is explained extremely thoroughly. There are also additional ideas throughout the book from Michael Murray, Kenton Knepper and Alain Nu. A small amount of DIY work is necessary but the only thing you need to buy is a notepad and you are set to go.

This isn’t an effect you will be doing 10 minutes after reading it but if you give this routine the time it deserves you will have something little short of a miracle at your disposal. I’m really looking forward to giving this a go and for the price of £39.99 it’s an absolute bargain.

I suggest you buy a copy now while you can. Who knows whether there will be a second print run?

What’s Hot: Possibly the closest thing to real mindreading.

What’s Not: Nothing

★★★★★

The Crusade by Atlas Brookings and Andrew Brown (Review)

A Review by Michael Murray

After reading rave reviews on “The Magic Café” about the work Atlas Brookings I was curious as to what all the fuss was about.

So I took the plunge and invested in one of his works. His thinking was highly impressive and It was clear from the off that he had invested a lot of time in thinking his material through.

Naturally this wasn’t to be my last purchase from him, the second was as equally as impressive as the first and I’ve adopted many elements of his thinking within my own work.

Keen on hearing a little more about him I made contact, we exchanged emails and shared some thoughts then out of the blue I receive an email from him detailing a routine he has titled “The Crusade”.

I was very intrigued and began to work my way through the pages….

Let me say this. I rarely write post unless I feel so strongly that an item is worthy of everyone’s attention.

“The Crusade” is a true piece of art and I have no hesitation in saying that this will become the go to effect for any mentalist who utilises cards within their work.

Atlas has taken a whole new approach to the “Grail” and the results are highly satisfying. I promised not to spoil all the fun but let me share some thoughts on why this piece is so unique.

There are countless methods for the ACAAN plot yet to date I’ve never found any in which the mentalist plays an “active role” in facilitating the effect. In this offering the mentalist gets all of the credit for discerning a genuinely thought of card and a genuinely thought of position.

This piece of work is simply stunning and I say this honestly and wholeheartedly from experience. The reaction to this effect is exactly what I would expect of “The Grail” and more.

I could go on all day talking about the conditions of this effect, how fair it is but this effect deserves far more. Although this will be compared by many to the previous efforts in finding “The Grail” this is so much better, this is “The Crusade” and it is beautiful!

The Crusade is available here as an Instant Download e-book.

Mind Bending Mentalism Competition

Ok, folks since this is the first competition we are holding we thought we would make it a big one.  The prize on offer is a monster mentalism package containing over one hundred pounds worth of material.  This package includes all of the following items:

  • Beyond ESP
  • The Right Choice
  • Sublime Influence
  • Between the Lines
  • Memoria (Book)
  • Isabella’s Star 2 (Book)
  • Submodalities (DVD)

All you must do to win is tell us the most mind bending thing that has ever happened to you.  Post your stories below and we will choose the best of the bunch on the 1st of February as our winner!

 

Bigger Fish 2 by Peter Turner

Peter Turner is currently one of the most respected mentalists in the world.  His rise to fame is in no small way attributed to the contents of his first published book titled “Bigger Fish”.

This limited edition title was snapped up upon its release and received glowing praise from names such as Bob Cassidy and Kenton Knepper.  As it stands this title remains along side the original “Pure Effect” as one of the most sought after books ever written upon the subject of mentalism.

Due to the limited nature of this second installment this sadly wont be stocked by Magicbox however having worked closely with Pete in the past on his previous projects such as “The Devil in Disguise DVD” and the “Isabella’s Star 2″ book we can be certain that this will be just as popular.

Pete tells us that this is presently getting proofed ready for Print and we will bring you updated information on both its contents and how to grab a copy as things develop.

Until then, watch this space…

Join in and have some fun!

If you are looking to have some fun with the chance of winning some great prizes then look no further.  We will be posting regular competitions upon these pages so please call back regularly for more chance to win.

Our competitions promise to be more fun that picking numbers for the National Lottery and you also have a much greater chance of winning too!

The Magicbox Blog

Hi folks, it is with great pleasure that I announce the launch of the official Magicbox blog.  Upon these pages we will keep you up to date with all of the following and more:

  • Our personal unbiased reviews of all products including books,DVD’s and effects
  • In store demonstration footage
  • “First to Know” information from our wide range of contacts.
  • Interviews with some of the greatest names in magic/mentalism
  • General magic/mentalism related news such as T.V listing and leaked information
  • Non commercial news including magic/mentalism related videos
  • Free effects
  • Competitions and more…

If there is anything that you would like to see within these pages or if you have any reviews requests then please don’t hesitate to let us know by emailing - [email protected]