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Magic Advent Calendar – DECEMBER 11

Hello everyone!

This is item #11 of the Magic Advent Calendar and it deals with a bit of a specialized subject in form of a PDF (actually two!), which at first sight only a few will find of interest. However, I’m confident that you, my intelligent reader, once you’ve perused the first page, will realize that this is much more than what it seems.

Stephen Minch, arguably magic’s most erudite and talented author and publisher, discusses and gives guidelines on how to write about magic,  a subject of eminent importance. If we ever want magic to be recognized as an artistic and academic discipline – Art & Science, if you will – we need a unified terminology…and taxonomy, I might add. I sometimes get desperate when I read magic books, magazines or lectures notes, not to mention when I attend  live lectures, where many authors seem to make an effort to reinvent magic’s vocabulary. And I still find it hard to believe that Mr. Biddle gets credit for holding a deck at its ends, whereas this must have been done (we assume!) at least since 1370, when the first playing cards were mentioned. In any other recognized discipline once a term has been coined it will be used in all future publications. Even if you only occasionally write or speak about magic, you will want to make sure to use correct and understandable terms.

When I conceived my Card College series, one of my very first worries was to find a logical and intuitive terminology for everything pertaining to cards, and I believe I’m the first to have come up and published such a detailed nomenclature. All of you who are interested can download the PDF with the “Map of the Hands, Deck, Card Case & Card” by CLICKING HERE – I authorize you to use this map, as is, in your own publications, and only ask you to mention the origin (e.g. “From Roberto Giobbi’s Card College“).

To read and download Stephen Minch’s Stylebook, with his kind permission, CLICK HERE.




3 thoughts on “Magic Advent Calendar – DECEMBER 11

  1. At last! A definitive statement on the difference between a gaff and a gimmick – I have always wondered! The year will now end on a high note for me – thank you Roberto! 🙂

    And following the definition Stephen offers, presumably a ‘gimmicked deck’ is an oxymoron?

  2. Thanks again for all of these wonderful and often fascinating offerings in this, the best advent calendar ever to be conceived of!!
    Now, I simply had to comment on this one because you are a kindred spirit it would seem, when it comes to seeing the importance in this ‘unified terminology (and taxonomy)’ in magic. The importance in this is so often missed or ridden over, it makes my blood boil! I especially get irritated or annoyed when I see a magician who is so obviously changing the terminology for something and replacing it with his own because he (obviously and blatantly, [or shamelessly I should say] ) wants to try and claim the move or the grip or even simply the term for an idea or magical concept as his own (and not the person that all magicians know for decades to be the originator!). I mean, there is already far too much of that kind of behaviour insofar as magicians that will change the fingering position of a grip or a sleight by literally moving one of the fingers by a couple of millimeters from what is usually instructed … hey presto(!) they claim the whole sleight or grip as their own and change the name!
    There are no rules and these people just exploit it and show very little respect for the history of the art. In my opinion, if you dont have respect for the history of magic, you don’t have respect for magic at all.
    It is out of my respect for the Art that I have not stooped so low as to bother naming many of those that I know that do this or have done it. It would achieve nothing. The reader who knows much of magic today will know the names I am referring to.

    OK, that’s that over with. Hehehe.
    Let me thank you once more for a great advent offering today and I look forward to the next one. I cannot imagine what treats you must have up your sleeves for us with so many days still to come!
    Will it be acceptable for me to feel a bit down when Christmas day arrives, because the Advent calendar will be finished? My wife will look across the dinner table on Christmas day and ask me if anything is wrong.. i will reply “of course not Darling”.


    1. A wonderful essay by Minch on correct writing! I’d like to see the verb “fooling” used as a verb and not an adjective. “He was fooling around with a deck of cards” is correct. “This is a fooling trick” is incorrect. The word “deceptive” is the correct choice here.

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