Posted on 1 Comment

The Magic Memories (157)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: (Very) Quick End-of-year Review; New Year’s Eve – Sylvester: An Anecdote; Addendum to “How Did You Do That?”; Giobbi on Vernon’s Hand-to-hand Card Transfer (video clip & PDF); Roberto Giobbi: Complete Bibliography, Status December 2023 (PDF)

These are The Magic Memories 157, gone online Sunday, December 31st, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.

(Very) Quick End-of-year Review

As you are reading this it is the very last day of the year 2023, at least for those who are living according to the Gregorian Calendar, and most of us are therefore probably getting ready to celebrate this event in some way or another 🙂

It has been an eventful year for me, for magic, and for the world at large.

As far as I am concerned, I have reported many of my undertakings, travels and adventures in these The Magic Memories, which all who care can easily access HERE, so I can spare us that part.

As for what happened in the world at large in 2023, you will find excellent reviews of the most important events online. It is not to be overlooked that these events have impacted our small magic world in significant ways, fortunately not only negatively, but due to the return to a mostly “normalized” life after almost three years of hiatus also in a very positive way, bringing back live shows, conventions, etc. I hope you had your share of it, as did I.

In reference to the Magic World itself, looking at all the publications, tricks, conventions and various events that marked the current year, I can only say that magic is still going strong, possibly stronger than ever, certainly quantity-wise, but in spite of all the mediocre ideas, products and shows, also quality-wise.

Briefly: As we leave a forceful magical 2023 many signs point to a even more successful and eventful 2024. I wish you and I to be part of it.

So, for me personally, I will try to keep in touch with you through The Magic Memories, provided I do not receive too many protests (tomatoes, eggs, etc.), I hope to complete the Unexpected Agenda, the book project I am currently working on as much and as often as I can (see the “Little Update on Unexpected Agenda” in the upcoming The Magic Memories 158). Plus the many things that will come up and are unplanned.

New Year’s Eve – Sylvester: An Anecdote

When I turned to magic professionally in 1988, many wonderful things happened to me.

One of them was that my much admired friend Gaetan Bloom, on of the geniuses in our world of magic, who apparently thought highly of me, without asking me recommended me to one of the most important and influential agencies in Europe, Tavel International Agency with headquarters in Paris, and owned by Monique Nakachian, whom I would only much later meet personally, in 2006, when we both sat in the jury of FISM 2006 in Stockholm!

So, I got an unexpected call from Mrs. Nakachian with a proposal to work for three weeks in the famous “Cabaret du Casino” of Monte Carlo; that was in January of 1989, and it is a story I have told in one of the previous The Magic Memories. If I haven’t, and someone tells me so, I’ll catch up in a future post.

Her customer seemed to have been so pleased by my magical offerings that a few months later she called again, asking me if I was free at New Year’s Eve to do magic in a holiday resort. She offered two options: One, somewhere in the Arabian Emirates (can’t remember exactly where), and two, on an island of  the French Antilles.

Although I had already a computer at that time and used it to write my first books, articles, contracts, etc., no Internet was available, yet.

So, I had to rely on my high school knowledge of geography. Unfortunately, geography was one of my least favorite subjects, like most others… which is why I somehow thought the Antilles to be those islands in the Mediterranean Sea (yes, I know… now).

Therefore, without further checking, I decided to take the destination that was nearer by, just a short flight, I thought… We quickly agreed on everything over the phone, and Mrs. Nakachian promised to send the contract by mail in the next days (no email, let alone PDF-attachments, at that time…).

After hanging up I proudly declared to Barbara, my wife-to-be in 1990, that I had just got a booking on the mediterranean island of the Antilles…

Barbara, to this day smarter and more knowledgeable than I, looked at me disdainfully and without missing a beat said, “The Antilles, my dear, are in the Caribbean Sea, and Fort de France, where you have to fly to, being the largest city of Martinique.”

Gulp!!! Too late…

But the punchline has yet to come…

Mrs. Nakachian called again two days later, “Mr. Giobbi, I’m sorry to report that there is a problem with that booking on Sylvester…”

Oh, my.

“This period is peak season in the Caribbean, and we couldn’t get any flights on that day. You will have to fly in four days earlier and stay another three extra days before you can get your flight back. Is that a problem?”


However, she quickly added, “But of course you’ll be given a standard guest room with view on the sea, and all drinks and meals will be taken care of.”

OK, no problem!

To appreciate the situation, you should know that the hotel in question was the Hotel Meridien, a five-star hotel considered the best on the island of Martinique, owned by Air France, at least at that time it was.

I was then told the regular weekly rate for half-pension was around $ 10’000 per person (according to the inflation calculator $10,000 in 1989 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $25,539.71 today).

Definitely, no problem!

I had a direct flight from Paris to Fort de France, which is part of French Territory, was transferred by private boat from the airport to the island, and then taken by limousine to the Hotel Meridien.

Well, frankly, I had never been in a place like that before! Decadent luxury pure: White sand beach as far as you could see, palm trees, blue waters all around, a cocktail bar and a restaurant, all in style to fit the local environment, briefly, possibly the preliminary stage to Paradise.

I remember I worked some two or three hours doing close-up during the dinner of Sylvester, and then spent the rest of the days, before and after, sun-bathing on the beach, swimming in the Caribbean Sea, taking part in several excursions and outdoor pursuits, as well as dining on local langoustes, lobster and wine, with no-limit cocktails before and after, all free of charge, in the company of some beautiful people…

This is were I thought: This artist’s life is going to be a hard life! But I survived it, and many similar adventures thereafter…

Addendum to How Did You Do That?

In reference to last week’s discussion of what to answer when a spectator says, “How did you do that?”, Gordon Meyer from Chicago wrote in and agreed to share his answer:

“Hi, Roberto – First off, thank you for the good ideas!

Secondly, well, I’m happy to say I was one of those 300 Secret Twitter subscribers and loved it. It was innovative and interesting.

Finally, the real reason for this note: When asked “how did you do that?” I often reply “Well, the deeper question is ‘why did I do that'” — delivered with a raised eyebrow and a small laugh. My internal dialog for this is that the magic points beyond the trick, but you’re missing it!

Thank you, Gordon, a good answer. Not all will get it, but for those who do, it might be a start to an interesting conversation that opens a door into our Magic Kingdom to them.

Giobbi on Vernon’s Hand-to-hand Card Transfer

In order to make this week’s The Magic Memories, the last of the year, not a chatter-only one, here is a little sleight-of-hand bit that those might like who like this sort of thing… and it will keep you busy for a while 🙂

In my Evernote Notebook I have a lengthy note on so-called “Hand Transfer Techniques”, i.e., methods that allow objects, mostly cards (!), to be transferred imperceptibly (that’s the idea…) from one hand to the other, and sometimes back again.

Looking through it in search for items to put in the upcoming Unexpected Agenda (a part of the entries will be, like in the other Agendas, original and/or little-known techniques and technical refinements) I hit on Dai Vernon’s method that was described in Hugard’s & Braue’s Expert Card Technique, in the third edition of 1950. Since this chapter is missing in the first two editions and the reprints thereof that many seem to have, I have taken the liberty of copying the original description for you HERE (the book is now out of copyright and in the public domaine). You may know this already, and if you do not, I suggest you do a little read before proceeding.

In difference to Vernon’s technique, which I could never get to work 100% for me, I simply use friction to get the card from the palm of one hand to the palm of the other hand. No further description is necessary, I think: Simply watch the video a few times and those who are used to tackle such things will get it, for the others it should just look amusing 🙂

To watch the twelve-second video CLICK HERE.


Roberto Giobbi: Complete Bibliography, Status December 2023

Since these The Magic Memories mark not only the end of the year 2023, but also the end of the third year of publication of this blog, I thought I would give in to the request of several of my readers who asked if there was a list of all my publications.

The Complete Works of RG

Well, if you really want to take the time to sift the evidence, HERE IT IS as a PDF.

Ok, now let’s all get ready for the countdown for 2024, have an excellent transition, and Happy New Year! (I entered “best firework in the world” into my search engine and GOT THIS – whether you agree or not, enjoy!

Roberto Giobbi

1 thought on “The Magic Memories (157)

  1. Happy new year Roberto! These Magic Memories are fantastic to read and are a real weekly highlight. They are full of such interesting, well thought out and educational inspiration both from a magical and general perspective. It is so generous to you to give this to the magical community as a gift and please don’t stop! Thank you.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.