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The Magic Memories (178)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Paris, Paris; Masterclass “Sleight-of-mind – The Psychological Construction of Magic”; After-hour; Slydini on Slydini

These are The Magic Memories 178, gone online Sunday, May 26, 2024, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, and 2023, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.

Paris, Paris

If I came to Europe and could visit only one city, it would be Paris.

Certainly, I would miss Madrid, Barcelona, Vienna, Torino, London, but Paris has all I need in life, in abundance, and is a convenient three-hour fast train ride from Basel!


I arrived on Saturday, 4th May that is, late afternoon, was met by my good friend Yves Carbonnier at the train station, from where we drove directly to a bar close to our restaurant for a first “Kir Vin Blanc”, an aperitif I recommend you take at least once when in Paris.

The “apéro”, as they call it in France, gave my soul time to catch up with the spirits, we also went through the “Séminaire” in our minds, the Masterclass that would take place the next day, and it was a lovely wait before Amâlia Restaurant opened at 19:30h.

You can see what we had on Yves’ Facebook page… not such a bad start 🙂

Masterclass “Sleight-of-mind – The Psychological Construction of Magic”

The event took place on the premises of the FFAP (Fédération Française des Artistes Prestidigitateurs), located at 257 rue Saint-Martin, in the center of Paris, from 1 pm to 6 pm, interrupted by two very short breaks. So, almost five hours of full-immersion, non-stop magic.

On Sunday morning, when Yves and I tried to reach the premises by car, we were in for a first big surprise: Every first Sunday of the month they decided to close the center of Paris for all motorized vehicles…

It was only through my sleight-of-tongue and Yves’ e-mail confirmation of the contract he had for the location, that we were able to convince the lady police officer to let us pass and reach our destination, uff!

Twenty-three people attended, a complete sell-out, as we had limited to twenty (“off by three”), and I am glad to say that they were all happy customers.

Complex thoughts in simple words…

Once again I insist that the most important thing, before anything else, is to make sure the audience can see and hear what you are saying.

Even with “only” twenty-three people this can be a challenge.

You cannot see this in the photo, but what I did as soon as I arrived, is to change the seating so I had seven people sitting in the first row in a semi-circle around my table, a second row of nine people who could see very well because of the generous spacing between the chairs of the first row, and a third row with seven people sitting on the stage; they could see well over the heads of the first two rows.

Briefly, everyone had practically first-row seating.

Remember: Only if the audience is at ease at all times, can you hope to reach their mind and heart, what Aristotle in his rhetorics called the “Logos” and the “Pathos”, combined with the “Ethos”, the performer’s sincere enthusiasm and competence. This is true for any performance situation, of course, but especially for such a lengthy one as a day-seminar.

As for the content, I choose to discuss six topics from Sharing Secrets, which really was the textbook for this seminar.

The topics were:

  • Prologue and Epilogue
  • The Space-Information Continuum
  • The Look-Ma-no-hands Theory
  • Morphology in Magic
  • Intelligent Movements
  • Memory Editing

I introduced each topic with the performance of a trick I had selected for its strong impact on lay audiences and its practicality to perform it.

After that I went through the timeline of the trick, explaining its technical working, of course, so everyone could take a practical performance piece home. However, the focus was on how the particular concept under discussion would be applied in that particular instance, and how it could be transferred to other performance pieces.

All in all there were over a dozen tricks I had chosen for being A-pieces, plus lots of techniques, subtleties, ruses, and above all presentational ideas that could be applied to other tricks as well.

I was particularly pleased that I could devote over an hour to a topic that has only rarely, if ever, been discussed in a seminar, let alone in the literature, namely the role the spectators’ memory plays when constructing the false reality in their minds that eventually leads them into Wonderland.

As far as I know only Juan Tamariz in his epic The Magic Rainbow has touched on the subject in great detail.

Although you can refer to the subject on p. 74 of Sharing Secrets, “Memory Editing”, it is a completely different thing to be able to bring the concepts to process level by experiencing their effectiveness first hand and live. Also, the fact of being able to ask questions around the various subjects is something that makes such events a unique learning experience.

Everyone seemed to agree on this in a subsequent discussion, but it remains a mystery to me why the magic clubs do not organize such seminars more often, rather than having lectures, many of which simply try to sell you something (fortunately this is no true for all lectures). As a matter of fact, this Masterclass was not organized by the club, but privately with the help of my friend Yves Carbonnier.

As always, I closed the seminar with a Q&A session, where the participants could ask me all the questions that had accumulated during the afternoon.


The time after any official meeting is almost as good as the meeting itself.

I remember when I was a student staying in London for my Cambridge Proficiency Certificate, every Monday evening I would attend the meeting of the Magic Circle, where the action happened at the pub afterwards (“The Marlborough Arms” there sessioning with Fred Robinson, Eric Mason, Walt Lees, Jerry Sadowitz, JJ, Ian Keable, Chris Power…).

Back to Paris: After the seminar almost all of us gathered at a simple Bistro round the corner, where they served tartare de boeuf and bière artisanale, all I needed after an exhausting but very satisfactory teach-in.

Sessioning after the seminar…

The nice thing about these “after-sessions” is not only the food, drink, and magic, but that I get to know the participants a bit closer.

I was pleasantly surprised to see and learn what high-caliber participants I had, people who are at the top of their profession (most were amateurs), but also some top-pros drove up to five hours to be part of this event. Thank you to all of them!

Brilliant Arthur Chavaudret showing his latest finding

I only wish that a few younger people had attended, as there were none, also not a single woman…

I am nonplussed at the fact that the magic clubs do not sponsor some of their talented youngsters to participate at such events, which I immodestly think are important for their magical development. The fee of € 80 (eighty!) I had set for the day, including refreshments, was really very modest, I think, and should have allowed young people to participate, too.

I will never understand that magic clubs are paying lip-service to the “advancement of magic”, but seem to do very little in terms of practical action.

A big subject…

Slydini on Slydini

The day after the Masterclass, Monday May 6th, Yves, José Ángel Suarez of Magialdia fame, and I had rendezvous-vous with Georges Proust, the owner of the “Musée de la Magie”, a must-see for anyone interested in magic when in Paris, and founder of the “Académie de Magie”, one of France’s most important and influential magic shops and publishing houses (Georges published my Stand-up Card Magic and The Art of Switching Decks in French).

We had lunch at “Parcelles” (take note!), and after a delicious three-course meal with wines worthy of our attention, Georges pulled out the big surprise from a huge bag he had schlepped with him to the restaurant: The prototype of a lavish box containing all the accessories for his Slydini on Slydini project.

“Slydini on Slydini”, the box


You can read the details of how to take advantage from the pre-release offer in the attached PDF HERE and get an idea from the trailer HERE.

Let me just say that this is a project of worldwide magnitude, a product of the decade, possibly century, as it documents the work of one of the really BIG stars of magic.

Never before, and nowhere before, has Slydini been performing AND explaining some of his signature pieces; he does so here in Slydini on Slydini.

The box comes with a first-class set of handkerchiefs, two sets of very well made safety pins, two specially striken coins, a book that documents the most interesting and historic filming project undertaken by Christian Fechner, a world-famous film producer and FISM winner (1979 “Illusions” – I was there and saw his act!), and… ta-ta-ta-taaaa… a USB stick that will have your name engraved with five hours plus of Slydini performing and teaching, plus some extras…

There will be only 600 units available…

BTW: Do not worry about the French: Slydini speaks English (Slydini-English, that is…) in all his performances and explanations.

The sub-titles in French have been made out of National Pride and for the three or four people in France who do not understand English 🙂

If you read French, or have a little patience to let Deepl or Google Translate one the text, CLICK HERE for a three-page interview with Georges Proust and Jean-Luc Muller talking about the project and explaining its genesis.

Well, this is getting longer than I planned… and we are only at the second day in Paris!

Suffice it to say that I have of course visited with Bernard Bilis, who tells me that his book is progressing, walked around Paris, which is expecting even more visitors soon for the upcoming Olympic Games, and had an all-around great time… what else, it’s Paris.

Thanks to my friend Lorenz Schär’s recommendation, José Ángel and I visited the “Pinault Collection” at Les Halles, just opposite “Le Pied de Cochon”, a classic Parisian restaurant again worth going to (it had its ups and downs), located inside the newly renovated Bourse de Commerce, a phantastic  building by Tadeo Ando, with a spectacular mirror installation – SEE HERE.

Speaking of mirrors, I just have to tell you this one more this: Due to the Olympic Games, Paris has put up lots of quite original artwork on the streets, bridges and squares, one of which you can admire below. It is in front of the Louvre and the Louvre des Antiquaires (worth visiting!), being a mirror cube the size of a building, that reflects the surroundings in such a way, that when you look at it from a distance it does not seem to exist…

Mirror building in front of Louvre by Jean Nouvel

(For more comments on Paris see The Magic Memories 116.)

After Paris I went straight to Lorient, Brittany, to see my publisher and friend Ludo of “Marchand de Trucs” fame, but will postpone an account of my adventures there and on the way back for the next The Magic Memories 179, these being already long enough!

Wish you all a successful and happy week,

Roberto Giobbi

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