Elastic Thread Routines :: First Published 1989 :: 24 Pages
This is the first of the books sent to me. I’m not a fantastic fan of thread work. Only dabbling in the world of “Loops” and other thread pulls. To this day, I perform very little thread work. So venturing into a book full of thread effects and tips was very underwhelming for me. Firstly, you are greeted with a finely put together eBook. I have many digital books and this is way up with the best in terms of the way it is put together. They have clearly had a lot of time put into them. Unfortunately you have to go through 6 pages of copyright agreements and blank pages to get to the introduction but I suppose it is easy to skip over it and we shall forgive Ben for this.
He has a lengthy introduction which I believe has been re-written from its original publication. Introductions are usually one thing I also skip over but in this case I’m very pleasantly surprised that it really roped me in. Ben’s research into elastic thread magic is brilliant and he brought new facts to the reader as to where some of today’s most commonly performed thread effect really came from. Much to my surprise, it was far from who and where I had thought it had appeared from. It really sets the mood and really makes you appreciate how everything we currently know was rooted in very different circumstances then first thought.
So, to the effects in the book. We are taken firstly to the very beginning. A little bit of thread management. He gives some very helpful tips on how to camouflage your thread and help you feel more confident in using the thread. Although these small details are, well, small; they are essential to thread work as Ben mentions. These small details may be common knowledge to the common thread worker, but these are very helpful to those of us who may be experimenting in the thread world for the first time. Ben again, fully credits the origins of everything he mentions and all the ideas he has listed. He even takes you through how to create a certain type of invisible elastic loop.
Slider :: This is a cute little effect. I can’t help but think it is a little pointless and would have to be used within a routine. However, Ben does suggest this be used as a “gag” effect within the “Strange Travellers” plot. Again, many versions of this exist in current thread DVD’s and books but usually in different ways. One thing I’m beginning to love about Ben’s books is the hand drawn illustrations. To the modern day magician, photos may be more appropriate but I can’t help but feel the organic and genuine approach to these books. The hand drawn illustrations really do make you feel like you are reading a classic. Plus, let’s face it, there just cool!
The Enchanted Butterfly :: Now were getting to it. This is a brilliant little effect using only two playing cards and a cigarette paper (and of course, you’re little something else). Instantly I can think of effect born from this idea. The effect being, creating a butterfly from a cigarette paper, and allowing it to float in between the two cards. I can imagine this perfectly and think it could be presented as a really beautiful piece of magic. The handling is incredibly clever and I have not come across this style of handling with thread work before. His thinking behind how the thread is being anchored is very clever and incredibly detailed. The effect is simple in method and beautiful in execution. The set up is minimal and allows everything to lay dormant in your deck until you need it. Possibly one of my favourite effects in the book.
Floating Smoke Ring :: This is another very cool effect that i hadn’t seen before. The handling is very simple but again, incredibly well put together. Allowing a ring made from a cigarette paper to float from under a glass, up between your hands and land on the upside-down glass base. Not much to say about this one. There are many images to help you along and a very clever handling of a cool effect.
The Flexing Pip :: This being another of my firm favourites in the book. Again, many version of the “moving pips” have been and gone. Usually the effect is created with a complex gimmick that has been made in a factory or hours by hand and cost a fortune. Ben teaches you how to make a very simple version of this effect. Just by shaking a two of diamonds, you can visually cause it to change to a three of diamonds. I will defiantly making one of these gimmicks up. I can make as many of these as I wish, inexpensively and still get the same effect as some of the expensive versions of the market. This is defiantly worth checking out and one that should be worked into a close up act. This takes those of us who are scared to use thread as a floatation device and allows us to utilise the thread in a solid, no hassle, no worry, fully camouflaged effect.
The Floating Card :: The effect is in the name. Again, many versions of this on the market and it appears in many other literatures. Ben’s handling is simple, effective and clever. Again, another effect that is slightly pointless and is a throwaway effect but I have no doubt that in the right routine, it can work wonders.
Coins on the move :: A coin effect with thread in which the coins visually assemble in the centre of the table. Again, very pointless and I’m not sure if it would work in a routine but it’s one of those effects that you could watch in the mirror time and time again, just for the fun of it. However, the simple handling allows you to slot in there with your favourite assembly trick.
Everything in these books is brilliantly put together. The images make it feel like a classic. The effects are real trend setters. What I love about this book is the effects really bring together many different types of magicians and allow everyone to get in on the act. For close up magicians you have traditional thread plots and floatation’s. For card magicians, a way to make pips visually spear on cards and make cards move. Stage and parlour magicians can make paper butterflies come to life. Every effect has an introduction into its creation and everything in the book is very well credited. I’m not sure if the book will convert me back into thread magic but I will defiantly be trying one or two of these effects in future.
Rating :: **** 4/5 Stars
“A brilliant insight to thread magic with something for even the most sceptical ‘threadaphobes’.”