Juan Les Pins
South of France
16th-18th March 2007
True to the way I run my life (or rather, true to the way I let life run me) I discovered that there was a magic convention near Cannes in the South of France around the time I was thinking of making my yearly migration from Portugal to England.
When I learned that Guy Hollingworth, Lennert Green, David Williamson, John Carney, Mike Ammar, Carlos Vaquera and Ettienne Pradier were going to be some of the acts on show I instructed Jane (of Tom Tom sat. nav. fame) to direct me the Cote d’Azur.
2000 kilometres later I was parked in a glorious, tree shaded car park in front of the Palais de Congress over joyed at the prospect of a weekend of high quality magic and the fact that the carpark did not charge people to use it until June 1st. Add into the mix the working water tap just across the road and those who know me will realise that I was in van dweller’s heaven!
I always thought that there were two branches of professional close-up. The first being the version where you wander from table to table in a restaurant plying your trade to people old and young while dodging grumpy waiters who always want to plonk food down in front of you just as you are about to reveal the climax of your latest effect. The other version, rarely found in the commercial world but often to be seen at magic conventions, involves a more formal setting where the performer works behind a table and an appreciative audience sit in front of the star watching his latest effects in awe.
It was, therefore, a surprise to find that here was a rare opportunity to watch the aforementioned stars perform in the normal restaurant environment, complete with grumpy waiters and kids!
The convention ran from the Friday night to Sunday afternoon and on the Friday and Saturday nights the close up stars performed from table to table at the “banquet.”
Also performing alongside the stars were the entrants in the convention’s close up contest. Each table had a “judge” on it who marked the competitors efforts at their respective tables. (It would have being interesting if they had also marked the star’s efforts!)
It appeared that the stars were not aware that they were to perform in such conditions but each one showed his professionalism and from what I saw put on a fine evening’s entertainment.
I didn’t have the stamina to watch each and every one of the entrants but one of them provided me with one of the “cutest” moments I have had in the whole of my magical lifetime.
One of the entrants was a ten year old boy. I was advised to check him out as he was meant to be quite “hot”.
I went over to the table he was at. He was doing high quality card stuff obviously influenced strongly by Lennert Green. Indeed he was in the process of doing some dealing involving Lennert’s techniques when he looked up to see the man himself, Lennert Green, watching him. A smile of pure delight came over his face and he raised a hand in a friendly greeting and then continued the routine hardly missing a beat. The “cute kid syndrome” tied to considerable technique is a powerful combination and he received strong applause at the end. But the really cute thing was a little later when the tables were turned and the young man was watching his “hero” doing his stuff at the same table. The youngster was practically jumping up and down with excitement!
(to be continued…)