Absolute Magic by Derren Brown

(c. 2003) (Submit Review) (Submit Update)

Details: Following the success of Pure Effect, Derren Brown offers a detailed study of the most difficult task facing any close-up magician: how to make magic convincing. This is a rich and witty journey through the thinking of Britain’s foremost current magical performer, whose television specials have revolutionized mentalism and drawn massive viewing figures. Absolute Magic offers the profoundest thinking, expressed in the most memorable and vivid prose, and is a necessary modern classic for the magician or mentalist striving to make his performances more powerful.

This is a manifesto for performing excellence, not a mere collection of routines. Those who study it carefully will find much practical information, not only on close-up magic (Derren’s emotion packed presentation for the floating ring, for example) and mentalism, but also his unique approach to theatrical pick-pocketing.Originally privately published by the author, Absolute Magic was only available directly from Derren via his password protected web site. Those fortunate few who were able to negotiate the web site and place their order have cherished their copies. With his performing career no longer affording him the luxury of filling orders, he has authorized its publication and the book is now available.

“If the author’s previous book, Pure Effect, was a challenge to the status quo of close-up magic, then Absolute Magic is an outright call to arms… he wants not only to alter the way we do our art and work, but he wants to transform the way we think and feel about it. …Mr. Brown also possesses considerable experience with pick-pocketing, a subject he explores in some technical as well as theatrical depth. There is some pragmatic contents of the book, which still serves as a vehicle for Mr. Brown’s thoughtful consideration of artistic issues.” -Jamy Ian Swiss, Genii Magazine March 2000

Here is an excerpt from the book, cited in the Genii review, as characteristic of its contents:
“Have the courage to think from this starting-point, and to leave ninety percent of your repertoire behind you. Then go out to perform fresh and eager to improve even more, and from the moment you arrive, invent and walk your own prestige Carry it around with you with the quiet nature of the man confident in his authority. Communicate it thoroughly and subtly before any magic begins.

You are not a juggler, nor a mere amuser of the middle-classes: you are a magician. The main task of that wonderful job is to lift people out of themselves. You are a connection to a wondrous world, and if you forget that and just become a mingling trickster, then you are undercutting yourself, and denying yourself the shiver of an unrivalled type of job satisfaction. In keeping with our model, it is vital that you transport people: that in some sensitive way you challenge the comfort of the social context. In places where the posh gather and talk about silly things, you must gradually, softly, sound a bass note that rumbles. You act with caution, and you pace the mood of the event (and you don’t cloud that judgment by swigging too much of the Champagne yourself), but you remember that you are there to create magic… and you bide your time.”

Warning: This is not a book for the casual reader nor one who is easily offended!


5 Author’s Note 
7 Brief Notes On The Second Edition 
17 Preface

25 Part One  
25 Starting Points 
31 Magic and Theatre 
49 Meaning and Vision

61 Part Two  
61 Withholding the Power 
61 Suggestion and Presence 
73 Suggestion and Character 
77 The Devil’s Picture-Book 
83 Environmental Issues 
91 Designing With Cause 
110 Relating To Performance 
117 Cold and Nasty 
127 Setting the Stage 
133 A Different Look at Pick-Pocketing 
143 Outside Pocket 
147 The Watch Steal 
151 The Cigarette Through Shirt as Misdierction for Extensive Thievery 
157 Unnerving Reveals 
163 Recreation and Repetition 
167 Acting Technique-Remembering to Forget

179 Part Three  
179 Creativity in Isolation 
189 How to be Yourself 
195 Prestige and Disillusionment 
203 A Note On Perverse Spectator Handling 
211 Thank You For Your Time

213 Epilogue
213 An Essay – Can Magic be Art? New Thoughts 
220 Art as Representation 
222 Art as Expression 
227 Art and Form 
232 Art and Aesthetic Experience 
235 Against Definition 
237 Conclusions: How We Define Art 
239 Magic and Art

  • Publisher: H&R Magic Books
  • Pages: 251
  • Location: Humble, TX, USA
  • Dimensions: 6″x10″
  • Date: 2003
  • Binding: hardbound

Contents: magicref.net – click for details

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Approx. Price: $35.00 (2003) ***

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