I am a sucker for magic. There, I said it!

I guess I must be left-brain dominant, because since childhood I have always loved using logic to work out when and how the effect has taken place. In particular, I have always admired the skill, verbosity and discipline of the close-up prestidigitator; so as you can imagine, Ricky Jay is something of a hero of mine. Here he is showing an effect with the 4 Queens in three quite distinct styles. I particularly enjoy when he goes full-on into the grandiose Victorian patter for the final routine.

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Contrast that then, with Mr Big Effect himself – David Copperfield – here performing an intimate and intricate routine using the 4 Aces. [For fear that you may be enjoying your lunch as you watch this, I have saved you the schmalzy introduction in which he pays homage to his grandfather.]

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Now, given that both presentations have been rehearsed a bajillion times down to the tiniest detail, which one do you prefer and why? If neither of them appeals to you – why? Bonus marks for anyone who can provide an explanation other than, “in league with the devil” as to how either of these gentlemen achieve their effects.

If you want a real Friday treat, read Mark Singer’s lengthy profile of Jay from the New Yorker – you can find it on Jay’s website here.