My Favourite Illusions: Close Up - Cup and Ball


Today is Sunday the 12th of November, Remembrance Sunday. As a country we pause and reflect on the horrors of war, remember those who have sacrificed so much for all of us, and make a simple pledge; Never Again. I wanted to take just a moment to thank every person who has served so that I can enjoy the freedoms I do.  Thank you.

Last night I watched Debbie McGee do rather splendidly on Strictly Come Dancing. I grew up watching her perform magic with Paul Daniels for many years. Then for a while the pair were off our screen but reappeared in 2001, appearing in one of Louis Theroux’s ‘When Louis Met…’ documentaries where it became clear she and Paul had a unique and loving relationship. Of course, in the middle we had that immortal line from the amazing Caroline Aherne as Mrs Merton


Debbie took the joke in the way it was intended and has since said she loved the interview. A few months back I met Debbie at an event remembering her husband Paul at the Magic Circle. It’s fair to say that, when that woman smiled, she lit up the whole room.

Thinking of Paul and Debbie made me think about my previous post talking about my favourite tricks. One of my favourite tricks, perhaps my most favourite close up, is the Cups and balls. But I’m not going to talk about that trick here, not really. Instead I wanted to introduce – or reintroduce – you to Paul Daniels single cup version.

I’m working on the Cups and Balls myself. Slowly but surely, adding my own touches, playing around with moves. I will, however, almost certainly never do a version using just one cup. Not because I wouldn’t be able to, but because I can think of literally nothing I can add to what Paul Daniels did.

He’s most well known as a great television magician, and rightly so. However, Paul learned his trade in the working men’s clubs in the north, and would continue to tour and perform live gigs - often with Debbie - until almost his passing. This was one of his stock illusions. And boy does it show. The timing is masterly, not a single move or word is wasted. The sleight of hand is spectacular. I have never seen this trick done better. I wouldn’t want to change anything. And this is the reason I doubt I’ll ever perform it. I would want to do it exactly like this, and I could never do it as well. So instead I’ll leave you with the genius that is Paul Daniels.

Hard work and tallent leads to perfection.


Paul ReganComment