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29 March 2011

The British Magical Society's Annual Dinner and Dance

President: Liz Warlock

0n Saturday 26th March, the British Magical Society held its Annual Dinner and Dance at the Ramada Hotel in Sutton Coldfield. The dinner, for those of you who don't know, is the culmination of the society's year, and Saturday evening saw Elizabeth Warlock round off her second-term as president in fine style.

After a lovely three-course meal, and the obligatory speeches - including a very humorous one from our President - it was time for the BMS Awards Ceremony. Jay Adkins, Norman Smith and George Symes received awards for various competitions they'd won over the last twelve months, while John Jeremy won the Fred Walker Memorial Award for outstanding contribution.

David Berglas
The final presentation was the, much coverted, David Berglas Award which is always presented by the man himself. A star-studded list of previous winners include: Paul Daniels, Wayne Dobson, Geoffrey Durham, Ali Bongo, John Fisher, Peter Warlock, Elizabeth Warlock, Paul Kiev, Pat Page, Alex Emlsley, Terry Herbert and David Berglas, himself. This years recipient was Derren Brown, the only magician currently with his own show on television (Channel Four) and, without doubt, the most popular magician in the country at the moment.

Derren Brown

 David Berglas, a Past President of the Magic Circle (1989-98), and a legend in the world of magic, was once again in attendance, but unfortunately, Derren could not attend the dinner due to his gruelling tour schedule. We did, however, get to see him receive the award via a video presentation. Derren expressed his deep gratitude and said that: "It is a great honour to receive such an amazing award". The huge silver trophy will take pride of place in his magic den at his studio. Everyone agreed that this was a well-deserved award.

With the presentations over, it was straight into the cabaret which was compared by, society treasurer, John Jeremy. The opening act was Joe Swing, aka magic dealer, Zane. It was an unusual act that Joe Swing presented - a sort of a magical tribute to the Rat Pack. He sang a range of songs, made famous by the Vegas stars, whilst at the same time performing magic.Brian Shefton followed with his suave manipulation act. Appearing cards, coins, thimbles, billiard balls and a beautiful presentation of the classic "Floating Zombie" effect, perfectly timed to classicial music. High Jinx closed the cabaret with an act that was like a mini-variety show, including: magic, illusions, juggling, unicycle riding, an optical illusion and a straight jacket escape performed to "Duelling Banjos" - a wonderful piece of music that was used, and made famous, by the film - Deliverance. 

The evening was rounded of with some live music and the oppertunity to dance; most took the chance to catch up with old friends and acquaintances, discuss the evenings events and, of course, have another drink.

Whilst it is sad to note that the attendance was significantly lower than the last time I attended (four years ago), those who did attend were treated to a very enjoyable evening. I look forward to next years event which will be held at - a yet to be announced - new venue.

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