I’ll be honest, this is not the sort of thing I would usually pick up, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when my review copy arrived through the door. The School of Cool is a bit of a departure for BBM in that it isn’t a disk of tricks but a disk of moves. And some of them look quite cool…
We’re primarily a card site, so let’s start with
The Card Stuff
Since I was expecting some serious finger-flinging, it started, from my point of view with some fairly basic moves. First up was the Ribbon spread. It is quite hard to teach this (a theme to which we will return) – so it was more of a show. But Wilson includes a few useful details on hand position etc. In addition to the basic move a few variations on the flipping of the cards are shown.
Springing the cards is the classic magic flourish. Again – hard to explain since there’s a certain knack. But some useful tips on the way.
Charlier Cut – one of the flourishes (if it can be called that) I learnt earliest – the classic one-handed cut. Once the basic move is taught he explains a slightly flashier addition with a twist, and then teaches an extended variation.
After this we move into some more interesting territory. Flick Up – does what it says on the can. Flicking (and catching) a card.
TG Murphy’s Triple Cut – a flashy way to cut the deck – launching and rotating chunks of the deck. Hard to explain. Harder to do.
Corner Kick Deal – a very flashy way of dealing cards.
The Double Spread – like the ribbon spread but with an interleaved spread after a partial riffle shuffle.
Stunt Spin/Double – spinning a card (or two!) from one hand to the waiting deck. When you add a second card it becomes madness!
Daryl’s Hot Shot Cut – a quite well known flashy way of revealing a card.
One handed shuffle – a one handed riffle shuffle – for me always one of the coolest moves around. Unlike some of the moves (see below) there were some useful performer’s view shots on this explanation.
The next section is all about Coins
The Coin Roll – the classic coin flourish. I’ve never been able to get the hang of this.
Triple Coin Catch – flipping and catching three coins ‘simultaneously’ – extremely useful for deciding multiple arguments simultaneously.
The MusclePass – the ‘modern classic’ with a twist which apparently makes it easier… To me the involvement of the finger makes it looks slightly less magical than the original – but I guess there’s always a compromise.
4 Coin Rolldown – a flashy way to display 4 coins.
Heads or tails – a way to tell which way a flipped coin has landed. Very sneaky and one of the technically easier items on the disk.
The final section includes Pens etc.
Pen Cap Ninja – worth watching just for the explanation of this. Hilarious. Flick a pen cap apart.
Acrobatic Ring – a very old stunt where a ring climbs up a rubber band.
The Pen Spin – a pen spins around in your hand. An advanced version is also taught which looks even flashier.
Simple Switch – I’ve watched this twice and I’m still not sure why this is called a switch – but it is like flicking a credit or store card between your hands. I feel like I’m missing something here…
The Globetrotter – a basketball move – spinning the ball in a circle in front of your body. For all those basketball loving magicians in the UK 🙂
Rubber Star – a pretty little rubber band move creating a five pointed star one handed. One of the easier moves on the disk!
There are lots of good things about this disk. Each segment starts with multiple performances of the move to wet your appetite. Where necessary some extra explanatory text notes are added on screen for clarity.
My biggest criticism (and this may be very personal to me – we all learn in different ways) is that I find learning from ‘audience view’ very confusing – I would much rather have performer’s view shots. That’s something to do with the geography of my brain. There are a few explanations including performer’s view shots but they are mainly from the front.
I was also surprised by how old Greg Wilson looked! Am I allowed to say that?! More seriously, having seen him live I didn’t feel like this disk did justice to his personality – though you got a hint of this in the pen cap ninja routine. Perhaps this was a conscious decision to go with the ‘cool’ nature of the project but I thought it was a shame.
What has it taught me – I almost certainly don’t have the patience to become a flourisher. For me Greg’s explanations on the card moves were a bit on the light side – though to be fair some of these ‘knacks’ are hard to explain. You’re going to have to work at some of this but if you put in the time you will have some cool moves you can do anywhere. They may even make you stand out from the crowd…
Expected release 20th May. Available direct from BBM at £15.99