Let’s get this out of the way up front. Paul Brook is a sneaky and ingenious guy! And NetWorker is a fantastic mentalist’s tool/device/series of effects which will slot in to any corporate or professional environment and enable you to create some amazing moments.
What is it?
Networker is essentially a collection of business cards which have been created in such a way as to provide you with a whole range of impressive mental magic possibilities. They take a well-worn principle in magic, apply it to business cards and then keep adding devious level after devious level of subtlety to create some really strong effects.
You can perform a basic prediction effect, predict a famous person merely thought of by the spectator, duplicate an image randomly thought of by the spectator, divine their birthday or star sign, reveal a word from a website and potentially other effects too.
What do you get?
A really nicely produced stack of thirty business cards printed on good quality card stock which should last a long time, and protected by an innocuous plastic business card holder. There is also a link to a site where you can download Paul Brook’s well-written and fully illustrated instructions.
Paul writes well and takes you through every detail of how to perform the effects and extra subtleties to include. I’m always interested in the genesis of effects and so I enjoyed his introduction explaining how the current release came to be.
If you look closely at some of the business cards you’ll also enjoy a few magicians’ in-jokes (I think my favourite was the company B, C and B – but you’ll have to buy it and look that one up for yourself!). But don’t be concerned – this wouldn’t draw any attention to the cards for a layperson – they appear completely innocent and should arouse no suspicion.
Is it practical?
Networker is a fantastic concept which has been brilliantly executed. It is all but self-working (with the usual caveats about audience management which are often particularly important in the world of mentalism) – but has the flexibility built in for an impressive range of effects. It takes up next to no space in your pocket and is instantly re-set!
I love the subtle ways in which Paul layers different principles to create utterly baffling magic. You can see that he is someone who has studied his art well. His writing is crisp and straight-forward – and I, for one, much prefer printed instructions for this kind of effect than video – so that was a good choice.
Apart from the ‘innocence’ factor of using business cards, it potentially also adds a little ‘credibility’ to you, the performer, that you should have such a range of cards (and therefore contacts). In any kind of corporate environment where business cards are handed out all the time it provides a perfect justification for using them. You also have the opportunity to hand out one of your own cards, or to get hold of theirs.
So this comes highly recommended for anyone working in that world. I’m struggling to find any negative. Perhaps the only one would be that one of the core ideas requires you to draw on the business cards – so if you want to change your routine you will have to buy another set, which is quite an investment. However, Paul encourages you to think carefully before you rush in to drawing on them – and I would do the same!
NetWorker is available direct from MagicShop.co.uk for £36.50 (at the time of writing).
Review copy kindly provided by Murphys Magic to whom dealer enquiries should be directed.