Life’s a Beach is the first volume in a forthcoming collection gathering some of the brilliant ideas of Gary Jones in print. It’s a 135-page paper backed collection produced by the wonderful folk at MagicSeen – and it really does have something for everyone.

Gary is a very talented performer and creator of magic. He seems to have a knack for coming up with ideas which are really commercial – direct effects which audiences appreciate. Some of the effects in the book are self-working and some will require a bit more technical proficiency.

Let’s get into the tricks

First up, it’s worth mentioning that a few of the effects in print here have previously appeared on DVD. If you’ve seen the brilliant Automata series (you can read our reviews of Volume One, Volume Two and Volume Three) – then you will already know about the following: Aqua Ring (a self-working ring off string); Fireballs (an easy, portable, impactful cups and balls); Metal Sheep (clever self-working coin transposition); Lead Free (a neat little coin bend); No Luck (a prediction effect using dice); Peeky Blinders (a superb little mentalism routine); ESP-ionage (a clever and again more or less self-working ESP prediction effect).

But even if, like me, you’ve seen them already, I was pleased to have them in print to refer to more easily. They are all cracking effects! And there are still more than 30 other effects in the book too.

Something for everyone

There’s so much other material in Life’s a Beach that I can’t go into detail on all of it. Instead I’ll try to give you a flavour and some highlights. The book starts with a sneaky ACAAN type effect which uses a gaffed deck to great effect.

I really like the Paul Gordon Card To Wallet idea which gets rid of the need to palm. This is taught and then Gary’s variation is also explained. Both are real workers. There’s also a super little oil and water routine which I have already started playing with.

One of my favourites is Grater – which is a great example of how Gary combines different principles and adds entertainment. The spectator chooses a card – and then merely thinks of a different card in their mind. You can then show that you predicted their thought of card (in combination with a great pun) and then read their mind to reveal the original card. Love it.

Although the majority of effects are card, there are also tricks with coins (a no palm coins through table – would you believe!), silks (a colour changing silk effect which would be great for strolling), a bottle production (you can guess what that is, right?!) and several mentalism type effects.

There are variations on a number of classic plots and one that caught my eye was a really straightforward Card Under the Box routine which with one sneaky ruse gets you so far ahead it’s brilliant.

A cracking collection

I hope, by now, you have got the impression that I think this is a super collection. The writing style is easy and Gary is generous with his experience which shines through. Throughout the tricks are short tips which contain excellent advice if you are wanting to get into close up magic in a more professional way. There is also a longer article with Gary’s thoughts on being a pro. Well worth a read.

I know that I will keep coming back to this book as there are routines in here I definitely want to perfect to add to my strolling set – and I’m sure you will too. Life’s a Beach comes unreservedly recommended – in spite of the fact that the beach I sat on while I reviewed it was cold and miserable!

You can pick up Life’s a Beach direct from MagicSeen for £25 (at the time of writing) – or if you contact Gary directly he can fix you up and he might even sign it – though not necessarily in his own name! His address is Gary at Gary Jones Magic dot com. Type it as you read it people. Many thanks to Gary for providing the review copy.

Gary Jones – Life’s a Beach – Volume 1 – review
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