Tuesday, 26 July 2011

The Good, The Bad and The Mexican Turnover

  Way back in 1896, I was touring Mexico with my world famous escapology act. I had a young kid along as an assistant, Erik Weisz his name was. He was a useful guy to have along, for in those days, Mexico wasn't the safe and stable country we know today! I often wonder what happened to that young man. I'd taught him a few techniques, and he seemed to have the makings of a good amateur. I guess we'll never know.

   It was on a Saturday night in Chihuahua, and I'd just finished another triumphant performance. Young Erik was packing up the handcuffs, when a messenger arrived at the stage door.

"Don Barrios", he said, "My master sends me to ask if you will perform at his Hacienda!"

   I used to get this a lot, south of the border. My fame had spread quickly, and soon I had become known as 'Don Barrios - El Gran Rey dos Culos!', which, in case you don't speak Spanish, is pretty complimentary!!! Anyway, it had been a gruelling week, and all Yours Truly wanted at that moment was a hot meal and a soft mattress.

"Tell your master that Don Barrios send his compliments," I replied, "But, alas, he cannot attend." And I turned to start draining the water tank used in my most death-defying routine, when suddenly I felt a gnarled hand gripping my shoulder,

"Don Barrios, my master will pay many pesos!" said the stranger, in a tone that I didn't altogether like. But I maintained my composure, and spoke reasonably to him. I've always found diplomacy to be the most powerful weapon in these situations!


   Next thing I knew, the stranger had pulled out a gun, and its barrel was now pointed right at my chest. He thrust his face close to mine, and I could smell his breath, thick with cheap tequila.

"My name is El Guapo," he hissed, "A name you would be wise to remember. And my master, senor, is no one less than the indomitable Pancho Villa!"

   At the mention of that name, my blood ran as cold as the Hudson River in mid December. Some called him an outlaw, some a hero. But to me, on that Saturday night in Chihuahua, he was big trouble. Suddenly I felt a very long way from New York City.

"Then let us attend your master, with no further delay," I said, without a flicker of hesitation, "How many pesos did you say again?"

   Soon we were riding, deep into the Mexican mountains, with a string of burros to carry the props. Poor Erik was tied to the back of one of these burros. I was allowed to ride freely, however, as they knew that it would be futile to tie up a master escapologist such as myself. We rode long into the night, and just as my chin was beginning to drop onto my chest, El Guapo gave a low whistle. And somewhere, not far away, we heard an answering call.

"Prepare yourself," said our guide, "And a word of advice, Don Barrios," he leaned across his saddle, "If Don Pancho asks you to play cards, it would be wise not to refuse! But whatever you do, senor, you must let him win..."

   And with that, I was ushered into the Hacienda, and into the presence of the infamous Pancho Villa.

   He fixed me with a gimlet eye, "GET THAT GODAMM FREAKING COCKTAIL OUT OF YOUR FACE!!!" I said. And then I commenced with my escapology act. Needless to say, even without my assistant Erik, the audience was left reeling. (They were Irish Mexicans, you understand, and the reel came naturally to them.)

"Don Barrios," said Pancho, "You have shown us true magic! Now, let us play at the cards, like real men play with one another!"

   Well, folks, how could I resist?  But, of course, the one thing I absolutely had to remember was never to win.... We played for hours. Bezique, Snap, Gin Rummy, even Poker. By dawn, I'd used every technique I knew to make sure Pancho Villa didn't lose. We were on our last game of Snap, and to my horror, the last card in my hand was the Ace of Diamonds, while the face up card on the tabled pile was the Ace of Spades.

   Well now, I tabled that ace face down, and picking up a joker, pulled off the first ever, and totally spontaneous, "Mexican Turnover"!!! Pancho won the game, and young Erik and I escaped to tell the tale. I never had call to use it again until 1932, in Sicily, playing 'Knick Knock Nanny' with Mussolini. But that, as they say, is another story.


Friday, 15 July 2011

The OFFICIAL Aid to News International? ME!!!

Hi Folks!

It's a merry Barry who greets you today! Why? Because I'm the King of the Hill, baby!

Oh, yeah, you're talking to the newest advisor to... well, professional boundaries being what they are, let's say... the Burdochs?

Rupert Burdoch said to me,

"Barry, I need to be able to remember exactly what I don't know, and forget exactly what I do know! Any advice?"

"Rupey baby! Using my tried and tested memory confusion method, you'll be good to go up in front of any committee. Remember, Rupe, they're BRITISH!!! No teeth," I hissed.

"Teach me now," said Rupert.

"That'll be $750,000 down."

I said.


Wednesday, 13 July 2011

How I Invented French Impressionism!

Back in the 60's, (the 1860's), I was travelling back home from Austria, where I'd been teaching some guy called Hofzinser. He never really clicked when it came to cards, and to be honest he looked like he'd be more at home working in some government department!

Anyway, travel in those days wasn't as simple as just getting on a plane! It was steam trains, carriages, boats and sometimes even horseback. Kids today don't know they're born. So I decided to stop for a few days in Paris, the city of romance.

There I was one day, sipping a creme de menthe, when I got into conversation with a bunch of young guys. Something about them told me they were artists. Whether it was the look in their eyes, the way they moved, or the fact that they were covered in paint and carrying brushes and canvases, I'll never know.

They started showing me some paintings, and I remember telling them they were too representational. I suggested they experiment more with light and colors, creating the IMPRESSION of the subject, instead of just slavishly copying.

One picture in particular, by some guy called Manet, had a couple of chicks in it, not leaving much to the imagination, if you know what I mean!!! Well, I said to him, "Eddy," I said, "What this picture needs is a couple of guys, if you get my drift!"
"But Barry," he said, "No one wants to see naked men these days! Zut alors!"
"Eddy," I replied, "Here's the trick. Paint them FULLY CLOTHED!!!!"

And the rest, as they say, is history!


Tuesday, 12 July 2011

MY Weekly Magic Failures!

So, now I'm a *STAR* writer on WMF, I guess I can list my own 'Weekly Magic Failures'. Actually, it's an idea I came up with after talking to Al Koran, back in the 50's. Only I hadn't invented the internet back then, and I've been too busy since. Well done then, 'Roland', for stealing the march on me this time. But that's the ONLY march you're going to steal from now on, believe it!!

1) LENNART GREEN. You know why, you know when. Anytime, any place, you bozo.

2) JOHN BANNON. This loser not only stole all my effects, (Twisted Siblings, Stranger's Galleria etc.), but even went into the legal profession, just because I'm a judge in the Supreme Court!

3) ED MARLO. Need I say more?

4) JERRY SADOWITZ. That douche stole my best material. All my best patter, totally wasted on that no-hoper long-haired tartan-headed Scottish jerk.

5) DERREN BROWN. That's MY Svengali, asshole.

6) RICKY JAY. That slimeball learned card throwing off of me back in the 60's. Now he makes a goddam career out of that shit. YOU, Ricky Jay, ARE A MAGIC FAILURE!!!

7) DENNIS BEHR. Okay, so he hasn't stolen off of me exactly. He just steals off of EVERY GODDAM PERSON. And as for his card handling, well let's just say he needs a few lessons from Yours Truly. Sloppy, Dennis, very sloppy.

Well, I COULD go on. And maybe I WILL. But some other time. I've got a score to settle with Roy Walton first.

On a positive note, I have been favorably impressed with a young man on YouTube, who goes by the name of magicdude09. Watch this young man, as he will be the 'David Blaine' of the future!!!


Derren Brown's Svengali? It's MY Svengali!!

Ok. So I didn't have anything against Mr Brown; not up until last night anyway. Sure, he borrowed some of my stuff, but then they ALL have, over the years. My landmark books, "Solayme's 13 Stairs to Mentalism" and "Solayme's Psychological Subterfuges Volumes I & II" might JUST have had a small 'INFLUENCE' on young Mr Brown. But hey, the kid's not half bad, albeit too much the ladies' man for my taste.

Now I have to be careful, because I'm not going to give out any 'spoilers', but last night I saw his new show, 'Svengali', over in London, where I'm staying as a guest of Her Majesty The Queen.

Two things.

First off, he has a 'prop', which relates to the show's title. I've been looking for that goddam thing for over 200 years, and NOW IT SHOWS UP IN LONDON??? I made that prop, and FOR THE RECORD, MR BROWN, YOU, SIR, ARE A THIEF!!!! I want it back. I don't care how much you paid for it in Philadelphia, it's MINE!!!

Secondly, I CAUGHT THAT FRISBEE, SO WHY IN SAM HELL DIDN'T I GET TO COME ON STAGE, YOU DOUCHEBAG? Except I think I know the reason, Mr Brown....

Sure, you KNEW it was me, Barry Solayme, and you couldn't handle the competition. Sure, the audience would have been all over me like a rash. A couple of card tricks, and Mr Brown would've been yesterday's news. And it would have been ME packing out that London Theater.

I got your number, Mr Brown, and if you can leave those ladies alone for a minute, you might want to think about that!


ACAAN Saves Lives!

Back in the Spring of 1912, I was in England, doing a series of lectures and performances for the royal family. Well, on April 12th, after a triumphant tour, I set sail for NYC on a magnificent ship; it was called "The Titanic"!

We were only three days out of Southampton, when disaster struck, and the unthinkable happened to the unsinkable!!! You guessed it folks, the ship hit an iceberg, and many lives were lost that day. Of course, it was women and children first in the life boats, but I managed to shove a few of the more sickly ones into the water. And so there we all were, adrift in the Atlantic Ocean, without food, fresh water or blankets!

Now as a rule, I NEVER perform for a captive audience, but this seemed to be the one time I had to make an exception. And so, with a BORROWED deck, I commenced performing every variation of ACAAN that I knew. After 37 hours adrift, we were rescued, which was lucky, as I only had a couple of dozen routines left!!

Now I'm no hero. But not a single life was lost on that boat. Sure, most had slipped into a deep coma, but they soon recovered once help arrived. The English king awarded me a Knighthood and a seat in the House of Lords. And to this day, in case of emergency, I always go with ACAAN!!!


Dai Vernon "The Professor"? That's what he called ME!

A couple of 'lovelies' have been shooting off on the internet about Dai Vernon. Honestly, I don't know what it is with you people. Sure, Dai had a nice touch with the cards, he was a good student of mine, and if he'd applied himself a bit MORE then he might have been MORE of a success.

Somehow, there's always been a confusion about the origin of some of my best effects. "Solayme's Revelation", "Barry's Trick That Cannot Be Explained" and "Twisting the Jacks" to name but three. Dai never disputed that these were MY creations, and as he was a friend, I let him publish them back in the day. But all you young punks who worship Vernon would do well to remember what HE used to call ME!!

Yes, that's right, he called me "The Professor". So now you know, don't waste your money on those Vernon books, READ THE ORIGINALS! (Paypal the usual address).