Review: Gossip by Craig Petty

Gossip is one of those effects you'll either totally love, or totally hate. Personally I fall into the latter group.

The basic premise of Gossip is you pull a ripped out page from a woman's celebrity news magazine out of your wallet that lists several top tens, you get one person to think of a number and another to think of a different number and from that a celebrity is selected. The magician then divines who that star is and produces a photo of them (along with a gag image first if you want to include that in your performance).

Craig often says he hates magicians saying “I don't have anything on me” when asked to do magic impromptu, so he creates a trick you need to carry with you. Yea, OK, it's small enough to leave in your wallet (or purse if you carry one of those instead), but it still totally defeats his stated objective of the magic being in the performer rather than the props they happen to have on them. He also says he doesn't carry a deck of cards unless he's doing a gig as a deck of cards is a weird thing to carry, but is it really more weird than carrying about a page allegedly torn out of a woman's magazine? I'm a big biker type guy, but even if I was a female magician, I think carrying about a page torn out of a magazine would be really bloody odd. Now, I've got nothing against stuff you can leave in your wallet. Those of you who know me will be well aware I'm a HUGE fan of Kenton Knepper's Kolossal Killer, but if your objective is to A) not need to rely on having anything with you, and B) not use something that would seem ‘odd' this fails before it's even started. Yes, he tries to justify why you'd carry such an odd thing, but is that really weak justification really worth it for such a poor effect? I just don't think so.

He also makes a big deal about ‘not running if you aren't being chased', as he slips into his running shoes and goes into a demonstration that the same names are not at the same numbers on any of the lists. I'm not sure if he actually does that when he's performing it, or if it's just for the tutorial to put more inexperienced performers at ease about their magicians guilt, but if this really was what it pertains to be, why would you go out of your way to specifically point that out?

Craig often rails against unimaginative overdone lines and jokes in his now famous YouTube rants, then expects everybody to do one of the most overdone gags ever, perhaps second only to “no, not that hand, the clean one” UPDATE: Craig has been in touch about this part of the review and says he has not complained about this, I was sure that he had in one or more of his rant videos, but but if he says otherwise, I'm happy to accept I may have misremembered and/or misinterpreted what he said.

Credit where it's due, the force is quite clever and is something I'll probably put to better use than this at some point, but it's more of a twist on an old favourite than something new Craig has created from scratch.

In the tuition video Peter (Nardi from Alakazam) has some good ideas to make Gossip more workable, but I still just don't like the effect in and of itself.

The Zoom version was probably just tacked on as thanks to Covid virtual shows are the big seller at the moment. But it's even more odd for using a ripped out page of a woman's magazine, at least when out and about it almost could be something you just happen to have in your pocket, but for something you've knowingly planned in advance to perform long-distance? It is otherwise a nice routine though if there was a better way to get into it without the silly ‘here's a page from a magazine' issue.

There were some misspelled names on the sheet. I thought this was a subtle jab at the type of mags the page is pretending to be taken from that have terrible proof reading and fact checking. I really liked this little feature, but it seems it was actually a cockup on the part of Craig and Alakazam and the mistakes were corrected. I really do think they would have been better left as is.

One other “issue” that isn't really an issue, but worth mentioning, is the selection process doesn't actually make sense. Asking them to think of “odd” and “even” to make sure they don't think of the same number is important for the method but if you were really getting them to pick random numbers, it wouldn't matter if they happened to both pick the same one as each number is being used for a different purpose. I can't see anybody noticing this discrepancy in performance, so it's not really an issue, but it is the type of thing us magicians like to think about.

I know this is coming across as somewhat of a hatchet job, but as I said at the start, you'll either love this or hate it, if you are in the first group, and you are the type of person to have a page from a gossip magazine in your pocket I'm sure you'll really enjoy performing it to your knitting group. Joking aside, if you think this will fit you, then I'm sure you'll get a lot of use out of it, but if you are undecided, it's worth knowing about the negatives. At the end of the day, you are the only person who will know if it fits you or not.

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