Practical Mental Magic - Theodore Annemann

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Re: Practical Mental Magic - Theodore Annemann

Postby kevmundo » Aug 17th, '12, 21:22



I am going to say something controversial, that may see me being led out like Edward Woodwood to the wicker man:

"I would only recommend Practical Mental Magic to a man who had no interest in magic, but expressed a desire to kill himself."

Quite simply, this is the driest, dullest, most poorly written teatise on mentalism that has ever walked or crawled on the face of the earth. It is worshipped in the same way that a God is, without question. If you can make it to the end of this book without wanting to commit mass murder then you are to be congratulated. Please please please, if you are a beginner to mentalism, do not read this book.

This advice is similar to, 'if you want to be a great builder, do not do your work experience with Fred West.' I'm not criticising Fred's ability to put up an RSJ, I'm just not sure his teaching methods would be deemed conducive to the ethics of the building trade.

Buy it, and use it as a door stop for about three years until you can handle it!!

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Re: Practical Mental Magic - Theodore Annemann

Postby Barefoot Boy » Aug 17th, '12, 22:58

Wow, kevmundo!

As much as I agree with you about the Osterlind 13 Steps DVDs, I must say that your opinion here is a little harsh! "The driest, dullest, most poorly written treatise on mentalism"? Come on!

I'll agree that it is no Corinda, but Annemann was a genius and the material in PME is a collection of some of the best effects found in the Jinx! I think you might need to re-examine this book once you are finished using it as a door stop.

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Re: Practical Mental Magic - Theodore Annemann

Postby Dr Percival RP Pound » Aug 18th, '12, 05:49

You suprise me! Practical Mental Magic is brimming with ideas and knowledge from one of the true masters of the art. What this book gives you is the foundations and the building blocks to become a great mentalist, it's down to you as the performer to take those building blocks and craft them into something special.

I wonder on your magical background, are you perhaps one of these who just desires everything to be handed to them on a plate without the creativity to make something special themself?

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Re: Practical Mental Magic - Theodore Annemann

Postby kevmundo » Aug 18th, '12, 07:28

Maybe I haven't put myself across properly? Whilst I accept that the book is brimming with wonderful ideas and you could probably base your entire career on effects just from this book, you have to accept that its not particularly well written. If you're a beginner you may not be able to see the value in it. I always see this book recommended to beginners and I don't think it should be. There are far greater texts to inspire an inquiring mind. This should really be read by people who are confident enough to update/change the routines. Although I did say I'd probably be put in a wicker man for daring to criticise it! :(

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Re: Practical Mental Magic - Theodore Annemann

Postby kevmundo » Aug 18th, '12, 07:58

Standing in the English sun waiting for a train to London I thought of a wonderful analogy (well, I think it's wonderful). Recommending PMM to a beginner is like recommending a Haynes manual for a mark 2 Escort to someone who wants to be a mechanic. The only thing thing they will achieve is a fried brain! I think everyone should buy it and just admire its horrifying cover for a year or two, until they can understand the value if it's content. I understand that Puritan PMM fundamentalists will want to kill me but I'm willing to take the risk!

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Re: Practical Mental Magic - Theodore Annemann

Postby Ted » Aug 18th, '12, 08:10

kevmundo wrote:Quite simply, this is the driest, dullest, most poorly written teatise on mentalism that has ever walked or crawled on the face of the earth.


Clearly you have not read many books on mentalism. When I have trouble sleeping I just have to imagine reading some of the books on my shelf and I start feeling drowsy. I'm actually not joking. There are tonnes of books that are worse than PMM.

I find it hard to sit down and read long mentalism texts from cover to cover, but have you considered that you don't have to approach the book in that way? PMM is actually a bunch of articles from The Jinx magazine, so it's completely acceptable (and probably sensible) to dip in and out, reading one or two effects from random places. Attack it piecemeal and you might have a more productive time.

I don't read mentalism books for my own entertainment, anyway. It's the same with computer manuals - I want to achieve X and read books A, B and C with an aim to complete my goal. The fun is in the implementation (i.e. performing or programming).

T.

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Re: Practical Mental Magic - Theodore Annemann

Postby magicofthemind » Aug 18th, '12, 08:21

I've read similar comments about Thirteen Steps and it amazes me. I find both that and PMM great for dipping into simply as an entertaining read. Yes, the language in PMM is a bit dated but it's not at all badly written. At least there are none of the glaring typos which annoy the **** out of me in certain modern classics that I could name, and no contradictory instructions that make me go "Eh?"

As others have said the routines in PMM shouldn't be followed as written. If you pick a combination of techniques from several effects you can come up with a unique routine.

Barry

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Re: Practical Mental Magic - Theodore Annemann

Postby kevmundo » Aug 18th, '12, 08:31

Example. One effect invites you to, 'request a lady's hat pin.' Now, I can see the utility of the move because I have read lots of books on mentalism. A beginner may think, 'what in gods name is a lady's hat/corsage pin' and skip the effect. That's my point. PMM is not a book for beginners. Just my heretical opinion.

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Re: Practical Mental Magic - Theodore Annemann

Postby magicofthemind » Aug 18th, '12, 09:28

kevmundo wrote:That's my point. PMM is not a book for beginners. Just my heretical opinion.


There I can agree, and I don't think it's at all heretical. I wouldn't recommend RRTCM to a beginner either.

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Re: Practical Mental Magic - Theodore Annemann

Postby Tomo » Aug 18th, '12, 09:50

But PMM is a reference work. It's not a novel; it can be as dull as it likes.

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Re: Practical Mental Magic - Theodore Annemann

Postby Lenoir » Aug 18th, '12, 11:09

Tomo wrote:But PMM is a reference work. It's not a novel; it can be as dull as it likes.


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Re: Practical Mental Magic - Theodore Annemann

Postby Mandrake » Aug 18th, '12, 12:13

Many magic and mentalism books have effects involving the use of objects no longer in common use - bowler hats, vests/waistcoats, hatpins and so on. Many can be adapted to items we do use and find easily at hand but others will need to be revamped to be used. Hatpins can sometimes be replaced by those bamboo skewers used for BBQ kebabs, and so on.

PMM probably isn't the easiest of books to read as a book but is a great pool of reference, in very much the same way as RRTCM is to cards - one of the driest books on my shelf and something I still find tiring after a short time of reading but still full of the real nitty gritty. Most of Anneman's stuff was honed in performance and the style was quite different to current trends so a lot of it will seem way off target. Best advice I can give is to stand back a bit, take in the concept of each section rather than studying each word and paragraph closely. The spirit and the basic techniques rather than the exact words and routine as written. Of course, I could easily be quite wrong..... :D

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Re: Practical Mental Magic - Theodore Annemann

Postby kevmundo » Aug 18th, '12, 18:49

I agree entirely with the above comment but I will always regard PMM as a gigantic paper flavoured sleeping pill. It should warn you not to drive or operate heavy machinery after reading any of the effects. Having said that, I have been reading it toda........,, Zzzzzzzzzz.....Zzzzzzzzzzzzz

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Re: Practical Mental Magic - Theodore Annemann

Postby Ted » Aug 18th, '12, 21:53

You are right. There is nothing of value therein. Ignore it in its entirety. Don't try to interpret it. Don't try to understand the underlying principles.
T.

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Re: Practical Mental Magic - Theodore Annemann

Postby Stephen Ward » Aug 18th, '12, 22:08

A very important book that has much depth to it if the reader chooses to go there.

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