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Buzz Kill by John Bannon

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Buzz Kill

John Bannon
Big Blind Media
Available from any Murphy’s retailer or dealers contact www.murphysmagic.com 
Price: £18.00

For over some years now, whenever John Bannon’s and Liam Montier’s paths have crossed, the result is invariably either a self-working card routine, carefully disguising its mathematical methodology, or a packet trick. 

This is firmly in the latter camp. So get ready for a succession of visual changes, more than the occasional Elmsley [Ghost] Count, smooth handling, smart sequencing, and a kicker finish. Oh, and the likelihood of the word ‘fractal’ making its appearance at some point in the handling (itself a mathematical term relating, as I understand it, to snowflakes, whose liberal application to packet tricks by Bannon has always mystified me – but you don’t like to ask, do you?) 

Bannon is by no means the first one to use the theme of ‘trained flies’, culminating in the comic accident of squashing the fly on the face of the card. Those whose hair is best described as ‘grizzled’ may recall Ken Brooke releasing Benjamin The Fly, a comic romp from the fertile mind of Dick Koornwinder in the 1970’s. Aldo Colombini released some years later his packet version, Fly Card. The handling goes all the way back to before the same era as Benjamin, being heavily reliant upon Roy Walton’s sturdy classic ‘Oil & Queens’. 

‘Buzz Kill’ takes its lead from Colombini, then takes it a step further, as he freely credits in the online explanatory film. The supplied cards have been expressly designed for this routine, where you show four blank facers and four each bearing a picture of a fly. The effect proceeds akin to the Oil & Water plot, where the separated sets of cards meet together magically. In your enthusiasm you hit the tabled fly cards a little too energetically, and they are revealed to depict four squished dead flies as a result. 

Some might bemoan the back design of these cards, which proudly proclaims ‘Bannon’s Buzz Kill’, which is slightly odd and might even require some explanatory reference. The faces, with the whole flies and the splattered ones, are bright and highly visual. At the end the cards displayed on the table are examinable, if you favour such niceties. Bannon even teaches you a version where you end completely clean, although it did not persuade me.

The result is a lightweight piece with comic overtones, that has benefited from Bannon’s elegant routining, and much faster pacing. If you lean towards novelty packet routines, are familiar with Count Elmsley, and find the dénouement amusing, this will find favour with you. Sadly I only fit one out of those three criteria.

Review by Bob Gill. Originally published in Magicseen Magazine, issue 91