Swing and a Miss
by Wouldn't you like to know?
First off, I’m not fucking apologising to anyone.
Second, I am supremely pissed off at how utterly shit Bullfrog Magazine’s Issue #0 is. After seeing such high quality, well designed, well produced and overall decent material from the team at Magicalsleight.com, I was expecting something that would make me get down on my knees and beg for it.
Instead, I get 19 pages of A5, glossy and flagrantly designed toilet paper that even my perfect asshole is rejecting on account of it’s excessive pomp. Of this 19 pages, only 12 was meant to be actual content, and of that 12 pages, most of the space was taken up by unnecessary border design and shitty sketches. The remaining 7 pages are either the Contents and information about subscribing, or just more stupid fucking sketches and attempts at humour. The layout of the text and illustrations is absolutely appalling.
Notice how I haven’t taken a huge shit on them for their broken english yet? As long as it’s understandable and I can follow it, I’m fine with a little misspelling or strange sentence structure. It’s not as bad as half the shit that ‘Editorial Frakson’ brought out.
CAPHARNAUM SHUFFLE – Father Alex
This shuffle has a similar appearance to Ben Earl’s ‘Simulation Shuffle’ from Gambit magazine. The methods aren’t alike at all, but the appearance of Father Alex’s very loose, haphazard dropping of cards as a shuffle is reminiscent of Ben’s shuffle. Father Alex has taken a Charlie Miller move as the basis for the shuffle and I think that if you can pull off handling cards in a haphazard manner, this will interest you. I’ve always liked the Miller move, but some people may think that this is a piece of shit. I think that the shuffle has its merits, but the writeup is shit. The layout of the diagrams zigzag back and forth across the page, taking up more space than needed and making it a pain in the ass to read. Also, a URL is given next to the write up so you can see the shuffle in action, which would be a nice bridging of digital and physical media working together to create a stronger learning tool… if the fucking URL actually worked.
ARCHERY – Astone
This is essentially a version of Johnny Benzais’ ‘Stabbed in the Pack’ plot using business cards, one as a target that is lost in the ‘pack’ and the other an arrow. The patter and method are pretty basic, and the effect is something that you will immediately know how to do if I give more specifics. The write up given is funny because of how poorly written the english is; “Let the spectator actually introduce the card in the pile, letting it out jog”. I know I said wouldn’t take a shit on their broken english, but that is comedy fucking gold right there. “I am going to introduce my balls to your face”.
THE BULLFROGS TIPS: Palming
If this is any indication of what the Bullfrog team think of magicians, we can all fuck off back to the Stone age and start dry humping rocks. This is literally a page of shit, telling magicians to tuck their thumbs in. Like this hasn’t been in every fucking magic book, DVD and download to come out in the last 30 years. Overall, there is 7-8 lines of text, and the rest is stupid border design, hand illustrations, a fucking smug-faced frog and the word ‘WOW!’
Are you fucking kidding me?
THE EXCLUSIVE MAFIA – Yoan
A variation on Erdnases’ ‘Exclusive Coterie’ effect from ‘Expert at the Card Table’, the method is very basic, but the effect is muddied. For the method to work as written, three of the Aces get a shitload of cards dealt onto them and then the fourth Ace only gets three cards which turn out to be the Aces. Confused as fuck. As a side note, the two ‘pages’ of text and illustrations you see on the website showing the inside of the notes are the first two pages of this three page epic to describe this effect. The third page has a small boxed caption unrelated to the effect which says “Yoann rules the Magicalsleight.com website. He is an extraordinary, creative card man and his magic is known to be incredibly beautiful to watch”. Why this is included at all, I have no fucking idea.
SUDOKU – Cyrille
This is actually pretty awesome, and it allows you to perform the effect as given if you have it with you OR just perform two phases of the effect with any Sudoku puzzle at all. It’s essentially a re-working of the ‘Magic Square’ effect into the more commonly known Sudoku puzzle format. If you’re into doing ‘Magic Square’ shit, then I guess you could call this an upgrade. It’s interesting if you’ve never tried anything like this, and if you already do it, it’s a nice way to frame the effect to make it less weird looking and shit.
There’s then a full page devoted to advertising Subscriptions, another page with three QR codes, a page titled ‘Bullfrog’s Epic Fail’ and a final page giving a taste of what’s next. What I did like about this last chunk was the idea of using the QR codes to embed virtual information (i.e. online performances, PDF layouts of gaffs) into a physical medium. After reading about this kind of amalgamation of physical and virtual media, such as hyperlinking in actual books, QR codes on buildings and buses etc., I was very impressed that it DID work.
The rest of it was utter shit.
The ‘Bullfrog’s Epic Fail’ is yet another shitty cartoon attempt at humour, which wasted a page, and the Subscription information and QR codes could have neatly fit on the first page before the contents, along with the blurb from the editor, or at least spread between the blurb page and the contents page. But no. It’s just visually messy and horribly put together. It’s like someone decided to jam the finished product into a shotgun and fire it point blank into my eyes.
So, considering all this, is it worth buying?
Not worth the fucking time, effort and cheap price tag.
Considering this is their magazine’s debut issue, and the comparison with the highly polished and interesting videos they’ve produced, I feel majorly let down. I was more disappointed in Bullfrog than when someone told me Mike Maxwell’s sweat stained, shiny shirts aren’t for sale and that he’s stockpiling them for the armageddon. The Capharnaum shuffle is interesting for what it is, but will not appeal to everyone. The remainder of the material was half assed or just too minimal. With the magazine being only 19 pages long, and only 12 of that being ‘content’, you would expect some really solid material and information. There’s almost no crediting, the write ups are shithouse and most of the pages are filled with unnecessary designs and cartoons instead of text and diagrams.
In comparison, with something like ‘520 Years Later’ costing only $20 compared to ‘Bullfrog’ costing $10, the differences are fucking massive. ‘520’ is well designed and laid out AND has more than 3 times the amount of content. I don’t expect to be spoon fed and wait 6 months between each issue so they can edit it, but to give a shit about anything, it needs to be readable and give you enough to work with.
I’ll end on a bombshell… if the magazine is THIS FUCKING TERRIBLE, why are these people singing its praises? It looks they’ve all not read the magazine and are still singing it’s praises and recommending it. If so, that’s the epitome of glad-handed sycophants that are ruining magic and life in general. Grow some fucking balls.
If issue #1 turns out to be a significant improvement, I may have some good things to say, but for now,
Don’t waste your time.