What You Get
In the Collector’s Edition you receive a hardback book of 324 printed pages which includes two Forewords (which is slightly confusing to my little brain), one from card master John Carey and the other from mentalist Pete Turner.
The book begins with a section on Mark’s father Ross and tells a really lovely, heartwarming and beautiful story of his impact on Mark’s work and life.
The following section details Mark’s Chandau Switch, with the following routines all employing the move. Next it is in to a variety of mentalism and mental magic flavoured routines, some short essays and Mark introduces you to some principals which he then applies to practical routines.
From here we move in to some theory surrounding Magician’s Guilt and then launch in to a cavalcade of routines, effects, and theoretical thinking which include a lotto flavoured prediction, Mark’s handling of Looch’s ever popular Nod To Pocket Watch and some interesting thoughts on the Out To Lunch principal, a handling of rock paper scissors.
Scattered throughout the book are sections on theory such as Mark’s take on ‘Going Pro’.
The first time I got to spend any time with Mark was at Blackpool Magic Convention 2016 where we sat for what felt like hours discussing his act which he was putting together at the time.
It is that detailed thinking that comes across in Mark’s first major release, Harpacrown.
I really enjoyed reading this book. In particular his lottery themed routine, Numbers in which he has people type digits in to his iPhone calculator to generate a random string of digits that they use to assemble numbers to play in a Lottery. Despite such free choices the mentalist shows he predicted the outcome on a printed Lotto ticket.
Another highlight in the book was Mark’s work on the Out To Lunch principal. In the two sections (‘Lunch for 2’ and ‘3 Course Lunch’) he addresses one of my personal gripes with the OTL principal – ‘why are they signing the card?’ – and does so with a beautifully simple solution, before going on to apply the time tested OTL principal in a new way that allows the mentalist to make some fabulous predictions.
If you want to get your brain whirring away those tow pieces alone are worth your time investing in Harpacrown.
However it was nice to read Mark’s thoughts on Motivation.
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Mark relays stories of being mentored by the late, great Bobby Bernard and how Bobby taught him to ask ‘why’ for each move and moment in a routine. This is great practical Vernon-esque advice and it’s nice to read that Mark places that sentiment as such a high priority in his thinking.
The only criticisms I would give on Harpacrown would be that a lot of the material relies heavily on knowledge of a lot of other people’s work which the reader would have to look up, or special props and gimmicks that would have to be purchased in order to work the material. Very little of it is stand alone. To my own taste their is a juxtaposition between the classic styling of the book’s look and feel and the writing style, with phrases such as Brain Farts popping up a few times.
By his own admission throughout the book, Mark is more of a chef who blends the ingredients of other people’s works, rather than an explorer who uncovers beautiful new herbs.
And In Conclusion…
Harpacrown is a beautifully book printed by Haresign Press with layout from Phill Smith available directly from Mark Chandaue here.
The Numbers routine is well worth your time and money investing in alone. Harpacrown does something else that I found really interesting – and that is it reminds us that behind the posts on the forums, at the other end of the keyboards on which the books in our libraries were written, there are real people with real, complex lives.
What Mark does so beautifully in Harpacrown is tell the stories of his colourful life that let us see who he is which in turn gives us some idea as to why he thinks, creates and performs in the way he does.
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