One thing that saddens me to see in competitions at (many) magic conventions: the tables of the close-up, card magic and parlour categories.
How often have we seen a simple, plain table and decorated with an ugly piece of material? “Fixed” to the table with gaffer tape, or not.
U-G-L-Y and thoughtless, without love, cheap.
You know it, have seen it.
Just some thoughts:
Magic organisations spend an awful lot of money on many things: advertising, flights and hotels for important personnel, catering, prize medals, figurines, diplomas, and other stuff, then why not investing in a proper performance table for the close-up competitions (often one of the major attraction of the convention)?
There are low priced, nice looking folding tables out there in this world. Affordable stuff. I am sure in our big magic community we could find enthusiasts capable with a sewing machine. And have the heart and generousness to help FISM, Blackpool, SAM, IBM, and name it, maybe even for free and “for the good thing”?
Proper material to cover the table isn’t that expensive. Use billiard cloth right away – it stands quite a lot of use and they designed it for real-world use at the billiard tables. Don’t use the fluffy felt.
A piece of anti-slip material under the cover material doesn’t cost the world either. They use it to keep carpets from sliding around – why shouldn’t it be helpful for our competition tables? It thickens the working surface and avoids cloth sliding around.
Before making such a table up, a talk with experienced performers and competitors would be helpful. Maybe one could include a few “features” many card magic, close-up and parlour magicians would find helpful. Such as an accessory like a proper chair with adjustable height.
An interesting thought is also to produce a clear, transparent table. For performers not needing to do lapping, they would just put their close-up pad onto it and everything would look modern, clean and stylish. For performers needing the lap, they are free to put a nice cloth on. Performers wishing to do lapping at a transparent table, they would have to create new techniques and subterfuges to do that (I worked on this already).
Each competitor knows beforehand what kind of environment awaits her/him and this enhances creativity. Everybody has the same chances, and so everybody can show what she/he makes out of the situation.
They hold close-up and card competitions every year. Making up such a nice table could help to make everything look more sophisticated. A lot of things would be easier. Maybe it would be possible to even create the official “FISM approved” competition table? In Chess, this is a longtime practice already with the official FIDE chess figures, timers and boards. Why not FISM?
If I were a decent and capable business man, I would make these tables and rent or sell them to the magic organisations.
But I am not, so probably this will remain in the realms of my pipe dreams …