The terms “genius” and “legend” are, in my opinion, used far too often. Having said that, they were perfect for describing Bob Read, whose passing was announced earlier today whilst he was on holiday in California.

As a performer, he could leave an audience helpless with laughter and baffled by his brilliant magic all in the one act. His bottle production was phenomenal and will never be forgotten by anyone who saw it – either in performance or when he lectured (the method was as brilliant as the effect). As a scholar, he was brilliant. His lecture on the history of the Cups and Balls was utterly fascinating with numerous paintings, lithographs and drawings used to help illustrate his talk.

I was lucky enough to see both styles of lecture – the manic, crazy performace/lecture and the more relaxed and down-to-earth Cups and Balls lecture – in one single weekend. How could one person have 2 such polar opposite personalities when it came to being in front of an audience? The only answer I could think of was “be Bob Read!” But who in magic wants to be a copy of something that has come before?

That’s why today’s news is so sad. For those of us who saw him perform and lecture live, we will have the happy memories of brilliant, off-the-wall performances that had us laughing very hard and fooled very badly in the same instant.

For those who were unfortunate not to see him perform, be envious! Be very envious!

The only thing I ask is that you keep Bob’s family in your thoughts over the coming wee while.

Best wishes

The Cardman 🙁

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