The communication orb seemed to throb gently in front of the Magician, its diffuse blue glow straying into the flickering half light of the candles guttering on the table.  A table strewn with the paraphernalia of arcane and occult practices.  A shape began to slowly emerge within the crystal orb. The Magician leant forward, as across the ether the latest issue of Mystic Menagerie was forming, sent on its way by a force known only as the Internet.
Blimey, just went all ‘old school’ bizarre there.  But I couldn’t help it.  My name is Nik Taylor and I am a Bizarrist.  There I said it.  While I spend most of my time trying to work out what it means to perform Bizarre Magick, I don’t think I’m alone in seeing a resurgence in this genre of performance magic(k).  Indeed some would argue that it never went away …
These days we are seeing a number of new initiatives to revive the darks arts; Doomsday 2010 at Whitby demonstrated the range and scope of creative energy in the world of the bizarre and now we have the ‘occasional e-zine‘ The Mystic Menagerie.  I suspect many of you would have downloaded the first issue simply because it was free.  If you didn’t you should.  I hope most downloaders were pleasantly surprised with the content.

Issue 2 – Front Cover

Well, now issue 2 is released and for sale exclusively from www.lebanoncircle.co.uk and it does not disappoint.  Dan Baines’ Corpse Candle is worth the amazing cover price alone;  A great idea for creating ‘spook lights’.  This item is covered in great detail and fills eighteen pages!  It has step by step details with accompanying photographs showing exactly how to make and operate the lights.  I’m certainly going to experiment with these for a project I have in mind next year.
This issue also features strong effects by Graham Yates and Paul Prater.  Key to these effects is framing and the performance of the story is the thing.  In this sense I would argue that these items fall into a form of traditional bizarre magick where established effects are taken out of their comfort zone and given a new lease of life as part of a grander narrative.  Anyone familiar with Invocation and New Invocation will know that this can be done very well or very badly.  I’m happy to say these two effects fall into the former category.
Freddie Valentine edits the e-zine and contributes a number of short articles concerning the performance of the bizarre, often raising many of the eternal questions about our art.  I particularly liked his collected review of Black Hart products. I really welcome this kind of thing, as I remember my first visit to the Black Hart catalogue and thinking, ‘hmm, where do I start?’.  This article would have answered those questions.
Bertoneski sticks it all together and contributes a great little postscript entitled ‘The Bit at the Back’ it’s like a Stumbleupon or a Digg for bizarrists and has loads of stuff you’ll want to follow up.
The Mystic Menagerie Issue 2 is well worth a download.  I can see this one going from strength to strength and I hope it gains support and a strong readership.  Great stuff.