Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Homage to Brown

Ever since I was a little lad I've been fascinated by magic.
It could have all started watching my father doing the three card trick on London Bridge but more likely was watching black and white magician David Nixon on early BBC.

He looks a bit frightening in this old picture. I also began reading some wonderful old books about magicians in the Edwardian heydey such as Harry Houdini who was killed in 1926 when he invited someone to punch him in the stomach and didn't have time to prepare his muscles, a mistake I never make myself.

I've just noticed that if you morph David Nixon and Harry Houdini you get well known urbane barrister wit Clive Jenkins who became head of the White Collar Union in the 1970's.

I loved magic spectacles though, and always wanted a pair with plain glass in. I was one of Paul Daniels's 17 fans (if you exclude Paul and Debbie) and went to see him at Thetford Sports Centre in the late 1970's. I also went to see Siegrfried and Roy in Las Vegas and was stunned by the fantastic stunts involving fierce Tigers and Motorbikes - however did their wives let them take such risks?!

So let me say I am a great fan of Derren Brown who has brought a new level to magic by dressing it up with all sorts of psychological mumbo jumbo plus a tiny bit of real hypnosis. His shows and stunts are always incredibly original and entertaining which stands out amongst the formulaic strictly-big brother-on-ice-factor television that fills our numerous channels these days.


We watched him on recording last night and he did a brilliant thing of taking a lady round Hamley's and letting her pick a toy from the thousands on offer. She chose a Giraffe, and he guessed correctly, but when she walked out of the store she was confronted by a giant giraffe with a name tag that she had chosen 5 minutes previously. Excellent!

Mind you, the finale of the show was a mass hypnosis film to make audience and viewers stick to their seats. I wasn't so impressed with this - making Channel Four viewers stick to their sofas doesn't sound such a big deal to me.

13 comments:

Dave said...

I read this post with my eyes closed and my fingers in my ears, in case you were trying to hypnotise me.

Scarlet-Blue said...

I love Derren; I've been watching him since his first series.
Would you want to meet him though? I'd be scared stiff.
Sx

Rog said...

Dave: When you wake up you're going to be a dashing helicopter pilot called Kevin. Click!

Scarlet: It would be great to see his show live, though - there's always the suspicion that he's edited out a few bits otherwise. I'd keep my fingers crossed behind my back though.

Dave said...

Just off to show Scarlet my new chopper.

Rog said...

Dave: Oh dear...

KAZ said...

(Ignores bit about sofa)
Now Siggy and Roy look like nice boys - do they sing like Hall and Oats?

Z said...

it takes ages to prepare your mussels, doesn't it? All that scrubbing and pulling of beards.

Geoff said...

I like the black magic of Gary Crowley.

Roses said...

If my husband was as orange as Siefried and Roy, I'd invite him to himself in harms way. Often.

Rog said...

Kaz: They went on to become Hall & Oates. You and Dave are lowering the tone of this erudite and analytical blog.

Z: Mrs Siegfried is rumoured to have pulled a beard. They do it down on Camber Sands and Waikiki apparently.

Geoff: You are just far too cool for this blog!

Roses: It's that Vegas sunshine. Doesn't seem to affect Brandon Flowers though.

Sarah said...

I didn't stick to my seat...not even a little bit...did you?
Hugely disappointing, I even watched it again online in case I wasn't paying attention the first time.

Dave is such a flirt isn't he?

zIggI said...

I'm plowing my way through Mr Norrell and Jonathan Strange, it's enough to take the magic out of magicians everywhere.

Rog said...

Sarah: I knew it wouldn't work on cynical ol' me. But I did see Paul Daniels live do a similar thing to a local solicitor - he was stuck fast to a chair. Fascinating what you can make people do - bit like some religions. Dave's never made a pass at me ... I think ...

Ziggi: Is it worth a read? I need to read more books and that sounds up my boulevard. At least the magic is still in your marriage to himself, that's the main thing!