Derren Brown’s Wicked UK Tour

 

Derren Brown

Magnus Franklin offered a nice profile of the incredible Derren Brown recently.

Right off the bat, Mr. Franklin points out two differences between Mr. Brown and others who perform our art. He promises no special skills, no box tricks, no illusions, and nothing that could not be explained by “psychology, magic, misdirection and showmanship.”

He enjoys his “Something Wicked This Way Comes” tour because he says performing on the road is one of his favorite things. In that regard, he is like Paul Daniels who famously termed television specials “the crap end of magic.” “I love touring,? he says emphatically. ?Once you get into the routine, you can change things around a bit. Of course, the audience doesn?t always know about it, but I get quite a lot of satisfaction just knowing it for myself.”

As much as he enjoys the intimacy of the audience and the immediacy of their feedback, he knows he’ll go broke touring halls and theaters. “You need the TV jobs as well. I will try to carry on the way I am going now. Of course there is such a thing as media saturation, but performing is what I want to continue doing.”

Mr. Brown was not originally intending to be a magician. He didn’t plan on standing before strangers, lying, using props, and working always to convince them something that wasn’t true. No, indeed, he was originally intent on being a lawyer. He believes both professions use the same “set of skills.” We’re not sure what that means but we know a lawsuit when we smell one. Someone ought to sue someone.

What’s the downside with being an incredibly famous magician with facial hair performing occasional television specials?

?I have been compared, especially in the beginning, to David Blaine,? Derren explains. ?I guess we are similar in many ways. He was the first, really, to get into this deeper, darker style. I can?t say I haven?t been influenced by him,? he admits. Having said that, though, he has moved on: ?I have developed my own style and in many ways we are quite different.?

One of the biggest differences between the two men is enunciation and the ability to perform an effect on the first take without using the magic words, “Hey, wait, c’mon, watch this, seriously.”

Mr. Brown’s scrupulous refusal to claim true psychic powers is not only admirable but also enables him to expose those beyond the fringe – the quacks and charlatans. “I wouldn?t want to be generally negative, but I think psychics and those who submit to new age philosophy without questioning it are quite narrow-minded. I couldn?t say that everything they say is wrong, but in general there tends to be an explanation to mysterious things.”

The British Magi traveled to the United States for his latest television special on Channel 4, Messiah. The one-hour “documentary-style” show had Mr. Brown questioning Americans about their religion and whether they blindly believe what they are told – be it religion, atheism, or something in between….

 

Derren Brown

Magnus Franklin offered a nice profile of the incredible Derren Brown recently.

Right off the bat, Mr. Franklin points out two differences between Mr. Brown and others who perform our art. He promises no special skills, no box tricks, no illusions, and nothing that could not be explained by “psychology, magic, misdirection and showmanship.”

He enjoys his “Something Wicked This Way Comes” tour because he says performing on the road is one of his favorite things. In that regard, he is like Paul Daniels who famously termed television specials “the crap end of magic.” “I love touring,? he says emphatically. ?Once you get into the routine, you can change things around a bit. Of course, the audience doesn?t always know about it, but I get quite a lot of satisfaction just knowing it for myself.”

As much as he enjoys the intimacy of the audience and the immediacy of their feedback, he knows he’ll go broke touring halls and theaters. “You need the TV jobs as well. I will try to carry on the way I am going now. Of course there is such a thing as media saturation, but performing is what I want to continue doing.”

Mr. Brown was not originally intending to be a magician. He didn’t plan on standing before strangers, lying, using props, and working always to convince them something that wasn’t true. No, indeed, he was originally intent on being a lawyer. He believes both professions use the same “set of skills.” We’re not sure what that means but we know a lawsuit when we smell one. Someone ought to sue someone.

What’s the downside with being an incredibly famous magician with facial hair performing occasional television specials?

?I have been compared, especially in the beginning, to David Blaine,? Derren explains. ?I guess we are similar in many ways. He was the first, really, to get into this deeper, darker style. I can?t say I haven?t been influenced by him,? he admits. Having said that, though, he has moved on: ?I have developed my own style and in many ways we are quite different.?

One of the biggest differences between the two men is enunciation and the ability to perform an effect on the first take without using the magic words, “Hey, wait, c’mon, watch this, seriously.”

Mr. Brown’s scrupulous refusal to claim true psychic powers is not only admirable but also enables him to expose those beyond the fringe – the quacks and charlatans. “I wouldn?t want to be generally negative, but I think psychics and those who submit to new age philosophy without questioning it are quite narrow-minded. I couldn?t say that everything they say is wrong, but in general there tends to be an explanation to mysterious things.”

The British Magi traveled to the United States for his latest television special on Channel 4, Messiah. The one-hour “documentary-style” show had Mr. Brown questioning Americans about their religion and whether they blindly believe what they are told – be it religion, atheism, or something in between.

“I don?t want to make a political statement as such. But I think many who proclaim themselves to a belief haven?t questioned it, and that?s what I wanted people to do.”

He does not believe anyone can hold a “true-belief” without running into a circular argument.

“I don?t want people to be narrow-minded. If they see something they can?t explain, I want them to figure out how it works, rather than taking it at face value. I have not come across anything yet that I haven?t been able to explain. Some things you just have to take at face value, but say some psychic wants to say that someone?s been healed by a miracle, or some mystical energy, I would say that?s a very closed-minded way of thinking. We know so much about how things work nowadays; such explanations come about because people refuse to challenge their beliefs.”

The interesting aspect of Mr. Brown’s theory is that it too is subject to the same frailty: belief that there can be no true belief is by definition either incorrect or unexamined and still incorrect. But one senses Mr. Brown understands this logical flaw. He is promoting a tour in which he will convince audiences their perceptions are accurate — and at the same time completely wrong.

This very conundrum was the primary reason Rene Descartes did not pursue a promising career as a magician. If the only thing about one can be certain is that one is consciously thinking when asking the question do I exist, the rest of our perception could be the deception of an evil genius. “I think therefore I am only takes you so far,” Descartes was misquoted as saying at a magic convention in his native France. “Audiences get bored whenever you discuss the problems of empirical proof as the basis for understanding reality. They figure, ‘Hey, I got your reality right here. I paid five real francs for this really lousy show, and I know I exist but I wish you didn’t!'” See, Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy (1639 – Illustrated Edition).

Advertisements

Leave a Reply