Midlands (UK) magician Paul Saint (stage name of Paul Fisher) was “turfed out” of a bar for bending forks. Worse than that indignity, he was placed into quasi-custody by the local police and held until a background check could be completed.
Only after determining Mr. Saint was “clean” was he permitted to step out of a police van and enjoy what was left of an evening with friends.
His story started like most silverware bending leading to police custody tales go. Mr. Saint joined a group of pals at the now-infamous Après bar in Lichfield. He performed what must have been a very convincing fork bending routine and was “given his marching orders by a burly doorman.”
Most readers of Inside Magic have been tossed out of a bar for performing magic tricks but usually because closing time had come and gone. The door is closed behind you and you move on in search of different venues with ample impromptu audiences to be had.
Mr. Saint has been performing for more than ten years and he was no doubt familiar with the well-established routine. That was when it all got weird.
Mr. Saint told a reporter for The Sunday Mercury, “The police vehicle came screaming up the street and an officer jumped out.
“He said he’d had a complaint about me bending up some forks. I told him they were my own forks and was about to get some out of my pocket when he told me to get in the van.”
We have attempted to retrieve a recording of the UK-equivalent of the 911 call leading to this confrontation. How does one complain about someone “bending up some forks” in a way that would send a police van “screaming up the street?” Perhaps because the UK does not permit handguns, they consider all potential weapons with equal ferocity.
In fact, here is a transcript of a call we just made to the Mystic Hollow, Michigan 911 service. Compare it with the reaction of the Midlands’ police.