Posted in Derren's Posts

Posted by Derren Brown May 31, 2009 at 1:19 pm


The culinary highlight of last year’s tour was the Eggs Benedict cooked by chef Dan Savage at St Giles’ House, St Giles St, Norwich. This year we were hugely excited to find that Dan was still there, and he crowned each of our mornings with the perfectly poached twin triumphs of the breakfast menu. (Dan has also been delightful enough to cook for us outside of the regular menu hours: a generous gesture for which we’re all massively grateful. Thank you, Dan, again). Here’s Dan:


The restaurant at the really lovely St Giles House has won two AA rosettes and is, I imagine, the finest place to eat in Norwich. Everything we had was sensational; the perfect crab and melon sorbet with candied chilli, or the crayfish and chili risotto on the lunch menu, which I think is the best I’ve had. Be sure to pay it a visit. Thank you also to Jamie and Daniel, Nick the night porter, and the lovely people at reception for looking after us all so royally. And talk about re-charging when tired on tour: outside is a lovely sun-trap of a terrace that has you feel like you’re deep in the Mediterranean:


Whilst we had the day free yesterday, I found myself in another favourite find of the tour: a glorious, secret Victorian plantation garden, created in the mid 1800s by the owner of a ‘Furnishing Establishment’ called Henry Trevor. The garden, is, quite simply, stunning. These photographs do it no justice: there are leafy walkways, a bridge, and a great, grand, Victorian water-feature. 



It’s a secret find, but I’ll tell you it’s near the cathedral. And there are two cathedrals. But it’s not far from the hotel and they’ll give you directions. On the way back, we stopped at a lovely second-hand bookstore, the likes of which are getting hard to find nowadays, and, on urgent recommendation had late lunch at the Waffle House right next to the hotel on St. Giles St. Please, please, please, while we’re on the subject of spicy fruits, have the spicy fruit waffle with ice cream and maple syrup. The recommendation came from Chris, our erstwhile temporary company manager, and I pass it onto you. 

The shows have been fun, though last night’s second half (second in Norwich), was a little slow, due to matters largely out of my control. Today is a travel day to Newcastle, when it should be a day for lazing in the sun in this lovely eastern city. Oh well. If you could all stay indoors out of respect, we’d appreciate the gesture. 

Speak soon, 



Posted in Blog Archive

Posted by abeodbart May 31, 2009 at 1:13 pm

Quite often people tend to set themselves off on an idea in pursuit of a mental destination without knowing where they might end up half way through. The idea that if you can get from A to B in your though process means you have a perfectly valid idea is the backbone of any belief system and is what fuels conspiracy theorists.

DYTWYTYT – is the perfect antidote – it helps show up the holes in the way you actually form opinions. By breaking things down in to smaller elements we can analyze individual ideas before re-constructing them to form bigger “well-formed” thoughts.

It’s very much a pop-philosophy book and it’s quiz style can be a little grating at times but in general it’s ideal for all of you who wish to improve your thinking and idea analysis – and for me improve my debating skills – not that arguing with Derren Brown is ever fruitful, or worthwhile as I’ve managed to lose several heated debates without him uttering a word.



Posted in Blog Archive

Posted by abeodbart May 31, 2009 at 1:10 pm

The women were recruited in Nigeria with false promises of legal employment and then illegally brought to Spain where they were forced to work as prostitutes, police said in a statement. Police said the ring carried out “voodoo rituals and black magic to frighten the women and keep them always under control with the threat of ‘destroying their souls” or ‘making them crazy’.”

All the money which the women earned was kept by the ring until they had paid off the debt they incurred to make the trip to Spain, which typically amounted to 50,000 euros (£44,000), police said. Police carried out searches of 10 residences as part of their operation and seized material used in voodoo rituals, computer equipment as well as several passports and other documents.

Earlier this month in the Netherlands, the trial of 11 people accused of using voodoo curses to force up to 150 Nigerian girls into prostitution in Europe was adjourned until later this year. Prosecutors alleged that between 140 and 150 Nigerian girls helped into the Netherlands as asylum seekers had disappeared from asylum centres in 2006 and 2007. About a dozen of the girls were traced, while the rest were thought to have been forced into prostitution in Italy, Spain and France. Most were minors at the time, their ages ranging from 16 to 23.

Phantoms and Monsters


Posted in Blog Archive

Posted by abeodbart May 31, 2009 at 1:08 pm

In the journal Cortex, researchers describe the case of a patient with severe memory loss who has a tendency to invent detailed and perfectly plausible false memories (confabulations) in response to questions to which most people would answer “I don’t know”, such as the one above. They have named this unusual condition confabulatory hypermnesia, and believe that theirs is the first study to document it. 

The patient, a 68-year-old patient known as LM, had a history of heavy drinking which lasted more than 30 years and stopped just 3 months before the study was carried out. He was referred to the memory clinic at the Charles Foix Hospital in Ivry-sur-Seine for a neuropsychological evaluation after he began to experience memory loss and disorientation in time and space. A brain scan showed mild degeneration throughout the cerebral cortex and he was diagnosed with Korsakoff’s Syndrome, a neurodegenerative condition which occurs as a result of vitamin B1deficiency and is associated with long-term, chronic alcoholism.



Posted in Blog Archive

Posted by abeodbart May 30, 2009 at 11:37 am

Déjà vu is that creepy feeling that you’re living through a moment for the second time, as if retreading the path of an earlier existence. Now Alan Brown and Elizabeth Marsh believe they’ve found a way to simulate the déjà vu sensation in the laboratory – a finding that could help us understand why the phenomenon occurs.

Twenty-four participants were presented with dozens of symbols that had been carefully chosen, with the help of a pilot study, to be either entirely novel, rarely encountered, or highly familiar (e.g. the division symbol). The participants’ task was simply to state for each symbol whether they’d seen it prior to the experiment.

Research Digest Blog


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