Testing psychics

 

I thought I would pen a few words about the high-profile test offered to Sally Morgan by Simon Singh, Chris French and the Merseyside Skeptics tomorrow Monday. It looks like Sally has declined to take part, but their offer is open to conduct a fair test or at least discuss the test with her to make sure both they and her are happy with it.

Simon Singh, along with other sceptics, has had concerns about Sally and published them here on his blog. I add, as does he, that I am not saying that Sally is a fake or a fraud. I’d really like to think that she’s not, but reserve all judgement. I don’t know her and have never seen her show, on TV or on stage. Even if I had, my opinion about her would mean very little, and I’m sure she could give a flying doughnut about what I had to say. Really the only worthwhile point is whether claims such as Sally’s stand up to testing, not what I or any other individual with our own inevitable prejudices happens to think.

Until recently, I thought I had never met her, but I have since heard rather excitingly that I may have filmed an unused sequence with Sally once at her home. If I did, it would have been for one of those old Mind Control specials ten or so years ago. I have my team looking into that to see if we ever did and if they can dig it out. Certainly we filmed with one lady psychic at her house, where we each gave each other a reading, so perhaps that was it.

Sally has recently received mixed media attention following a phone call to a radio station made by a lady who had attended her show in Dublin, who said she heard what sounded like verbal cues being given to the medium on stage. Apparently she heard phrases like ‘Dave – bad back’ being whispered from the lighting booth at the back of the auditorium a few seconds before Sally repeated those words on stage, raising the strong suspicion in this woman’s mind that Sally was using an earpiece. If this were true, it would follow that the assistant in the booth had most likely picked up information in the foyer where people were openly discussing what they were hoping to hear that night. The phone call can be heard here and is worth listening to in full. Sally has since denied the insinuations, saying that it was simply lighting technicians chatting, although to me this doesn’t seem to answer the question of why she was delivering lines moments after they were heard coming from the booth.

Frustratingly for Sally, her explanation may of course be fair. To be honest, if I were a fake psychic and wanted to use an earpiece to receive my cues, I wouldn’t put my assistant in the lighting booth where in-house staff would normally work. There would be the advantage of receiving visual cues, but my preference would be to tuck him away safely backstage somewhere. Unless, that is, I was supplying all the crew for the show, in which case it Read More


The Assassin: Tonight at 9pm Ch4

I have been asked by those who ask such things to remind you that tonight on C4, 9pm is the first episode of my new series, Derren Brown: The Experiments.
We kick off with ‘The Assassin’. Here are some teeny teaser clips of tonight’s show which you may or may not enjoy.

If you like a little comment, then do feel free to comment throughout and after the show here on this blog.

What larks. Please enjoy the show.


My new series

 

My dear bloggees.

I have, these past few months, been secretly ferreting away on a new series of four weekly specials (and they are specials) for Chanel no. 4. I have been up to all manner of no good, hiding out here and there and making people do all sorts of dreadful things. Trailers and whatnot will be emerging very soon, but I wanted you to hear it here first.

The shows are called Derren Brown: The Experiments. The ‘Derren Brown’ bit, you’ll be immediately relieved, refers to me; the ‘The Experiments’ part is what they are. Each special is an ambitious sociological experiment, in which the unwitting subject is a single person, a crowd, or even an entire town.

Unlike previous shows, these are driven by open-ended questions. They are experiments into whether certain things are possible, or what would happen if certain situations arose, or how people might behave under certain conditions. Three of the four very much look at the darkest edges of human behaviour, and given that, I’m sure there’ll be all manner of complaints. I, meanwhile, am rather fond of them.

We’ll be posting all information here on this site first. Details of the first show should be here tomorrow.

The Experiments start on Friday, October 21st at 9pm, C4.

I do hope you enjoy them.



Take part in my new series

Right. I’m not going to answer any questions on this I’m afraid, and neither can anyone else. For all the usual reasons. But if you’re in the UK and over 18 and would like to apply to take part in my new projects, please email the address below. Your email will NOT be read, so no need to say anything: it will automatically bounce back with a big questionnaire for you to fill in and send back.

Here’s the address:

derrenbrown@objectiveproductions.com

Don’t do this unless you genuinely want to take part. Your decision.

X


Coming to the end of the tour

It is an unfeasibly hot day in Bournemouth. I’ve brought iPad, ordinary pad-pad, and a couple of books down to a stretch of water where wealthy, sockless middle-aged men in chinos and striped T-shirts are drinking afternoon champagne and boating with their similarly-striped, dramatically over-sunglassed female equivalents. I have never been the boaty type, but as one is grabbed under the armpit and dragged screaming and spitting through the supermarket aisles of life towards middle-age, it is comforting to find such self-contained communities of the griseous enjoying themselves with such opulent, rickety abandon.

My only worthwhile boating memory is from my twenties: that of hiring a rowing boat with my friend Joe in the Lake District. ‘Hiring’ is an optimistic term: the arrangement was that we would pay for the jaunt upon our return when, I imagine, the boat-man would know how long to charge us for. We rowed in the rain and sun, swigged Talisker from the bottle like the hardened seafarers we imagined we were, and played loud upon our harmonicas; then, when we realised too late that time was too short and the jetty too far to return to, we sailed on towards the train station we needed to reach, tied up the boat now several miles from the hire point, took a self-timed photograph of us stood triumphantly by the vessel we were abandoning, and fucked off home.

It was one of the best days of my life. Promises were made to myself to row more often, to canoe regularly, and to live the life aquatic. None of this came to pass. Instead, I have framed in my office, and holding pride of place, a glorious souvenir of us in our rain hats, flanking our boat and beaming.

Bournemouth, for readers of ‘Confessions’, was also home to my occasional Christmas family holiday at the Water’s Edge Hotel. My grandfather would treat us all to a few days by the sea. I had tried to find a picture of the hotel but found that it had since been pulled down. I am indebted to one Dean Watson, who found and emailed an old picture of said hotel and in doing so awakened some happy memories.

(On the subject of thank-yous: I received a copy of ‘Twitterature’ and a letter from a chap who worked at a book factory near or in Oxford: if you are reading this or might know him, I apologise profusely for losing your/his address. Do email me through this site.)

With just two more days of touring remaining, I shall miss the delights of new towns and lazy afternoons in eagerly acquired local haunts. The upcoming Shaftesbury Theatre London run brings with it its own peculiar pleasure, but somehow with TV concerns and other intrusions, the days don’t quite remain as carefree as I intend them to. There is, though, the private love of feeling part of a largely nocturnal stratum of London life known only to a bunch of actors and performers; a feeling of inclusion in something subterranean and steeped in joy. For a month and a half, one becomes part of London Theatreland, and for a lover of said theatre, that’s rather giddying. There are the concomitant delights of having ones social calendar cleared, save for lunchtime meets with those who might find themselves free in the days for the same reason, and of having a new home in the faded glamour of a west-end dressing room, available to make hospitable and homely according to ones whim. Of finding out who from the ranks of fame or friends might be in attendance that night, of stocking up on wine and treats to offer should they ‘come round’; meeting actor friends from other shows and discussing the idiosyncrasies of our audiences from that night; and of being on first-name terms with the doormen and waiting staff of local late-night clubs and eateries that cater for the post-show social artisan.

For my little crew it will be a blessed relief not to have to install and de-rig the set for six whole weeks, and for us all it will be a pleasure to tidy, make shiny, then primp and pimp the set with any extras which have been waiting for the convenience of the break to be installed. The show is always at its best in town. After a couple of day’s grace in which I will once again feel my bedroom carpet under my feet, perhaps watch a late-night movie with my beloved, and, excitingly, start painting a portrait of our very own Mr. Coops, the show will once again go on. A few nights to get up to speed, a press night, the reviews later that week which I won’t read (but will ask my director and PR personage for a general overview and to report any concerns worth attending to), and then the pleasure and challenge of re-creating the show six nights a week for a further six weeks without letting it ever feel like I’m merely repeating it.

Svengali, despite an error in the London Metro to the contrary, runs from June 8th to July 16th. Booking details and links are on this site. If you do come I hope very much that you enjoy it at least as much as I do. Before then, I shall soak up this impossible Bournemouth sun while I can.