Posted in Derren's Posts

Posted by Derren Brown February 19, 2009 at 6:27 pm

Today was the first full day spent working on the stage show, and I think it will be a good one. ‘The Event’ is holding off until September, the caricature book is being produced somewhere by tiny ladies, and I am left with just the book and the stage show to think about.

The stage show is such an immense pleasure to write, rehearse and above all perform. The physical act of touring is tiring (which is where the word comes from), and may be even more so this year as there are barely any breaks. The days will be spent writing this book, which makes the whole process quite idyllic. No meetings, no surprise deadlines, just wonderful afternoons in coffee joints and evenings showing off on stage. It feels like a break. For those of you in the US, I would hope to be performing the stage shows either on Broadway or Vegas in a couple of years, depending on the economic climate. New York in particular would be very exciting. This may be the last time I write a stage show for the UK for a while, although I’ll be touring with it here next year as well, I would imagine.

With all the writing, I am constantly amazed at my obsessive need to prepare my environment for work. It is not really procrastination, though I suppose it is related to it, as I enjoy the work and have no desire to put it off. But in the same way that back in the day, I could never pick up photos from Boots and look at them in the shop, preferring instead to get them home unopened, make a cup of tea and then look at them in my armchair, I have a similar need for the environment to be just right before starting work. The key factors seem to be:

1. Tea made in my clever glass teapot and by my side: Lapsang or some aniseedy green thing for the evenings, Earl/Lady Grey for the mornings.

2. Bladder perfectly emptied.

3. Music (most likely Bach) at just the right volume – barely audible so as not to distract, but just present.

4. Post-it note placed over the iSight camera on my MacBook Air that I write upon. This is not for fear of being viewed, but rather that the light sensor that decides whether or not to illuminate the keyboard seems to be contained within the camera, and because the lamp behind me tends to trigger it, the keyboard tends to remain unlit. However, the general ambience is fairly dark, so I need it lit. And what I certainly don’t need is it periodically self-illuminating willy-nilly or whenever I shift in the chair. So the post-it cuts out the light to the sensor, and the keyboard glows like a beauty.

On top of this, I have taken the opportunity to re-arrange the Mentalism section of my bookshelves, ordering performers and thinkers into satisfying alphabetised neatness. This has been long overdue, since last year my housekeeper inexplicably took it upon herself to re-order a couple of thousand books based on size and colour rather than subject. This had to be done before sitting down to write up some ideas I had had for Act Two of the show: the logic being that it would aid research, which I’m sure it will.

On the subject of books, I am currently reading and enjoying Performing Dark Arts: A Cultural History of Conjuring by a very nice chap called Mick Mangan. It is what it says on the tin, but it has an engaging tone which is lacking in many books that cover similar topics. Also, I’m finishing Robert McKee’s classic Story, which is an absolute delight. Anyone with an interest in writing will find it invaluable, although he has his detractors.

This weekend, I am being taught how to shave with a cut-throat. Following the blog entry I made some time ago on shaving, the kind ladies and gentlemen at Trumpers offered me the knowledge I mentioned I lacked. I am most excited. Apparently it’s a given I will injure myself doing this for the first time. I am a bit of a coward, so this makes me nervous. (Blaine or Angel would be straight in there).

Finally, it now seems I have someone posing as me on Twitter. This is not me, in case anyone has been thinking otherwise. Same goes for Facebook, MySpace, Facespace, MyFace, SpyMace, BookSpace or Should I ever do anything like that, I’ll let you know immediately. Or at least after I’ve had a wee and turned the music down.


February 19, 2009 at 6:43 pm
zoe says:

wow that was long out breath.


February 19, 2009 at 6:45 pm should totally exist!

February 19, 2009 at 7:00 pm
Danel Kirch says:

What a lovely reading 🙂

February 19, 2009 at 7:01 pm
Katherine says:

At the end of Tricks of the Mind there is a section entitled Correspondence. Will there be a similar section in your new testament and if so do we need to start worrying that it will be full of comments posted on this blog?

February 19, 2009 at 7:09 pm
ScreamingGreenConure says:

There’s an error in this entry. Criss Angel would not, in fact, be straight in there. First, he will spend around 17 minutes walking around doing entertaining things that don’t involve a razor or shaving, and he will show us all some midgets in a desert every five to ten minutes. This has to be punctuated every now and then by any or all of the following:
1. His family and friends being worried
2. His crew telling him he shouldn’t do it, and feeling bad for his family
3. A guest on the show explaining exactly how awesome Criss Angel is
4. Some people shouting.
THEN he will be straight into it. And not only will it be extreme, but he will do it blindfolded and riding an elephant or dangling from a helicopter. And afterwards, there will be some heavy metal.

February 19, 2009 at 7:13 pm
EJ says:

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make the tour available next year as I (and 2 friends) missed out on this year (I waited too long for these said friends to decide whether they wanted to come or not, therefore it was decided for us by the tickets selling out at sheffield & harrogate) and I wasn’t aware you was actually touring till a few weeks ago. You’d make 3 girls very happy if you did.

February 19, 2009 at 7:21 pm
david says:

Hello to all who are bored enough to read these comments.

Did you know, that derren is featured on uri gellers website?

Isnt it kind of a contrast to run a blog on pseudo-science, religious matters etc. but on the other hand supporting uri, who truly is a fake, who still claims to have super natural powers.

Please do not get me wrong, I love Derren’s work…also im german and its in my nature to be direct and rude.


February 19, 2009 at 7:23 pm
Nopke says:

Hm … I think I need a shave as well … and what a coincedence .. I’m going there this weekend as well … do not try to bother me .. I’ll be the one with all the foam .. and all the personnel gathered around .. I’ll grant Luigi ..

Your 3 steps of preparation dont sound right … it’s diet coke, smoke, gum (chewing) and erm .. no writing to blogs and such … You’re just making up excuses not to write … I mean ..the bookshelves … and was it really your houskeeper last year or ….

Anyhow .. rituals … Yours are not weird enough actually … but they do make you sound so normal ofcourse ..

February 19, 2009 at 7:41 pm
Nopke says:

Oh, and your keyboard … probably pregnant … glows like a beauty .. geeeezzzz …. you practical sound gay Derren …

Btw, does your keyboard mount as well??

February 19, 2009 at 8:05 pm
Berber Anna says:

Aniseed tea? Now I’m curious. Must go find some to try it. I’m partial to aniseed-infused milk, myself, but anything aniseed-flavored gets my attention (hence my uncharacteristic love for absinthe — one of the few alcoholic beverages I’ll actually drink, despite its high alcohol content).

The housekeeper’s ideas on bookshelf-structuring are certainly fascinating. I suppose she thinks of books as a quaint decorating choice, rather than as things one might want to actually READ. Either that, or she believes her employers must have memorised the colour and size of every book they happen to possess.

I’m still holding out hope for a London run of the stage show. Hey, lurking crew-people, could you please give us a hint as to whether that hope is in vain? I’m one of those boring people that have a limited list of Favourite Places, and London happens to be somewhere near the top of my list (right above plastic-fantastic Vegas and weirdo central San Francisco).
So. London run… pleeaase?

February 19, 2009 at 8:38 pm
Tom says:

I wish you every success. Kind regards, Tom.

February 19, 2009 at 8:43 pm
Joyce says:

I hope that Derren is able to do his show here in America. I would like it if the show would be in Las Vegas but I hope that a venue could be found in New York. Derren would have the chance to win a Tony Award 🙂 .

February 19, 2009 at 9:45 pm
Rhian says:

About bloody time you started writing the show Derren 😉 I am travelling almost half way across the country to see you (with parents in tow) a week after returning from a trekking trip in the Himalaya! Can’t wait (for show that is)

February 19, 2009 at 9:46 pm
sue says:

Your posts always make me smile Derren.

Am very glad that you are starting to think about the Stage Tour that starts in only 2 months; my god I’d be panicing like mad!

Writing a book? Did I miss this one?

As for not doing another Stage Show after next year, NOOOOOOO! I did hear rumours about this… and did joke that actually when you stop touring and the like, I may actually get back to normal again… and find the time to do exciting things such as housework and other everyday things that I don’t manage to do since I stumbled across you back in 2007.

Oh, and Glass Teapot? Is that like a Chocolate Fireguard?


February 19, 2009 at 10:25 pm
Berber Anna says:

It starts in only two months? Wow, I hadn’t noticed that. Getting a show together in two months — that takes skill, I’d say!
My friend/magic partner Pieter and I are already training, making up new stuff and trying to figure out what to use for our first ‘official’ performance (ok, it’s unpaid, but it’s at an actual fair, with visitors and all, so it counts as official 😛 ). And that’s slightly more than four months away…

February 19, 2009 at 10:32 pm
mike says:

I’m glad to hear Derren considering coming to the US soon. Perhaps he could make it part of his show/tour to fix the economy. I sometimes think it would be more the forte of illusionists/magicians/mentalists than our politicians. It would be one hell of a feat.

February 19, 2009 at 11:55 pm
Lolly says:

-> This has been long overdue, since last year my housekeeper inexplicably took it upon herself to re-order a couple of thousand books based on size and colour rather than subject.

And you didn’t inexplicably kill her?


February 20, 2009 at 12:19 am
lither says:

EJ: And two guys as well. We went on last year’s tour and it was a delight. Travelled all the way from Sweden just to see DB live. Can’t wait for the next time.

February 20, 2009 at 12:26 am
ReliegiousMarie says:

Hmm Derren you sound like pregnant and ready to deliver work indeed…glowing keyboard and the arranging need and not to forget the aniseed….that´s actually a thing woman use after giving birth to stir milk ya know…so, there´s obviously an interesting link…

I´m confused though about the september shows…the tour is in two months but also september then? …

Anyway, enjoy the shave sessions this weekend…

February 20, 2009 at 12:35 am
Berber Anna says:

RM: Ok, I did NOT need to know that about aniseed. Not really the visual I need when enjoying some aniseedy milk…

February 20, 2009 at 12:37 am
Berber Anna says:

Oh, and the September thing is for the new TV program, I think. So it’s not part of the tour.

February 20, 2009 at 12:56 am
Nick says:

Yes further to Berber Anna’s earlier point can some body in the know please advise us upon the likelyhood of a london show or two this tour (or the next). When the tour was announced with the advise more shows may be added I (perhaps presumptuously) took this to mean you were still arranging the london venue. now I’m getting very worried that we’re going to miss out 🙁 ??

February 20, 2009 at 12:58 am
sue says:

From what I can gather September is for The Event, which he has done 2 live recordings for in February… I believe it will all come together in September with a grand finale.

I sooooooooooooooo need to know what the Lightbulbs were for. ;o0


February 20, 2009 at 1:03 am
ReliegiousMarie says:

@BA hahahaa ……sorryyyyy


thanx for explaining the september thing though…i take it it will be on telly that one then and the tour is just continuing…

February 20, 2009 at 1:12 am
ReliegiousMarie says:

Lightbulbs…any Tesla link?

February 20, 2009 at 2:08 am
Billy says:

Good luck with the shaving Derren… you will need it, trust me!

February 20, 2009 at 2:30 am
Ken says:

A mild OCD there Derren? Bit like me but of course I don’t have a central idea for my writing. I am thinking about the History Of Jumpers and Sweaters in the UK…what do you think?

I am more a Carte Noir, a packet of Jaffa Cakes, and pearl jam on the iPod, but other than that we have the same routine!!

I have ticket to The Lowry and look forward to the protrait book as well as your new musings.

February 20, 2009 at 2:30 am
Ken says:

Oh and try this!

Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers
by Christopher Vogler


February 20, 2009 at 4:06 am
unmevsworld says:

Thank you so much for dropping us a line, quite a few actually. The details of your process are utterly charming, of course.
It seems so idyllic—getting to read, research, write, and perform for a living. (Although I didn’t have stage fright as a youth, I do now, so I’d pass on the performing bit.) And especially idyllic for me would be the thousands (really thousands?) of books.
Although you may have made enough of a living from all your endeavors, I think staying current is the best way to advertise and propagate your rationalism. And doing so is important. In my mind at least, I have a like-minded individual out there, and that makes it not so frightening to walk away from the church group-think I’d been trying to choke down for a decade. Really, you were the first, and from there I found Dawkins and P&T and Harris and it was safe to read a “liberal” theology book, or even one about Darwin or evolution.

February 20, 2009 at 4:45 am
mantic59 says:

I’m interested to hear of your experience at Trumper’s! You might find my ‘how to shave properly’ channel on youtube useful (at website link).

February 20, 2009 at 5:43 am
Sadun Kal says:

Does Derren or anyone else actually recommends speed reading?

I’m still reading like a “normal” person and I don’t know if I should take the time to learn that stuff. I mostly read texts that I need to understand instead of memorizing, so I read things at normal talking speed usually. Would I benefit from speed reading/photo reading etc.?

David, I don’t think there is any evidence that Derren was supporting Uri Geller. He’s being friendly to him, but this doesn’t mean he would approve of all that Uri does.

Does Uri still seriously claim that he’s got supernatural powers? I don’t think he says things like that directly anymore, he just implies it by not saying that he doesn’t have any. That was my impression from a few times I watched “The Next Uri Geller” at least, not sure.

February 20, 2009 at 6:01 am
Tash says:

The books sound great – maybe will give them a go when i’ve finished tricks of the mind. Robert Mckee one especially as i’m writing a novel. Maybe you should pay johnny depp a visit for the shaving lessons (he had to learn it for his part in Sweeney Todd). Can’t wait for the stage show – i was expecting it to be exactly the same as the one they’ve just shown on tv – so a bonus – t didnt matter either way as long as you’re performing it though. AAAAAAh -dont leave us D – please please tour uk again. Otherwise you might go to Usa and never come back again! lol. Hmmm – if you were on any of them sites (myspace/facebook) i think your page would over load in friend requests – but still let us know! Great to read this entry – keep us posted. xxxxxxxxxxx

February 20, 2009 at 6:55 am
Emily says:

He he, Derren, you just have to be cool, you use a mac! 😀

February 20, 2009 at 8:41 am
Kirsty says:

I had a feeling the person on Twitter would be a fake. Really looking forward to the show, and the two books. And thanks for a good read.

February 20, 2009 at 9:05 am
Josh says:

Ah, learning to shave with a cut throat. I didn’t get a tutor. I had to teach myself and learn from internet tips. I’ll be interested in your learnings though, so do post them!

And don’t be scared about cutting yourself – it doesn’t hurt. Especially with a newly sharpened blade. You actually dont’ feel it or bleed for about 3-4 minutes.

February 20, 2009 at 12:19 pm
lanne says:

oh dear. I shall have to confess. i reordered my long suffering husband’s bookshelves (and CDs + DVDs by colour).. he is still going on about it.. but not as loudly as I would if he swapped it back. At least you use a mac.

February 20, 2009 at 2:35 pm
Berber Anna says:

Ianne: Really? Could you please enlighten me as to the reasoning behind that sort of ordering, then? It seems so… unpractical, to me. I can see ordering them by genre, I did that with my dad’s DVD collection (genre, then title, and I placed little placards naming the genres in between them. If I do something, I’m thorough at it. 😛 ). But colour seems strange to me. Most books/CDs/DVDs aren’t colour-coded, so how are you supposed to find the one you want to read/play? Well, yeah, by reading all the backs, but that defeats the entire purpose of putting them in any kind of order.
Did you do it purely for aesthetical reasons, or is there actually a practical purpose behind it?

February 20, 2009 at 2:47 pm
Sebastian says:

Whilst you re-arrange the Mentalism section of your bookshelves, any chance of you posting a list of your faves here – I would love to see who your major influences are and where you turn to for ideas for new “demonstrations.”

Also – very psyched to hear that you are starting to think about performing in the U.S., its about time!
My recommendation – go to NYC – it is more your style and the home of legitimate theater.
Leave Las Vegas for the Criss Angel’s of the world who are destine to do what they can to destroy the beauty of performing the Dark Arts.

February 20, 2009 at 3:37 pm
Dale Shrimpton says:

I have to admit Im partial to Fennel tea in the mornings.And something fruity later on in the day.

February 20, 2009 at 4:57 pm
ScreamingGreenConure says:

Quit picking on Criss Angel. He’s such a cheerful guy he really makes me smile. He is just so delighted to be Criss Angel. For example, there he is in the middle of a desert, bleeding from hooks in his skin, and what does he do? Shout his own name a lot and listen to some Korn! I wish we could all be as happy to be ourselves (and know our own names as well) as Criss Angel. He is so goddamn enthusiastic about everything, I can imagine him going grocery shopping and just stopping to spontaneously shout his own name in the middle of the store. Bless.
North America would be good news, though, seriously.

February 20, 2009 at 5:20 pm
Jacqueline says:

That picture is great, made me giggle – that’s me at work most of the time 🙁

February 20, 2009 at 7:43 pm
Mikey.w says:

Thanks for the update! firstly, do you ever get time to actually read all of the replies in your busy schedule, including wee-ing of course…I hope to be coming to see you in Wolverhampton as you’re not doing Birmingham this time! No Fair! (has a mini strop).

Anyhow, yes I hope to get tickets for Wolverhampton for another mind blowing show, where no doubt I will be walking round far days thinking ‘How the hell….’

Keep it up mr and Take it easy!

Mikey W

February 23, 2009 at 1:18 pm
Rob says:

So was the shave close enough?
Did the goatee bite the dust?
Can anyone lick their elbow?

All these and many other answers hopefully coming to a blog near us soon!


February 26, 2009 at 2:50 pm
Thistooshallpass says:

So, now we know that you can at times be just as anally retentive as the rest of us Derren. Trust me; it gets worse as you get older. I just can’t seem to settle down to do anything if I haven’t prepared everything in advance.

I’m really looking forward to ‘The Event’ and the new tour. It all sounds very exciting and its now only weeks away.

Personally, I try very hard to live in the ‘now’, so, I’m not going to dwell on the fact that it’s the last tour for awhile. Truth is I just don’t want to think about how dull life will be without watching you perform your devilish tricks/ routines on stage and screen.

I guess we can take it as read that Angel and Blaine just don’t ‘cut it ‘and as lovely as Uri is…… he isn’t Derren Brown. Therefore, I’m not going to consider your departure from our shores until I really really have to.

Good luck with the writing and Many Happy Returns for Tomorrow.

Sue x

February 27, 2009 at 2:10 pm
Yvonne says:

Thank goodness I read this!

I now have proof to show my other half – from a source that he respects – that its not just me that needs the perfect working conditions. How scarily familiar the first 3 points are in all their detail!

I’ve been complaining for months that its just not possible for me to do anything productive with my living arrangements as they currently are and he simply can’t relate to it. Maybe now he’ll look at it from a new perspective given the kind of genius that can be created from making the most of your environment.

Anyway, whilst I ponder about finding the perfect chair for my new home office/library, I hope the writing goes well. We’ll be at the Lowry in May so looking forward to another great show!

And of course, Happy Birthday Derren!

– Yvonne

March 10, 2009 at 2:40 pm
Sarah says:

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.