Before you say it, yes, I know he bats for the other side. But if he can persuade a bookie to pay out on a losing ticket, he can surely spend five minutes in front of the mirror and persuade himself that he fancies me.
Tonight on C4, Derren’s Evening of Wonders recorded at the Garrick Theatre was shown. I saw the same show at Norwich Theatre Royal, the cultural epicentre of Norfolk’s art scene (there’s not many contenders) and was mightily impressed. I struggle to get anyone to do what I ask them to until I start holding my breath, turning purple or threatening violence. Derren manages to get total strangers to obey him in seconds, although I’d still like to try and see him persuade my daughter to buy a suitable pair of school shoes without raising his voice or using physical force.
Brown, for the uninitiated, looks a bit like a cross between a Victorian villain and The Master in Doctor Who, can apparently read people’s minds and is often described as “Britain’s answer to David Blaine”.
Personally, I think this comparison is incorrect, primarily because I believe that Britain’s answer to David Blaine should always be “sod off back to America and leave us alone” regardless of what question is being asked.
Instead, I think Derren Brown is more like a British Uri Geller, other than the fact that he is genuinely talented, significantly less creepy and doesn’t bang on about Michael Jackson’s beautiful soul while bending butter knives on the Richard and Judy Show.
Having watched Derren in action, I got to thinking about what it would be like to be Brown’s girlfriend – I like to play this game every now and again, and since the restraining order regarding Abz from 5ive has been lifted (only because I can’t find him) I feel safe in allowing myself the odd flight of fancy.
Having conjured up several very pleasant images of a relationship made perfect through mind control, hypnosis, illusion and trickery, I suddenly realised that every silver lining has a cloud. And I’m not just talking about Derren’s beard (actually, I quite like his beard – perhaps the mind control has started already).
For example, imagine the trauma involved in buying Derren Brown a surprise birthday present. He’d have worked out what you were going to buy eight years previously, written the name of the gift on a piece of paper and sealed it in an envelope taped to the face of a man who shunted your car on the very day you bought his present.
Or of trying to pull the wool over his eyes.
Derren: I haven’t seen those boots before.
You: Yes you have, I’ve had them for ages. I bought them in the sales.
Derren: No you didn’t. You bought them this morning from a woman with slightly crooked teeth and a lingering odour of Sure 24-Hour Protection. Her postcode is NR4 6ZT. The first single she ever bought was by the Bay City Rollers and her front door is blue. You paid full price. In five minutes you will say the word “unilateral”, in 10 minutes you will see this entire conversation tattooed on to the back of a passing horse.
You: They’re just boots, Derren.
Derren: I knew you were going to say that. Etc etc etc.
I still definitely would, though. And so would he if he wasn’t gay. Fact.