Thursday, January 22, 2009

Win tickets to Derren Brown's live "Event"

Derren Brown is having a competition to select participants in his next television series, "The Event" (which will include 4 1-hour segments).

Winners will be announced before February 1, and the actual competition will be held February 12.

Have you entered? Do you plan to?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Derren Brown's Evening of Wonders -- Answers and Speculations

I am enjoying the on-line speculation about how Derren performed his Evening of Wonders tricks.

A blog called "Kim Thomas" has an interesting explanation of the black envelope trick: "An accomplice comes on at half-time posing as a member of the audience, and instead of putting an envelope into the bowl, takes a handful out and gives them to Brown backstage."

That is along the lines of our "hot reading" discussion in the comments to my last entry.

Kim Thomas then pokes fun at the Observer's attempts to explain Derren Brown's show. I do not claim to know the secrets to Derren's tricks, but it is pretty clear to me that the Observer's explanations are wrong.

Another blog (at speculates about whether Derren could use his skills to succeed as a salesman. It reminds me of my discussion of Derren Brown as a lawyer.

The joy of Derren Brown performances is trying to guess how he does it. And in Evening of Wonders, he left us plenty of room to speculate.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Does Derren Brown Use Google?

This past Wednesday, Derren Brown's "Evening of Wonders" stage show aired on British television. Media reaction was mixed. The Times Online published a mostly positive review, which included the following speculation:

A caption promised at the start [of Derren's televised stage show]: “None of the members of tonight's audience were actors or stooges. Neither Derren nor his production team had any contact with them before the show.” But did that mean they had not been spied upon in the lobby or their names, after they had booked tickets, checked on Google or Facebook?

I have encountered many explanations of Derren's mind-reading effects, but this is a new one. If the Times is right, then DB, like a crooked televangelist, stands up on stage with an earpiece while his staff read him background information about his audience volunteers.

It could work, but with 1000 guests in a single stage show, it would be too burdensome to do background research on everyone. Also, most of his tricks could be accomplished in a simpler way. Possible, though...

Are Derren's assistants backstage Googling his guests? Thoughts?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Has Derren Brown's Official Blog Run Amok?

When Derren Brown's official blog launched in September, I thought AboutDerrenBrown's days as a successful fan blog were numbered.

After all, my sole purpose with this blog has been to write about DB's amazing career as an illusionist. Surely, I thought, his personal blog will do a better job of that than I can do.

It has been almost 60 days since my last post, but I have decided to revive this blog because Derren's official blog is failing.

Derren Brown's Official Blog Does Not Cater to the Fans

Why are you a Derren Brown fan? Is it because of his amazing illusions, or because you look to him as a spiritual leader? I'm guessing the former.

Now look at DB's blog. If you scan through it, you will find that about 5% of the entries address Derren's performances, while about 20% of them discuss his atheist views. The remaining 75% are links to weird news (the type of thing a friend or coworker might e-mail you about).

Derren is treating his blog as an amateur personal webpage. As a celebrity with a loyal following, he ought to be catering to his fans. He could provide information unavailable anywhere else (e.g., stories about his interaction with fans, behind-the-scenes details about his shows, or teasers for future tricks). Or he could provide readily available information that caters to his fans (e.g., information about other performers he admires, tutorials in simple magic tricks, etc.).

Instead, he's promoting his personal views on religion (don't miss his certain-to-alienate-many-fans Christmas post), and filling the daily posts with irrelevant nonsense. I like Derren, but his blog is pathetic.

So I will keep providing the content you want, right here at AboutDerrenBrown.

Related (and completely unsubstantiated) Speculation

While I think it's unwise for Derren to focus his blog on atheism rather than magic, his decision to do so has led me to develop an interesting conspiracy theory:

Remember our disappointment this past September when Derren's SciFi series was postponed? The series was supposed to air this past fall in the U.S., and it was supposed to include a one-hour special, presumably one of Derren's past TV specials.

What if the one-hour special in question was "Messiah" - the show in which Derren tried to convince five new-age and religious authorities that he had supernatural powers?

I think it's possible that SciFi would refuse to include that special in the series, knowing that it would offend many American viewers (who are less accepting of frontal assaults on religion than British viewers, in my experience).

This is complete speculation. But maybe the U.S. deal fell apart because Derren insisted on his more atheistic material, which SciFi knew would be unpopular.