Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Magic – the new black….

Well, first it was St David Blaine of Pretentia – then ‘Roy’ from the poptastic 70’s throwback magic duo ‘Siegfried and Roy’ got half of his neck seriously sucked by a well pissed off white tiger. Now - mind maestro Derren Brown of Dementia crops up with his ballistic bravado. The Russian-Rouletter extraordinary sticks his Smith and Wesson to his temple and ‘click’ the tension rises. Will he blow his brains out, (click) will he put us off our Sunday supper? (click) It’s taken magic to a whole new level.

Kaboom! – "Christ, what a mess. Who’d have thought it – a magician cocking up a trick like that"

"Just turn over, Heartbeat’s on the other side"………

Gone are the tuxedos, white doves, endless knotted hankies and dull background xylophone music. Gone are the inane card tricks, the cheesy smiles and the frilly assistants. In, are contrived life-threatening operettas played in front of our very eyes – for our minimal and transient entertainment.

Whatever happened to Jonny Hart, Ali Bongo, The Great Soprendo, Paul Daniels and Sooty? The magic wand has now been swapped for instruments of death and destruction. The magic cabinet has changed into a transparent dungeon were we are invited to see a man doing irreparable damage to himself.

It’s only a matter of time then, before someone croaks in the name of light entertainment in this Country. A few years ago in the Philippines there was a magician whose stage act revolved around his unlikely ability to catch bullets in his teeth. There he is, catching bullet after bullet from his stage gun. Suddenly, some prat gets up from the audience, revolver in hand and shouts " Catch this then!" Needless to say, the magician’s brains end up plastered all over the scenery. The guy that shot him got off –his plea was that he honestly believed the magician could catch bullets.

I do wonder however, if it was Paul Daniels that was doing the Russian Roulette trick, would the punter that put the bullet in the chamber be bothered as to whether the diminutive trickster got it right or not?
Would we, as watchers be sitting there all saying to ourselves "Go on Paul, get it wrong, and while you’re at it, get Debbie Magee to position her head right next to yours" – it’s a 2 for 1 deal…..

Also on the box on Channel 4 last Sunday, was the 50 greatest magic tricks – ever. Top of the pile was David Copperfield, not for the fact that he managed to get off with Claudia Schiffer (I suspect sleight of hand in that magic trick) but for the amazing ‘saw through the body’ trick. Brilliant, who’d have thought that after a fledgling career in a comedy show with Lenny Henry and Tracy Ulman - Dave would end up being the toast of Vegas.

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