Sunday, 20 March 2011


This week, the Shah and I took TD and a bunch of her mates to see Derren Brown's 'Svengali' Tour. This was by way of a 16th birthday celebration as the prospect of a party left us both shaky and twitching.  Faced with the likelihood of hanging around an unappealing town centre for a couple of hours waiting for them to reappear, we eventually booked tickets for ourselves as well - separately of course. There is nothing sadder than having your mum and dad sitting with you and your friends. I mean how uncool would that be?  Ironically, we ended up with brilliant seats and a great view of the stage.

There is something about Derren Brown.  I have to admit that I am slightly spooked out by him in a way that I never was by Paul McKenna in his prime.  There is also the fact that he bears an uncanny resemblance to my brother (albeit about a foot shorter) - which feels slightly weird.  However, there is something good natured and quite self-deprecating about his act which appeals to me - he lacks the veneer of polished smugness that Paul McKenna appeared to develop once he became extremely famous and, as a consequence, extremely rich.  As it says on DB's website "While his performances create the illusion that he has some kind of paranormal powers, Derren is a prominent sceptic and a pronounced atheist."  I find this quite comforting!

He says that he is "simply a performer who combines magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship" which is all very well when you find yourself standing in a packed theatre, feeling like a goon, quite unable to unlock the fingers of your right hand which is raised in front of your face on a rigid arm...ask us how we know....

Mind you, the Shah and I have already proven ourselves quite susceptible to hypnosis.  I managed to give up smoking over 20 years ago after one session with Marisa Peer long before she became well known for hypnotising famous bloaters on Celebrity Fat Club, sorry, Fit Club.  

The Shah's experiences with hypnotism were altogether more public and entertaining (wouldn't you know it).  We went with some friends to see the aforementioned Paul McKenna's stage show - we are going back about 20 years here as well because I was newly pregnant with TS, awash with hormones and irrationally terrified of somehow having a hypnotised baby eight months later.  
Pregnant women are expressly told not to participate anyway but, of course, the Shah had no such restrictions nor any qualms about leaping up on stage when volunteers were called for. 

He ended up being the star of the show.  Paul McKenna had him sweeping the stage at one point but, every time Elvis's Jailhouse Rock began to play, he had to use the broom handle as a microphone and dance like the King himself. The Shah, being a man of rhythm, was more than equal to the task and leapt around the stage egged on by the whoops and cheers of the crowd and the hysterical laughter of his wife.  I seem to remember he even had a bit of a late 80's/early 90's quiff thing going on as well.  Lol.

How I wish there had been camera phones in those days!  He might have looked something like this.  Or not.

Not the Shah


  1. Oh, I would have paid GOOD money to see that! Derren Brown messes with my mind. I'm a complete sceptic but I can't for the life of me work out how he does what he does. Would love to see him.

  2. Sadly, good money is what we had to pay, but I still reckon it was cheaper and less stressful than having a party! Well, well worth it. I would have explained more about the show but he specifically asked everyone not to do that, so as not to spoil it for other people and those who will see it on TV later on. Spooky to put it mildly! x

  3. My daughter is going to see him soon..... sounds like it should be fun.
    I was hypnotised once, but by a doctor....another story really...and all worked out well in the end.
    How annoying that you didn't have access to a camera/phone ... maybe there is a recording in an archive or something?

  4. I'm fascinated by Mr. Brown. He seems to be an incredible showman and I'm always stunned by the effortless way in which he can make even complete skeptics (I.e. me) think and see whatever he likes.

    I would also like to see The Shah performing Jailhouse Rock, but I guess that's an experience money can't buy.

  5. Ooh would that Marisa yolk hypnotise me into losing 4 stone????

  6. Having read the comments I cannot hold back any longer ... if The King had met The Shah, The King would have called me The King (of something or other). However, seeing as there are good folk out there who want to see the alternative King perform like The King, this can be made possible... all it will take is 100 willing souls to contribute to charity and for one night only ... the King can live again!

  7. Libby - if the only known recordings of the Shah have been locked in a steel vault for the safety of the general public! Thanks for the tag, by the way, I will respond!

  8. Andy - it rather depends how much money is on offer! Frankly, the Shah would do anything for a few bob and a dirty pint.

  9. Auntie - you never fail to make me laugh. "That yolk" rally reminds me of my (Irish) Grandpa!

  10. Shah? What the hell is this? We are sitting 5 feet from each other so why are we conversing electronically? There is no way you are dancing anywhere near my blog. And you make it sound worryingly like that line from The Full Monty.." and tonight - for one night only, we're going the Full Monty..." Over my, sorry, YOUR dead body!

  11. Thanks for the great post -- I would love to see Svengali, but I know Darren likes to have people come up on stage. And I don't want to be picked for that! Guess I'll have to wait for the dvd.

  12. Ah well, just book seats in the Grand Circle (Royal Circle?) the top row anyway and you've got no hope of getting up on stage. I don;t think he would make anyone do it if they didn't want to - it's all very good natured. Go on - treat yourself!


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