Archive for the ‘Telly’ Category

Misplaced Faith

April 26, 2011

I’ve always liked Derren Brown. I remember seeing him years ago performing card hustles and (by his own standards) simple mind-reading tricks on chat shows and naff entertainment programmes which barely lasted a series. After that I watched with interest as his star moved firmly towards the ascendent. His series Mind Control and then Tricks Of The Mind were a consistently fascinating mixture of sleight of hand, NLP, suggestion and showmanship. I loved the way he put one and frequently two over on members of the public and, pleasingly, po-faced celebrities. Around that time I saw him perform live in The Waterfront, Belfast, and was bamboozled by the range and scale of mental and physical stunts he pulled off so effortlessly. The show’s denouement involved a lengthy and convoluted routine  which involved making the entire audience think of a specific word. Just before the word was revealed I whispered “Symposium” under my breath. Sure enough, “Symposium” was the magic word. My brain reverberated like a boiled ham in a pot as Derren tore open a brown envelope which had been visible in an upstanding  clasp all evening to display the word written on a very long piece of paper. The auditorium rumbled with a collective intake of breath. My eyeballs juddered in their sockets and, a slight feeling of nausea notwithstanding, I was pretty astounded by what I had just witnessed and experienced. I felt like one of those mopes Derren diddled in Tricks Of The Mind: amazed at Derren’s audacity, envious of his ability and slightly irked that I possessed no such abilities.



Welcome To Twin Peaks

April 22, 2011



I vivdly remember the first time I saw Twin Peaks. Even though it was longer ago than I would care to consider, the impact of this odd, little show was so discombobulating that the thought of it still judders. I was at home in my parents’ house and it was around 9pm on a school night. There had been a lot of feverish talk in the press about this bizarre blend of murder mystery, soap opera and esoteric thriller which had already caused quite the stir in America and was due to do the same over here. Being a precocious young man with an eye for the unusual I knew that I had to check it out. (more…)

Forensics Reunited

April 3, 2011

I’m a big fan of CSI. I’ve watched it, or rather the original show set in Las Vegas and it’s two spin-offs, for around a decade. I realise that it’s silly and throwaway and immediately forgettable but that is equivalent to complaining that a pizza has no nutritional value. That’s not the reason you eat it. Sometimes you are in the mood for a steak dinner and sometimes you’re in the mood for a dirty burger, no matter what Paul Newman says. The same can be said for television: sometimes you want an intellectual workout from a rigorous, dramatic show like The Wire and sometimes you want to loaf and let a programme dripfeed your brain with visual E numbers.