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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Has Derren lost it? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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chrismatt
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Perhaps another example of the TV (mass audience) medium and how relentlessly it chews up and spits out innovative material.

As for Derren's pickpocketing, gambling and (Heaven forfend!) magic demonstrations, it sounds like Bob Dylan plugging in at the Newport Folk Festival. Derren is at the point in his career where he can make his own rules.
Details make perfection, but perfection is no detail.
Gary
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You'll know Derren has lost it if he begins hosting TV game shows. Until then...
"I can see clearly now, the brain has gone"
- Anon
E-Leoni
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I have not seen his 4th show, but if he is
exposing, I'm sure it's for a good reason. Smile .
A noble cause; to save the poor ignorant.

That was sarcasm.

I've noticed a common thread among exposures--the decline in their popularity = going on shows and talking about how they do things just to keep themselves in the lime light.
Just my opinion. I fortunately don't have that problem (being in the lime light).
Smile

E-Leoni
Dr Omni
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I don't think that Derren is guilty of exposure. If anything, his "explanations" are actually successfully keeping mentalist and magic methods hidden from the mass audience. Derren's "explanations" explain - relatively plausibly to the lay audience - that it's all to do with body language, subtle use of language (e.g., verbal forces), NLP techniques and the like. It's no more than what anyone can read in the psychological literature, which is by no stretch of the imagination part of the literature of magic or mentalism. Of course, DB *is* a master of these psychological techniques, but they are only a part of his total performance, which includes mastery of magical and mentalist techniques, and he combines elements of his vast knowledge in new and innovative ways to create sensational effects. By "explaining" them exclusively in terms of the psychological techniques, he is actually putting lay people *off the scent* of the magical and mentalist methods which are a large part (in fact, I think, most) of what he does in his shows.

It's worth noting that while most famous magicians (including Copperfield, Blaine, and Siegfried and Roy) have to suffer *real* exposure from websites, books for the public and TV specials, there is no similar exposure of Derren Brown. I think that he has to take much of the credit for this, partly for the reason already mentioned, and partly because his stuff is so cunning, natural-looking and innovative that the exposers don't know how it's done.
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noncom
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I disagree, Doctor. In this series, Derren has directly described his method of card counting 4 decks (a memory/visualisation technique), has given enough pointers to the method of muscle reading that anyone with half an interest could go and try it out themselves and start to see that it works, has used verbal forces of alphabet letters in such a way as to draw deliberate attention to the fact that he is doing so, and has also shown crude examples of verbal/physical suggestion in the mini-routines at the top of each show.

Now, he may not be exposing in a Masked Magician kind of way, but he's certainly giving away methods.

Andy
It ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it - Bananarama.
dale_kingstons_world_of_art
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Noncom, the method given for card counting was complete nonsense!

He doesn't expose mentalism methods purposefully but he doesn't do himself any favours by frequently relying on techniques that may eventually damage his credibility if/when they get widely reported. The pre-show, heavy TV editing and the instant-stooge type effects in particular. Used occasionally these techniques would be okay but he deploys at least one of them every time he does a live show or appears on TV. The public are waking up to the fact that things aren't all they seem when it comes to Derren.
bibi
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Do you want to have a TV show like DB or
do you just want to tell him what to do
in his TV show?
Are there any other mentalists that have done
so much like he did in the past 2 years?
Do you think hat lay audience watch his show
again and again (like all the magicians do) ?


bibi
Dr Omni
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Non-com - I think that the examples you cite of Derren's supposed "exposure" simply demonstrate my earlier point.

Card counting in blackjack - this is a very well-known gambling technique, and has nothing to do with magic or mentalism (as performing skills). Edward Thorp's book "Beat the Dealer" (1962) showed how a gambler can count the cards in a blackjack game and get a slight edge over the casino. (Since then, casinos have made the game *much* tougher to beat.)

Mnemonics (memory systems) have been in use since the days of ancient Greece. There is nothing remotely "secret" about them, and nor are they part of magic or mentalism as generally understood. I used them to pass exams at school and college from books you will find in the education section of any bookshop or library. It never occurred to me that they had anything to do with performance magic (although some entertainers demonstrate memory techniques alongside magic and mentalism). It does require a fair amount of work to master the techniques, especially to the level demonstrated by Derren, but it's absurd to suggest that that demonstration of how Derren successfully controls *his own* mind constitutes "exposure of magical secrets".

Muscle reading - as DB correctly pointed out in the "street market" routine with the two market traders, this was a popular Victorian parlour game which simply went out of fashion. It is a feature of many fictional detective stories of the 19th and 20th centuries, which explain what it is and how it works. There is nothing really "secret" about it in the sense that anyone has gone out of their way to make it difficult to find out about. I don't think it can be classified as a "magical secret", i.e. something that was developed by, and is the property of, the magical fraternity. (True, Banachek has recently written a publication on it, bound with an older manuscript on the subject, but that's more of a "rediscovery" of something largely forgotten by the public.)

If anything, Derren's demonstration of it tends to strengthen the "cover" I mentioned earlier. If, as you mention, people try muscle reading with success, that will lead them to think that *all* of DB's effects are achieved by an exceptionally high mastery of unconscious communications (thereby throwing them "off the scent" of the magical and mentalist tecnhiques used for many other effects).

The verbal forces and verbal/physical suggestion have become Derren's trademark, and there is now an element of self-satire in them (especially in the stage show now touring the UK) by making them so incredibly obvious. Again, I think that this is largely a form of cover or patter to disguise more old-fashioned mentalist and magical techniques. In any case, seeing as Derren (as far as I know) pioneered these verbal forces, he has the freedom to make obvious how they are done (as, for instance, Penn and Teller sometimes demonstrate how *their own* inventions work).

In short, m'lud, I find the accused not guilty.
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noncom
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Dale : the method for card counting may or may not have been the one DB used on this occasion, but it certainly isn't nonsense. It's a simple adaptation of commonly taught memory systems, and whilst it seems like pretty hard work compared to some other ways of doing it, it could work in the way he describes (although the speed of dealing would be a big problem).

Doctor Omni - I carefully chose my words when I said that Derren was exposing "methods" not "secrets". I know the history of these techniques and that they are not the property of magicians and mentalists. But I feel that doing so undermines rather than strengthens the aura of incredibility around his better mentalism routines.

I take your point about the verbal forces, but my problem with it is not so much that he's showing us how, but that he seems to be showing off. It's almost like this series is saying "aren't I clever, look how many ways I can manipulate people" and that's something I'm not enjoying - I found it almost entirely absent in his earlier specials which were fantastic groundbreaking work.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still a fan. I just hope he doesn't keep on down this increasingly self-indulgent path.

Anyway, there's enough conflict in the world at the moment without this argument adding to it, so I wish you all peace and you may have the last word.

Andy
It ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it - Bananarama.
Yaniv Deautsch
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I wonder what Victor Berghaus has to say about it...

Yaniv
shrink
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I don't think Deren is guilty of exposure. But what I don't like is sprinkling of new material with old.

I don't mind the pickpocketing or the card sharp routines. Whatever he does he does very well and worth watching.

My point is that the freshness won't be sustained and he will fade out of the public eye within a year...two at the very most. Not because of any fault on his behalf but because I believe the natural lifecycle of this type of entertainment will have come to an end.

The format is already starting to look tired if you watched the first run. And laypeople will watch him a few times then that will be enough for them. It's just the way it is.

If he hasn't already, he will peak soon then start to fade. Smile
Dr Omni
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Noncom - Thanks for those conciliatory words. Of course, I wasn't intending to create any awkwardness, but simply putting forward a different interpretation. Of course, there will always be differences of opinion about how magic, mentalism and other effects should be presented - if everyone agreed on every point, then magic would be pretty monotonous and there would be little point in talkboards like this. So my "last word" is: thank you for putting forward your views in an interesting and educational discussion, for which I don't claim to have any kind of final answer.
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dale_kingstons_world_of_art
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Quote:
I wonder what Victor Berghaus has to say about it...
Get McLare to ask him.
DarkKnight
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I think that we must remember that although we in the magic community have been very much aware of Derren for many years, most of the general public had never heard of him before this series started to air. The lay people that I've spoken to who are watching this series are very impressed and that's what the intent behind it is aimed at. He has a tour to promote and needs bums on seats and unfortunately if he relied on the magic community alone to provide them would have very empty pockets ( and theatres ).
Lee David Bowen
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Hi all,

I'd just like to say I was lucky enough to see Mr Brown last night 24th March at The Grand Theatre in Swansea, South Wales. Again, I had seen Mr Brown many years ago, but it was fantastic to see so many lay people coming to be entertained in Mr Brown's unique style of entertainment. I, a trained actor as well as trainee in the Mental art form, was very impressed with his artistry and performing abilities, which so many people forget is what entertaining is about.

I hope Derren will be around for a long time to come and would recommend anyone to see his show as this is worth more than any lecture about techniques and methods. This is about entertaining and bringing an experience to an audience and not self gratification.

PS. He is also a nice guy.
Jim Reynolds
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Considering that nobody's heard of him outside of Great Britian, he's just scratching the surface.

In keeping with the American tradition of copying successful shows from overseas, he may find great fame and fortune in America if and when his career dries up there.

JR
Lee Davies
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It’s awfully English to build somebody up only to knock down.

For anybody who hasn't seen the Mind Control series, Mr Brown does not reveal any secrets. So don’t worry and lose sleep over it.

As for methods revealed, I don’t think he’ll damage your mentalism career into the rancid pit of the underworld.

Finally, if anybody here thinks that the poker hall sequence was down to the fact that Mr Brown can count cards and/or uses memory systems then the deception has weaved its magic in full glory.

Regards

:wavey:
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand...
shrink
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Quote:
On 2003-03-25 14:43, Jim Reynolds wrote:
Considering that nobody's heard of him outside of Great Britian, he's just scratching the surface.

In keeping with the American tradition of copying successful shows from overseas, he may find great fame and fortune in America if and when his career dries up there.

JR


I agree. I think he could be huge in America. He is a great performer and his shows are really stylish and innovative. That's if someone doesn't rip off his format before then. America also copies shows by producing American versions!

I get the sense that mentalism is similar to hypnosis. Once an audience has seen it once or twice they don't need to see it again. They may still recount how much they enjoyed the show but don't feel compelled to see more. Apart from the odd addict that used to be in the front row every week!
mentalism101
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I think it's fair to say that there is more to Derren and his work than a single showing will reveal.

He has some VERY different things coming up for his next two specials.
chrismatt
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I'll amend my 3/24 post (above). Derren Brown is not the Bob Dylan of mentalism, but he may be the Beatles...if he ever comes to America.
Details make perfection, but perfection is no detail.
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