Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Can you feel it?

So, did you see Derren Brown's "The Heist" last week?

If you did, you'll recall that it involved the psychomindcontrolillusionistfreakboy convincing some real people to commit an armed robbery.

At Discopop Towers, we were left feeling a little disappointed by the show's sleight-of-hand. The final 'heist' was really a hold-up perpetrated on a security van. We were hoping for something a bit more like Ocean's Eleven, with blueprints and trip-wires and Julia Roberts... But it's a bit churlish to complain that we were misled bu a stage magician and master illusionist.

More rankling was the feeling that this was so unlikely. Had none of the 'subjects' spotted they were being programmed? The cues and triggers Derren planted in their subconcious seemed to be desperately unsubtle. Didn't they notice what was going on? Would it have made a difference if they did? And would we have fallen for this creepy half-beard's trickery?

Well, the internet is a wonderful thing, and one of the participants in the programme happens to be a regular visitor to the Naim Audio messageboards (of all places). Rod, who didn't make it through to the final 'heist' has been talking about his experiences (read it here). As suspected, he claims to have cottoned on to what was happening fairly quickly. Indeed, he reckons that only one of the final four carried out the robbery 'for real'. The others, says Rob, did it for a laugh.

All of which reinforces the question we asked as soon as the show ended: Did we just sit through a ridiculously long set-up for what boiled down to a simple piece of stage hypnosis?

(NB: Read what Derren Brown has to say about it all on this post to his website. But, to paraphrase Kat Slater, why should we trust him after what he's done?)

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