Edible – The Tommy Blank Column

Optical Delusion – a Derren Brown Critique.

Derren Brown is in the headlines again, and unfortunately it’s not because I’ve been ushering his fans into death camps for clicking ‘Like this’ on his Facebook fan page. It’s because his latest telly jaunt has landed him in trouble with OfCom (independent regulator of British broadcasting) for apparently tying some poor simpleton to train tracks wearing a straight jacket in a tasteless attempt to give this poor bastard a confidence boost.

Brown has plagued British prime time television for the last decade. If he’s not performing a live round (excuse the pun) of Russian Roulette in a barn in Jersey, he’s convincing the general public to hold up Securitas vans using nothing more than the persuasive lyrics of the Jackson 5.

Now our nation doesn’t take much convincing of the fact that they are being entertained; the hoards of bullshit reality television and half-baked panel shows provide more than enough evidence to support this accusation.

However, the viewers of these shows (at least the ones capable of forming a sentence) won’t tend to spring to the defence of the quality of such broadcasting, rather they will just say ‘I’m addicted’ or ‘I know it’s shit but…’ in an attempt to rescue some shred of dignity.

But Derren Brown’s followers actually seem to think that this man is a real talent. That he’s some kind of national treasure, worthy of a prime time spot and a place in British broadcast history. What they are failing to see is, Brown uses a very simple formula and to his credit, it has worked a charm on the public.

He has categorically joined the waves and waves of sci-fi/paranormal productions that have successfully masked piss-poor television behind a clever guise of mystery and magic. Using the notion that ‘something different’ is any indication of quality and value, Brown can catch the eyes and ears of the nation year after year.

Something different?

People said that about Dizzee Rascal and I will repeat the same sentiment that I shared with them; I could fart into a Tuba while reading the complete works of Dostoevsky, stark naked and hovering ten feet above the M25 and that would be different. However, it certainly wouldn’t be good by any stretch of the imagination.

Think of all those shitty Magician’s Secrets shows, shot in a cheap set fashioned to look like an abandoned warehouse while some scorned idiot clowns around in a mask revealing the tricks behind popular illusions because his talent as a magician alone wasn’t enough to get his fat face on television.

There’s no excuse to be taken in by this utter farce.

The only way to watch this garbage (and for the purpose of this article, I forced myself to endure several hours of it) is to quite literally deny any knowledge of the existence of such a thing as stooges. Someone traditionally paid to sit in the audience and answer ‘no’ when the magician asks if the two have ever met. Of course he says no, he’s on the fucking pay roll.

So while we’re led to believe the honest average Joe Blow is waving a replica desert eagle around in broad daylight because Brown has made it so, Derren (which isn’t a name by the way) meanwhile sits back and counts his money, licking his smug little lips.

Wake up Britain, the only trick on show here is the misapprehension that this imbecile should be on prime time television, rather than juggling spoons in Covent Garden for tramps and tourists.

And that’s me holding back. I was initially going to call this article ‘Prick of the Mind’.

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