Friday, December 15, 2006

The FA Cup winners for the last 50 years

At the Guardian, Hilary Mantel finds Derren Brown's "Tricks of the Mind" distinctly annoying (and it provokes some very funny writing on her part; I've just got Beyond Black from the library again, I think I may quote it in a spiritualism-related review I'm working on right now, what an excellent novel):

If you see anybody with this book, go the other way. Following in the footsteps of the renowned TV illusionist, they may impress you with their super-power memory by reciting the FA Cup winners for the last 20 years: though "for real impact, it is worth stretching this to 50 years". They may spring upon you time-worn puzzles in probability theory. They may hypnotise you, and suggest you forget your name. By the time they're through, you may forget your manners - but don't expect to land a punch. Expert readers of body language, they will know the blow is coming, just by the way you clench your fist.

Derren Brown gives us fair warning: "If the techniques and thoughts in this book are new to you, there will be a tendency to be excited about them and want to show off what you have learned." If they are new to you, you are either aged nine, or a Martian.

And it only gets better....

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