Tricks of the Mind
Derren Brown Channel 4 Books, 390pp, £18.99
Many are left flummoxed by the hypnotist and magical maestro Derren Brown: How did he . . . ?
But . . . ? My head hurts. Judging by the correspondence reprinted in this new autobiography-cum-magician's self-help book, armies of enlightened fruit loops out there are offering armchair explanations. Some are attuned to "non-visible cellular vibration", others practice "master genie taming". One anonymous messenger forwarded on to Brown word from above: "You have asked for me to be more specific. I am the Son of God. I am the Lamb and my soul is
Jesus Christ. Please pass this information on to Derren." Perhaps even Jesus is baffled.
However, now these overactive imaginations may rest. Tricks of the Mind exposes Derren Brown as a master manipulator, with not a cauldron or genie in sight. Part con-artist, part nut-job, he spent his early days applying liquid latex around his eyes to convince people he suffered from eye infections. Success was gauged in undue sympathy and attention from well-meaning folk.
If you hope to enjoy relaxed conversations this Christmas, unaware of the "Unconscious Communication" (chapter five) and dark thoughts behind each smile, don’t read this book. But it is good for the odd dinner party stunt.