The Events

19th September 2009  

The Events is a four-part series where Derren takes part in – you’ve guessed it – four events: ‘How to Win the Lottery’; ‘How to Control the Nation’; ‘How to be a Psychic Spy’; ‘How to Beat the Casino’.

As I write this we are half way through the series and I thought I’d take this opportunity to do a small write up.

The titles of each show leads us, the audience, to believe we will learn ‘how to do’ all of the above… but will that be the case? Probably not. That would be too easy!

How to Win the Lottery
When I first leant this was going to be his first trick, my heart sank. Time delay. Easy. Where’s there any skill in that, I thought? However, I was more than pleasantly surprised with what Derren delivered on Wednesday night. It was a slick performance. There was the invisible compromise of the ‘legal reasons’ surrounding the BBC announcing the results first, hardly a point for me to moan at – he’s a magician, afterall.

And in addendum to the above, there were a few ‘give aways’ as to how this trick/effect/feat was achieved. The wobbly camera was a giant ‘I’m not doing any magic tricks with split screens like The Masked Magician here’ rule-out. Next was the empty warehouse with the TV in the middle of the room with the nice thick cable trailing from the back, together with the glass stand holding the six white balls. The ‘obvious’ TV power cable was a nice touch. As was the glass stand.

I’d like to think I’m not the bluntest tool in the box, so I reckon I could have a pretty good idea how Derren ‘predicted’ the Lottery result. I also have a physics degree so I know what to roughly Google by utilising that and deducing from the above. First attempt pulled up a 2004 journal describing the exact technology I thought was possible and achievable for the effect. Hey Presto el al.

So, how was Derren going to make a one hour show on the above? Simply, he wasn’t.

Obviously the one hour ‘explanation’ show took longer to construct than the actual effect, but surely he could have come up with something better than 23 random people (one of the 24 was the calculator man) guessing numbers? This leaves us with a not-so-invisible-compromise resultant caveat of a mean numbers exercise, meaning ultimately that the people’s idiom motor not only had to predict an absolutely and categorically random event, but compensate for other people’s inaccurate guesses of the same random event. Don’t worry though, guesses can include negative and numbers larger than 49. Right. That makes perfect sense. Real world and plausible it isn’t.

So, when everything is de-constructed we see there are two, possibly three different realities Derren had to perform. He had to ‘predict the lottery’; get 23 people to think they had predicted the lottery; then convince a studio audience they had seen 23 people predict the lottery. Then combine all of those to make us believe he had predicted the lottery. (But of course we all know he didn’t – because he can’t.)

I have to say that I wouldn’t be writing all of this if Derren hadn’t promised to reveal how he did it, then throw us – essentially – cheap lies. Being a magician is an open door to trickery and deceiving – we all accept and enjoy it, – but for me this overstepped the line and insulted not only my intelligence, but the intelligence of the British population as a whole. On its own the Wednesday night effect would have sufficed. Actually, it would have more than sufficed.

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