Customer Review

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Self-Indulgent money making - he must think his fans are now stupid, 16 Jan 2011
This review is from: Confessions of a Conjuror (Hardcover)
With a title like Confessions of a Conjuror, I was expecting more of the intelligent, observant and insightful discussions found in Pure Effect and Absolute Magic, but applied to Derrens more recent career in TV and Theatre. The art of suggestion, the differences between TV and stage, how the TV crew or pressure of theatre enhance suggestive responsiveness, his techniques to steer tricks into something else if they start going wrong, balancing certainty of effect with probability, and the need to increase the former for when on stage. That kind of thing.

Instead, you get observational witterings, not unlike the self-indulgent "look how trivial I can be!" columns of a weekend paper.

These are broken up by a long-winded, overly detailed card trick that simply doesn't translate well to the written word. Its so boring, almost American Psycho-esque in its need for irrelevant detail, that I found myself skipping over these seemingly ghost-written sections.

The "confessions" themselves have mixed messages. On the one hand Derren seems to be crying out "I'm normal! I'm just like you! Its time to shed the image of being thought of as a Jedi!" But then he never fails to inject the occasional detail to suggest "Not really - I'm far better than you". Example on page 208, when discussed his childhood need to 'sniff loudly': "One of my more gut-wrenching memories is sitting in the auditorium of the Berliner Philharmonie as a late teen, listening to Alfred Brendel's solo performance of Beethoven's piano sonatas, the contentrated stillness puncuated by my snorting paroxysms".

I know that most readers of this book will no doubt love it. The same crowds of gushing worshippers who discuss how amazing he is at "mind reading" during intervals of the stage show, and hang on his every word.

But thats the problem for me - whilst Derren used to write for his peers and industry fans, he now writes for his mainstream fans, obviously because there's more money in it, and he also doesn't have to write very well at all or write anything of actual interest (a bonus for him considering his busy working life).

Towards the end of the book it really started to seem like a p___-take. "These idiots love me so much I could write a load of drivel and they wouldn't know the difference". I wondered if I was being conned, and that Derren and his team were fleecing the ground floor of my house as I read upstairs. Not quite but nearly - they are cleverly pick-pocketing your bank accounts by 9.99 (or whatever) and laughing to themselves whilst you read on.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 26 Apr 2011 15:42:39 BDT
Love Life says:
Although I respect your opinion I don't understand why you think Derren as an artist and a person would think his fans are idiots and pick pocket our bank accounts as you put it. I am a fan of his and in no way do I think believe that he thinks he is better than us nor do I agree that he think we (his fans) are stupid. At the end of the day nobody is perfect and it is not Derren's choice, it his fans choice to buy his material whether it be a dvd or book (unless he is secretly controlling our buying habits lol) like I said I respect your opinion and I suppose that is what reviews are all about, its just the way you have wrote the review that sort of got to me, as I think Derren is a lovely and honest person, I mean not many other artists would come out after a show and sign everybody's book and take a picture with each fan would they? Surely that shows what type of person he is and what he really thinks of his fans, doesn't it??
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