Not my words, these, but I tend to agree.........
If only he would magic himself away (Karl Minns, Eastern Evening News,
How do you fancy spending 44 days in London locked inside a 4ft by 7ft box,
with no food, no external stimuli, in full view of the world and having to
pee through a tube?
No, I'm not asking you to house-sit while I have a quiet break in Faliraki.
This proposition is the latest stunt by beardy-weirdy magician David Blaine.
Starting on September 5, Blaine will be locked in a plexi-glass box and hung
45ft over the Thames, surviving on water fed to him through a tube.
Rumours that this is punishment for a late loan payment to "Big Vern" are
hotly denied by the Blaine camp.
Starving yourself in a tiny box overlooking the Thames is the price most
Londoners pay to have a flat with a river view - and I wouldn't be surprised
if some opportunist estate agent tries to sell the box afterwards.
"Unique, compact, studio-style apartment. North, south, east and
west-facing, depending on the wind. Skylight and wall-to-ceiling windows
ensure superb natural light all day. Spectacular views of London and the
river if you look between your feet. Cold running water and internal toilet
facilities fitted as standard. Would suit single, publicity-seeking
magician. $1,250,000. Viewing recommended."
Of his month-long incarceration, Blaine says: "I will have no food, no sex,
no phone, no music, no privacy and no other stimulus."
My first year in London was eerily similar. For nearly 10 months, the only
regular conversations I had began: "Do you want any cashback with that?"
Blaine goes on to to describe the stunt as the most extreme exercise in
isolation and physical deprivation ever attempted. I'm sure that the
thousands of political prisoners held all over the world in solitary
confinement for months on end would beg to differ. But, unlike the rest of
us, they're never going to hear about it.
Blaine has already been buried alive for a week, encased himself in ice for
three days and stood on a 100ft pole for 35 hours in a park in New York.
Some say he is testing the bounds of human endurance; I just think he likes
having catheters fitted, as in each of his stunts he's had to have a plastic
tube inserted into his Old Chap.
I'll be the first to admit that Blaine's street magic is jaw-droppingly,
head-scratchingly brilliant. It's just that, like most magicians, he comes
across as a bit of an idiot. Blaine's default setting has always been
pretentious, and in interviews he's cultivated an aura of scary mystery that
makes you wonder why he doesn't just go the whole hog and shine a torch
under his face while going: "Whoah, ha ha."
Readers may well remember the GMTV interview Blaine had with Eamon Holmes,
which turned into a five-minute staring contest after Blaine failed to
answer a single question. Rewarded with nothing but a raised eyebrow or, at
best, a grunt for his efforts, it was fascinating to watch the hapless
Holmes go from bemusement, through mild irritation to an amused resignation
when he realised the man he was talking to wasn't being enigmatic, he was
just a tosser.
At one point, Blaine held his palm up to Holmes, on which he'd drawn an eye.
"What's that for?" asked Holmes. "Repelling evil," mumbled Blaine. "Ooooo,"
replied Holmes, in that oh-I'm-really-scared kind of way you'd adopt if
being theatened by a toddler with a hanky. It was sarcastic, hilarious, and
the longest exchange in the whole interview.
Medical experts have warned Blaine that he is risking hallucinations,
dementia and brain damage by starving himself for so long. Given his
penchant for elliptical, insane ramblings, it's going to be near impossible
Blaine said of the perils awaiting him: "We are all stronger and more
resourceful than we know and we can endure much more than we think we can."
Perhaps these words of reassurance are for Sky TV viewers who will be able
to watch the whole thing live on telly. Viewers will be pleased to hear that
a doctor will be on standby to make sure Blaine doesn't die live on TV, as I
did three weeks ago on the ITV news channel while talking about Tony Martin.
But because Blaine is unable to speak to anyone, the doctors diagnoses are
going to be pure guesswork - welcome to the NHS, David.
I've already contacted the Blaine camp, suggesting another stunt - his
I hereby challenge Blaine to be starved of the oxygen of publicity for one
month. During this time, he will not be allowed to do anything that
willfully draws attention to himself. He will not be interviewed, not appear
on TV or speak to journalists of any kind.
His only contact with the outside world will be his family and friends.
During this time he will have to eat three meals a day, sleep normally and
drink as much as he likes. He'll still have to wear a catheter though,
because I know how much he likes it.