Derren Brown

In this post, there are notes so that you can understand the BBC radio 4 Desert Island Discs interview with Derren Brown. He is a successful British illusionist and mentalist.   Aggie and I are currently creating a podcast and it will be launched on 11th October!

You can listen to the interview here:

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Time references from phone app


0.54 sleight of hand has become sleight of mind

0.59 an ever more daring blend

1.06 he’s played Russian Roulette

1.12 hoodwinked one man into believing that the apocalypse is taking place

1.42 Debunking the ideas of physics ….

General chat about what he does and magic

2.14 a mentalist

2.38 even if you’re using conjuring techniques

2.53 it’s so caught up in vaudeville sillyness

2.56 The childish urge to impress

1st track -

4.21 - this would really brighten things up

His shows

5.43Some of your illusions have been extremely controversial

5.48 Do you get a kick out of pushing the envelope and seeing how far you can go?

5.52 I have done shows that have created some controversy but I’ve done others that 6.01 understated (some of his shows)

6.04 a clear dramatic hook (the idea - the point of the shows)

6.59 I did smash a screw through my hand recently

7.42Normally it’s done with a nail

7.44 A screw’s a different animal

2nd track

8.07 it comes a bit of a motif of Hanibal Lectors

8.13 is it true that he’s part of your stage persona


9.46 a precocious and revoltingly charming child

9.52 long platinum locks

10.39 manipulating

10.50 witches (drew them)

11.10 I was, not bullied, but intimidated by the sporty kids

11.17 closeted gay kid

11.21 I don’t look back fondly at it

3rd track

11.49 I’d cleared out two rows of the concert

11.53 sniffing

11.57 snort

12.37 nostalgia


14.48 glamourous

15.08 from my end (relaxed approach - parents

15.53 shoplifting

16.19 Big bulky jumper

16,52 a pragmatic thing

17.00 sneeky

17.04 the joy of misdirection

17.06 the fun of pilfering a

4th track

17.26 it’s a yearning for mercy

17.34    transcendance is something that’s hugely important

18.12 Atheists miss when they have pops at religion


19.56 if I take a cross section of my life to feel

20.08 People often reinvent themselves

20.22 I wore a cloak

20.43 a cave

20.51    A bonfire

21.22 I felt obliged to put a bit more on

21.28 I couldn’t back out of

21.34 disfigured

21.27 twisted (what he was doing with his eye)

22.00 It took care of all that (when he started performing)

22.07 and funnel it into a valid arena of performing

5th track

22.40 it felt like an outpouring

22.52 he will not let me live it down

Early career

24.10 You were trying your hand as a magician

24.13 gigs

24.22 It was just enough to tick by

Trying to impress

24.31You develop a way of being that’s constantly deflecting (fact he was gay)

24.49 such a red herring (trying to impress)

25.03 you just shoot yourself in the foot as soon as you start

6th track

26.11  It’s achingly sad

26.22   Life in centripetal (life pulls us back to the centre)

26.39 when those things let you down on a bad day

26.43 the stoic approach

27.00 melancholy

His shows

28.47 how conscious are you of the ethical complexities..?

29.00 churned out on this conveyor belt (make-over/ life turn around shows)

29.16 they’re vetted

29.24 rigorous

29.31 curated and orchestrated (so that they feel safe)

7th track

30.26 his father was furious (getting him back into rolling stone magazine)


31.21 physical ailments

31.41  a healing show (he didn’t want to advertise the show as that)

31.45People would be sceptical like me

31.48 Psychological priming

32.33 if you just grit your teeth on the first night

32.52 trigger finger

33.07 something that would really knock me back

8th track

33.42Soppy (filled with love for his partner)

34.02 so important not to shut that out

35.12 you can dig into your archetypes

35.17  I’m a lover of stupid gadgets

35.25  Endless things