Monday, September 29, 2003

David Blaine

Went to see David Blaine the other day, while I was on my way somewhere else. The night before he'd been rudely awakened by a catapulted paint ball and I was thinking there is something quintessentially Londonian about the barrage of abuse and assaults that he's provoked. Perhaps in the future, when people are probably vaguely aware of the stunt in the way we're aware of the Crystal Palace Exhibition, a London historian will take great pleasure in noting in his opus that "the Blaine stunt seems to us now rather miraculous, but the Londoner of the day was rather more sceptical, and frequently turned out to berate him, occasionally attacking him with golf balls, air rifles and - one adventurous night - huge balloons filled with pink paint, so keeping alive a tradition of cockney irreverence which stretches far back into medieval times."

I would agree that its nice that Londoners maintain a healthy cynicism for the posing spiritualists of our day; it didnt actually occur to me to go and throw something at him, but I'm happy that other people have got around to it. Having said that there is something...different about seeing him sitting in a box hanging 40 feet above the ground. When I first saw it I did say to myself, "so, he is actually doing it then." He's a bizarre guy clearly, and he's doing something very original, but the publicity that he brings on himself kind of demeans it all, turning it from a serious (and possibly life changing/threatening) "quest" into a Sky Box Office "stunt". The American Indians used to fast for over a month as part of their "vision quest" to let the spirit of the world take over them. And Jesus, of course, fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, after which the devil himself appeared before him to offer him the kingdoms of the world. My guess is that it might be worth tuning in towards the end of Blaine's "tele-vision quest", because that would definitely make some good TV.