I live in the Nottinghamshire countryside, about two miles from Sherwood Forest. There is a holiday/vacation resort build inside the forest that caters to families who want to spend a short break in cabins. This place is well known in the UK and called CentreParcs. To be honest, it’s a bit of a dump but still manages to be pretty booked up throughout the year.
There is, surprisingly, a wedding venue built inside the forest too, where couples can get married and the evening ceremony can occur. I was booked for my first performance there in 2014 and to be honest didn’t really know what to expect. I arrived at the entrance to the forest where I had to endure a series of security checks by people who didn’t really instil me with confidence in regards to ‘security’.
He checked my tyres and asked me my name, completely missing the assault rifle on the back seat. After a few minutes of waiting for a security barrier to rise, I was allowed into the resort. I took a slow drive around the twists and turns and eventually found myself in front of a ten foot high wooden gate. It was an automatic gate that sensed when a vehicle was there and it slowly slid open. I proceeded through into what appeared to be a car park for staff, pulled up and got out. No one was around, but I could hear the faint sounds of pots and pans been used by the catering staff and so headed in that direction hoping to find the event planner or some signs of a wedding party.
I was approximately 30 minutes early, so wanted to take a peek at the performance area I had been booked to mingle in. It was a large room with a stage at the front, a bar at the rear and an inflatable section being built in the corner for a ‘Bucking Bronco’.
Clear Drinks Only
I ordered a lemonade (always order a clear drink in case you accidentally spill it on your shirt) and had a walk around the room. After 20 minutes or so, guests started to arrive in the room and I made my way to one of the corners in preparation. Each guest was ushered into a backdrop and had their photo taken before they were allowed to the bar, and since most were heading for a drink straight away, I thought it was the ideal place to begin. The guests were friendly and polite and very responsive.
The Mind Reading Beat Box
I introduced myself to a group who were in their twenties and started chatting with them. One of the guys told me he was a DJ, so I asked him if I could perform something for him based around his love of music. I asked him to visualise himself playing in a big club, stood there in front of the crowd and behind his turntables. I wanted him to imagine flicking through his record box and deciding on one record that would be a sure fire hit with the crowd. He did this and after a few moments became quite excited and animated:
“Yeah! Yeah, I’ve got one! It’s one of my absolute favourite tracks.”
I asked him to secretly write down the artist and track name which I peeked a few moments later as he was instructed to visualise himself removing that record from its sleeve and placing it onto the platter of the turntable and cueing it up with the headphones. He told me:
“You won’t know this track, it wasn’t in the charts or anything like that.”
I was surprised when I peeked the written information and actually knew the track very well. It was an obscure ‘Jungle’ track from the 1990's that I was a huge fan of at the time. I actually had it on my iPhone and I could have pulled out of my pocket and played it there and then, but instead decided to do something I’d never done in mentalism before.
Growing up as a teenager I was heavily involved in DJ-ing and the ‘UK Rave’ scene.
Music was a massive part of my life and still is. The participant had no idea that this was the case, and there I was, casually stood there knowing the name of the track and artist. I knew the track so well in fact, that I could actually ‘beat-box’ the track to him.
Now I know Chester Sass has an effect where he beatboxes a song but I’ve been messing with beat-boxing, scratching and mixing for the past twenty years and at that moment I knew what I was going to do. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and knew if I didn’t do it, I’d probably regret it for the rest of my performing career.
I asked him to continue imaging cueing this song up in his head and playing the first few seconds of the track. He was then to bring the track back to the beginning and play it over and over, just the first few seconds.
I started to describe the noise he was hearing in his head. The track starts with a cymbal sound and drum shot. He furrowed his brow and said:
I then asked him to ‘drop’ the track in his mind and imagine the crowd going wild. I wanted him to hear the song playing because I knew the main recognisable sound of this track was a heavy and melodic bass line. He was imagining it and nodding his head in time with the music. I told him not to give too much away before bursting out loud into a full beat box of the track he was imagining.
The track was called ‘Pulp Fiction’ by Alex Reece and as soon as he heard me beat boxing it, he went absolute wild! He ran off screaming and grabbed his girlfriend to come and listen. The whole group were utterly dumbfounded and couldn’t believe it. The moment I was most proud of however, was me restraining myself from telling him I knew the track and was into the same style of music growing up. Instead I just kept asking him:
“Was that it?”
When he calmed down he said it was it, and it was his favourite track. I asked him what it was called and he told me, he also said the artist had a new album out soon and he was very excited by this news (of course I already knew this as I was also waiting for it to be released).
By never mentioning the name of either the track or artist, it elevated the effect into a (and I hate this word) miracle. There was no way this guy would be able to forget the impact of this effect and he spent the rest of the night telling everybody and anybody who would listen about what the ‘Mind Reader’ did.