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Home > Opinion

All I've damaged is an egg

Henry Naylor at Tower Bridge.

1 November 2003

One chilly Friday by the Thames, magician David Blaine began performing one of his most sensational tricks. Using only a Perspex chamber – and to the amazement of a nation – he managed to actually disappear up his own arsehole. Extraordinary.

Spouting psycho-babble and comparing himself to Christ and a holocaust sufferer, the smarmy and deluded git clambered into his Perspex box, thinking he could entertain a nation just by sitting in a box, doing nothing. And well, in a way, I suppose he did entertain us. We all derived much entertainment from pelting him with eggs, golf-balls, and by trying to cut the cable to his box. Some of us more than others…

I am proud to say, I got involved in the food-hurling stuff very early on in the Blaine-baiting campaign. On day three or four I chucked my breakfast at him for a very specific reason. And it’s a cause I’m sure you’ll appreciate. I was pissed. I’d been at the cricket all day. England had scored a singularly spectacular victory against South Africa. And my mates and I had been celebrating in liquid fashion.

As night fell, the conversation turned to Blaine, and to how ‘piss boring’ his stunt was. So what if he could sit in a box for 44 days? After another pint, one of the lads mentioned that disgruntled punters had been hurling eggs at him. This seemed an excellent idea. After an extra couple of pints of lager, it seemed an even better idea. Another pint – and we decided to hurl the full English breakfast at him. Cutting short our drinking session, and having purchased the entire sausage and bacon and egg range from the local garage, we marched along the Thames to find Blaine.

I hurled egg number one – which missed the box by some two feet. Bollocks. A groan of disappointment from the crowd. Egg number two sailed towards the box… SPLAT! It hit it bang in the middle… Oh glory, glory, glorious day... TV viewers watching at home told the papers it was the only time Blaine’d done anything interesting all day. He sat up. Caught up in the excitement, I was celebrating and high-fiving my friends, when I heard a scraping sound. It was the sound of Blaine’s minders, dragging their knuckles on the floor.

Suddenly I turned around and found my way blocked by creatures I thought were extinct. Hairy, Neolithic, and whose vocabulary was little more than ‘ug’. “Don’t throw eggs,” one grunted, monosyllabically. “Why? It’s more entertaining than what he’s doing.” More scraping noises. There were more of them. One-two-three… soon I was surrounded by six bouncers. That’s a ratio of three bouncers to each egg. Some might argue this was excessive. Another of the hairy ones said: “Don’t throw eggs at him. He’s magic.” I couldn’t help thinking if Blaine was so magic he wouldn’t need six bouncers to make his detractors disappear. Unfortunately I said this out loud; which on reflection was a mistake. One of the half-men half-beasts grabbed me by collar and lifted me up. No mean feat – as I’m six foot five, and weigh 16 stones. “Let’s get the police,” he said.

They grabbed me, and pushed me into a deserted car-park, where I thought I was going to get my head kicked in… I couldn’t help thinking that I could have got out of this situation very easily – if I had a box of matches. All I’d have had to have done was light one - and the apemen would have been running screaming for the trees, startled by the magic fire-stick…

Then they stopped dead. A police car arrived at the far end of the car park. They prodded me forward, offering me to the police like some human sacrifice. A rather embarrassed copper, stepped out of his car, and said, more out of obligation than conviction: “Sir. You do realise that what you’ve done amounts to criminal damage.” The bouncers murmured approval. In my drunken state, I was wondering what ‘damage’ I’d actually done. There was egg yolk on a magician’s perspex box. Was the box ‘damaged?’ No. The integrity of the box itself was sound. Thinking further, I realised that the only ‘damage’ I had done was to the egg. To be arrested for breaking an egg seemed to me ridiculous. You’d get nicked every time you made an omelette. However, in the circumstances, I thought it would probably be best not to tell the police officer that. But I was a bit tiddly. “What damage have I done, sir?” I said, politely. “All I’ve damaged is an egg.”

A second policeman – a smaller runtier one – got out of the car, pulled his trousers up and said aggressively: “Are you arguing with him?” Yes, yes, of course I was arguing with him… But even in my tiddled state I realised it wouldn’t be a good idea to tell him that. So what I did tell him was: “Oh come on officer – where’s your sense of humour? That Blaine’s just a boring old turd in a box.” This seemed to work. The policemen shrugged, got back in their car and drove off.

So, anyone thinking of throwing eggs at celebrity magicians – I advise you strongly to give this defence a go. Say you’re about to be done for murder, just turn to the arresting officer and say: “Oh go on officer, I was only having a laugh...” Who knows? It might work. Especially if the victim is David Blaine.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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