Derren Brown: tricks of the mind (and page)

I'm currently reading the surprisingly well written and interesting book Tricks of the Mind by British magician and mentalist Derren Brown. At one point in the book, Brown confesses he is:

...never one to arrive at an acumen regarding a set of printed pages bound along one side, based purely upon my discernment of its sheathing, ho ho

Ignoring for the moment the interesting use of the word 'acumen', my question to you is: what on earth is he talking about? I'll post the answer tomorrow, although I'll doubt you'll need it.


Anonymous said...

"never one to judge a book by its cover"

Anonymous said...

When you say 'mentalist' do you mean you think he's a bit mad?

JD (The Engine Room) said...

I nearly blogged about 'mentalist' instead today... yes, I do think he is slightly mad – but a mentalist in this context is an entertainer whose performance appears to be based on psychic abilities (clairvoyance, mind reading etc). Or so says Wikipedia!

Anonymous said...

My dictionary (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate) gives only "mind reader" as the definition for "mentalist."

"Mentalist" always reminds me of the word "alienist" (psychiatrist, from the French aliéné, for "insane")

They seem "of the same era," though they're not (mentalist: 1930; alienist: 1864)

(I loved Caleb Carr's mystery "The Alienist")

Ant Heald said...

I thought the 'nutcase' sense of mentalist might have been a creation of Steve Coogan (as Alan Partridge), but that's only the second citation in the OED, after one from 1990.

I'm pretty sure it's the classic Partridge moment that popularised it, though.

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