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Sunday 20 April 2014

'I hypnotised a guy in my class to think he was a chicken'

Classroom Confidential: Keith Barry, Mentalist

Keith Barry on the set of his new series ‘Brain Hacker’

Paul Daniels may have helped to spark Keith Barry's interest in magic, but it was during Irish class that the star performed his first hypnotic trick.

So we spoke to the magician and mentalist about why his school days were not always magical, but how he always knew his career would be.

So dude were you the life and soul of the party at school?

[Laughs] Well, to be honest, I was pretty normal.

You mean you were not pulling rabbits out of the hat down the back of the class?

Not in school. But I was doing tricks for friends outside the whole time. Magic was not very cool and it was easy to take the piss out of it. So I kept my head down. I don't really look back on those days with great fondness.

You're not the only one!

But when did you start practising magic?

When I was five or six, I was given a Paul Daniels Magic Set.

Then every year after that I got a magic set for Christmas

We all got to start somewhere!

But it was when I was on a school trip to Scotland and I bought the Klutz Book of Magic that I changed from being able to fool kids to being able to fool adults with magic.

But, apart from the magic, what type of student were you?

Not overly good, but not overly bad best describes me.

I was certainly above average in terms of grades, but not an A-lister.

Did any teachers have an influence on you back then?

Miss Shanahan my art teacher was pretty cool. She saw that academically I had no real interest but that I had an artistic side.

Now, we promise we won't tell anyone, but what was the naughtiest thing you did at school?

When we were in Brother Gill's Irish class I was sitting next to a guy and I had just bought my first book on hypnotism and I tried it out on him.

He got up in the middle of the class and started running around thinking he was a chicken.

Classic.

He got into a lot of trouble for it so I ended up giving him the book.

Keith Barry: Brain Hacker airs Sundays at 9pm on TV3. Brain Hacker will also be touring the country from March. For more info visit Keithbarry.com.

- John Costello

Irish Independent

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