Saturday 21 September 2019

Luther Vandross cassette ended Derren Brown’s shoplifting habits

He spoke on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.

Derren Brown was caught shoplifting at Harrods (Isabel Infantes/PA)
Derren Brown was caught shoplifting at Harrods (Isabel Infantes/PA)

By Craig Simpson, Press Association

Derren Brown has said he found joy in shoplifting before attempting to steal a Luther Vandross cassette.

The mentalist has said he enjoyed the skills of stealing as a teenager, and at one time everything in his bedroom was pilfered.

Brown, known for his daring stage shows, took pleasure in the misdirection he used to secure his ill-gotten gains, and the practicality of not having to buy expensive items.

He has said his career as a shoplifter, which he describes as “shameful”, was cut short when attempting to steal a Vandross cassette tape.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, Brown said: “It was before the magic thing took off, but it was the joy of the misdirection, and the fun of pilfering and not being seen. It was just joyful – but terrible.”

He added: “I remember looking around my bedroom once as a teenager.

“I looked around and realised every single thing in my room I’d stolen.

“I’ve stopped now, and I stopped because basically I set off the alarms sneaking out of the music department of Harrods with a Luther Vandross cassette tape in my pocket. I was so embarrassed.

“I did this whole display of “oh, how did that get there?’. I thought ‘right, that’s it, no more’.”

Brown said when his magic career did take off, it took him years to appreciate the value of his craft.

He said that after TV and stage shows, books and other projects, he realised that magic is similar to life.

Brown said: “Magic is a very good analogy for how we generally face the world. We start to make up a story for what is going on, then we mistake that story for the truth.

“That is exactly what magic is doing.”

Desert Island Discs is available on BBC Sounds and BBC Radio 4 today at 11.15am.

PA Media

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