Tricks of the Mind

Finally got round to reading Derren Brown’s Tricks of the Mind. Despite his recent TV showings trundling inevitably downhill, I’ve always been a huge fan of Derren: for his performances as an entertainer first and foremost, but almost as importantly for his for-heaven’s-sake-it’s-all-a-game attitude. A magician who can do exactly as the ‘psychics’ do is hugely valuable, and the final chapter of his book was familiar if welcome territory about bad science, frauds and religion.

It’s always preaching to the converted, though. Derren raves about Richard Dawkins and The God Delusion, which I really ought to read, but somehow feel the exercise might be slightly pointless as I’m hardly needing to be convinced. Far better if I could convince someone like Sanna to read it, without it seeming like an intrusion. After all, it’s only a book, what harm can reading it do you? What kind of belief feels so strong yet is so weak you need to protect it from mere works on a printed page? I’d be quite happy to read something – anything – in return, after all, but I’m sure I’d be reading it without the required ‘open mind’. Ah well. As it is I somehow manage to spark off references to the Tower of Babel, an intriguing Biblical story about religion deliberating separating and dividing people which verges terrifyingly on truth.

Something which everyone can read without hesitation is Ermila’s blog, a friend of ours who proves that more adults should take the time to blog since, well, they can write better than us for a start. (I realise as I type this that I am technically an adult, but you know what I mean.) How fascinating would your parents’ blogs be, for example? Feel free to replace ‘fascinating’ with a word connoting more horror at your own wish.

The whole situation reminds me of the other day when I tried to set my dad up with using RSS. It’s an absolutely perfect technology for him, since as a freelance journalist he spends a large part of his time checking a huge number of specialist websites for news. What we both found surprising, however, was that the vast number of organisations and companies not offering these feeds. I’ve grown so absolutely accustomed to having them available for the kind of stuff I read, which I guess is targeting a more RSS-savvy market.

Anything else going on? Well, I’m slowly preparing myself for a New Life (TM) by trying to put in place all of those things like an appropriate bank account and mobile setup. On the latter, if anyone knows any particularly good deals do let me know. I’m not absolutely against going on contract for a reasonable price (say, £15 a month) but I’d need lots of free texts and talk time. Andy tipped me off to look at 3’s offers, which I may just do. But talk phones to me people: at the moment I pay around £10 a month for 200 texts, no contract.

Finally, Alex Trafford (whose website has taken a strikingly minimalist turn) wanted to know of any obscure and baffling Cambridge rules. Well, if he and anyone else has managed to get this far, bemuse yourself with the following oddity:

Visitors’ drinks in the bar must be paid for by their host.

Don’t all rush to visit at once now…

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3 Comments on :
Tricks of the Mind

  1. Tasha says:

    What no ‘this rounds on me!’ – does it massively increase student debt or something? Anyway you need a book? You should have said! Come and pick one from here silly

  2. Andy Kings says:

    Virgin are ripping you off. Go on the 3 £15 plan. Or one of the 02 Simplicity plans.

  3. Bon says:

    Hi Dom,
    re mobiles – go to carphone warehouse and ask what their v best pay monthly deal is – say you will think about it, then phone orange and ask if they can beat it – they usually will and unlike CPW they actually charge the lower rate rather than relying on you to claim cash back.

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