By Frisco Rosso
After recently completing his most “electrifying” stunt to date “Electrified: One Million Volts Always On”, endurance artist and magician David Blaine has stepped back into the real world once more with a peculiar sense of satisfaction and leaving behind another confused audience.
In case you haven’t heard about it already, last week Blaine was positioned on a 6m-high pillar clad in a specially made 13kg chain-mail body suit, wire helmet and visor before a million volts of electricity were activated around him for a period of 72 hours. Thanks to the chain-mail the electricity was deflected, making the real challenge the ability to stand for three days with the added weight of the suit.
“I had wanted to do this for years,” the 39 year-old said. “I don’t know how I could ever top this. This is an overly-ambitious idea, and I’m literally shocked that it came together.”
Had Blaine actually been shocked while the whole thing came together, it may have given audiences something worthwhile to remember – particularly as standing or hanging around for long periods of time seems to be the man’s pay dirt, and nothing we haven’t really seen before.
Most experts were in agreement that the only physical risks Blaine faced during the exercise would be if he inserted a finger up his nose or fell off the platform and landed on his face – mundane perils that human beings encounter on a daily basis.
The homogeneity of Blaine’s stunts over the last 12 years, which seem devoid of any relative frame of reference on a personal level for most viewers, always end with the question “Why?” From being encased in ice, dangling upside down, spinning in circles or serving himself up to be pelted with eggs by British yobbos, Blaine has discovered an uncanny ability to garner attention from some of the most boring and questionable acts in history.
Although endurance art is essentially self indulgent, he could at least have tried to incorporate the enchantment of his earlier street magic days with the endurance feats that he has exclusively concerned himself with in recent years.
Blaine announced shortly after “Electrified: One Million Volts Always On” that it would be his last endurance stunt, but surely there are a few more challenges out there he could be talked into that would actually be worth seeing.
1. Bog Snorkelling in the Florida Everglades.
Embrace the Welsh tradition of Bog Snorkelling and take it to peak levels of endurance. Instead of running the risk of swimming through the discarded filth of New Age Travellers or bumping into someone’s submerged mummified grandfather as is likely in the bogs of the British Isles Blaine should stick closer to home and take this endeavour to the Florida Everglades. Whether it’s having your head plucked off by a gator, having your ass punctured by snapping turtles or ending up as a macabre dried snack in some redneck’s smoke house there are a plethora of endurance challenges for the man of illusion here.
2. Last 12 rounds with Ukrainian powerhouse and all-round fustigator Wladimir Klitschko
Blaine could surely show this amateurish wimp the real meaning of endurance as he ducks and dives, sticks and moves, while scouting the ring area at intervals for his own missing teeth. Staying coherent and conscious while having his brains pugilistically whipped to cream should silence those haters and bring Blaine a sizable crowd.
3. Long-distance walking with a tequila twist.
In a similar fashion of the famous Walk Across America wellness programme, Blaine should walk unaided from Tijuana to Cancun in Mexico while trying to avoid the challenging pitfalls of local indifference, human trafficking, drug wars and dodgy tacos. By sporting a t-shirt with an insulting message to drug cartels Blaine is sure to gain added profile during the journey. Steely determination and the ability to run quite fast will be necessary, although some kinship may be found with Mexican drug peddlers as they’re also a dab hand at suspending people from ropes in public places, usually without their heads. An incentive not to dawdle.
4. Afghanistanimation – playing your cards right.
If you thought Utah was a tough crowd, attempt street magic in Sangin District, Helmand. Blaine will be forced to test his mental fortitude as well as spiritual and mental strength to the limit while dodging IEDs and burning flags. The locals may be temporarily enthralled by endless card tricks and illusions but they’re sure to be blown away by Blaine’s ability to levitate and mysteriously disappear when the Taliban show up to ask for a demonstration.
5. Those who can, teach.
Attempting to survive for a year teaching religious education, or anything for that matter, at a school in England should put just about everything into perspective. Controlling a rambunctious and insolent crowd of children with no respect for authority while maintaining precious league tables and avoiding getting stabbed will make suspension in a Plexiglas box beside the Thames feel like six weeks in Vegas.
6. Escape from U.S. Penitentiary Florence ADMAX Facility, Colorado.
Even Houdini would have battled with this one but it’s nothing Blaine can’t handle. Kept in almost complete solitary confinement Blaine would face the mental endurance test of not spazzing out or rocking backwards and forwards mumbling nursery rhymes coupled with occasional interaction with nutcases, psychopaths and threats to national security. Of course there are prisoners to contend with also, but using his patented wit, charm and cool demeanour Blaine could undoubtedly find a reliable escape buddy.
7. Get a real job like everyone else.
The greatest endurance is life itself, especially when it involves 30-50 years of suffering egotistical bosses, crap working conditions questionable pay and endless deadlines. At the end of it all you can slip into retirement, proud that you made it and survived man’s greatest endurance act. Of course by then no one will really care except the pension officers who will be secretly willing you to die early. Respect, if the magic is still there.
With more tension than your mother’s suspension, I am Frisco Rosso. I’m likely to deliver a few lines worth at any given moment regarding film, music, sport, books and anything morally unsound that strikes a blow between the eyes in the name of entertainment.