rabbit in a hat“Finally someone has released a rather fantastic mind reading app that genuinely triggers that “wow – how did you do that?” response.” Phillis, Derren Brown Blog.

Ever wanted to read someone’s mind?

With Telepath, you can convince almost anyone you’re a mind reader. Telepath is a new mind-reading iPhone app that the talented Richard Wiseman and I are releasing today. The idea is simple:  Someone chooses a picture and mentally sends their thoughts to the iPhone. When they turn over the iPhone, they’ll be astounded to discover their thoughts on the screen.

Here’s Telepath in action …


I hope you like it! This is my first foray into the worlds of app development, Objective C  and ESP.

As we say in the video, Telepath can also be used to predict numbers, cute animals, cards and dates – so can even improve your love life. Feel free to guess how it might work – and if you buy the trick from the app store, let us know what you think (but please don’t give away the method!).

Update: Thanks to all of you who have mentioned the app and given it a try. We’re so glad to hear so many of you are enjoying it. And we’re really chuffed with all the positive feedback from magicians around the world.

We’re now getting to work on an Android version – news on that very soon. Meanwhile, the lovely people over at Derren Brown Towers (which features all things magical, scientific and wonderful) would like to see some videos of you performing the trick. Can’t wait to see your magical powers in action!

threads of cotton on the mule

Yep, I did say clog dancing.

This dance piece uses a combination of live, solo clog dancing, video loops and audio which plays at overwhelming levels, revealing a danceform that was directly inspired by the machines of the industrial revolution. I’ll stick my neck out and say Lancashire clog is a pre-electronic forerunner of the industrially-inspired techno music of Kraftwerk and the noise music of bands such as Coil.

Lancashire clog is a deeply unfashionable dance form, often regarded as a sub-genre of Morris dancing. It’s something you’d expect to see women dancing politely, on a Sunday afternoon, in ‘traditional’ dresses and bonnets. If you’re put off by the faux nostalgia of the Sunday afternoon clog dancing brigade, see us take Lancashire clog back to its genuine roots, as we evoke the sights and sounds of the industrial cotton machinery that inspired it.

I created this piece in collaboration with performer Caroline Radcliffe who has been researching the history of Lancashire clog for many years.This event is part of discussion afternoon on movement and performance, with Andrew Lavender and Viv Gardner, at the Central School of Speech and Drama.

Some background (from Caroline and Sarah)


Lancashire clog dance evolved in the cotton mills where labourers coalesced with the means of production, devising dances that imitated the actions of the extremely loud and powerful machines around them. The majority of the workforce on the mill floor were women, chosen for what Marx describes as their ‘more pliant and docile character’ to operate the lighter and more repetitive machines. The women devised steps that mimicked and emphasised the highly rhythmic repetitions of the machines in the mill: looms, shuttles, cogs and wheels that were central to the process of industrialised cotton production. Their dance was a way of simultaneously addressing and embodying boredom: Whilst working the machinery with their hands, the female operatives moved their feet in time to the extremely loud noises of machines that would otherwise overpower and isolate them.

Steps were named after particular machine components and actions which they mimic very closely, including the pick, over-the-tops, two-up-two-down, weaving and the cog.

We devised this performance to escape the pastoralised view of Lancashire clog and recontenxtualise it as industrial dance. Here, we’re mixing a solo performance of a dance called the The Machinery,  which came from the Lancashire mills, with a collage of sound and video recorded at Quarry Bank, a working cotton mill in Styal, Cheshire. Our piece presents a live performer alongside video cut-ups that sometimes play relentlessly, other times respond to the dancer’s actions. The live dance and video images are accompanied by extremely loud, close-up audio recordings of the mill machines. We want to evoke the overwhelming power of these machines, the endurance of the dancer and the dynamic between human and machine.

Inspiration: The Machinery

drive belt
drive belt

The Machinery was originally choreographed by Lancashire clog dancer Pat Tracey, using a collection of steps passed down through her family. These steps date back to the 1820s. Tracey originally devised The Machinery as a group dance for Camden Clog but for the purposes of this project, Caroline Radcliffe has rechoreographed it for solo dancer.

The Machinery will be performed as a part of a research into performance event at Central School of Speech and Drama.

Central School of Speech and Drama
University of London
Eaton Avenue
London NW3
(nearest tube: Swiss Cottage)

17:15 – 19:15
Friday 4 December 2009
This event will be chaired by Ayse Tashkiran