Tuesday, 4 October 2011

My name is Sue. How do you do?

I should really stop trying to be a smart arse.

Allow me to explain. A couple of weeks ago I posted a piece on this ‘ere web based log about Cosmic Ordering, and how it was all just a little bit silly. To prove my point I decided to nominate myself for the Wales Blog Awards’ “Best Writing” category, and placed a Cosmic Order asking the universe if it could see its way to making this blog one of the finalists.

Now I’ll be honest with you (Gee Note: I mean by this point we’re pretty much buds right?). I expected to get trounced by all the other folks who entered the Wales Blog Awards. Largely because the people of Wales have a tendency to be bloody good at this sort of thing. No really. We might not be able win a football match or leave a supermarket without having to pay for the carrier bags, but dognammit when it comes to being creative we can rub shoulders with the best of them. We produce more Hollywood stars than we have any right to. Our poets and song writers are celebrated around the world. Our language is rightfully considered to be one of the most remarkable in Europe. All in all we’re a pretty awesome bunch when you think about it.

So when it came to my chances of making a splash in the WBA’s, I was rather confident in my upcoming failure. Because, when surrounded by genuinely intriguing and fabulously written blogs, a fat ginger nerd waffling on about aliens and sea monsters would probably be considered laughable at best. Oh sure if there was a “Bless him. He tries hard. He really does” award then maybe I’d be in with a shout (Gee Note: Although even then I’d probably lose out to a particularly slow squirrel bashing a nut against a keyboard). But “Best Writing”? Nah. Not a chance.

Anyway the Wales Blog Award finalists were announced on Friday. And so I clicked on the link while gleefully preparing a smug “told you so you crazy hippy basket cases” post in my head.

And then… it all fell apart.





Because somehow the judges were afflicted with what medical professionals would refer to as “a case of the f***ing crazies” and, lo and behold, I Saw Elvis In The Woods is on the list. Which means one of two things. Either A) the judges really are open to bribes no matter how much they “protest” or B) Cosmic Ordering actually works. In which case nuts to the Wales Blog Awards. I should have asked for a Ferrari to be delivered to my front door by a Swedish bikini model.

(Gee Note: By the way the finalists are all listed here for your consideration. And, despite the questionable practice of including this tour de farce amongst them, the rest of the entries are all brilliant. Not least the other two nominations in the “Best Writing” category, Morden Haiku Poetry by the ridiculously talented Matt Morden and mikejenkins.net by a tremendous writer named… er… Mike Jenkins. So congratulations to both of them as well and, as long as neither of them actually wins, I’m honoured to be considered alongside them. Should either of them win then they are both thieving bastards and probably also terrorists of some sort. Also as well as the established categories up for grabs there’s THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE award which is decided by a public vote. So go there and vote for me if you want to. Or don’t. Whatever. I can’t force you to. It’s not like I’ve kidnapped your pet or something. And then tied said pet to a conveyor belt that's heading ever so slowly towards a circular saw. I mean that would be crazy wouldn’t it? It would also make me the type of guy you wouldn’t want to mess with correct? Well relax. I haven’t done that to Mr. Fluffy at all. You’re right. He’s probably just out in the back garden enjoying the sunshine.)

Speaking of things that don’t turn out the way you would expect, Psychic Sally has been in the news a lot recently. You guys remember Psychic Sally right? No? You sure? Well for those of you who aren’t familiar with “Britain’s Favourite Psychic”, Sally Morgan is a former dental nurse who claims to be able to contact the dead. In 2008 she became rather famous in the UK after publishing a book entitled “My Psychic Life”. Since then she has toured the country non-stop, conducting shows in various theatres where she offers readings to members of the audience. Unlike most UK psychics who, let’s face it, are kind of creepy - Sally’s gimmick is that she’s an average, down to earth woman. She’s the mumsy medium, the one who’ll hold your hand while saying things like “There, there love. Your grandmother wants you to know that you shouldn’t leave the cod in the oven for too long”.

She’s also a complete charlatan. Well she is if you believe a boy woman named Sue.

On September 11th Morgan performed in the Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin. Just like any other show of Sally’s she wowed the crowd by (Gee Note: Contacting the spirit of late great professional wrestler Macho Man Randy Savage? That would be amazing. “I’m with a man named Randy and he says… OOOH YEAH!!!!! Does that mean anything to anyone here? ‘OOOOH YEAH!!!!’? He’s also saying… wait… he’s saying ‘Hulk Hogan is a little bitch’.) informing them that their loved ones in the great beyond were having a grand old time and were proud of them and so on.

However the following day Sue, a member of the audience the previous night, called in to RTE Radio 1 during their Liveline show. Here’s a recording of the interview.





Now if you looked at that video and balked at the running time of 17 minutes then I’ll break it down for you (Gee Note: Although if you don’t have at least 17 minutes to kill then why the hell you’re reading this blog I have no idea. I mean you may not have noticed but these posts tend to go on for a long ass time). Sue was at the show at the Grand Canal Theatre the previous night and noticed something rather odd. At the back of the theatre, just behind where Sue was sitting was a small enclave that she described as like “a projection room”. From the room Sue could distinctly hear the sound of a man’s voice during the performance (Gee Note: Talking during the show eh? Only one way to deal with people like that. They deserve a full blooded, no holds barred, tutting at).

The strange thing is the voice didn’t appear to be having a regular conversation about whether or not one would “do” a certain celebrity or what a shambles a specific sports team is. Instead the voice from the room would say something and then a handful of seconds later Sally would repeat the same thing on stage. The example Sue gave is that the voice would say something like “Dave. Complained of a bad back. Passed quickly” and almost immediately Sally would say “I’m here with Dave. He’s complaining about a bad back. Says he passed quickly”. Sue was under the impression that the information was being fed to Sally via an earpiece from an accomplice who had mingled with the audience before the show, picking up scraps of information here and there.

Anyway the story was picked up by The Guardian, and specifically by Chris French. French is the editor of The Skeptic Magazine, and as such is always on the lookout for a good tale about claims of the paranormal not being on the level. So he submitted his article to the Guardian, threw in some information about James Randi and the one million dollar prize for proof of psychic abilities remaining unclaimed, and probably thought nothing else about it.

Sally Morgan, as featured on Living TV


But, like sharks smelling blood, tabloid journalists came a-sniffing. You see there’s nothing better than stories of celebrities, no matter how small and insignificant, disgracing themselves with which to fill up the pages on an otherwise slow news day. And so with ears pricked and claws sharpened, off to the races the press went.

There were a million opinion pieces written that week, penned by slathering sirens desperate to preach from their holier than thou soapboxes. Journalists such as Jan Moir, who claimed that people who believe in psychics are “gullible”, “simple-minded” and “foolish”. In an article that wasn’t so much an attack on Sally Morgan as it was on those who spent hard earned money trying to find some piece of mind, it’s astonishing that she didn’t jot down a paragraph asking those morons to just kill themselves and make the world a better place. Iain Hollingshead took a slightly less abrasive position, at first comparing the news that a psychic could be a fraud to the pope admitting he’s catholic before claiming he has an “open mind”. Even Nigel Pauley of The Star got in on the act, guffawing that for such a powerful medium it’s amazing that Sally never saw this hullaballoo coming. (Gee Note: Think that’s amazing. I once saw a potato that looked exactly like Winston Churchill. Point to me I think).

Obviously feeling under pressure to respond to the criticism being levelled at her Morgan came out swinging. At a show at the Orchard Theatre in Dartford, Sally opened her act with the following monologue which The Daily Mail referred to as a “spirited defence” (Gee Note: GEDDIT?!?!? “Spirited”. Cos she’s like a psychic and everything? I know. It’s pretty sweet right? It’s all Jeremy’s work. We sat there for, oh gosh, ages trying to come up with a brilliant pun and Jeremy walks in and is all like “How about a spirited defence”? At first we didn’t get it but then he explained it and we were like “Oh man, that’s great”. But that’s Jeremy all over really. Deep thinker).

These are so you can hear me. This is a microphone. I can put my hair behind my ears to prove I have nothing in my ears. I refuse to hold a hand microphone because part of the show is the fact that I act out what I am hearing (Gee Note: Really? I refuse to hold a microphone because I often say stupid things. Like, for example, comparing my feet to my ears or something). If I’ve got a hand microphone I’m going to feel restricted. I don’t hear anything through my ears. It’s like trying to say I receive messages through the soles of my feet (Gee Note: Well I’ll be damned. You say stupid shit as well).

She went on to say: I don’t know any of you in the audience. I don’t know who is coming tonight. I know nothing about you. I can’t Google you. I haven’t walked around your local cemetery. I’m a medium. This is what I do. (Gee Note: You can Google me if you like. Although you won’t find much. Because I’m a super-secret ninja spy who must keep his identity secret at all times. Either that or I’m not very noteworthy. One of the two).

And do you know what? This speech received a hearty round of applause. No really it did. In fact not one single person called out and said “Bollocks. I’ve seen Derren Brown on the telly. I know how this stuff works!”. Instead she carried on with the show and everyone probably had a marvellous time.

Which, I guess, is the moral of this story. It doesn’t matter what all those mean newspaper people say. Morgan’s fans will stick with her regardless. They want to believe that she can talk to the dead, even though all logic and scientific fact would suggest otherwise. They want to believe that Sally Morgan has a direct line to the spirit world, even though if she did you would think that she'd spend all her time betting on the gee-gee's (Gee Note: No relation) and helping world leaders locate members of Al-Qaeda, rather than standing on stage in a sparkly blouse. They want to believe in her to such a degree that they’re willing to ignore a national scandal about her authenticity. They simply want to believe in Psychic Sally.

So despite the outcry, the blustering editorials, and the online comment sections being flooded by opinionated readers, Sally Morgan will keep drawing in the crowds whether she’s knowingly duping the public or not.

And you don’t really need a voice in your ear to tell you there’s something not quite right with that.

5 comments:

Scumbag Sam said...

haha, great blog. I didn't hear about this woman, but in my opinion she's a fraud. the evidence speaks for itself... through the window in the projection room!

Glad you're getting some blog recognition- I've voted, of course! I got your back, maaaan! :P

Gee said...

Bless you Sam. You're the best. In a thousand years time people will write songs about you. Good ones obviously.

mattm said...

Gee, Thanks for your kind words about Morden Haiku and best of luck at the awards! Matt

Gee said...

Same to you Matt. See you at the awards hopefully.

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