Colin Wilson

Staying happy helps you to keep healthy, according to scientists who infected 300 volunteers with the common cold.


Today I plucked a book from the stack and a pamphlet fluttered out. The book was The Age Of Defeat by my old friend Colin Wilson, one of a limited edition of 200 sent to me by the publisher Colin Stanley, who runs Pauper’s Press in Nottingham.

A passage leapt out at me, reprinted from Colin’s personal diary. The entry was dated 20 December 1955, my ninth birthday, and I was speechless to realise it crystalised, in poetic language, a philosophy which has impelled me throughout my career:

We waste our lives and ourselves. If only we could learn to live. A Niagara of energy runs away in us every day, especially if we are bored.

Only in certain moments we realise how totally different we could be if that Niagara could be tapped. How much energy we waste on trivialities. Man can change into higher man as suddenly as a chrysalis into a butterfly… he simply becomes more self aware. It is because of my belief in the suddenness and completeness of this change that I press on.


I grabbed the phone to call Colin. We’ve known each other since the Seventies, when as the world’s leading parascientific investigator he was fascinated by my abilities. His quiet wisdom has always inspired me, and I wasn’t surprised at how calmly he greeted this bizarre coincidence.

Like me, Colin believes that our conscious minds cannot grasp one millionth of the complexities of the universe. If our kindred spirits were in tune more than 50 years ago, when I was still a child and he was Britain’s most feted young novelist, there’s a reason for it… just as there was a reason I picked up that book among the hundreds in my pyramid today.

“Do these things still surprise you?” he asked, with a smile in his voice. And the truth is — yes they do!



The Israeli charity Ezer Mizion often organises trips to Britain for parties of children with life-threatening illnesses, and I’m always thrilled when we can throw a party for them at my home. It’s one of the most important and rewarding roles of being a celebrity.

This week the charity, which celebrates its thirtieth anniversary next year, decided to do something different — instead of turning up with a coachload of children, it invited me to play host to 25 mothers, all of them undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy for cancer.

Ezer Mizion helps 650,000 people a year, with an annual budget of around £10m and something like 11,000 volunteers working tirelessly to make it so successful. I’m conscious that I’m just a tiny cog in a machine that does so much good, but I’m certain that no one, not even the US president, could feel a greater sense of achievement than Hanna and I do when we are able to open our home and our hearts in this way.

Many of the mums asked me to phone their children back in Israel, and of course they all wanted me to say my TV catchphrase, “Achat Shtayim Shalosh,” which means “One Two Three!”

Those truly are magic words, and we all felt the surge of positive, health-giving energy.

One of my favourite traits in the passionate, emotional Turkish character is their love of football. Everywhere we went in Istanbul we saw evidence of it, in the streets where children played kickabout, in the cars that flew team banners and pendants, and on TV sets in every store and cafe. In Turkey, nobody is a soccer neutral.

So I was horrified when, on the eve of the Euro 2008 game between Turkey and Switzerland, friends in Zurich emailed the front page of a Swiss tabloid called Blick to me. Across an almost lifesize photograph of my face, a headline screamed that the “Uri Geller Principle” was going to propel the Swiss team to victory.

The artwork had been “borrowed” from one of my TV shows — but I had not given permission for the Swiss to invoke my powers without my involvement.

Of course, Switzerland lost, but the damage to my image in the Alps was the least of my problems. News of my apparent defection had reached Turkey, and many of my friends there reported that the mood was not good. This could jeopardise my next TV series there — it could even put my life in danger from an extremist faction.

My lawyers went into overdrive and we were able to force Blick to print a retraction, something which is difficult to achieve against the powerful Swiss media. But good news travels slowly, and it’s certain that the retraction will be seen by few in Istanbul.

To clear my name, I spent a day shuttling between the Foreign Office and the Turkish embassy in London, signing affadavits and doing all in my power to publicise the fact that Blick acted without my backing.

This kind of painstaking diplomacy isn’t really in my nature. What I’d like to do is drop the world’s biggest stinkbomb on the newspaper editor’s office. It’s not practical, legal or moral, of course. But it would make me feel better.


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