Interview in the Guardian – November 02, 1998

The Guardian November 02, I998

Uri geller recalls his pre-spoon bending days

Interview by Rae Lewis

My stepfathers little pension in Nicosia, Cyprus was used as a “safe house” for Israeli agents. On leaving school at 17, one of them inspired me to join Mossad myself when I had finished my army service. He said I would be a super spy with my talents and I imagined being a James Bond character – reading the minds of enemy agents and bending their guns with the power of my mind. But in the nine months before joining the paratroopers I had to earn money so, returning to Israel, I got my first job as a construction worker. Hauling heavy sacks of cement on my back, my sweat and tears went into the concrete of the El Al building in Tel Aviv – I’d come home with white streaks of salt and sweat embedded in my shirts, too exhausted for anything but sleep.

Working as a reception desk clerk at the Red Sea Hotel in Eilat was much better – in my time off I’d go to the beach and meet beautiful girls. But one day I made a mistake billing a guest and undercharged him. When the hotel manager discovered what I’d done, he fired me. It hurt my pride enormously – I will never forget it.

With three months to go before joining the army I became a messenger boy in Tel Aviv. The freedom of being out on my scooter making deliveries was great but my employer was dreadful. Each morning I served him tea and an apple. The apple had to be perfect – washed, polished and placed exactly in the middle of the plate, with the knife on the left side. The napkin had to be folded just so, and the tea had to have precisely half a spoonful of sugar. My boss treated me like a slave and I felt completely degraded. Then, just once, I did a terrible thing – I peed in his tea! Watching him drink it, my grudges completely dissolved – I never minded making tea for him again. But I often wondered later if he would have psychokinetic powers!

On leaving the army I worked for a textile company – my dreams of spying had been shattered when my Mossad friend was killed in the war. Through my girlfriend, a model, I started modelling myself and on one assignment I amazed a photographer by bending a key that belonged to him. He paid me to perform at a little party that evening and soon I was demonstrating my powers at parties every weekend. The functions I attended became increasingly prestigious until, one day, I found myself at a party with Goida Meir, the then prime minister of Israel – and I read her mind. She was interviewed next day on the radio, and was asked what she predicted for the future of Israel. Without thinking, she answered: ‘Don’t ask me – ask Uri Geller!’

Those words, coming from the mouth of the prime minister, mad me into a household name and I never looked back.

Uri Geller’s Little Book of Mindpower is published by Robson Books at £2.50. His latest novel, Ella, is published by Headline at £9.99.



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