The Jerusalem Report

May 14th 1998

The Jerusalem Report


Uri Geller Peace Cadillac

THIS IS A CRAZY IDEA. BUT IT’S THE CRAZY IDEAS which sometimes change the world.

The idea has been growing for a long time now. It started off with my custom-built Cadillac Brougham, a 1976 gas-guzzling, sleek, chrome monster I bought at the height of my Seventies excesses, when I was very rich and very famous and wanted everybody to know about it.

When I moved to Britain, a dozen years later, I had to stop driving the Caddy. It wasn’t practical in the small village of Sonning-on-Thames. To give me room for a 3-point turn, the local police had to seal off traffic from both directions. I knocked my two garages into one, which provided just enough space to park the car, and bought a Toyota. But I dreamed of one last trip in my glorious, impractical behemoth – a kind of pilgrimage, a drive for peace, across the Middle East.

I told my close friend, the concert pianist Byron Janis in New York, and he said: “When you do it, I want to come too.”

I said, “Byron, that’s nice, but this is a very personal thing. Something I need to do alone.”

“You’ll need me to read the maps,” he answered, “or you’ll drive straight from Cairo to Ethiopia. Or Morocco, anywhere but east. Plus, you never worked out where the gas went in that car.”

So my idea for a peace pilgrimage acquired a concert pianist and that’s when things began to get crazy.

The sculptor Avi Pines came to my house and we covered the car in spoons. Spoons are my trademark, especially when they deviate from the perpendicular, so we bolted five thousand bits of bent cutlery to every visible inch of the Caddy.

All my favorite trophies are there. John Lennon’s spoon, which he gave me in New York City one strange night after telling me how visitors from another galaxy had come to his bedroom (he hadn’t even been stoned, he insisted). JFK’s fork is there. And Elvis Presley’s. Three forks are wrapped around a giant crystal given to me by Salvador Dali, a man who really appreciated crazy ideas. Chopin’s spoon, Clint Eastwood’s, Adnan Khashoggi’s, Federico Fellini’s, Danny Kaye’s, Andy Warhol’s, David Bowie’s and Gary Cooper’s. Not to mention Diego Maradona’s spoon, Christiaan Barnard’s, Elton John’s, Elizabeth Taylor’s, Charlie Chaplin’s and Barbra Streisand’s. And cutlery once owned by Shimon Peres, Golda Meir, Winston Churchill, Muhammad Ali, Al Gore, Sophia Loren, David Ben-Gurion, Richard Branson, Mikhail Gorbachev, Rasputin, James Dean, Werner von Braun, Yasser Arafat and Pablo Picasso.

I sometimes look at all those utensils and think, What a dinner party that would have been.

We twisted the cutlery so that, seen from above, a giant peace symbol is visible. It’s easy to see this from an upstairs window, but I once flew a helicopter over the car, just to check.

Imagine the effect of driving such an artwork across the Middle East. From presidential palaces to hillside settlements, across the wide hot tarmac of diplomats’ private roads and the yellow dust trails leading to the poorest refugee shanties. How the politicians would beam, and clasp each other’s hands across the jeweled hood. How the children would shriek and run barefoot over the stones for miles after us, Arab and Jews alike in a hubbub of disbelief. What a propaganda coup for peace. The world will stare and chuckle and reflect: “Anything is possible. Just like Uri says. Even peace.”

The ultimate destination, after a meander across the Sinai into Israel, excursions into Lebanon and Syria, a short motor along the West Bank and a long lunch with King Hussein, would be… Iraq. I have a vision of my spoon-encrusted car rolling through Baghdad, to a rendezvous in an underground, N-blast-resistant mansion with 800 secret-service men and Saddam Hussein.

I said it was a crazy idea.

Oh, but I forgot the craziest bit. When Byron saw what Avi and I had done to the Caddy, he said: “You’re taking the cutlery. Fine, I’m taking the piano.”

He’s serious. He has a Steinway Concert Grand, which plays like no other instrument in the world, and without it he frets. I said we could tow it, like a trailer, but Byron thinks that would detune it. So we’re going to hitch a moving van to a monster truck and hire a team of drivers to follow us.

By now, you think I’m joking. I’m not. The idea started with a car, and grew bigger and crazier every year, and I think we’d better hurry up and get the trip made before one of us adds an even-more lunatic ingredient to the brew – parking the car in the space shuttle, for instance, and flying it to the moon.

Come to think of it, why not?

Israeli-born Uri Geller is a U.K.-based paranormalist and author.



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