The Monday interview by Norman Watson
The Courier and Advertiser 14 January 2002
WHEREVER he goes he leaves a trail of bent forks, buckled spoons. mended watches-and thousands of believers and non-believers.
Un Geller is the mind-over matter man who burst into the headlines in 1972 when his Magnetic eyes, topiaried haircuts and Sputnik-patterned shirts added pizzazz to his mysterious metal-bending powers.
Thirty years on, Geller can still pull a stage show out of the hat which leaves sophisticated 21st century audiences astonished, most recently at the Rothes Halls, Glenrothes, on Friday, It was a single Scottish tour date which Glasgow. Aberdeen, Inverness and Edinburgh were beaten to by the Fife management. A fantastic coup since Geller had never before performed in Scotland.” I’ve helped inspire and motivate some football clubs and I know two people who have castles in Scotland, but I’ve never been on stage here,” he confirmed.
Geller is disarmingly charming. “You must call me Uri. and best wishes and Happy New Year to everyone in Scotland from me. I’ve heard so many good things about Glenrothes.”
Interaction with an audience of one, or many. is clearly straightforward for a man who can excite the curiosity of millions. “As a matter of fact, I recently had a little argument with a promoter who wanted theatrical lights and things like that, and I said to him, ‘Look. I need to see the audience.’ The most precious thing for Uri is contact with people.
“When I am on television I am in a studio in front of a camera. I don’t have the audience. So once in a while it is important to put myself in touch with the people and participate in an event that changes their lives. That gives me tremendous satisfaction.” He says that 95 percent of those who leave at the end of his show ‘happening” arc transformed. “They will be able to change their lives for the better forever. I know this from the faxes, Emails and letters I get from around the world. They will be amazed by son~ of my stories, and they will find themselves connected to me one way or another.
“But it is not about my powers, it is about the powers of’ the people. I am only a catalyst in all this. 1 am an enabler. It is about the power of belief-how to activate the dormant willpower that we all have and we don’t use. It is not about spoon bending. But. of course, people are excited when I do that.”
He was born and brought up in Tel Aviv. His family, perhaps low on cutlery. Moved to Cyprus when he was I and he stayed there until he was old enough to return to Israel and serve as a paratrooper in the 1967 Six-Day War. Spotted performing his metal-bending act in Tel Aviv. He was introduced to skeptical Western audience by the BBC in 1972. He was an overnight sensation, stopping Big Ben for an encore. The hype was enhanced when a succession of controlled laboratory tests appeared to show he had uncanny powers. “Obviously I am recognized now in most countries around the world, but 30 years ago it was the BBC who made Uri Geller. David Dimbleby gave me an interview and, lo and behold, the telephone system blew up. It really happened-so many people phoned to say their spoons were bending and their watches were coming alive. And publicity. Geller had created the ultimate act of audience participation.
Having demonstrated his powers of telepathy and psycho kinesis for 30 years, he senses that he has seen off the skeptics. “What happens today in the field of the paranormal and spirituality is massive. In mainstream, for example, singers sing about spoon bending and half a dozen big movies have spoon bending in them. What that means to me is that there is more acceptance of my work now. “The skeptics, as they always were, are a very tiny minority who not only do not want to believe in the powers of the mind, but are probably atheists or agnostics who do not want to believe in anything. “I am over that. They don’t bother me. They are just a tiny group who will constantly try to debunk something that is spiritual.”
A millionaire, he lives in a £5 million house in Berkshire with his wife Hanna. They have two children. Daniel, 21-who cannot bend spoons-and Natalie, 19.
“Yes, I do live in a very nice house, and I cannot complain. I am not in the category of Elton John or Paul McCartney. I don’t have that much. But I have enough and I don’t really have to do anything any more. But I never forget when I took Daniel to South America and showed him poverty-how little kids begged for food outside the railway station in Rio de Janeiro- and I think that changed his outlook on life. Both of them are down-to-earth and normal kids who never want anything from me. It’s extraordinary.’~
Now 55, he has come a long way since a soup spoon split in his tiny hand at four. He can name friends from a glittering firmament of stars. Last year Michael .Jackson assumed the role of best man when he renewed his marriage vows to Hanna. Guests included broadcaster David Frost, Bee Gee Barry Gibb, Eurhythmics star Dave Stewart and the US magician David Blane. But he has looked into his own crystal ball and believes it is time to bend his mind to other talents.
“Writing is more important to me. I have just finished my 16th book, which is being published in the United States by Readers’ Digest. I am flattered and absolutely shocked that one of my novels is being turned into a movie by the British director Bernard Rose. It’s hard to believe. I pinch myself. Now I’m not in the category of John Grisham or Michael Crichton. I don’t sell 60 million books a year. But because I am known all around the world, I do sell them.
“So I will keep writing. And I will keep painting. This another huge part of my life. I started painting almost at the time I started bending spoons. ‘Then I studied under Salvador Dali for two years.
“He painted bent objects all of his life, and you can imagine his reaction when he heard about some guy from Israel who could really bend metal with the power of his mind. I freaked him out, of course. And when he saw my paintings he took me under his wing. And today -very few people know this-! Have exhibitions all over the world.” That’s the artistic side of me, but. Unfortunately, the spoon bending dwarfed everything else. I don’t want to be known as a spoon bender for the rest of my life, for goodness’ sake.”
Motivational Inspirational Speaker
Motivational, inspirational, empowering compelling 'infotainment' which leaves the audience amazed, mesmerized, motivated, enthusiastic, revitalised and with a much improved positive mental attitude, state of mind & self-belief.
“There is no spoon!”
“The world needs your amazing talents. I need them”
“Uri Geller gave an absolutely resonating talk on his life and career. He had every single magician in the room on the edge of their seats trying to digest as much information as they could. Uri emphasized that the path to frame is through uniqueness and charisma and that professional entertainers must be creative in their pursuits of success and never shy away from publicity.”
Tannens Magic Blog
“The man is a natural magician. He does everything with great care, meticulous misdirection and flawless instinct. The nails are real, the keys are really borrowed, the envelopes are actually sealed, there are no stooges, there are no secret radio devices and there are no props from the magic catalogues.”
James Randi (In an open letter to Abracadabra Magazine)
Sir Elton John
“Eternity is down the hall And you sit there bending spoons In your mind, in your mind”
“I Have watched Uri Geller… I have seen that so I am a believer. It was my house key and the only way I would be able to use it is get a hammer and beat it out back flat again.”
“Better than watching Geller bending silver spoons, better than witnessing new born nebulae’s in bloom”