When we flew into Heathrow, some of the biggest stars in Hollywood were staring back at us, to advertise a movie based on my experiences. They all had a piercing glint in their eyes, because these were The Men Who Stare At Goats.
We were reminded that live shows have been causing a sensation here since Homer’s day, when we strolled around the oldest TV studio on the planet, the Theatre of Dionysos, at the foot of the Acropolis.The rings of stepped stone seats are more than 2,300 years old, and once held around 17,000 playgoers — that’s bigger than many football crowds.
There were no cameras in Euripides’ day, of course, but I would love to stage an edition of The Greek Uri Geller here. And if one of my contestants could make the Elgin Marbles reappear, he’d be the guaranteed winner, by national acclaim.
I have been constantly amazed and delighted as my show has been beamed out of one historic European capital after another. This is a Grand Tour on the most spectacular scale imaginable.
But behind the civilised architecture and exquisite shop facades of some cities, a frightening darkness lurks. It is best not to explore too far off the tourist trail without a guide, or ever to forget that not every face on the street is friendly.
We had a sharp lesson in Moscow, when bag thieves almost robbed us of our wallets and passports. And shocking news reached us from the Russian capital this week, when we learned that the controversial billionaire and ex-KGB agent Shabattai Kalmanovich had been murdered, gunned down as he sat in his car.
Shabattai joined me for lunch last time I visited Moscow. We dined at the Cafe Pushkin, just off the shooping plaza of Tverskaya Street, and we rode the 19th century elevator from the ground floor, which is more like a medical museum display — its shelves and tables are laden with apothecary’s utensils, jars and books from the Tsarist era.
On the next floor, where we enjoyed a magnificent meal, is the library, with high bookcases, telescopes, globes and high windows. On the level above, a balony runs round the library, and on the roof of the building there’s a terrace. The desserts at the Pushkin are created by Monsieur Emmanuel Ryon, and they are addictive.
In those civilised surroundings, Shabattai told me his incredible life story — how he had emigrated to Israel in his 20s but spent the next two decades spying for the KGB. He was caught and jailed, but instead of returning to Russia on his release he headed to Africa, and became a billionaire in the diamond trade.
Back in Moscow, he bought the opulent Tishinsky shopping mall, where the city’s WAGs burn through platinum store cards, and became an art collector and connoisseur. He was also a concert promoter who had staged shows by Liza Minnelli, Tom Jones and Michael Jackson.
In the course of that colourful life, he made many enemies. His body was riddled by 19 bullets, fired from a moving car. I can imagine Shabattai saying, “If you have got to die, you may as well die like Jimmy Cagney!”
Watches and clocks have fascinated me all my life, ever since I discovered I could move the hands of the clock on the classroom wall with the power of my thoughts.
Now I design watches, pouring my imagination into the complex tracery of their faces and casings. My latest range, which I flew back to Britain to promote this week on QVC, includes chunky models for men and a slimmer version which Hanna adores.
I have longed to create a digital version for years, ever since I saw an incredible watch on the wrist of my friend Ivan Levy, chief executive of the Body Shop in Switzerland.
Ventura v-tec Alpha
Ivan told me the model was designed by Flemming Bo Hansen and manufactured by Ventura. Its name was simply The Watch. I loved it — flat, steel housing, and a plain display of four glowing numbers. It looked like the countdown on a James Bond doomsday device. The Watch was an instant design classic, immortalised in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Part of its appeal is its incredible eco-friendly status — it requires virtually no power.
Vantura sparc px model W11L
I called the company’s owner, Pierre Nobs, and he offered to give me two watches. I was tempted to wear them both at once, especially when I saw Nicolas Cage sporting one in the movie Bangkok Dangerous last year.
When I heard the company was in financial trouble, I decided this design was too iconic to be lost. I asked Richard Tibber, boss of Zeon Watches, which makes my QVC range and is the biggest manufacturer of timepieces in the UK, to join me. Together we set up a deal to buy Ventura and we’re planning to relaunch The Watch.
If you want to own one click here
We discussed our ideas over dinner at The Ivy in London. Between this, the Cafe Pushkin and all the great places we are uncovering in Athens, I am getting hooked on eating out. Maybe I should be a restaurant critic.
Vicky Kagia, the star of Greece’s Top Model, joined us by chance on the flight to Heathrow from Athens — she was on her way to a charity event at St James’s Palace. Vicky is a deep believer in the powers of the mind, and was mindblown to watch a spoon bend before her eyes.
Costas Serezis is the owner of the Argo Gallery, where my friend Andreas Charalambides and I will exhibit our lithographs later this month.
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.
"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
"There is no spoon!"
"The world needs your amazing talents. I need them"
"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
"The Geller Effect is one of those "para" phenomena which changed the world of phusics. What the most outstanding physicists of the last decades of this country colud grasp only as theoretical implication, Uri brought as fact into everyday life.."
Dr. Walter A. Frank. Bonn University - Germany
"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"