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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 September, 2003, 14:53 GMT 15:53 UK
All's quiet with Blaine in the rain

By Chris Heard
BBC News Online entertainment staff

BBC News Online spends a soggy but uneventful hour sampling the atmosphere beneath David Blaine's famous plastic box.

No flying golf balls, no bananas...and the only eggs or chips on view were sizzling away in a burger van.

David Blaine stunt, 11 September 2003
Hundreds waited in the rain for a glimpse of Blaine's stunt
In fact the only thing that came raining down on David Blaine's 7ft square box on Thursday lunchtime was - well, the rain.

It seemed to give the lie to the idea that cynical British yobs are queuing up to hurl missiles from London's Tower Bridge at the 30-year-old US illusionist.

He has reportedly been pelted with food and even flashed at by spectators unimpressed by his enforced 44-day fast on the banks of the Thames.

But the least well-behaved anyone got on Thursday was when two bored IT workers - almost - threw a plastic rugby ball towards his cage. And then decided not to.

"You weren't thinking of chucking that anywhere near the box, were you?" one of Blaine's beefier security men asked them. "Only, I have to ask."

David Blaine stunt, 11 September 2003
Julie Bartlett and Fergus Wilson spent part of their lunchtime at the event
Would Blaine - modern-day Houdini, Shaman and Rasputin all rolled into one, according to his friend Uri Geller - really bat an eyelid if a tiny plastic ball came winging his way, I asked?

The security man's mood became sterner: "How would you like it if someone started throwing things at your living room window?" he said.

Yes, but my living room isn't hanging from a crane 30ft off the ground in the middle of London - or, for that matter, being televised 24 hours a day for a reported 5m in TV rights, I protested.

He just stared at me, his shoulders stiffening. It was time to move on.

Beneath the box, two men who would identify themselves only as "David and David" were trying to faze the master magician with a spontaneous burst of anarchic meditation.

David Blaine stunt, 11 September 2003
Flash mob practitioners "David and David" tried to out-psyche Blaine
It was meant to be a mass "flash mob" event involving possibly hundreds - though in the end, only the mysterious David and David had turned up.

Barely anyone noticed as they began pointing at Blaine and chanting "Om" in a low, steady hum for precisely two minutes.

"There will be more of us here next Friday - and we'll freak him out," one of the Davids promised.

Scores of rather more contented onlookers seemed happy to stand in the miserable grey drizzle, pointing their cameras upwards and peering at the New Yorker on his seventh day in voluntary captivity.

Blaine waved. It rained. Blaine smiled and waved. It rained harder. Blaine scratched his thick black hair and lay down.

David Blaine
Blaine has smiled and waved at thousands of fans during his first week
Why do people come? Mainly because they are curious; because they want to judge it for themselves; some, because they like Blaine - and some, just because it is on the TV and in the papers.

"He smiled at me!" screamed a delighted Melissa Johnson, a 20-year-old nursery nurse who had from travelled from Ipswich to see her idol.

As Blaine rested his chin in his hands, the rain eased up for a moment. But the crowds just kept on coming.





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