I am in the situation where people who recognize me and meet me briefly will decide for the rest of their lives what sort of a person I am based on that momentary interaction. People who are really famous must find this paralysing. I try so hard always to be extra-friendly with people, to avoid the awful thought that they may have been left with a poor impression of me. Knowing what famous people are ‘really like’ is an understandable source of fascination: we are all interested to know, regardless of whether or not we have a small amount of fame ourselves. Once, at the start of my career, I hurried into a café in Bristol to look for someone I was due to meet but thought I had missed. As I went through the door, I was looking over the heads of everyone to spot my friend’s ginger hair (I have no problem with that lot) and in my rather flustered state I didn’t notice that a couple, on their way out, had opened the door for me. Unwittingly I had just rushed right past them with my nose in the air. I was only aware when it was too late. I heard a mumbling of my name and a ‘Did you see that? Unbelievable’ as they walked away. That was their experience of meeting Derren Brown, and they went away thinking I was a cunt. And I’m sure they still delight in telling other people when my name comes up, ‘Derren Brown? Yes, met him once. An absolute cunt. Famous for it.’ And I might as well have been. It still makes me cringe. I’m sorry. I hope they read this. The café was the Primrose Café in Bristol. Please read this.
Derren Brown, Tricks of the Mind, London, 2006, pp. 204-205