(I’d just like to point out that this story is sponsored by Schadenfreude – for all your laughing-at-people-who’ve-gotten-their-comeuppance needs)
This is actually a story that’s been covered in many other places, including by Steve Novella, and I wasn’t going to add to that… but then I saw a few people on Twitter actively saying they were looking forward to what I had to say about it, so how could I disappoint?
So, three guesses which lovable Liverpudlian fraud I’m going to talk about now? That’s right – Joe ‘just popping to your toilet‘ Power. And, to be clear, I can say fraud, as Joe’s served time in the past for fraud. Oh, and ABH, of course. Nice, friendly Joe Power. I’m not saying any of his act involves fraud at all. But then again, I don’t need to, given the fact that Joe Power’s career is going to pieces so fast that people are getting hit by the bullshit shrapnel.
That’s because Joe, as has been extensively covered, had an Edinburgh fringe show throughout the month of August. Things kicked off on a pretty bad foot, you’ll remember, at the Assembly gala – a curtain-opener of an event where fringe acts go on and do 5 minutes of material to demo their show – where Joe Power seemed curiously Powerless.
As the BBC blog reports, he made 2 big mistakes – the first was playing to a room full of people there to see comedy, not bullshit. They didn’t like it when they got the latter, so they provided the former by booing and heckling. The second mistake was to do with the target Joe picked out… looking around the room, he began to connect with a spirit, saying:
“I see Pertoski, Prokoski, Petreski…”, he began.
Of course, in the audience, right by the front was London PR guru Mark Borkowski… who’s book The Fame Formula actually covered the relationship between psychics and publishers, and who’d had a show at Edinburgh the previous year. So, something of a recognisable face then, metres from the front of the audience. Who Joe just happened to try and connect with… massively against Borkowsky’s wishes. As Mark sat stony-faced trying not to get involved, Joe ‘The Power’ Power continued, insisting on “a father in the spirit world, trying to say sorry to his two sons”. Which was a huge miss. Cue a shitstorm of heckling and a quick retreat from the stage.
So, how did Joe ‘does my sister live near here’ Power respond? He blamed the skeptics. After all, he’s had trouble with skeptics before…
“Since the Derren Brown programme I have had threats and had to move home”.
Funny, the only reference he’s ever made to threats turned out to be a lie about me, which the police dismissed out of hand.
“So I was expecting the sceptics at the Assembly launch night but I didn’t think it would be as bad as it was because anything people do should be respected”
That’s right, Joe ‘skeptics are paedophiles’ Power believes that anything people do should be respected. Oh the irony. Oh the fail.
“I only had five minutes to go on stage, say who I am and do a quick connection with someone in the audience. If you are a comedian you are alright because you know what you are going to say but mine’s a live act. I went home that night and told my wife it had gone badly. It is good to have criticism but that kind of bad behaviour should not happen in a venue. My mistake was that I didn’t have the lights on so I couldn’t see the recipient in the audience. I need response and dialogue to keep the energy.”
So Joe needs to be able to see people to pick up on their energy? That’s funny, his website sells psychic reading over the phone at £1.50 per minute, and via text message at the rate of up to £3 per reply (more on this in a future blog).
Still, that’s what happens when Joe ‘John Lennon wants peace’ Power plays a room full of ‘skeptics’ – for which you can read people who don’t believe he’s talking to the dead, which is pretty much anyone who’s ever seen him pretend to talk to the dead. But how does his luck fare in front of a more forgiving and believing, and more well-lit audience? Well, the reviews weren’t so good… with many skeptical or comic blogs tearing Joe’s stage act to pieces.
However, most interesting in my opinion is the review in The Edinburgh Spotlight, who actually gave him enough benefit of the doubt to send a supposedly “REAL” medium to see his act and pass verdict – so we’re talking here about someone who actually believes SOMEONE can do what Joe claims to do – and the results were equally scathing:
Joe doesn’t look to any spirit world as he channels messages, he looks direct into the audience. In a Scouse voice, he tells the audience to put up their hands if anything sounds familiar and the audience are here in the hope that they will get a message from a loved one. Joe’s starting message is to a row of ‘older’ women in the front and he asks if their parents are in the spirit world. Without meaning to be rude about their ages, even I could have told you that their parents were no longer in this world.
The women reply no to all the information he is relaying to them, with a brief confirmation when he says “five” which equates to the amount of brothers one of the relatives had. He channels some distant in-law and mentions a young man, the number 62 and yellow flowers which are all met with a negative response from the woman who is willing a message from the spirit world.
This routine continues another couple of times with different audience members, once with the subject of two miscarriages. Joe channels the energy he is receiving and asks if the lady concerned had tests afterwards, before moving on after this ’success’. Again, this is common sense and did not convince the audience he was receiving any information from the spirit world.
Joe didn’t give up. He continued with generic questions to audience members and the next to ‘receive messages’ is a man who told him it meant nothing to over a dozen questions Joe channelled. At one point a joke is attempted to be cracked to ease the tension in the room, but Joe just comes across as an abrupt man who is not entirely convincing.
Just when the accuracy rate was plummeting downwards, he received a message for one half of our review team. He asks about a family member in bad health, which is confirmed and if there is a birthday soon – which there is – but that’s about as successful as it gets.
I had to laugh when he asked one volunteer if she had connections in America, to which she replied, “no, but I live in Hong Kong”. His following message from the spirit world was: “I see you living in a tall building apartment” – yes, indeed the lady did, along with the millions of others in the city.
A German man was then chosen and needed a little help with translation from his friend, but again, rather than dealing with this in a light-hearted manner, Joe ploughed on abrasively asking if he lived on a cliff, or somewhere with a view. The man stated he lived in a little flat in the middle of the city, the polar opposite
So, how did this believer sum up Joe ‘I can’t see people’s cars if I’m speaking’ Power?
Joe thanked the audience for his time and announced he would be in the courtyard selling books and available for private readings. After his performance, I completely by-passed the stall and discussed the show with other audience members who had been picked, who concluded that their money would have been better spent elsewhere.
Joe claims to be ’The Man Who Sees Dead People’ and despite going in completely open minded, neither of us were convinced by his medium skills, but there is a little something in his psychic abilities. Our spiritualist medium concluded with a comment that couldn’t possibly be printed but it’s safe to say your money would be better spent elsewhere during the Fringe.
So, not only are the skeptics against you, Joe Power, but even the believers don’t believe. Once you lose the believers, I’m not sure what you have left.
Once again, this story was brought to you in association with our sponsors ‘Schadenfreude’. Schadenfreude – available from any good medium – try some today!