“LOOK into my eyes and relax...”
Peter Antoniou, Sheffield’s only professional mind-reader, is attempting to prove he can see what your Diarist is thinking.
If he’s good he’ll be able to see something along the lines of: Lord, what a load of mumbo-jumbo.
“You’re a sceptic,” says the 21-year-old at last.
Well, he’s right... although, as the saying goes, it probably didn’t need a mind reader to figure that out.
It is a strange career for a Sheffield University music graduate to take up, is mind reading.
Indeed Pete, of Broomhill, reckons he’s one of just nine full time such performers across the country – the most famous of which is Derren Brown.
But, however unusual, he’s fast making a name for himself.
He has performed in Las Vegas, Edinburgh and London, where he originally comes from, as well as regularly being hired for corporate clients and the odd wedding.
But, therein, lies the point, surely? He’s a performer, isn’t he? He doesn’t really read people’s minds?
“It’s a bit of both,” he laughs. “I’m always wary of terms like psychic because people associate it with talking to the dead which I can do – it’s just the dead never talk back.
“My shows are not serious, they’re about being amazed, so there is an element of sleight-of-mind and using techniques to find what people are thinking, but I can definitely tune into minds too. Everyone can but it’s like playing a musical instrument – some people are naturals and some people struggle even after practice.”
He wants to prove his point.
He asks your Diarist to pick a card, any card. Each one has a different country written on it.
“Is your country warm? he asks. It is.
“Think of a colour you associate with it...is it yellow?” he asks. It is
“It’s Egypt,” he says.
It is. It actually is. The cards are checked, and they all have different countries on them. The backs are checked and there are no marks.
How did he do it?
“I read your mind,” he grins.
Pete started doing this as a child.
“I was a bit weird, always looking into space,” he says. “I taught myself. And I learnt hypnosis too – except it costs extra to get insurance for that so I don’t do it on stage.”
Bureaucracy gone mad affects even the magic arts, it seems.
He practised hard, did a first show in a school assembly (“let’s just say not everything went right,” he winces), then started doing public shows to pay his way through uni.
When he graduated last summer, he carried on performing.
But some need more convincing...
Even when he guesses the name of your Diarist’s first kiss and childhood best friend, I remain sceptical. I had, after all, written down both on a piece of paper which he took away.
It’s when he is asked to guess the name of an animal written in a notebook he struggles.
“It lives in a hot country, doesn’t it?” he says
Anyone can narrow it down asking questions.
Read the mind.
“It’s a shark,” he says at last.
It’s a snake.
“But I’ve entertained you,” he laughs. “That’s the important thing – I want people to come to my shows and be entertained.”
Pete Antoniou speaks at PechaKucha at Sheffield University Fusion tomorrow evening. Tickets at www.pkn05.eventbrite.com