Focus

 

(Photos below.) Nov 1994.

 

Focus billed itself as 'The magazine of discovery'. Rather ironically, 'focus' was the one thing it seemed to lack. It served up stories on everything from history and medicine to music and social trends. If it had a focus, it was rather diffuse to say the least.

Jerome Burne (again) sold a story on me to the magazine, billed as 'Secrets Of The Psychic Tricksters'. It was a very nice four-page article, taking in everything from fire-walking to spoon-bending and fortune-telling (thereby using up the magazine's entire monthly ration of hyphens). It was sandwiched between an article on terraforming Mars and another on how supermarkets psychologically trick you into buying more stuff. Like I said, the remit was nothing if not broad. Towards the back of the magazine was an article on some new-fangled fly-by-night bit of technological nonsense called 'the internet'. I wonder whatever happened to that?

 

Lovely though the article was, the editor made the ill-advised and regrettable decision to include the word 'fraud' in the main headline ('The Psychic Frauds?'). If you want to suggest that someone or something is 'fake', that's OK. However, 'fraud' is a legal term and one that tends to get solicitors quite excited.

 

It wasn't long before a legal firm working for Uri Geller noticed the article and decided they didn't much care for its tone. The editor got a rather stiffly worded letter from them, generally warning him to be careful about implying anything unpleasant about their client. I got a similar letter from them, which I thought was hilarious. I was tempted to get it framed. (Uri is a good friend of mine and had nothing to do with the letter. It's a shame this never got close to a trial. It would have been amazing.)

 

You can always contact me: ian@ianrowland.com