Don Moses Comedy & Magic Blog - A light hearted look at life, comedy and magic.

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008 at 9:56 pm

The Vorderman Challenge

The other day I was working (yes I do know it is not real work, thanks) as the compere at a corporate event in the glittering West End of London (the only part of London to glitter obviously) and I accidentally caught a glimpse of a piece of paper showing how much the band were getting paid.  Now, I am not usually bothered about how much people get paid; see my blog on it’s not about the money.

Anyway, I saw that it was £2,500.  Pretty good money I thought, but then I realised this money had to be split between the seven band members.  As the band started their set, I drank my ice cold water and challenged my mind to work out, how much each band member would be receiving that evening.  This will be a breeze I thought; my mind was quite relaxed as I had already prepared my next ten minutes on stage.  Now, before you eggheads shout out “you idiot, it is £357 and 14 pence each, with two lucky band members getting the extra pennies”, I should point out, I had done a lot of travelling that week so I could have been tired.  But Buddha on a bike, two songs in, and I still couldn’t work it out in my head, even an approximate figure.  The exact figure would have required paper, but surely I could come up with a rough split.  No, nothing; it was like one of those moments when you can’t spell a really simple word, (a word you have used a lot) no matter how hard you try.

This made me think, the brain is an incredible organ.   I mean, how can’t I divide 2500 by 7, and yet, I can remember everyone’s name at an event with 150 guests?  I still do not know how I do this; I just know it comes easily to me on the evenings of the functions.  My wife is very good with faces, I am good with names.  If we are at a party, she spots the face, I ask her where she has seen that person in the past, and I come up with the name; we are like buddy cops.

People often ask me how I can remember so many names.  The only answer I can give is, I want, so much, for the people to have a great time that my sub conscious mind obviously believes this personal touch will help, and so it frees up brain space.  So I guess I am somehow motivated to do it.

This made me think about motivation.  Years ago, I wrote a revision guide for college students.  When I finished it, I distinctly remember thinking it could all be summed up in six words – Just Believe You Can Do It.
My students often used to say, when I presented them with something difficult to study, “Sir (I miss being called Sir), I’ll never learn all that”.   I would say “Are you sure, what about, if I give you 1 million pounds?”  I stopped short of putting my little finger in the corner of my mouth Dr. Evil style, as I didn’t want humour to dilute my point.  They always gave the same reply – “well obviously I would learn it for a million pounds”.  To which I would reply, “So it is only the lack of financial incentives which is stopping you”.  They would say “Look, if you are not giving me a million pounds I am not doing it”.  I was a great teacher huh?

Anyway, the point I am making (in a very bad way) is, I was obviously not interested and therefore not motivated in working out the division of money between the band members, well either that, or I am a bit thick.

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Don performs as a wedding magician, corporate entertainer, and after dinner speaker at events throughout the country. London Magician, Manchester Magician, Liverpool Magician, Birmingham Magician, Newcastle Upon Tyne Magician, Magician Surrey, Edinburgh Magician, Oxford Magician, Bristol Magician, Magician Milton Keynes, Leicester Magician, Leeds Magician, Magician Kent.