Jonathan Goodwin Featured for “Stupid” Escapes

Jonathan Goodwin – “Stupid Like a Fox”

Certain articles cry out to be read.  The February 1st edition of Communication Quarterly published a study report, “Get ‘Real’: Does Practicing Speeches Before an Audience Improve Performance?” was one. 

Public speaking texts and instructors typically encourage students to practice speeches as a means of managing anxiety and enhancing performance. The effectiveness of various speech practice methods has received little attention. In addition, students who practiced their speech before larger audiences received higher evaluation scores than students who practiced before smaller audiences.

The other article is from Catherine Jones of Wales Western Mail.  Its title “I’m with Stupid” is a real grabber. 

Jonathan Goodwin is a 24-year-old escape artist who one day hopes to be a 25-year-old escape artist. 

Unlike Billiard Ball production or Silk Fountain presentations, those who practice the theatrical art of escape (as opposed to fleeing felons) are required to innovate in some new death-defying manner. 

For us Billiard Ball guys, we’re kind of tapped out at approximately four balls for each hand. 

But for the escape artist, it is now commonplace to be securely bound, wrapped in really itchy wool blankets, tied to the back of a drunk spring-break student, and given only minutes to escape before the student falls from a hotel balcony in his drunken attempt to climb to another room. 

So how extreme does Jonathan Goodwin take his craft in an effort to be seen and loved? 

We are not making this up.  You can read the article for your own self.  Mr. Goodwin suggested to Channel 4 he “be sewn up inside a dead cow and have to escape through its backside.”

Channel 4 said they would not air the escape.  We agree with them.  Now, if Mr. Goodwin came out some other opening in the dead cow carcass, we could see how it might have educational purpose.  Still you have to hand it to the guy (hopefully he has washed his hands), he’s on the edge.

Where do you go after pitching a live presentation of the old Sewed-Up Cow Carcass escape?  By the way, we note U.F. Grant used to sell a similar escape so perhaps Mr. Goodwin’s idea is not that novel.  [In fact, we saw two of Grant’s Whale Intestine Whopper Escape on eBay just this weekend.  One looked well-used but the other was still new and in its protective wrapper — of course it will be bid up to some crazy amount thanks to the magic collectors].

So, Mr. Goodwin moves from the rejected and perhaps cliche cow carcass escape to “being tied up, from a vacuum-sealed plastic bag buried in a…

Jonathan Goodwin – “Stupid Like a Fox”

Certain articles cry out to be read.  The February 1st edition of Communication Quarterly published a study report, “Get ‘Real’: Does Practicing Speeches Before an Audience Improve Performance?” was one. 

Public speaking texts and instructors typically encourage students to practice speeches as a means of managing anxiety and enhancing performance. The effectiveness of various speech practice methods has received little attention. In addition, students who practiced their speech before larger audiences received higher evaluation scores than students who practiced before smaller audiences.

The other article is from Catherine Jones of Wales Western Mail.  Its title “I’m with Stupid” is a real grabber. 

Jonathan Goodwin is a 24-year-old escape artist who one day hopes to be a 25-year-old escape artist. 

Unlike Billiard Ball production or Silk Fountain presentations, those who practice the theatrical art of escape (as opposed to fleeing felons) are required to innovate in some new death-defying manner. 

For us Billiard Ball guys, we’re kind of tapped out at approximately four balls for each hand. 

But for the escape artist, it is now commonplace to be securely bound, wrapped in really itchy wool blankets, tied to the back of a drunk spring-break student, and given only minutes to escape before the student falls from a hotel balcony in his drunken attempt to climb to another room. 

So how extreme does Jonathan Goodwin take his craft in an effort to be seen and loved? 

We are not making this up.  You can read the article for your own self.  Mr. Goodwin suggested to Channel 4 he “be sewn up inside a dead cow and have to escape through its backside.”

Channel 4 said they would not air the escape.  We agree with them.  Now, if Mr. Goodwin came out some other opening in the dead cow carcass, we could see how it might have educational purpose.  Still you have to hand it to the guy (hopefully he has washed his hands), he’s on the edge.

Where do you go after pitching a live presentation of the old Sewed-Up Cow Carcass escape?  By the way, we note U.F. Grant used to sell a similar escape so perhaps Mr. Goodwin’s idea is not that novel.  [In fact, we saw two of Grant’s Whale Intestine Whopper Escape on eBay just this weekend.  One looked well-used but the other was still new and in its protective wrapper — of course it will be bid up to some crazy amount thanks to the magic collectors].

So, Mr. Goodwin moves from the rejected and perhaps cliche cow carcass escape to “being tied up, from a vacuum-sealed plastic bag buried in a Perspex coffin under six tonnes of concrete.”  [“perspex” is the UK word for “plexiglass” and “tonnes” is the UK word for “tons.”  The other words mean the same in US as they do in the UK so no matter how you slice it, this is a dangerous escape].

Mr. Goodwin credits his pop with helping him risk his life for a living. 

It’s the jeopardy element that drives him, according to Jonathan, who is frequently assisted by his 64-year-old father Keith Harvey, a former police officer and fireman who came to realise there was no point in telling his son to stop.

The pair became something of a double act in the early days when Keith would tie his son up before setting up the “jeopardy” that faced Jonathan if he didn’t break free in time.

In one tape he sent to commissioning editors, Jonathan was filmed in his bedroom.

“Dad ties me to the bed,” says Jonathan, who tells these stories with an intriguing matter-of-fact enjoyment. “There’s a bed sheet I’d stretched out two feet above me and Dad puts a hot iron on the bed sheet and I have to escape – which I didn’t do. I still have tiny second-degree burns on my chest which still say Tefal “

[Another translation, in the US this is called “child abuse” or “child endangerment”].

Mr. Goodwin is friends with Derren Brown and credits the master mentalist for helping him develop a niche. 

“I went along, got the job because I could come up with stupid ideas. Different silly magic tricks. It was for magicians doing stupid tricks in stupid places and it was good fun, ground breaking for its time. It was the new way of doing magic after David Blaine, and had a fan base.”

The experience gave him a good knowledge of how television worked and a useful network of contacts which led Jonathan to email a television executive with his ideas for an escapology show.

He has hit his stride with his show on Channel 4 with the grammatically incorrect Seven Stupidest Things to Escape From.  The first will air this year and shows Mr. Goodwin “trying to avoid 50,000 bees.”

He’ll be on the television this evening as part of E4’s Death Wish Week. [The British celebrate Death Wish Week in the last full week of January under the Gregorian Calendar’s date system.  The rest of the world, enjoy Death Wish Week in its traditional time according to full-moons and harvest schedules.  This year, it will be just after Halloween and ironically, just before the British national bank holiday for their Debilitating Illness Weekend].

“I am book ending tonight and Friday and three other different people are in the middle doing Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Tonight I am doing an escape called Cheating the Gallows. The idea is I try to avoid being hanged. I have been seated on a gallows with a noose round my neck which is attached to a weight on a timer. Very simple – almost a little bit like Mousetrap.

“My hands are restrained to my waist and I have to escape – take the noose off in 30 seconds or I get hanged on live telly.

“The reason I have said I’ll do it is because there’s very little danger at all. The reason people break their necks is when they drop. I’ll get raised in the air. I’ll just be strangled by my own weight – not as drastic as perhaps it sounds. Touch wood it won’t. I am very confident I’ll get out.”

On the Friday, he will be vacuum-sealed in a plastic bag with his hands tied behind his back and put in a coffin.

“The coffin is lowered into the grave and then they pour six tonnes of concrete onto the grave. The last time someone tried this they died – Joe Burrus in California in the early 1990s.

You can watch Death Wish Live on E4 this evening.  The Seven Stupidest Things to Escape From (“Seven Stupid Things from which to Escape”) will debut on March 3rd on Channel 4. 

We wish him the best of luck and we hope he is aware of the risks involved in his practice. Right now he thinks he “can do no wrong” but we know from experience he’s playing with fire. Poor grammar is a bad habit that can ruin one’s writing and speaking opportunities. Plus there is no such word as “Stupidest.”  We know, we’ve looked it up many times to prove it to those who hurl insults our way as we do our morning bicycle route tossing yogurt to the front porches of those one would think have been educated properly.

By the way, we too will be pushing the envelope with our new silk fountain production using over 80 pounds of colorful silks in a four-hour production performed in time with an unending audio loop of “Pop Goes the Weasel” — we don’t have a TV deal yet, but one never knows, does one?

Check out Mr. Goodwin’s incredibly well-done web site here.  The site is the perfect form for the substance Mr. Goodwin conveys.  Great navigation coding and fast graphics make it a fine template for magicians looking to improve their page. 

Plus, where else can you see video of someone breaking their ankle, or examine the burns and bruises in full-color? Okay, there are a lot of places where you can see those things on the net, but Mr. Goodwin provides it here for the right reasons not to satisfy the perverse (although understandable) desire to see such things and pay a minor monthly fee for high-quality graphics — not that we’ve been to such sites or made the monthly payment on our business credit cards.  At least not recently.   

   

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