The Secret Tradesman Vs. Hypnotist Keith Barry
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The Secret Tradesman Vs. Hypnotist Keith Barry


“I can explain everything officer” I kind of whimper as I get put into the squad car. The crowd has followed me outside and I have a genuine Jedward moment - it's difficult to tell whether they're actually cheering or jeering me. 

It all kicked off last week.

We’re in the boozer and yer man Keith Barry the Hypnotist fella is on the telly advertising a new show in the Point Arena or whatever it’s called these days. He has some clown bouncing around the stage like the Easter Bunny, laying raisins and chewing on an imaginary carrot while some girl is trying to put him in a large cooking pot. It’s ridiculous and we’re not shy in letting our thoughts be known.

“Saps.” goes Jimmy. “I wonder how much they're getting paid.”

I nod in agreement. “Definitely actors alright. Probably from England or somewhere so they don’t get recognised”.

“Yeah, an utter load of BS”

“I wouldn’t be so sure about that lads,” says Damo. “Hypnotherapy has been proven to be a hugely effective therapy over hundreds of years.  There’s significant evidence that it can trigger the body's mental and physical self-healing processes that lie in the subconscious.”

I happen to be sucking on my pint at the time and nearly lose it all over the bar. That’s Damo for you though, reckons he’s some class of brainbox or something. Always read newspapers with big pages and do crosswords and stuff.

“Damo” I go. “I’m not even sure what you just said there, but you’re talking out yer ample-sized arse. That newspaper is hypnotising you!” I’m pretty happy with that one and Jimmy confirms it with a wink across the bar. But Damo’s not letting it go and we exchange our points of view – me basically commenting on how large the dude is and reminding him of the attic conversion incident – for the next half hour or so.

“Right so” goes Jimmy. “Only one way to solve this. Put yer money where yer mouths are.”

“Er, like a bet?” says Damo.” Only you know I don’t agree with monetary…”

“Relax Damo. We’ll go to the show and Joe can put his hand up to be hypnotised. If it works, you win the argument and Joe pays for the tickets. If not, you do.”

We both agree. It’s only on the way home later that I realise that Jimmy gets to go to the gig free either way. I’m not complaining though, as I actually realised it before Damo did. Keith Barry definitely has no chance here. 


  “Best seats in the house, lads” Jimmy goes. We’re sitting in the front row of the 3 Arena.

“Are you nervous?” Damo turns to me and says.

“You’re the one who’s gonna be paying for the tickets Damo!” I laugh. “Barry has no chance.”

The show kicks off with music and fireworks. It’s pretty well done to be fair and yer man has some serious moves. He starts off with a few card tricks and saws an actual lady in half. Standard stuff, all explainable though and I’m seriously calm as he heads into the audience.

“I need three volunteers for this next segment.” he goes through the Madonna-style mic attached to his noggin.   

I nearly keel over with the force as Jimmy shoots up into the air, hand up, screaming and hollering as he goes. Barry can’t but take notice and after picking two others he ambles over.

“You’re a bit keen aren’t you buddy? “ he announces standing over Jimmy.

“Not for me bud. It’s for Joe here. He doesn’t believe in hypnosis and we have a bet on whether it’ll work or not”

“Well, well, well Joe.” He goes “So what are you trying to prove here?”

To be fair to him he’s a pretty smiley fella until I blurt out that I think it’s all a load of bollocks and that the others are all pretty much actors. I definitely see his face darken for a second.

“Right so Joe,” he says “looks like I’ve my work cut out for me here. We’ll have to give you some special treatment. What do you do for a living?”

‘Er, I’m a carpenter and stuff like that”

 I won’t lie. I’m beginning to feel a little nervous as I take my seat on the stage next to the other two volunteers.  

Keith Barry starts talking to us but it’s all a bit of a blur. I can’t tell you how long it goes on for but when I come to Keith Barry is standing over me and the whole audience are on their feet clapping and laughing. See, even when I’m under, I’m obviously still good.

I get up to walk off the stage and, no messing, Barry grabs me by the arm and whispers in my ear.

“You shouldn’t talk crap about things you know nothing about” he goes. “You’ll be a believer now though.”

I let it go. Put it down to showmanship and all that. I skip back to my seat soaking up the applause and catching the eyes of a few honeys who obviously lapped it all up.

It goes without saying that Damo’s a pain in the hoop all the way home. The funny thing is that even though I asked the lads what I did on the stage, I can’t remember what they said. Possibly down to the shock of Jimmy telling me I owed him 200 quid for the tickets and he’s taking it out of my next invoice. 


Next morning we’re on the tools in Dundrum shopping centre starting to fit out a retail unit. I notice Damo and Jimmy giving each other little smirks, whispering and that. Still lapping up the fact that I lost the bet. To be fair they don’t get much past me, so they should probably enjoy it.

I decide to ignore it and get stuck in by putting up blackout boards over the windows of the unit. I have the first board up when I reach down to my toolbox for my hammer, but it’s not there.  I look around to see if it has fallen out or something, but there’s no sign.

I look behind me and Jimmy’s there holding it. As I reach out for it he kind of steps back and I’m seriously pissed off with him.

‘Jimmy, what the feic? Gimme the bleedin' hammer…..”

And that’s what happened. Next thing I know I’m standing in the middle of the shopping centre in a pair of Y-Fronts, a vest and work boots licking my hammer and singing ‘Wrecking Ball’ by Miley Cyrus. The funny thing is that I don’t own Y-fronts and I don’t even remember putting them on this morning.

The crowd are delirious to be fair – a group of girls are chanting ‘Mickey Cyrus, Mickey Cyrus’ from the back – but as I’m getting escorted out by the Garda I notice Jimmy and Damo videoing the whole thing on their phones.

“On the plus side” Jimmy hollers over “Keith Barry asked us to send him the video from today. He’s going to show it at tonight’s show, so you’ll be famous!”

“On the flip side though, Joe” shouts Damo “Your Dad called. He’s pissed off and want’s his underpants back!”  


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