The book “The Encyclopedia of Superstitions” says:
“It is a very common belief that twins, especially identical twins, are united by a strong bond of sympathy that each knows when danger or misfortune threatens the other, even when they are separated.”
A few years ago, I did an experiment so see whether this statement was true – would I feel anything if Andrew was in pain or in danger?
We did it in a very scientific way – we formed a comedy double act. Like a teuchter Ant and Dec but with no comedy timing, jokes or ability. We were so bad the only shows we could have hosted would’ve been Britain’s Got No Talent, or I’m Not a Celeb Leave Me Right Here.
I admit now that this was not the best idea we’ve ever had. But I did have a genius idea for a joke. An idea that couldn’t fail – we’d do an experiment on stage where I’d get an audience member to hit Andrew with a rolled up newspaper whilst I looked away. As Andrew screamed from the hits I’d try to guess where he’d been struck! It would be comedy slapstick gold…It wasn’t.
To test the idea out we went to a poetry night that allowed a bit of comedy because I reasonably thought nothing bad can happen at a poetry night….
When it came to our turn, we stood up and told a few gentle gags to get the audience warmed up. The audience laughed and applauded but as they’d just spent 90 minutes listening to poetry I think they would have applauded anything that wasn’t more poetry!
I stepped forward and asked for a volunteer from the audience. No one volunteered so I looked around the room and saw a man sitting by himself. He looked harmless enough. This was mistake number one – a man by himself at a poetry night must be a solid gold rocket of the highest order!
I invited him on stage and realized he was bigger than I thought. He was built like a rugby player. He was also a bit drunk. No worries – I’ll just continue the show. I handed him the newspaper and asked him to roll it up. This was mistake number 2 – never hand a man a weapon and ask him to load it himself. He rolled it very tight. So tight it was now stronger than a wooden baton.
I looked at Andrew. I could see fear in his eyes. I looked at the audience member. I could see violence in his eyes. I did what any loving brother would do. I turned to the man and said “I’m going to look away. Hit my brother as hard and wherever you like!”
This was mistake number 3 – I shouldn’t have turned my back on the scene of the crime.
I shouted “Hit him”.
There was silence and then a large THWACKKKK sound before more silence….like the silence you get after after nuclear bomb has detonated but the blast hasn’t reached you yet. Then the audience gasped….Andrew screamed. He’d been hit so hard in the balls he was now my twin sister rather than brother.
If I was psychic I should have felt something. I felt nothing! The audience member hit Andrew again. THWACKKKK….SCREAM…THWACKKKKK, THWACKKK….SCREAM! Each time he was hit I felt nothing.
As Andrew lay on the floor writhing in pain. His crown jewels having been pulverized. I asked myself “Are twins psychic?” The answer is No! I also asked are twins funny. The answer was still no.
Footnote: You would have thought Andrew would never agree to do this ever again but a few weeks later we did it in Manchester. I’ve found the footage and I put it here for all to see. I’ve never watched it but I don’t think Andrew is seriously hurt this time. Although afterwards we split up over creative differences. He wanted to go down a less violent comedy route!