The flyer reveals only a silhouette of a sultry, slender seductress; perhaps the acclaimed Mind Mistress Ingrid Adiva?
Intrigued and a little dubious about whether hypnotism really does work and whether or not I would be able to go under, I decide to head over to the Viaduct Showbar and give it a go and become one of her subjects, given the chance.
Arriving at the Viaduct Show Bar it’s clear I’m in the heart of Leeds’ gay district. Thirty-six disco balls hang from the ceiling, Prince’s ‘Raspberry Beret’is reverberating in my ears, framed photographs of Miranda (from Sex and The City) hang alongside pictures of the Queen.
Seeing only a few available seats in front of the stage we move in, sinking into our chairs with a beer in hand. Like being strapped into a roller coaster we wait somewhat nervously and stiff but childishly excited.
Just after nine, Ingrid’s French assistant, Odette de Verre, dressed in a burlesque corset and black PVC high-heels, enters the stage to announce the beginning of the show. Not everybody is paying attention, but once Ingrid struts onto the stage, the room is silenced.
Whatever I was expecting has now drastically altered. It’s quite obvious that there’s something about Ingrid - she’s a t-girl.
Six volunteers are requested. I’m one of the first to step up; five others follow. Once seated, a routine gently eases me into a relaxed state of consciousness, neither awake nor asleep but ‘glued to our chairs’.
My memory herein becomes hazy, for it did certainly work, although what happened during the time I was entranced I’ve had to piece together from my own scattered memories, video evidence from my friend’s mobile phone and a few photographs.
I can recall being incredibly disappointed, if not annoyed, not to have had the winning ticket when Ingrid made me believe one of us had won the lottery. This was just a warm-up; the promise of something more risqué was in tow.
Having now being in a trance for almost an hour only few of us remained on stage. Whilst still under the trance, I make a fool of myself by claiming to be ‘the happiest man in Leeds’ to the melody of Bobby McFerrin’s ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’.
Moments before however, I was experiencing pure fear, terrified even by the very touch of a hand.
A snap of the fingers and I’m back in the room, to gasps of disbelief and hysterical laughter. I’m not quite sure why I’m wearing velcro studded faux-leather cuffs around my wrists with a matching choker around my neck.
I remove them as I step down from the stage. My friends look at me in disbelief. “Do you know what you just did?” The answer, clearly, is no. I’m actually quite glad.
Ingrid’s next performance is unconfirmed though a tour, I am promised, is in the making.