Have any of you wondered what it might be like to chat to a real life Houdini? Or to watch a talented performer attempt to escape the chains bound around him and get out before time runs out? Well, I was lucky enough to get to do exactly this!
Recently I have been in touch with an aspiring performer called Ian Arnold using the stage name “Lockden”. Arnold first discovered his interest in escapology, the act of being able to free oneself of ropes and chains and handcuffs, when he was about 9 years old and he saw a death-defying performance from an escapologist who was faced with two cross bows that were on a timer. If the performer did not escape the ties before the time was up the cross bows would be set off and he would quite obviously, fail!
Throughout his teen years, Ian spent time joking around with friends, being tied up and always escaping. Well into his 20s he was still enjoying doing this however did not progress it further since he got married to his first wife and his interest was pushed to the backburner. Some time after this, like many others, he got divorced and opened a new chapter in his life.
In this positive new chapter, Ian found himself in Spain. Ian has always been able to spend time in Spain since his family owns some properties out there. During his stay he felt that it might be time to start over again, he thought if he didn’t do it now, then he never would! So Ian set out on having another go at his escapology career. Starnow was his first port of call, looking for assistants and other help to get himself out there and learn all of the exciting escape acts that he knew would impress people. After some time on Starnow, Ian found himself with his current assistant, Kate, who he has now been working with for 8 months.
Using a community centre, Ian and his assistant have tirelessly been working on their act. Spending time cracking on with escapology routines and attempting new acts to see what he can conquer. Having been able to develop his skills by taking on various escape acts and even impressing himself with some of the acts he has discovered he can do, Ian has decided he wants to take things to the next level. Going public.
Of course, it is hard to always find the confidence to go public but Ian is searching for venues and bookings to take on to showcase his skills and what he can do. Most impressively, as far as Ian is aware, he is actually the only escapologist act in the world who can escape from being tied up in three straight jackets at one time! This in itself is something for him to be proud of if not extremely impressive for those watching it. It has been his biggest achievement to date. The first time he did it it took him 40 minutes, then 20 and now just 15! He has only tried this twice as it is extremely exhausting and draining, but still, this is amazing!
One of the really exciting acts that Ian has managed to get to grips with is called The Hundred Foot Rope Escape. This involves Ian allowing anybody tying him up any way they want to, as tough or hard, and he will attempt to escape it. As of yet, still no one has beaten him.
Many of the different types of things that Ian has been bound by include handcuffs, chains and padlocks, in one of his acts he has his writs cuffed as well as his ankles and is wrapped in chains and padlocks and put inside a sack and told to escape! Ian quotes about his aspirations and said to me during a small interview “many escape artists aspire to be the new Houdini, but I aspire to be greater than Houdini.”
I asked Ian about a few goals that he might have for the future and he mentioned that of course Houdini level mastery in escapology would be a top priority. However taking his acts to the next level is also a big task, he would like to be able to take his straight jacket escape acts to the next level, by being hung upside down with the straight jacket on and attempting to escape. In time he would also like to tackle prison and jail cells and move all the way up to the death defying acts just like what he watched when he was younger.
As time moves on also, Ian hopes to participate in something called the challenge escape where any organisation or member of the public can design an escape and challenge him. The word “challenge” is definitely a key factor of escapology and Ian has faced some challenges himself when conducting escapes over time. One act saw him chained and bound to a metal ladder and it was quite a painful one for him to face.
Just this year, Ian has some challenge escapes which he is planning to do. He has so far managed to escape over 500 times from being bound and has not failed.
It will be amazing to see what else Ian can do.
If anyone feels that they might like to get in touch with Ian about a venue or a booking or would like to do some work with him, or would even like to take the opportunity to challenge him to do a particular escape then feel free to contact him by his email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please watch this space and I hope you enjoyed hearing about Lockden!