The Great Omani

I was about seven and on a Sunday
as a family outing we’d walk
to the famous West Pier
which was just across the road
from where we lived
back then.

With his blend of humour
self confidence and very even temper
he was the English answer to Houdini.

He also rented a room in the house
where my mother was landlady at
the time so, we got to see his
act for free.

We’d go to the end of the pier
and soon with bare chest but
in swim trunks
the Great Omani would appear.

The gathering crowds would not
refrain from making such a racket
and without a trace of fear
Omani made a show of leaning
over and checking the current in
the green swirling waters below.

His helpers added to the
suspense and spectacle
made a great display of wrapping him
from head to foot in padlocks and chains
even asking one or two of the bemused crowd
to check each lock’s latch was secure
then, he stepped into a sack
which was also padlocked, chained
and, tied at the top with string
then fastened to a crane.

With a lot of dramatic flair
there was a crack as the crane’s
gear lifted him slowly off the ground
and despite a bit of a draft the
strike of a match successfully lit
a torch then, thrown into the water
which became a circle of flame
in the middle of which Omani
was dropped.

Too much time passed
the crowd gasped and I was sure
he’d drowned
he seemed to have been under so long
but without much more time to spare
the Great Omani suddenly
popped back up
and raised both arms
triumphant in the air.


© Daydreamertoo       *All rights reserved

The West Pier was the first pier to be built in Brighton. It even had a small theater where some pretty well known actors/actresses would perform plays. Since the 70’s, because of the cost of upkeep, this once beautiful pier has fallen apart and is just pieces of wood and metal in the water.

The Great Omani

Shared with The Sunday Whirl #61

Author: Daydreamer

I live on a beautiful island in Atlantic Canada.

19 thoughts on “The Great Omani”

  1. Ta-dah! What a fun tale! I have never heard of Omani, but it sounds tremendously exciting for a 7 year old to watch him perform. Those were the days, when real life experiences took the place of “reality TV!”

  2. How very wonderful that you were able to meet this man and get to know a little about him. I believe I have heard of him but of course, Houdini far outshown so many that tried to perform elusive tricks of escape from impossible situations. It must have been such a treat for you growing up. Love this write.

  3. I love the suspense leading up to Omani’s triumph. This is a fun one. The pier is really something, and it sound like Omani was, too. What fun as a child of seven to have such an experience. Those impressions are marvelous fun to ponder. Excellent write, Bren.

  4. Quite the memory, and lucky indeed. Sucks when they let things go and they end up nothing but a half arsed version of themselves too. Maybe you should fix it up..haha

  5. Thanks so much for your visit and kind words…Does your friend share her work on a blog?

    One of our sons was a fan of such trickery and for a fund raising variety show at the end of his High School year he did a very elaborate escape trick, both nights as the last act. We knew he could do it, but we had to sign all sorts of waivers so he ‘perform’.

    Sorry about the disrepair of the pier. Lovely history. Reminded me of Ellis Island (often paired with Liberty Island where the Statue of Liberty stands)…Such an important island had fallen into the cold murky water…we had a tour there over thirty years ago when it wasn’t open to the public when we had a friend who was a park ranger stationed there. I think there was some revival done… Yes there has. But I have some photos of that visit …interesting. Glad for your memories though. Nice historical wordle.

    1. Thanks for the links…seems you have to be a member to the one for access…and the other to leave comments. Perhaps she’d like to try Wordles? All the best ~J

      1. FYI: I didn’t post your other reply – I wasn’t sure how public you wanted your friends info. I went looking for an e-mail for you but couldn’t find it.
        I moderate all my comments so I can be respectful if someone chooses to ask not to post something publicly.

  6. A great recollection of Houdini/Brighton. I lost track of the wordle. And thanks for reminding me of Brighton Rock the movie.

  7. I enjoyed this true tale, Bren. I have never heard of the Great Omani, but it sounds as if he was magician par excellence. How lucky you were to have been able to see his act for free.

    On another note, I grew up in Houdini’s hometown. In fact, a school I went to for a while was right next to Houdini’s childhood home. When I looked out the classroom winter, there it was. It eventually became a Houdini museum, which it still is today…. It does sound like Omani performed ‘tricks’ similar to those of Houdini. You were fortunate to have known him!

Comments are closed.