By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated August 19, 2003 03:42 PM

David Blaine — the magician best known for burying himself in a block of ice in the middle of Times Square for 62 hours — is prepping for his latest endurance test, this time in London, reports The New York Times.

“Everything I’ve done before is irrelevant,” Blaine, 30, trumpeted to the paper. “This one is going to be different.”

Starting Sept. 5, Blaine plans to spend 44 days in a Plexiglas box (7 feet long by 7 feet tall by 3 feet wide) suspended over the River Thames.

His spartan existence will consist simply of clothes and a blanket, pens and paper for journal keeping (possibly for publishing later) and — well, that’s it. No food. No toilet.

Water will be delivered via a feeding tube, he says, while bodily functions will be handled with diapers and a tube for urination.

“I’m not doing this for entertainment, I’m not doing this for the networks,” said Blaine, whose previous stunts became ABC specials.

Then again, Britain’s Sky One and Channel 4 in London will broadcast the start and finish of his “performance” as a TV special shortly after he completes the 44 days, The Times reports.

“It doesn’t have anything to do with anything other than I feel I have to do it,” Blaine stresses. “I want to do it.”

Dr. Alexander E. Kuehl, an expert in emergency medicine, tells The Times that 44 days is just about the maximum amount of time a human body can subsist on only water.

“It’s sort of an extreme Atkins diet,” says the doc. “Certainly there are cases of relatively well-nourished people surviving for long periods, up to several months, with just snow or water. Hopefully he needs to lose a little weight.”

The Times reports that Blaine looks fit as it is. But his one biggest fear, he admits, is the loneliness he’ll be facing for 44 days.

“For me, that’s the biggest torture,” he says.