Monday, 6 August 2012

Scorpions in the Post Office

I was in the Post Office the other day and I discovered, much to my dismay, that they had rearranged the whole place and introduced a new queuing system. The idea of queuing systems, in themselves, are a bit on an anathema but to be taken by surprise by one is that much worse.

So I walked through the maze and found myself immediately at the front and stood there waiting for a vacant counter. After a few seconds the nice man behind a counter to the side waved me over from where they sell all those peripheral things that aren't stamps and parcel deliveries but the Post Office depends upon for its survival. As I approached he pointed up at the ceiling to a sign that explained that this counter could also be used to buy stamps and parcel deliveries as well as all those peripheral things, etc.


In response to the nice man gesturing at the sign that was by now directly over my head, and therefore completely out of view due to the fact that it was end-on (or rather bottom-on if you'll excuse the inference) and thus unreadable, I suggested that the sign was not really very useful to people as people don't look up. The nice man weighed my two promotional copies of The Hidden Masters and the Unspeakable Evil that I was sending out to reviewers and while he was doing so I explained that people looked at the floor because that's where all the scorpions are. I think, at this point, the nice man decided to give the whole situation up as a bad job and refused to communicate any further and just pretended that he had missed the whole of the preceding conversation. I was equally happy with this result as by now my packages had been weighed in the balance and, having been found wanting for twice two Pounds and seventy Pence I completed the transaction, made my excuses and left. However, I was a little disappointed that I didn't get to explain myself. So I'll explain it to you.

You see I heard something on BBC Radio 4 recently (where one eventually hears everything of any interest if one waits long enough) that said that the human head naturally tilts forward such that the field of view is 15 degrees below the horizontal. I think they put it down to the weight of the brain or something but I put it down to scorpions.


You see if you are walking through the African savannah in bare feet, because you don't have any shoes due to the fact that they aren't due to be invented for another two million years, you need to be looking at the ground just so that you don't tread on a scorpion. Of course you could tread on a snake or big spider or anything else and these things could also drop on you from trees so looking at the ground exclusively would be a bit of a problem (and that's not counting the sabre tooth tigers) so field of view is a bit of a compromise as things far away might also be important, such as rapidly approaching sabre tooth tigers. But the point is we have perfectly good reasons for looking at the ground and it's not just to spot dog shit, although that's a very good reason especially if you grew up in the seventies.

So when they design signs for Post Offices or supermarkets or airports, perhaps they might like to consider what life was like on the African savannah two million years ago before the advent of cobblers, which might be what you've just been reading.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Who are the Hidden Masters and where do they come from?

I had my first media interview on Tuesday evening with Bill Thompson of the to talk about the recent global release of The Hidden Masters and the Unspeakable Evil. The experience was a little nerve-wracking but not as bad as I might have imagined. (As the experience recedes I suspect I'm forgetting the worst of it.) Naturally I feel I answered some of the questions better than others but one question sticks in my mind.

The concerning question was how the main characters, the very Hidden Masters described in the title, got to be the people they were. For those of you not in the know, the heroes of our adventure are apparently perfectly ordinary individuals whom you might meet in the pub. Their only difference being that they are practiced in the arts of the occult to the point that they save the universe at weekends before going back to work on Monday mornings. They are extraordinary individuals who do not look like the people they actually are.


However, when asked how they came about I was stumped. I do have some back story for them, Clint was in the Royal Navy and now drives a road sweeper, Wayne sells beer for a living and might have cheated his school entrance exams and Nigel, well I still can't remember his back story but I'm sure I put one in. I also had ideas about where they get their extensive knowledge about everything under the sun with one constantly hanging out in museums of all kinds across the world, one having an uncanny ability to find any information on the internet no matter how obscure and the other addicted to Open University courses but he never bothers to take the exams.

But how did they get to be these guys? I simply hadn't thought about that. When asked the question I blabbered on a bit about people coming to paganism from all sorts of paths until I realised I was talking generally about paganism rather than the characters in the book. Since then, while I was painting the windowsill in the room upstairs the answer occurred to me.


Each of us has no idea about the bloke who sits across the isle from us on the train every morning. He might be a mechanic in a bus garage or an administrator in a dog food company. However, more difficult to detect is the thing he does at the weekend. How often have you discovered that the person you meet in your first day at a new job has an extraordinary skill, perhaps being a wonderful pianist or a talented salsa dancer? They don't make any money at their skill because there is no way to do so but they have done the 10,000 hours practice that are said to be required to master a skill completely.

There are extraordinary people walking amongst us every moment of the day but we never know it. They're not gods or immortals; they're just ordinary people who are quietly getting on with life. They don't brag about it, they just do it. Aleister Crowley once said that every man and every woman is a star. The Three Hidden Masters, two from Hemel Hempstead and one from Bricket Wood, are extraordinary in that very way but it didn't take some miraculous back story for them to get there because, basically, they are just like you and me.

Find out more about The Hidden Masters and the Unspeakable Evil here.

See the You Tube video here