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How to Start Your Own Secret Society
by Nick Harding
Oldcastle, £6.99, ISBN 1-904048-84-6
The title is enough of a hint that this is hardly likely to be a serious academic study. Can it be a manual? Can there be a market out there of people desperate to know how to form secret societies? Is it a satirical work? This is about as useless a book as can be imagined, and as if that were not bad enough, it is one of the worst-written texts outside of school classrooms. This has all the linguistic flair of Mrs Malaprop with the wit of Mr Pooter from The Diary of a Nobody. The pages are littered with gems like these: “Many are desperate to join but they have, perhaps in the past, somewhat sullied their reputations and copybooks or more likely, and this is often the case, their ‘faces do not fit’.” (p. 12) “It will be without question something of a new start, a resurrection, a turning point, and a breath of fresh air to an otherwise (possibly) stale and bland existence.” (p. 33) “Ruins and spurious points of interest on the landscape, if you are able, and this can often be seen as a real tour de force, can be linked up to form some meaningful pattern loaded with symbolism.” (p. 39) “It is worth noting that you must remember to avoid paranoia as this can lead to no end of problematic trouble.” (p. 59) “The Fuhrer was venerated with deference.” (p. 141) “To advertise your existence do not take the direct route, although you can do this of course.” (p. 175) If only Harding had kept his book a secret from society.