Well, it's about time I sat down and wrote up my perspective on the fun and games we had in Oxford. Liz has mentioned once or twice (per day) that I need to get something written down, and she's even managed to persuade Parkey to use all his skills in the field of badgering whenever he happens to see me online. So okay! I surrender! Here! I'm writing!
Right then, where to begin... Liz has mentioned the drink we had at the Head of the River pub. It's a fairly busy place, on one of the main roads in Oxford, we started off sat outside on benches by the river whilst everyone arrived, Parkey and Ben were already there, so we spent a couple of minutes making introductions.
Parkey had brought a hypnosis book with him called "Reality Is Plastic" which Liz kept eyeing nervously. It has a water pistol on the cover, and I found out later that Parkey had done some trancework with Liz over webcam where he'd had her believing that he was holding such a water pistol, and was using it to squirt her through her computer chat window. (Unless we're talking hot showers and baths, Liz is *not* a fan of getting wet.)
Later on he threatened her with the water pistol again, which I decided to combat by giving Liz a hypnotic umbrella to fend him off with.... at which point Parkey conjured up a second water pistol for himself. So I gave Liz *two* umbrellas. (I know, I'm so creative). Not wanting to be outdone, Parkey pointed out to Liz that there was now a bucket of water hovering *just* above her head and starting to teeter... Someone compared our miniature arms race to the scene in Disney's version of "The Sword in the Stone" where Merlin and Madam Mim transform themselves into different creatures to outdo one another... (or for bonus geek points, the Calvin and Hobbes comic where Calvin and Hobbes fight over a transmogrifier gun, using it to transform one another) I don't know if it was *quite* as well scripted as either of those examples, but it certainly gives me ideas for future shoots.
Shout outs to Conrad, who reads the blog. (And even showed us how he reads it on his mobile phone, - ahh technology.) and Darren, who arrived wearing his "Hypnosis Rocks" t-shirt. As soon as there was some space free indoors we commandeered ourselves a nice big table inside, where the hypnotic shenanigans continued. Darren and Ben were taking turns showing off inductions and rapid inductions, and Parkey and Liz were continuing with their duel.
It was a little odd for me to see hypnosis being performed so openly whilst out in public. Not more than 5 minutes seemed to go by before someone was slumped over in trance, or sitting with their arm bolt out in front of them, or stuck to a table. It went on in the pub, and it continued when we moved on to an italian restaurant down the road. Darren had Conrad slumped in his seat, arm raised in the air, (Which - professional to the end, the waitress utterly ignored... though I did notice a couple on a table behind the chaps becoming rather inquisitive.) It *really* took off later on when we went to the turf tavern and some of the chaps persuaded a group of students to try it out.
I think what made it so strange for me was the fact I had a fairly religious upbringing, where hypnosis was always spoken of as something negative, usually in the same breath as mind control cults. I came to my interest in the subject more or less in secret, only finding an outlet for it at about the age of about 17 when I first discovered the joys of the internet (and MCStories). As a result, hypnosis has always seemed kind of taboo and sexy... though I'll admit, hypnotizing girls and controlling their minds in fun and kinky ways made it seem pretty sexy too; and so my experience is usually in erotic hypnosis, rather than the more socially acceptable pub hypnosis. Darren's "Hypnosis Rocks" t-shirt, and later on Rich's "Hypno Erotica" T-shirt seemed positively risqué to me, but I think that's just me and my sheltered upbringing. ;)
The meet was arranged through uncommonforum.com, which is a UK based message board geared towards psychology and self-help, with a fairly large "Hypnosis" section. How much experience everyone had had of hypnosis varied from: running successful websites geared towards using hypnosis to fulfil the fantasies of singles and couples... to writing a regular hypnosis-blog with the girlfriend (wonder who that could have been), to performing it once in a blue moon on any friends that will agree to it. So wheras I was fairly content
to sit back, chat, and watch the events unfold, some of the guys saw the meeting as a real chance to practice their routines as they approached strangers, asking if they'd like to try hypnosis out.
I think it's safe to say that Liz being the only girl in our particular group was enjoying the attention it afforded her, she was doing her best to challenge Parkey to overcome his nerves and get him to talk to a group of students sat around one large table in the beer garden of the Turf Tavern. At one point she had Parkey zapped into a nice trance where she suggested that of *course* he'd be comfortable approaching a group of people he didn't know and presenting the idea of hypnosis to them. On waking up, he stood from the table we were sat at, rubbed his hands together with a "Right... time for action" look on his face, and with Darren headed over to the next table, where about a dozen student types were sat around discussing drinking games.
Before too long, Darren and Parkey had the whole group of students with their hands held out in front of themselves, doing magnetic finger and magnetic hand routines. Darren singled out one particular rugby player who responded *very* swiftly to any suggestion given, and made him the star of his own personal hypnosis show for the next half hour.
If our antics had gone more or less unnoticed in the previous pub and restaurant, they were *far* from discreet now, and as more hypnotists joined in the fray, more and more of a crowd gathered. Rich, as I've mentioned, runs a site called hypno erotica, and even has a t-shirt and business cards advertising this fact. His T-shirt has the silhouette of a lady lounging back in an enticing pose over his "Hypno Erotica" logo. This drew (understandably) a fair bit of attention from the people gathered round, but especially from 2 or 3 girls who had particular erotic requests that they'd like to know if Rich would be able to fulfil... Ten minutes later, all three of them were heading to the bathroom to "freshen up" after having experienced hypnotic orgasms!
As I said earlier, I was completely content to sit back and enjoy the show, but it wasn't to be!
What happened next could almost have come right out of an MCStory.
As I stood watching my new hypno-friends going to work, I heard a girl's voice directed towards me from behind, asking what was going on.
I turned, and sat up on a bench, watching the proceedings was a very cute girl, who along with her boyfriend, (who was stood beside her) had become very interested in what exactly was going on. I introduced myself, and explained that we were a group of hypnotists meeting up for a social drink, and that things had taken a slight turn for the dramatic, and she said (I'm not kidding) "Hypnosis? Cool! I've always wanted to be hypnotized. Can you hypnotize me?"
I'd have been happy just to sit back and have a drink!
Needless to say I was persuaded (it didn't take too long) to give Jo (the gal's name) a taster of hypnosis. All the while trying to remember the fun and interesting things that can be done with hypnosis... as opposed to the raunchy stuff that I tend to get up to either with Liz at home or with the models during my shoots. Using one of Darren's trances earlier as an example, I did a rapid induction on her (my first rapid induction on a complete stranger. Liz is *very* proud of me) It seemed to go well... though I completely failed to get her hands to stick to anything. Fortunately both Liz and Parkey showed up before too long and were quite happy to talk to Jo and her fella about the fun (and none-raunchy) aspects of hypnosis.
All in all we had a lot of fun. Liz is *very* keen to go to the next hypno meet, though Oxford's a little bit far. Still, there's plans for further meets in the northwest, so perhaps we'll be playing out in public again soon... watch this space. ;o)