Introduction

This second example is taken from a documentary series called "Heart of the Matter", made by Roger Bolton Productions for BBC Television. For this demonstration, I was asked to pose as an astrologer and to give the same astrological reading to two completely different clients. I agreed to prepare the reading in advance, and then to present it to the two clients in turn.

The story of this particular reading is quite interesting. I was quite busy with other projects at the time, and as I result I left my preparation to the last minute. At around midnight on the eve of the demonstration, I sat down at my word-processor and simply made up a reading which I felt sounded suitably astrological. I wrote it in more or less one go, with very little revision. By the time I had finished, I'd written about 3900 words.

I was not told the clients' dates of birth or anything else about them. All I was told was that one was Virgo, the other Taurus. When I wrote the reading, I referred to Virgo throughout. I then used the word-processor to prepare a second version, in which every reference to 'Virgo' was taken out and the word 'Taurus' substituted in its place. Otherwise, the two versions were identical.

To the best of my knowledge, not a single word of the reading bore any relation to genuine astrological theory or practice. I made up phrases like 'Sign of Virgo with Saturn rising' without the faintest idea what this is supposed to mean, or whether it actually applied to either client's horoscope. I merely wanted to add some astrological jargon to my made-up reading.

I also got some blank astrological charts, as used by astrologers, and drew interesting geometrical shapes, squiggles and signs on them as if these meant something.

The next afternoon, the taping went ahead as planned in a comfortable flat belonging to one of the production crew. I met the clients one at a time, and took them through the prepared reading. While it was possible for me to emphasise some sections of the reading more than others, the rules meant that I was not allowed to make any changes to either version, and both women were presented with the complete reading in its entirety.

I will have more to say about this reading in the 'Afterword'.

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