I have several talents. As a boy, it was Irish dancing and when I was 10 years old I won the World Championship for the Under 11's. Having mastered Irish dancing, I had wanted to take up ballet but my father decided that I was already too much of a "pansy" for it to be safe for me to go down that road. When I was asked to leave the Irish dancing academy (you see, I was a pariah even then) I devoted myself wholly to Tolkien, at which I have always considered myself, next to Christopher, the world's leading authority. But there has always been another talent, slightly less gratifying, namely my talent for attracting publick ridicule. This has been with me since my earliest days; from my first trip to the post box at the end of the road with an A4 brown envelope (I spent approximately ten minutes trying to fit the thing in the hole, eventually going home with it and asking my mother what to do; she took it, folded it, and then told me that she despaired of my woeful lack of "common sense") to walking into a pub in Farningham with my mother some years ago and a table of young men erupting with laughter at my appearance. To-day an otherwise very patient woman sighed and had to stamp a set of documents I was carrying for me because I couldn't work out how to do so or where to stamp, then pointed out that it was "perfectly simple" to fill out an envelope, that I had put cellotape over the wrong side of the envelope (to be fair, I was by this point sweating with stress and there was a slight tear at the top right-hand side which I mistook for a fold), then when I went back down to the other office to retrieve the cellotape I managed to cellotape over the address, which I had in any case written on the wrong side. It was a good day.
Then I came home and read this! Perhaps I ought to have said that when I read the works of Joseph Pearce, while I found his style banal, I agreed with the general thrust of his arguments because I was still then a Roman Catholick. Some time ago I began to re-read many of the old books in my library in order to reappraise their value in the light of my views now. I never bothered with Pearce for the reason I have just given, but that's clearly funny!