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Strolling Down The Left Hand Path With...Colin Martin AKA The Ringmaster

Greetings friends, this time I have a special treat for everyone! I have a special guest for all of my dear readers. This time, I got to sit down with Citizen Colin Martin, otherwise known as The Ringmaster.

Colin Martin is a writer, a video producer, and an all-around fun dude to hang out with. 

He is the leader of the horror story troupe, The Satanic Players Society, which focuses on telling intriguing tales of the macabre and horrifying. Be on the lookout especially for some stories and poems contributed by yours truly.

He is also the publisher of a collection of short fiction and poems called The Horror and Madness of the Sideshow. 

You can find Colin at the Satanic Players Society website:

And as a shameless shoehorn of self-promotion, you can find me on youtube where I talk about the society and how I became involved with the madness:

So without further ado, let us take a stroll down the left-hand path with none other than Colin Martin.
1. How did you stumble across Satanism?

Stumble is the correct word! lol, when I came out of the army in 2008 I ended up working in a security job. After performing my routine tasks I found myself with a lot of time on my hands staring at monitors. I used to go on random chat forums a lot, deciding to have a laugh and try and engage with people who didn’t take life too seriously (a very difficult thing online) I decided to use my login ID to create various characters and try and generate a giggle or two.

I decided to use religion as my basis as these types of conversations tended to get pretty intense. I came up with a number of outlandish people based on various religious denominations, for example, “Cathal the Catholic”, “Ben the Baptist”, “Aalim the Islamist” (I thought that Muhamad the Muslim would have caused too much of a stir), “Mike the Mormon” and finally “Cyril the Satanist”.

What I did was post in the manner of the character “Praise the Laaawd” type stuff and use references from their particular faith in my conversations. When I got to Cyril I went searching to something akin to “The big book of Satan” to see what was out there and could be used to garner a laugh. This is when I came across a meme listing the 11 Satanic Rules of the Earth. Initially, I wasn’t sure whether this was genuine or not, but it was completely different to the usual devil-worshipping tripe that gets spouted by angsty heavy metal teenagers (I was one, so can speak with authority lol). When I delved a bit further and discovered that this was a religion that actually existed I thought “ah-ha” I could be onto something here.

My first warning bell which rang quite loudly, of course, was the fact that the Church of Satan was based in the United States. Uh oh! Gotta be careful of those cults, the last thing I wanted was to find myself locked away in some commune having signed away my home, savings, and rights as a human being. I looked for Satanic books and found a list of the COS cannon. They weren’t that expensive and I like to read a lot so I ordered them. The next question I asked myself was “What other Satanic Churches are out there?” I didn’t see anything pop up initially so I went searching. Practically everything I found had been created by ex-members of the COS or people that mentioned the Church and proclaimed them as the “new” or “alternative”. Before the Satanic Bible even arrived in the post I’d come to the conclusion that this was the first and anything else out there was reactionary. This made me more interested in getting to know about this organization. To cut a long story short, I read everything, agreed with the philosophy and realized that this had been something that was already built into my DNA. I joined not long after and the rest is history, here I am you lucky, lucky people! ;-)

2. What was the catalyst for The Satanic Players Society? What caused you to get this cabal of storytellers together? How did you become the "Ringmaster?"

The idea for the SPS began to form when I started collaborating with Aaron Mantle. We had been friends for a while when he produced the first episode of “Satanic Story Time”. This piqued my interest and creating sound effects for the show and I offered to help out. When he started featuring old time radio shows I thought to myself “maybe some of could do that”. I broached the idea to him as maybe a one-time holiday special and we decided to give it a try. I sourced a script called “The Shadow People” then went trawling for victims, um I mean willing participants.

I was quite surprised by the interest in the project. I managed to get 7 people roped in and we began recording. I’d never actually produced a show like this before and found myself traversing a massive learning curve, but we got it done and released it on Halloween of 2014. It went down well and we decided to have a go at another story to release maybe later the following year. That’s when things started taking off, we started getting approached by authors who wanted some of their stories performed and the thing started developing a life of its own.

Unfortunately as time went on Aaron and I began to have creative differences about the future of the show. The Satanic Players had basically become its own entity, and the average show was between 45 minutes to an hour long and no longer a short segment. After a discussion with some members of the troupe, it was decided that we would branch out on our own. After a brainstorming session, we came up with the idea of the circus theme. I thought it would be a cool idea if people took to the stage as a particular circus or sideshow act. This would give members a chance to step out of themselves and also provide anonymity to those concerned about repercussions by being associated with the big scary “S” word. There are still people out there who would do us harm or just mess with our lives out of spite.

The original idea was to host the longer pieces submitted on our own platform and then “travel” around other podcasts with shorter presentations. This actually worked well, we continued to feature pieces on Satanic Story Time, 9 Sense, Raising Hell and a few others. For most of these appearances, I would source royalty-free scripts online, one thing I began to realize was that I wanted to actually collaborate with the people that wrote material and not just grab stuff from the web. Somehow this didn’t feel fulfilling and I started to foster this idea and concentrate on this ethos for the show.

What we have today is basically a melting pot of creativity. People can voice act, write, create music or art if they get the inspiration no one is tied down to a particular role of function. This is what I believe has kept us fresh and relevant. To reflect this change and growth a number of segments have since been established since our original airing. “The Travelling Sideshow of the Macabre” is our main feature, “The First Taste of Horror” is a chance to get to know how our members fell down the rabbit hole of this wonderful genre. “A thought with the Ringmaster” are my musings and thoughts on creativity and some interviews with other creative types, “Myths, Legends and Monsters” is the brainchild of Estelle, The Escapologist. She takes on a journey through European folklore and our latest segment “Prose from the Shadows, hosted by Clover, The Magician showcases poetry and prose submissions from our members and fans. Last year we put out our first anthology “The Horror and Madness of the Sideshow”. The second is currently underway with Delilah, The Snake Charmer taking the lead on this one planned for release early 2020. As you see we are keeping quite busy.

3. As a writer, I am always interested in what other practitioners of our craft use as inspiration. What are some of your favorite literary works?

Well I’m sure after looking at my bookcase for more than 30 seconds you quickly realized that I’m a massive Terry Pratchett fan. Although my first step into the fantasy genre was The Hobbit it was the Discworld series that really fired my imagination. Sir Terry’s subtle references to the real world and anecdotes about the human condition was an inspiration; I was really devastated when he passed.

A close second in terms inspirational works would have to be Raymond E. Feist. I discovered him later in life when a longtime friend gave me a copy of The Magician. Two things that resonated were his writing style; this really wanted me to up my game in terms of my vocabulary. The other was the fact that he included real world logistical issues to his narrative. An army simply didn’t just jauntily march to battle. Horses needed fed, wagons needed to be mended and people picked up injuries along the way. He also embedded the notion that not just warriors, but the blacksmiths, cooks and those that eased the burden of the supply chain could gain honor.

I’m not a massive fan of science fiction writing, I’ve always found this to be more of a visual genre. However, Frank Herbert’s Dune series has been something that has stuck with me for decades. He managed to create a universe so far removed from our world (many Sci/Fi franchises fail miserably in this aspect) that I’m able to just let go and immerse myself in this world. Even references during the series to events such as the Butlerian Jihad are so far ahead of our time that even the series ancient history doesn’t drag you back to reality.

4. If you could time travel, where would you go?

Alright then, time to get my geek on. I’ve thought about this a bit over the years so here’s where I would go if I could explore the main types of time travel:

Single Continuum Travel – I would like to visit and spend some time during the Renaissance period. This is generally considered an optimistic time brimming with creativity. I’d like to walk the streets in the evening soaking in the excitement as new forms of entertainment and ideas were brought to life.

Fixed Point Travel – Although there is no guarantee I could actually change anything by suddenly appearing there is definitely one thing I would like to try. I’d want to go back to the point when Freddy Mercury was about to hook up and contract HIV. I throw him some condoms and scented lube and maybe say something like “Bag up big lad, the world still needs you! When you are gone we are left with the Kardashians, Kanye West and the tragedy that is Brian May and Roger Taylor running around with some boy child hanging desperately on to Queen’s legacy!”

Temporal Replacement – Coincidently enough Clover and I have been talking about this concept lately. What part of our lives would we go back and change? I’ve come to the understanding there is no point visiting my childhood, at that stage in life we are not really in full control, our parents and other agencies hold the keys and we basically just drift along hoping to get out and start making our own way in the world. Thinking about my life and the directions I’ve taken the point that would have the most impact would be when I left high school and about to go onto higher education. Rather that wasting three years trying to go into forensic science, failing then getting a useless degree in Business Admin. I would take a year, build up my skills in Maths then go on to pursue a career in Data Science. Having replaced my young, hormonal socially awkward self with this cynical old fart I’d be more focused knowing what the future in technology holds and not having to worry about fitting in, getting girlfriends (been there, done that lol). I’d set myself up for a better future. Yes, I’m likely to make new mistakes along the way, but with knowledge of the future, I’d definitely make a point of avoiding certain relationships and psychic vampires!

5. Tell us one of your favorite jokes.

I’m actually terrible at remembering jokes. What I will share with you is one of the funniest comedian routines that still has me roaring with laughter to this day. Look it up on YouTube. It’s Billy Connolly describing the attempted terror attack at Glasgow airport. Here are some of the lines:

What were they f****** thinking, bringing terror tae Glasgow? You should have known better than that, we don’t mind a bit of terror in Glasgow.
Religious fanatics?’ I’m not sure about religious fanatics without a f****** football team.
I saw the whole thing in New York on the news, I thought I would need an ambulance. I have never laughed like it, f****** eejits!
You know sometimes you hear something about yer home toon and ye go “f*** yes, I come from there, that’s where I f****** come from ye know! Yes! I f****** live there! And don’t you forget it!”
I’ll let you good people look up the whole sketch, I still laugh!

6. Spill the beans, do you have any projects outside of the Satanic Players Society that you are working on?

Always! Lol, I’m currently working on two books. One is a short story and the other is a collection of essays and poetry, hopefully, I have these out by the New Year. I am also in the planning stages with a good friend on the production of a new podcast. I’m not going to give away any details until we are ready to go, but it’s something different and I hope you like it.

7. America can be a fun and crazy place, what caused you to come here? And how are you liking it so far compared to your homeland?

I’ve been back and forward to the U.S. over the last 15 years, usually through work. However when it was on one of the more recent trips to Washington D.C. for a certain devilish event that things changed. Unbeknownst to me at the time I ended up meeting my future wife. After some time in a relationship travelling back and forward we decided to take the plunge and here I am!

Two things I like are the space; Utah is quite spread out with amazing mountain ranges and the weather. It’s nice being able to actually plan barbeques and outdoor activities without constantly having to worry about the rain.

8. Wine or beer?

Beer definitely! One thing I miss from home are local ales and lagers. I’m partial to a merlot as well. On a bit of a tangent I enjoy a spot of Rum but you’ve seen what happens when I let the Captain in, so I am careful how I indulge!

9. What is your favorite Satanic concept and why?

It has to be without question the idea that achievement in Satanism is what benefits your own personal life. What’s good for me may not be good for you or anyone else. There is no need to measure up to other members (unless someone genuinely inspires you). This I have found to be really freeing, I’m not forced into a mold being told “This is Satanism, you have to be like this to be doing it right”. I also think this is an important concept that a lot of people don’t understand. There are so many people I see that try too hard trying to be what they think is expected from them. All you need to do is relax, decide what your own goals and priorities in life are then enjoy getting on with them.

10. I met your friendly pooch, Chaz. How did you come across such a loveable oaf?

He was only meant to be a foster for two weeks. A lady posted online that she needed someone to help out by taking him in while she worked towards finding a permanent home for. She was moving home and the new landlord didn’t allow pets, she also had health problems and was finding it difficult to care for him so we agreed to take him in to help out.
Within 20 minutes of him coming into the house he decided “yep, I live here now you’re my new family” and of course we buckled and ended up keeping him. When Anton Lavey talked about animals being great magicians he wasn’t joking, one of the funniest examples of this was during your baptism when he strategically positioned himself to make sure EVERYONE gave him a belly rub before heading down to the ritual chamber!

11. If you were stranded on a deserted island with only a TV and three movies (somehow this island has a power source) what are the movies that you would choose?

I could live with only three movies; honestly, I’d be too busy trying to survive to watch them very often, but sure let’s give it whirl:

The Matrix – I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve watched this movie, at least four or five times in the last six months. For a movie made in the late 90’s the effects still stand up. This is a great stand-alone movie, the sequels although fun as popcorn flicks really didn’t add anything to the original. I’ve never found myself needing to stick the other two on after watching this to find out what happens next.

Dune – Before reading any of the books this movie captivated me, although dated now, the artwork used in the backdrops and costumes are amazing. As I talked about with regards to my inspirational writings, I love the world-building and premise of the story. Although only hinted at during the movie, it reeled me in.

The Empire Strikes Back – Yes, George and I have fallen out after the prequels and I detest KK with every fiber of my being, but damn this has to be one of the best movies of all time! Some of us are actually heading out in September to watch this movie accompanied by Utah Symphony Orchestra. Yes I’m that nerdy, pew, pew, zap zap, whom!


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