Extract from ‘Tongues of Flame’

Soul-Searching Parties

Everybody was talking about Satan. Rolandson was talking about him almost non-stop, and I remember he said at the Youth Fellowship on Saturday how Satan was present in the words and music of certain progressive pop groups, called Black Widow and Black Sabbath, who sang about witches’ and black masses: so all the members of the Youth Fellowship who had b0ught records by these groups had to bring them into the meetings over the next weeks and have them smashed to smithereens in front of everybody, and the debris was put in the incinerator behind the vestries while we all sang “Raised on a Dove’s Wing” together, standing on the patch of gravel there in the howling wind. The church started going out more into the community too,… sending out nightly parties to knock at every front door in the neighbourhood and invite people to our church. … The groups that went out knocking on people’s doors were called “Soul-Searching Parties,” because they were supposed to be searching out souls for God. I went with them sometimes, but when I did I was always afraid we would run into Adrian on the street, with his Afghan coat and club foot and the cynical small grin.

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