I first met Noel as a visitor at a Lizian events show. He had the enthusiasm of a puppy, and the freneticism of an amphetamines drenched Ramones gig. We spoke about his forthcoming book, and I was delighted to secure a copy from him to read when he exhibited at Lincoln
Self- help/ spiritual guidance books are an awkward commodity. They risk either trotting out familiar, banal platitudes, or are so eccentric they have little use in the real world. Hogan is different, battlefield experience from his time in the RAF, provides the backdrop to his spiritual journey, a journey which takes some surprising twists and turns. What I particularly enjoyed is the bizarre juxtaposition of some of his cultural reference points.
Emanuel Swedenborg’s “Heaven & Hell” is a totemic masterpiece which influenced Kings and thinkers worldwide. David Icke’s reputation is less sure footed. But that does not matter, such contrasts mentally jolt the reader, making them yell out “are you sure?” – before turning to the next page. Hogan also uses the Police’s “Spirits in the Material World” as a touchstone for his book. Again, an interesting choice as Sting is either a pompous prat, or a sublime troubadour depending upon taste.
He also references “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Sliding Doors”. “Shawshank” is an oddity, a Stephen King Novella whose messages seem far greater than its fairly routine story. There is a parallel with this book. This genre is routine, but Hogan seeks to lift it by episodic anecdote beyond that. Chief protagonist Andy is a Messianic figure in “Shawshank”, as David Icke purports himself to be – see what I mean about jarring juxtapositions?
“Sliding Doors” is wholly different to “Shawshank” its premise pivots on a single idea, that one moment can change everything. It references the idea of parallel universes too. That time is not linear. Thus, everything is happening now, infinitely splitting as we make decisions. Hogan likes Jim Carrey too. He focusses on him as a “tears of a clown” figure, a man of substance behind his comic ribaldry. Yet for me his most profound work came in “The Truman Show” in which an individual was unwittingly living out his life in a TV reality show. The substance of that is interwoven throughout this book. Are we putting on an act? If so, who for? Is “all the world a stage”? What really matters?
Amongst the routine self -improvement fare is a little gem. It came from his time in the RAF when a Sergeant invited him to write his own assessment, one of life’s turning points. In turn Hogan invites us to write our own life review. I am squirming at the thought. Hogan would like that. At times he meanders like an Aircraftsman on his lunchbreak, then he hits the target with the precision of an Exocet missile.
He writes about Near Death Experiences persuasively and insightfully. It is as comforting and reassuring a section about death (“Does it hurt”) as I have come across. Yet sometimes he attempts too much, I found the section on the Akashic records incomplete and the Meditation chapter felt compulsory rather than essential. His fable of the elephant and the stake, in which a baby elephant cannot pull out a tethering stake, so gives up, a defeat which endures when he is an adult, even though he would be strong enough to pull out the stake with ease, is well told, neatly linking with a chapter urging us to take responsibility for our own happiness. He also reminds us that if we knew how little time others spent thinking about us, we would not worry what they thought ! When linking this to the artificial construct of time, as opposed to those things which really matter, he is on strong ground. That weakens a little when debating conspiracy theories, dismissing those who debunk them as slaves to the Mainstream Media. There is a big difference between an honest search for the truth, and a parallel reality based on what might be.
I enjoyed this book, which is as personable as the author. Light, easy to read, and well divided into chapters, it is both accessible and thought provoking. Its rough edges are part of its appeal rather than a drawback. “Spiritual Sat Nav” may help you reach your destination. Not only will you enjoy reading his work, you will also enjoy meeting Hogan who is to be found on the Lincolnshire Mind Body Spirit exhibition circuit. https://www.spiritualsatnav.com/noel-hogan