Saturday 13 September 2014

The Illicit Thrill of Secrecy - 30 Days #9

Sponsored post: I've been given the opportunity to team up with Ray Bans to share with you the worst kept secret in the world.

To me, there's always been something inextricably fascinating about the idea of the secret.

In a world where each of us carry a device in our pockets which is connected to an entire mainframe of human history, knowledge and expertise, we are so used to knowing pretty much everything, and if we don't, being able to find it out in a matter of seconds.

And that's why the idea of the unknown has far surpassed the notion of being something to fear or something to be frustrated by, and has steadily grown to become the opposite - a complete fascination.

For me, I think it explains a lot of things which excite me and pique my curiosity.

I have an undying obsession with the idea of 'strangers', I frequent curious little back alleys in East London seeking out hidden away 'secret speakeasies' behind innocuous wooden doors, or through inconspicuous fridges in the middle of crowded restaurants, and absolutely relish in the pretence of the one-night-only pop up (most recently a rave inside a derelict factory in Shoreditch with giant bouncy castles, free whiskey cocktails and popcorn cannons.)

And these events follow very similar, very simple rules - no phones, no pictures, no material evidence you were ever even here -  just pure experience, that you can return home and relay to your friends and family with wide eyed wonder, a spectacle that must be seen, must be experienced, to be understood.

And for me, the latest discovery of this, is The Order of Never Hide.

In search of the next big secret, I stumbled across the Ray-Ban’s website and was directed to a dark little promiscuous-looking corner... and as my eyes began to take in the words, I was already hooked. And there is nothing I appreciate more than people who put a bloody good effort in to telling a good story.

The Order of Never Hide, a not-so-secret society is 'opening its doors to recruit new members' to invite them on down to a huge secret ceremony in London. To be in with a chance of being there, each person has to complete 5 'challenges' to test their worth. These challenges are composed to test the worth of each candidate, testing confidence and style, strength and badassery, your way with words, endurance and honesty.

Each challenge had a certain little thing you had to enter, from secret confessions to selfies, and once each one was submitted and each reward was unlocked, you'd be in the running to receive an invite to the top secret initiation part in London on 25th October, a night promising to be one hell of a party.

I didn't need much persuasion to enter, after the register page alone, I was in - this wasn't no bog standard fil-in-ya-deets kind of form, oh no. This was set up like an elaborate sacred oath,

 " I hereby declare that in the presence of The Great Internet and of the witnesses of any government spying on my computer, do hereby solemnly declare that I wish to join The ORDER OF NEVER HIDE; and I hereby promise that as a member of the least secretive secret society in the world, I WILL FOREVER NEVER HIDE MY ABILITY TO NEVER HIDE.'

I couldn't help but smile and clicked the 'I doth register' button.

The first challenge was 'Blend Like Camo' which required you to 'wage a war against boringness' and be brave, and upload a picture of yourself in your underwear.

Now I was pretty apprehensive about this.

Like 98.8% of the population, I'm not entirely comfortable with my body, and absolutely dreaded the thought of uploading a underwear selfie. But after some deliberation I decided to just bite the nail on the head and venture out of my comfort zone.

And you know, after I'd taken one or two and realised they weren't nearly as bad as I thought they were going to be, I really found myself relaxing and actually enjoying it. I opted for a bikini instead, and decided to submit this one. Yes you can't see all of my body, but in my eyes this was about creativity and expression, not nudity.

For me, that was the hard part over. And it only got more exciting from then on.

The next challenge was to show your badassery in the 'Tough As Leather' challenge. I knew instantly off the top of my head what makes me feel more badass then anything, so it was an easy photo to pick:

Learning the bass has been such an awesome thing, I honestly feel such a connection with the instrument and I can't wait til I can get good enough to play on stage with the boys. And I sure feel badass as hell playing it.

The next challenge, the 'Smooth as Velvet' challenge, was actually hilarious.

Now this requires you to have a webcam and microphone, as you're launched into a fictitious video call with either Jade or Pierre, two 'members' of the Order. There they will ask you one question to which you have to respond with your smoothest answer.

The question I was asked was: 'If you were a spy and could put anyone's bedroom under surveillance, who's would it be and why?'

To which I replied off the top of my head, "Mine, baby. So I could watch you sleeping next to me.'


At this point in the challenge, I'm marvelling in wonder at the effort and variety of this competition and impressed with how genuinely damned fun it is to enter.

The next challenge was also webcam based, the 'Strong as Titanium' challenge, which was a test of your ability to stay calm in the face of adversity - basically no matter what appeared in the video you could not flinch. I was provided with the option of the softcore or the hardcore version... Obvioulsy I knew which one to pick.

I shan't reveal the details of the clip but I must say I found it quite sad how easy it was to sit there expressionlessly watching the clip. Gah that's what the internet does to ya I suppose.

The final challenge, the 'Rugged as Denim' challenge asked you to reveal your deepest darkest secret anonymously to the world. Of course I'm not gonna tell you mine, but one I saw in the gallery which did crack me up was 'I threw a broken, stolen gift shop item down Niagara Falls'

My entries were sent off to be verified and it was complete.

I have to admit, this was the most fun I've ever had entering a competition ever, and despite the super top secret party being awesome, I'm not too fussed if I don't win. However, it would be absolutely bloody brilliant if one of you did, if there was a Scarphelia winner of this competition who got to go an experience the delights of the initiation! Ah I would absolutely love to know what goes on there, so I think we should make it happen.

Entering is so much fun and so simple, just head over to the Ray-Bans Order of  Never Hide page here, and get cracking. The competition closes on the 15th September, and winners are announced WC 22nd September ahead of the party on October 25th.

Overall, I've just got such a love of brands, companies and events which really take the time to celebrate the art of storytelling, and organise something of a spectacle for an audience, an elaborate feast of the senses which gets everyone excited. One day I'd love to organise something like this.

Something to think about anyway.

I'd love to hear about your entries and see what you entered, so feel free to tweet me your pics, and happy entering - let's make this winner, silver.