Journey through space to the Planet Fabulous, where the Ruler of the Universe will see you shortly.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Preach to the Stars

There’s something in this world that makes people visibly tense more than spiders and the theme tune to Star Trek: Enterprise, and that’s street preachers. We are spoilt for choice here within the capitol, from the corpulent housewife who bellows from Revelation outside LaSenza, to the African beard with a man attached outside Sainsbury’s Local, yet none retain the majesty of the leathery uber-preacher outside Oxford Circus tube station. If I were to say to you ‘Why be a sinner, when you can be a winner?’ and your eyes light up like the proverbial burning bush, we are aware that you’ve come across him on your delectable travels.

You can often wonder why these preachers are doing what they are doing, humiliating themselves in front of so many people on a hourly basis; with this righteous eighth wonder of the world, you just know he got a catchphrase that he appears inordinately proud of (“Why be a sinner, when you can be a winner?”) and bought himself a microphone and went from there. God likes winners, apparently. Which is nice, as I hate to loose. I’m positively an animal at Connect 4. Unfortunately I also like most things on the list he gamely reads out, including filthy bumsex, swearing and coveting my neighbour’s ass (particularly when the wall between his and my bedroom is so thin).

He is, however, nothing like the son of a preacher man described by the divine Dusty, for I certainly wouldn’t be walking through the back yard and looking into his beady eyes. As the streets of the big city can blind you with bright lights, slimming aids and prostitution, it’s nice to know that humanity’s moral compass is easily accessible on the Central line.

Several people have run across him when he’s not shouting and trying to be friends with people, including my lovely housemate Ian while in a pub. He appeared at the bar, downed a pint and wandered off back out into the streets to win, not sin. We were left perplexed, pondering whether alcohol was a heavenly crime to this man until we surmised that the blood of Christ was 60% proof anyway, and so beer must be Jesus’s sweat. Goodness knows that the awful vodka you can get from Tesco with the laser-printed label and the potato nigh-on floating on it is as close to Christ’s piss you’re ever going to get.

Anyway. Preacher man has been known to approach people to talk to them about sinning and winning, for which the reactions are delightfully extreme from these possible convertees. He’s never come near me - his beady eyes have flicked over to me when we cross paths on the street, but I think the feeling is I may convert him first. Indeed, I believe sinning to be relative: to him swearing, jealousy and everything else is a sin. To me: wearing white socks and neglecting deodorant is the most damnable crime. We are at loggerheads it seems.

Thus, I am tempted to beat him at his own game, a showdown if you will. I shall buy a megaphone. I shall stand before him, bellowing Girls Aloud lyrics like they are from the Book of Genesis. One of us will go down in flames, I’m sure, but it will be worth it.

May the loudest survive.

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