There’s a man who stands outside Brixton station some days – not every day – and tells the commuters about god. I’ve never spoken to him, because he’s not of the school of street preaching that encourages audience participation (he is more of a thousand yard stare man), and I’ve never really thought much about him, but I have vaguely noticed that he always, without exception, wears an Arsenal hat. I assumed it was just his hat. Hey, some people like to wear hats. I like to wear hats, and I have a selection that sees me through all the seasons. But some people have one hat.
Yesterday, though, I suddenly wondered whether there wasn’t more to his hat than I had thought. If you are a street preacher, how do you decide when it’s time to do a little street preaching? Does the urge rise within you unbidden, or does something have to happen that goads you into going out and praying at the people of Brixton? And what that might be? No way of knowing, of course – unless! Is the hat a clue? Arsenal, you see, went out of the Champions’ League on Tuesday night in a trouncing by Barcelona. And on Wednesday morning there he was, glaring at the sky and telling us about Jesus. Could his praying patterns possibly be football-related? After all, you wouldn’t wear an Arsenal hat every day, whatever the weather, if you didn’t care, would you?
So I’m going to start following the fortunes of Arsenal FC (the things I do for you) and I’ll report back if there does seem to be a correlation between their ups and downs and those of the sermoniser of SW9.
(Edit: There was another whole bit here before, but it was about work, and on reflection I think it was ill-advised. I’ll tell you all about work another day.)