I saw the Grand Prix Priest on Sunday, underneath London Bridge, dancing a jig while waving a banner advertising the Second Coming. I was walking along the South Bank, from Waterloo Bridge to Tower Bridge by way of the Tate Modern. Spattered with rain, more cold and damp than one can be in comfort, I was just at the end of the stretch where the path slips away from the riverside itself and picks its way through the streets just off the river before it returns to the bank just after Southwark Cathedral.
I passed the cathedral, having briefly considered a period of sanctuary within, and coming back within sight of the river, I also found myself within hearing range of an Irish jig playing over a music system of some description. It was not loud enough to be a public performance so I assumed it was likely to be a busker, a busker with an instrument but accompanied by recorded music. (A gambit, I should say, which always fails in its purpose, if its purpose be persuading money from my wallet. I'll pay for a performance, but not for one somebody else recorded earlier.)
Turning right along the bank and dipping under the bridge, I saw - to my surprise, if it were possible any more to be surprised by the things one sees in London - a manic man, looking a little like Catweazle with a haircut and a recent change of clothing, cavorting in front of a CD player in a fashion which, if passably disorganised, was still enthusiastic. As he danced, he waved a banner - a banner scarcely any smaller than he was himself - which advertised not only the aforementioned Second Coming but his own status as a celebrity.
I walked past without hindrance. Without, in fact, even noticing whether he was collecting money, either for himself or for some religious cause. Possibly, given the imminence of the Apocalypse, he didn't think it necessary. I might have given him a fiver if he could have persuaded God to turn off the rain for the duration of the afternoon, but as he was located under the bridge he possibly lacked faith that a Divine Rethink - rather more rare than Divine Retribution - was on the cards.
He may even have been thinking that the rain was the precursor to a second Flood, or even the beginning of the same Divine Procedure. If that were the case, he might have been better off seeking the high ground rather than taking up station by the river. But of course, London is short of mountains. So one does what one can.