Just off the Haggerston Road sits Hackney Pentecostal Apostolic Church, and as I’d had two pints I stopped outside to listen to the Sunday songs. It was a good feeling, standing in the cold watching people praising the Lord, their rousing Gospel spilling out into the street where I stood with my hands in my pockets.
Churches are bright and inviting places when they’re full of people singing, which may go some way to the enduring popularity of organised religion. People like being around people who dance. That’s why Michael Jackson had so many friends.
I hadn’t been standing there thirty seconds when a man appeared and told me I should come inside. Oh no, I said, I’m just listening to the music. It’s nice. The man had an open and inviting face, a well-groomed moustache, and fervour in his eyes. You should come inside, he repeated, as I stood there feeling like Zacchaeus. He was quite insistent, but in no way overbearing. You must come inside, he said. I refused once more. I might miss my train, I invented. I have to go.
If I must take a learning from this episode and engineer some flimsy connection to advertising, it would be that if you can make your product seem appealing without being overbearing (as did the man with the moustache), and maybe include some nice music, you’ll make people want to come to your party. At least after they’ve run out of fake trains to miss. But there isn’t really any connection to advertising, so I’m not going to manufacture one. It was just a small moment that happened on my journey home, where a man who may or may not have been Jesus appeared and asked me to join him and his children forever after in the Kingdom of Heaven. Let’s not make a big song and dance about it.