By Ben Conway
This is not a SCAB about ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’. Sorry.
I look at what I come to learn is a yellow bellied knob-head rush past Brixton’s most well known preacher. He shouts with a noticeable quiver in his voice. ‘SHUT UP MATE’. To no effect Carlton, past referred to as the Brixton preacher, unfazed, carries on preaching.
At no point before seeing this happen had I felt any sympathy for him. He’s just that guy who spouts religious waffle in the mornings by the station. It’s a recognisable quirk of Brixton. So when I was stood up three days in a row for the Easter holidays, and by stood up we never arranged anything. I wondered why he does this?
Daily abuse from the public and the reward being as little as a hello, wave or nod of approval. The man is hard. And listening to him proved that. He repeats the same passages over and over, reciting the core message. We are all sinners and need to repent.
I’m not entirely convinced by sins like pride. But at least he is committed.
Standing next to Carlton for fifteen minutes proved to me something that Steve Harrison has hammered home to us all week. Interrogate the product. Get to know it and it’s quirks. The problems it faces. How those problems can be solved and in the case of this passion project, how Carlton can help other people. How can we make it personal to the audience? Will it become as personal to the other stations if we move him around? Would this take Brixton away from Brixton? Or is he just noise that will unclog the stations air once he is gone?
We were told there is a phrase for things that are useful but not needed earlier in the year, like the selfie stick. Preaching seems to be like one of those things. Because Carlton isn’t solving a problem for me, but when I step out of Brixton station I instantly know where I am because of him (I haven’t by the way, had a few drinks by now. I do come to Brixton with the intention of knowing where I am going).
I’ve had a nervousness about doing this project about him, just as long as I don’t hit the bar or higher, of that bloke on the scale of not-being-a-knob to complete knobishness. He really does sound like a dick.
So to end, here is the clip of him telling Carlton to shut up. Just audio, but you’ll get the jist. If you want to catch Carlton, he works around Brixton station in the mornings around 8-9ish. Anywhere from Iceland to Sainsbury’s, or inside Brixton Village. Watch out for the EP/Mix tape. Coming soon*
*Soon may indicate in the coming weeks, but if God made the world in seven days then something more perfect than that will take longer.