Monday, 6 December 2010


Such a question being addressed to me in the street by a stranger would not be worth commenting on were it not about the fifth time it’s happened to me this year. It has not so much ruffled my agnostic feathers as made me ponder deeply on perception – the magic tool of the marketer.

And talking of magic here’s what David Berglas, Former President of the Magic Circle, said on talking about Harry Houdini: “It’s not the trick, it’s the presentation that counts.” Not that Harry wasn’t a genius …no, but he was an especially brilliant actor.

Change can impact on perception. The weather has hit my perception of life. On Saturday when I awoke in Brighton which had just undergone unusually brutal Arctic weather to find all the snow melted I had this weird feeling that Christmas had just come and gone.

WikiLeaks has changed a few perceptions too – the Americans are good guys – a bit on the naïve side but nice and the Russians are rascals. Rascals because a Spaniard said so, said it was run by the Mafia – have you noticed how this opinion has in a flash become established fact?

And FIFA. England’s derisory vote has brought about a sphincter tightening sense of national isolationism not experienced since the Suez crisis. We are a bit like Millwall Football Club and their battle cry “nobody likes us and we don’t care”.

It’s not that they don’t like us just that they don’t rate us…little England v. Big New World Russia ….the past v. the future… Cameron v. Putin (even an absent Putin)….a huge deficit v. loadsamoney. A man from Mars would have chosen Russia purely on commercial grounds. Our perception of ourselves is awry.

Back to our priest – and who wouldn’t have wanted to be one if they could have become a bishop with a great hat like that? There was something curiously exciting to have been taken for something I was not. I left this encounter preening my feathers, as it were, and feeling remarkably cheerful. Looking back at this, a rich news week I thought “we just don’t do boring around here any more do we?”

At least that’s my perception.

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