Like Jerry says

The word most commonly associated with Jerry Clinton is cult.

That’s not a spelling mistake.

I once heard a university lecturer say that movement was a more appropriate description than cult but it’s a fine line and barking is in the eye of the beholder.

According to wikipedia he started off as a street entertainer but that’s not strictly true. He started off as a personnel manager for a company that made children’s shoes. Some of you won’t remember personnel managers, they used to be pretty important before bulshitters with MBAs took over the world and replaced them with Human Resource Directors. When the company he worked for was bought out by an Italian millionaire who moved production to Hong Kong, accounts to Munich & administration to Bruges, that’s when he became a street entertainer.

Not immediately of course. I mean nobody becomes a street entertainer just like that. First you need to suffer with depression, anxiety and existential angst. Then you need to develop a pretty unpleasant alcohol dependancy and finally you spit in your wife’s face and abandon the three young children who adore you.

I’m not sure if that’s the standard route but it was the one he chose. I mean there are other ways. He could have gone to drama school but that would involve the same amount of malaise and substance abuse but would require you to spend time with people who think improv is an art form.

I digress.

I do.

A lot.

Anyway. Jerry bummed around the streets of London, Nottingham and Cardiff before he ended up in Bristol. By this point he’d been living in slums, squats and sheds for nearly eight years. The combination of cheap wine, head injuries and loneliness had upgraded a mild malaise into full on mental illness. He spent his days wandering the streets sprouting incomprehensible gibberish at the top of his voice and spent his nights sleeping in a church. In most places he’d have been put into care but this was Bristol. I don’t know if you’ve ever spent much time in Bristol but it’s twinned with Bedlam and schizophrenia is seen as more of a lifestyle choice than an illness.

As his street rantings became more and more deluded, they began to strike a chord with people who heard them. It was as if the world was becoming so mixed up that only the words of a lunatic made sense. People used to gather in the street to listen to him scream about the creatures of the deepest skies, the walls that had eyes and the dangers of puff pastry.

People began wearing T-Shirts adorned with his face and words of wisdom. Graffiti artists tagged local architecture with the slogan “like Jerry says” but it was the you tube videos that turned him into a global sensation.

Right now he’s on his third tour of North America.

Last year ‘like Jerry says” merchandising generate $13,000,000.

Robin Williams has just bought the movie rights to The Jerry Clinton Story.

Jerry Clinton is many things to many people; messiah, preacher, media sensation, prophet, con-man, philosopher, force of nature, inspiration, people’s poet.

But to me Jerry Clinton will always be the father I adored.

Which is why I’m about to shoot him.

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