wordsout by godfrey rust
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How meeting Geoff Shattock 
changed my life completely

A personal testimony for Geoff's 40th birthday 

Years ago I used to work in a bakery, but I only did it because I kneaded the dough. We had a roll call every morning. At that time my life was aimless. I would wander around from one abandoned church to another, playing games of bingo. Then I met Geoff, and he saved me from this life in an extraordinary way.

I knew about him already, of course. His cult album, Geoff Shattock Live, was played regularly at the weekend raves I attended. One day, while I was driving in my car, humming along to the in-tune verse of What Is It You’re Searching For?, I noticed another car was on my tail. I say “car” in the loosest sense of the word. It had apparently once been a Renault 21 and was now being exhibited regularly at Christian resource exhibitions under a banner saying “Yes, you too can get away with letting your pastor drive around in a death-trap like this!”  It was being driven by a man who clearly had a determined approach to life, though I couldn’t really see him as his head didn’t quite come up above the top of the steering wheel. He was very close to my tail and flashing his lights. I speeded up. He followed. I turned left. So did he. I turned right. So did he. I did a U-turn. He did a handbrake turn. Panicked, I accelerated as fast as I could, but couldn’t shake him off. By now he was so close I could almost smell the “Magic Tree” hanging from his rear view mirror. I screeched into a petrol station and slammed on the brakes. He stopped inches behind me, leaped from his car, flung open my rear passenger door and saved me from a dreadful fate. Grabbing me firmly by the throat he screamed “Why are you are driving a Ford Escort?!”

Now that Geoff is in my life of course I have learned what true prejudice is, but we have all done things we are ashamed of, and can be grateful for Geoff’s forgiveness. In the 14 years since I prayed that prayer (it was, I remember, simply “Lord, please get this maniac away from me”) he has changed me completely. What immediately impressed me about Geoff was the simplicity of his lifestyle. So long as he had a five bedroom house, the latest electronic gadgets, a limitless supply of Portuguese beer and someone else’s Volvo to drive he was completely content. Even on that first encounter I sensed, out of my own inadequacy, that Geoff had what I needed most: the ability to find cheap hifi. 

Before I met Geoff I used to get depressed. Now I know him I still get depressed of course, but at least I’ve got someone to blame it on. Here was something to aspire to: a man who could get homicidal while preparing talks on stress management. His musical ability I also found compelling - I knew I could safely stand alongside him and look good. And another thing that annoys me about Geoff is that he’s so attractive. And the most under-rated evangelist in England. And he could have been a professional footballer. And all you have to do is put together these pieces of evidence in any other way to show that this story isn’t true, and you can have Geoff’s car. Knowing Geoff, it was probably yours anyway. I know mine was.

Happy fortieth birthday, Shattockand. With love from Rust.

Not sure when or where this was read. It is largely a parody of various remarks, illustrations or jokes Geoff used in his talk: being a travelling  evangelist he could re-use material more or less without limit as he was addressing a different audience each time.