I'm just about to make my initial approach to the "winner or sinner guy". I've read up a bit on him, found a few articles on the internet, and I'm wary - some claim he used to be a werewolf and asked to be locked up around the full moon.
I wave to him while he is mid-flow, preaching to the masses coming out of Oxford Circus tube station. He stops, smiles and comes over to me. "Hello, sorry to interrupt, but I wonder if you can give me a second. Would you be interested in doing an interview for the b3ta.com website? It gets a lot of interest from around the world."
He smiles warmly, agrees with a simple "Yeah, ok" and asks if I "love the Lord". He starts to give a speech, but I'm running late for work. He gives me his mobile number (no, you can't have it!) and suggests we make arrangements later by phone.
Friday, Oxford Circus, 2pm. He's preaching his "sinner or winner" catchphrase (of which he has many) to the West End, trying to save the masses of people milling around. He spots me and starts telling Oxford Circus that I'm here to interview him for a website, making me cringe. He finishes his piece and comes over.
We find a small cafe 5 minutes from the teaming tube exits and take a seat downstairs. It's very busy and a few people say hello to him like he is an old friend. He is warm and relaxed, I'm a bit nervous.
How old are you?
50, the half-way stage of life.
What was your childhood like?
Great! Dad was a director of a big supermarket chain (Liptons) and gave us everything we wanted. Wherever we wanted to go, we went on holiday. He looked after us, bought me a car when I was a young kid, everything. We got everything new, never wanted for nought.
We had a crazy mother, I think it all went to her head. She was a proud woman, always arguing and battling with me. Dad was just interested in his career and growing the company. He encouraged me and my brothers, and we all built up big businesses before I committed to Christianity.
What's your happiest childhood memory?
Beating my brothers up, I think! (laughs)
Are you being serious?
Not really, they used to beat me up. My happiest childhood memory was probably winning prizes or performing on the stage at school.
And your worst memory?
My dad put the cane on my behind one night because he went to a parents' evening and found out that I'd got drunk on a school trip.
How did you get on at school, were you good academically?
I could have done better. By the age of 15 I was usually up and over the fence, going to the bookies, always gambling my money away because my dad taught me how to gamble when I was a kid.
I could have gone further, but I did get one Grade 1 in my exams and that was in Religious Education, funnily enough. I went on to A-levels but got out to go and make money.
So you've always been interested in the spiritual side?
Back then I mainly had an interest in money. I used to do the lovely old lady next door's back garden and throw soil over the weeds so I didn't have to pull them out. She used to pay me a fiver a time, and I just buried the weeds until I ran out of soil.
Did you go to Sunday School when you were a kid?
I did. Actually, I was sent 3 times a day. If I could dodge out of it, I would go to the sweet shop and spend the money that I got in the collection, or go to the park and watch football, but I found it quite boring. I don't like boring people, boring people send me snoring. If you're boring you're snoring.
What did you do after school?
I worked, I gambled, I went out with women, drove cars, went to casinos, partied, holidayed, chased the birds - and some chased me. I just had a good time sinning my life away.
For the first 5 years, sinning's always pleasurable. I always find that with any sort of pleasure it nobbles you in the end. Like when I used to go out with birds behind my wife's back - in the end that'd always come back to me.
Is it alright to put this in?
Of course, it's the truth! Sinning is always pleasurable for a while. I had a big timber business, and girls were attracted to me because of my flashy Jaguar and big house, but at the end of the day everybody was attracted to what I owned. And because I had loads of girlfriends, I started going out with girls behind my wife's back, you know what I mean?
It looked so attractive, having the fun and the possessions. I was a bit of a womaniser and I partied and had lots of fun. At the end of the day it always catches up with you, though - what goes round comes around. There's always a price to be paid in your guilt, and in your mind. You can end up with a very low self-esteem.
What jobs have you had before?
After I left school I worked for Littlewoods on computers when they first came out, the big Unilever company, FPD, insurance firms... I've also had a few of my own businesses in many many different things, even a multi-million pound timber company.
Why did you change your life?
I was in a cab one night, and the guy challenged me about his own Christian faith. I'd always had a Christian background as a youngster, always believed in the Lord but I slipped away. But that night the taxi driver told me I wasn't a success in God's eyes. A material success in man's eyes, but a spiritual failing in God's.
I re-evaluated my life and decided to start putting something back into society and turn back to God, to start obeying Him, living by His laws and loving Him and loving one another. I looked at my criminal record, my life, my goals, and I started to change, wanting to help people, invest in them, rather than things.
I said "God, I've been a sinner, make me a winner." And He had me working all over England, then preaching in London when Princess Diana died. She had 26 million in the bank while children in the Third World were starving. Why didn't she use her money to help those children? If she cared that much, why didn't she give some of that to them?
God said "do not worship man, worship God". Sometimes people can look good in the media's eyes, but not in God's. He knows what's behind the things they do. He knows what's in their hearts.
How do you make money now?
I don't need to. God said that whatever I need, he will always provide. I use my past investments and I spend wisely so I don't need a lot. My needs are met, not my wants. I had that life, a self-indulgent life, and I find you just waste it on human things. I do want more money, but only so I can help more people.
I'm thinking of writing a book about my life and my experiences and generate some money from that to help poor people. I don't know whether people would buy it, but I think they might. It would be good to be able to help the poorer kids of the world.
What are your favourite things about London?
I love the buzz. I love the compactness of the city. I love the atmosphere. I love the events that go on, and the diversity.
Which part of town do you live in?
A little hotel in Hyde Park.
Do you always walk the same route?
I go to Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester, Liverpool, Wales, North Wales, the Millennium Stadium, and even Athens for the Olympics. I go where my heart takes me. I like London the most so I stay here a lot, but I used to travel a lot more in the early days. I've been to Ibiza, Tenerife, everywhere. I put a lot of effort in, you know?
Liverpool is a lovely place to work as well. The people are very friendly, warm and humorous. Down-to-earth and they don't nick your hubcaps all the time!
Why wasn't Jesus born in Liverpool? They couldn't find 3 wise men or a virgin.
How many hours a day do you do this?
Usually at least 12, but I try to get in 14 if I can. In Glastonbury I've gone right through the night and done 48 hours preaching.
I bet you got hassle at Glastonbury?
Yeah, but I love it. I can thrive on it. I have a go at them, then calm them down. You learn how to play people in the end, you learn how to take the sting out of their words. You can turn negative people into positive people.
I've been to football games. Millwall was the best one. I told the Millwall supporters that if they behaved, they would get to Cardiff for the cup. This was at a West Ham game, and the West Ham lot went for the Millwall supporters during the game and they didn't react. And they did get to Cardiff. They arrived!
Have you ever feared for you life?
Yep! I had a guy once hold a gun to my head and say "I'll blow your brains out." Someone else tried to kill me on a train. I've had knives at my throat. I speak to thousands of people, so you will always get a few bad ones.
I've found a few articles about you on the internet. One said you were called Terry, another that you used to carry a scrapbook with religious images in. Is any of this true?
Well, my name is actually Phil, but I did have a scrapbook back before I had the megaphone.
My name is Kirk, it is Scottish gaelic for Church and means the same in many other languages. Did you know that?
I thought it meant "beam me up Scotty"? (laughs).
Is it true someone lent you a tenner at Waterloo station a few years back that you then used to buy a megaphone?
(laughs) Might be! Might have bought a glass of wine with it as well!
I've had about 25 megaphones in my time. They only last about six months or so and cost from £55 - £100. I had to use a little one once when someone tripped me up while my back was turned. I fell onto my megaphone and broke my arm. I was only down two days and bought a little one I could use with the other arm.
Was it deliberate do you think?
Oh aye, sinners aren't winners, see?
Where do get your catchphrases come from?
God is like Sainsbury's. Do you know why? He makes life taste better. He is likes Tesco's. Every little helps. I make them up as I go along. It's just being a bit creative.
God is a creator. So He wanted man to be creative as well. Not to be a zombie, following a system. Getting his ideas from others and basically walking around the shops all day being boring. He wanted people to be themselves, without inhibitions. Be true to yourself, not afraid of what others might think.
Most people know you for that catchphrase "be a winner not a sinner". You've seeped into the consciousness of Londoners, which I guess is what you wanted?
My colleague Trui says you drive her mad when you're in Oxford Street. She can hear you while she is trying to work and wants you to turn the megaphone down a bit.
Tell her I'll move to a different position. Will that help? (laughs). Ask her one thing: Does she want to see London improve? Should we walk away and let things get worse, let them get on with it?
There hasn't been a single serious incident at Oxford Circus for the last seven years while I've been there. God says He will bless the streets that the righteous man is on.
Have you ever used the internet?
People have used it for me, but I think we should be investing more in people and not machines. It bores me. I think it can brainwash people, take over the mind to the point where people just sit using it all day.
It does have its uses, though. I took my girlfriend to Athens this summer, and we booked that through the internet.
Have you ever downloaded games or films or anything like that?
No. A mate of mine downloaded music for me once, though.
Ever played video games?
No. I can't be bothered with them too much.
Do you own a TV?
No. I think TVs are for boring people - TVholics.
What do you think about the influx of porn?
Porn's for those with no cause. Porn's for the sinners, not for the winners.
You're obviously comfortable with being the centre of attention or having a lot of attention focused on you doing what you do?
What religion would you describe yourself as being?
A full-on, born-again Christian - trying to make London into a safer capital.
Tell me your favourite success story?
A Wrexham gypsy camp. They kept beating people up in the town centre. The kids were running amok in the town hospital. Pulling plugs out of dialysis machines, you know: bad things, naughty things. Patients got ill because of this behaviour!
I went to preach on the site. They rammed my car at first, so I went back there alone, without the car, and ended up living there for 6 weeks.
One of them hated me though, he beat me up six times. The seventh time I spoke to him he threw a cup of tea in my face, smashed the cup, and used it to cut me. My clothes were covered in blood. Some of the gypsies came out and gave me some clothes. His Mum and Dad banned him to his caravan.
I spoke to him the next day, he said "alright I'll talk to you, but not about God." I saw him change then, from someone that saw me as a real hated enemy and wanted to kill me. A bit of communication turned things around, he became a better role model for the kids, and things improved all round.
That's about perception-changing. How do you think people might see you after they read this?
I don't get the chance to speak to people in-depth, they only see what I say on the streets and don't know about my commitment to seeing London and the nation improve. To see kids turning back to go and the parent becoming good role models. Being proud of England and its flag, the only flag with a cross all the way though it (George cross).
People don't see my drive, my dream and vision. I want to be the best of the best, I want to see my country improve. God says "sin will take your nation down".
Any more success stories?
Going back about 12 years ago, I went onto the murderers' wing in Walton, and spent four days there. I met a man who killed his wife and child. He converted and changed his life around. He was the one that gave me that scrapbook. He had tremendous artistic ability and he turned all his artwork into an amazing scrapbook. I used to use that to preach to people. He has now been released from the system a changed man.
I like to able to stop people doing these things in the first place and stop them going into prison. That's another reason I preach on the streets of London. Oxford Street has about 1 million people going through every 3 days. I want to reach as many people as I can. I want to see Tony Blair, Ken Livingstone and the Queen, all of them changing into winners, not sinners.
I actually saw Ken Livingstone once, he said "I want votes, not Jesus."
Any other famous people?
William Hague, Seb Coe, Axl Rose (good bloke), TV presenter Jessica Whittaker was one of the nicest people, the Indian girl from Big Brother once, Wayne Rooney a couple of times and loads of other footballers in Liverpool.
I even met the Queen. She said "I haven't done so well have I? What have I done for Jesus? I've been on the throne for 50 years and haven't achieved much". I said "Your Majesty, you kept Charlie off it!"
What's been the best thing that's happened to you because of what you do?
There are so many things. I've made so many new friends, I'm always meeting new friends. I've done TV stuff, ITV, Granada BBC, Revelation TV, Robin Banks (Kiss FM) puts me on the show, newspapers. Time Out voted me fourth most famous Londoner, under the "eccentric" section. (laughs). The "sinner / winner man" they called me.
What do you write on your hands? I notice you've had things written on them when I've seen you.
Stay Alert, FF (fitness first). Mental, spiritual fitness and physical. You can train your mind to be negative or positive. You have to train it to be positive and that's where the Bible can help. SS (stay strong) and SC (Self control).
If your self-esteem goes down, you feel negative, you're not satisfied with life, and you want more of everything. Materialistic thinking comes in, then greed. That's how the Devil works. You never feel like you have enough, and there is no satisfaction level.
Have you ever had your heart broken?
Not broken. I think you have to guard your heart diligently. I've had my heart divided when I fell in love with a girl in Romania, and I felt I wanted to spend more time with her than following my commitment to GOD. She is a Christian as well, and we sometimes preach together.
She wanted more time with me as well, so my priorities changed from preaching on the street to spending more and more time with her. Now, no disrespect to her, but I wasn't focused at that time. She's a very special person to me, but I achieve more when I'm committed and focused.
Anyway, I invested a lot into it, and she is now helping others in her country.
But isn't it OK for you to be with who you want?
Yeah, but the Bible says that if you stay single, rather than dividing your time, you can achieve a lot more. You can put more effort into the things you want.
Name your top 5 mad / bad people?
Michael Jackson. David Beckham, so full of vanity, no christianity. Diana, I think she was a bit self-obsessed. The Queen, she is just a state puppet. Tony Blair, I think he is a weak-willed leader. He just goes along with Bush and doesn't have the strength of character to stand alone, to say no to America. He is hanging with bully-boy Bush to keep his power. He is not a strong leader.
Do you smoke?
Nah, if you smoke you're a joke. If you smoke you choke!
What's your star sign?
I don't know, I don't believe in it.
Any colour, but black is for the devil.
Oh come on, is there something that you would choose to eat?
What food do you dislike?
Do you have a sense of humour?
I told you I'm a scouser, don't be shy, give it a try...
Rooney or Beckham?
(laughs) ROONEY! He's more down-to-earth, more working class.
OK, some more B3TA questions.
(looks at me)
Daddy or chips?
Both. If your chips are down you need your Daddy (points skyward).
Ever seen a UFO?
I had my teeth knocked out one day with a punch. Got beaten up so badly on an estate once I nearly gave it all up. Three of the roughest men on the estate came to my aid funny enough. Not everyone's a winner, some are sinners.
What do you listen to on your headphones?
Music. Lots of different types. Happy songs, to keep me happy and jolly.
What's the point in life?
Worship GOD. Love your fellow man. Live right and sow good seeds instead of bad seeds. You reap what you sow.
Do you like melon?
When the end comes, what will be the last thing you do?
I'll be resurrected and go and meet the boss!
Are you available for children's parties?
(laughs) Yeah, if it's a big crowd, at least five thousand, then yeah.
Have you ever seen The Life of Brian and did you like it?
Never seen it. The Passion Of Christ was good, though, a true film.
What's your stance towards gays and hippies? Do you hate them?
No, I don't hate them. The gays should give women a go though, that was God's plan. I love homosexuals and hippies, I hate things like AIDS.
Isn't it possible to be a winner and a sinner?
No, you have to stop sinning to become a winner.
Do you think Michael Winner is an idiot?
A winner is someone in God's eyes who overcomes sin.
Does the deathbed repentance thing really work?
No, you must do it today. You might die tomorrow and you won't get one. You can't just come to God when you want, you can only come when he draws you. My uncle tried that. He died of cancer. On his deathbed he tried to find God and repent. He died a horrible death without knowing God. He couldn't repent. Without God you've got no love, a dangerous way to live.
Who are the Gideons and why have I never seen one of their churches?
They are an organisation who put bibles into places like hospitals and hotels. Where people might spend some time on their own and need some solace. The Gideons are not a church, but an organisation of businessmen who put the money into buying Bibles for those places. That's why it's called Gideon's Bible. Gideon was an old man in the New Testament who helped Israel.
Big Bang or God?
God! Next time you say "Bang" see if your house pops into existence overnight. It just doesn't work. It's not reality! Everything in creation is copied. We have planes, god made birds. The computer, the brain. The way your car engine get cooled down, your internal systems within your body. So much design is taken from nature, like the radar and the bat.
Love or Money?
Money won't buy you love, but it's good to have a bit to help others.
If thou shalt not kill is one of the commandments why are so many killed in God's name?
Because man is a hypocrite.
You have one wish, what is it?
See the world go back to GOD and everybody go to Heaven.
Anything you wish I'd asked, or want to add?
I'd like to see the young people of London becoming more loving towards one another, this city becoming more tolerant and loving. People repenting and going to heaven, not going to hell. If things don't change we will become more money-mad, and at the end of the day people will destroy themselves with selfishness.
Don't be shy, give God a try. Then the sinner will not die. It's been lovely to do this interview today I hope you get on that winning way.
I hope to see you in heaven one day and all the b3ta readers with me as well. The internet is the place today. We gotta put that message on the winning way. Turn to Jesus is the answer today, and read your bible every day.
I don't think Phil is mad, not by a long shot. He is just eccentric and passionate. Committed. He wants to write a book about his life and use the money made to help babies and orphans in Romania. He is looking for a publisher.
He shows me pictures of his girlfriend and their busman's holiday together in Athens, preaching to the masses. She is pretty.
An hour with Phil has been interesting. I don't attend church, and will continue not to.
Illustrations by Dr. Frank, Damocles and oCo - 98% unsure -
Our thanks to Robert Tinsley for editing the interview, and webifying the result.