Friday, March 14, 2008

Flash in the Pan?

I have been invited to join a Flashmob group on Facebook. A quick search revealed that there are in fact several of these groups in Oxford, the two biggest being The Official Flashmob group of Oxford and Flashmob Oxford.

I've heard of these things like the great sock worship event in Loughborough:

I've never seen any in Oxford though. The groups list their past accomplishments:

4. SCLIRENDONELLA (superstition)
5. DASHFODILTAP special thanks to the Wizard of Oz
6. lETs mAKe A rauCOUS

Some of these seem to involve instructions like 'bring a toothbrush and towel' or 'needed: 1 accordian, 1 didgeridoo'...intriguing stuff!

The basic idea is that a time and place is messaged round to everyone in the group, who are told at the last minute what to do. This can include a slow motion fight, waking backwards, a spontaneous musical performance or mass interest in something, playing on the idea that if a whole crowd of people find something interesting, it must be!

I must admit, I find the idea quite appealling. Can you imagine the confuzzlement of the professors staggering out of the
Bodleian library at closing time to find themselves surrounded by people in dressing gowns brushing their teeth? Or the OAP tour groups contemplating the tranquility of Magdalen College only to find an impromptu orchestra bursting into song as the clock strikes 3.

That said, I wonder how many members of these groups actually go to these things. I'm sure they're hilarious if several hundred people turn up, but reduce that to 10 or 15 and you're just another one of those quirky groups of people behaving slightly strangely, which you get so used to in Oxford.

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