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i attended my first flashmob this evening, even cutting short free beers up City Hall near Tower Bridge to get there. it was the paddington station mobile club event where you turn up and dance to your own music on your own headphones. and there were plenty of people there.

i got there with seconds to spare before it kicked off. here is the silence then the start (then it got a bit jiggly so i stopped recording)

i'd had my ipod on for a few minutes before the alloted time and when it got to 19:18 i started dancing to sly and the family stone's "it's a family affair" which seemed apt.

i enjoyed watching the outlying dancers as i departed.

here's my top 10 tips for anyone thinking of attending a flashmob:

10 things I learnt about a silent disco flash mob

1 being there at the start is a fantastic thing. The expectation of what's going to happen and the last minute preparations as people strip off their outer layers to reveal their disco suites is fantastic

2. Silent discos aren't totally silent. There's still lots of impromptu whooping and gaffawing. don't be worried if people start cheering.

3 its probablly obvious, but silent discos mean people can't hear each other's music meaning you're all listening to different styles. As a result there's some common euphora missing which would be there in a sound enabled disco. and people move in all sorts of unexpected ways. everyone was smiling though and i did some robot dance with a random fellow.

4 preparing music in advance is a good idea - especially if you want to avoid the following popping up when you are on shuffle mode:

* periods of silences between tracks (difficult to dance to);
* slow album tracks (you may want a smooch but chances are your neighbour is listening to some heavy hi-nrg dance music) and/or ;
* spoken word podcasts (perhaps you can interpret their pros through the medium of dance)

5 there can be loneliness in crowds - go with a friend. I went to my first flash mob alone and as a result it was a bit lonely. There were plenty of others there of course and a few knowing glances were shared but its not the same as going with a friend and having a knowing giggle. If I'd been braver and thrown myself in to the throng things could have been better but I couldn't because i didn't take account of the next point

6 where appropriate clothes and take only mininal valuables. I was dressed in a suite and ski jacket meaning I was hot before I started. Add my backpack to that containing my SLR camera and a giant hardback book on the future of communicatins regulation and you can see I wasn't really set up for a mad boogie. Instead it would have been worth arriving 30mins early and putting my stuff in the Left Luggage so I'd be free to freeform. Instead I was dressed like an arctic explorer complete with survival backpack

7 don't stop once you've started. If you walk away for a while (to nip to the loo for example) you'll realise how silly you probably look and you might find it tricky to join back in

8 when you do stop walk round the place for a while and enjoy the spectacle from outside. Look for oulaying groups of boogiers. And admire those who have the stamina to cling to the centre of the fun. At the same time you should look at the expressions of members of the public who just
happen to have stumbled in to the party.

9 dress to impress and don't mind being photographed. Due to the media friendly status of flashmobs in this modern age, photographers and participants were evenly matched in terms of numbers so the chance of having your photo taken was quite high. Those most likely to have their photos taken were people business people letting their hair down, completely mad dancers and those wearing the most fantastic costumes

10 Don't hold back - totally go for it. You look stupid and your behaving madly in a public place. This is not normal (probably) so you might as well throw yourself in to the spirit of the thing. aim to have a fantastic time and you will.


Andy said:

Funky, my continued admiration for you knows no bounds.

funkypancake Author Profile Page said:

i should have let you know and we could have met there for a boogie !

Andy said:

I think "rock around the clock" would make for an interesting "silent" bop.

11th thing: A Brompton folding bike makes a lousy dance partner. My old commute had me pass through Paddington during a number of previous FM events (not to mention a divert to join one at Liv. St) and I found the Brompton hindered my moves somewhat.

funkypancake Author Profile Page said:

but i thought the brompton was the ultimate in flexibility ?

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