Twenty minutes before it started the only sign of impending activtiy were two bored-looking policemen.
I imagined the shout
- "All units, we have a report of a pillow fight starting imminently on Leadenhall, Urgent Assistance required"
- "Control this is Charlie Oscar - will deal"
-"Roger Charlie Oscar, do you require back up?"
- "Negative control, have on board water-pistols and anyway all vehicles are classed as homey"
By 18:10 things were busier: an impressive crowd of net-savvy mobile-phone and camera wielding bloggers had gathered were tightly encircling a small crowd of sheepish looking intending cushion-coshers. It was a flashmob waiting to happen.
At the stoke of 18.12 a whistle blew and the square went crazy, erupting in a series of flashes and whirrs as the billion monkeys - as one - pulled out their concealed phones and held them aloft, arms bobbing as they paused to re-set them to 'night' mode, and raised them a second time. In the centre of the square, pillows swung, bashed and burst.
Passers-by were suitably amazed
- "What it is it Mark?"
-"It's one of those things they organise on the internet"
- "Oh, right, I see"
Amidst the frenzy of photogenic feathers one breathess participant interrupted his filming just long enough to make a phone call - "Mate you've got to look out of the window and see what's happening outside your office!"
I received text and my phone dutifully stopped recording to offer it up to me. It's not often I get a chance to text back sori. runin l8. gn 2 c a pilo fite so I didn't miss this one.
In the middle of the square, people laughed, shrieked and flailed. Around the edge, cameras flashed some more, feathers flew, phones rang polyphonically.
After about 10 minutes the police must have spotted an Al Quaeda suspect with a pillow full of Polonium 210 or something, as a quick, angry burst of their siren signalled the end of the fun. "Move along now! Nothing to video here"
It was all over but for a moment - just a fleeting one - but a nevertheless a real moment, it seemed the police had moved a bit preemptorily, and some hackles were raised. No one was doing any harm....how can they just stop us....it's a free country..... and I seemed to catch a glimpse - just a tiny glimpse - of a real mob.
And the feathers weren't quite so funny any more.
One day, one of these flashmobs is going to get out of hand.
Other bloggers who were there
Seamus Macauley Mikko