Picture this: you’re in a train station, have just bought your tickets and are walking with your suitcase towards a screen to check your platform when suddenly a man next to you blows a whistle and practically everyone in front of you freezes. There are about fifty people in all kind of positions such as pointing, opening umbrellas, hugging and even fighting but they are all standing completely still as a statue. You don’t know how to react; you just end up staring in a state of confusion and disbelief at what’s going on around you. Why is everyone suddenly motionless? Suddenly, the man blows the whistle again and once everyone goes back to moving, talking and continuing with their daily life. So, what was that all about? I can tell you, the reason for this is most likely that you ended up in the middle of a flashmob.
“A what?” I hear you ask. A “flashmob”. These are organised events where a group of people suddenly descend on a public place for a brief period of time for an unusual (and often pointless) act, often attracting lots of attention and puzzled reactions, and then disperse again! Flashmobs were originally created as a social experiment to highlight the idea of “conformity”. They are organised via the internet, where people are given a place and time and turn up out of their own free will.
So far I have been in two flashmobs and I really enjoyed them both! The first time we descended on a train station like in the description above (I was shaking my friend’s hand when the whistle was blown) and it was hard not to laugh at some people’s reactions to one hundred or so statue-like students in a busy station. The second time was a bit more complex as I had to learn a song and a dance beforehand and, in a group of about fifty people, casually had to try and blend in with the crowds on a busy street, browsing shop windows or walking along the pavement and then suddenly a man started playing a few chords on his electric guitar. This didn't turn any heads as busking is very common in the U.K. but, little by little, we all took to our places and the next thing we knew, we were belting out the first few lines of the song, complete with hand actions, jumps and twists! I had so much fun and we gathered quite a crowd, many of whom actually recorded our mini performance.
There have been loads of flashmobs around the world, including organised pillow fights, dance moves, gymnastics routines and silent discos, where people gather and begin dancing to their own music from headphones! I bet that they’re very funny for passers-by as they can’t hear the music that these people are boogying to! Have you ever been in a flashmob? Whether you’re in one or watching one, it’s bound to be a lot of fun, so don’t be afraid to give it a go!