Let’s get something straight: I’m a tiny, tiny bit addicted to the live stream of Antony Gormley’s “One & Other”. This is something probably compounded by the excitement when for some reason or other I find myself passing through Trafalgar Square and can see FOR REAL what is happening. I imagine it’s the kind of feeling I would have gotten had I been allowed to wander into the Big Brother house mid series two.
Of course some of the stuff on the plinth has been the equivalent of Big Brother Contestants doing the washing up and not talking (do not mock, yes I have watched Big Brother Contestants wash up. What can I say, I was an Undergraduate with a maxed out overdraft and…okay no more excuses). But there’s also been incredible inventiveness, oddly troubling moments and then those moments that just make you stop.
I honestly can’t think of a better way of using the empty plinth than to celebrate the ingenuity, mundanity and all round insanity of those who live in this country.
So I was somewhat chuffed when I read that the Blogger Mike Atkinson, otherwise known as Troubled Diva, is going up on the plinth with the kind of crazy scheme that makes me want to jump with a little bit of joy. For he’s going to be dancing to a specially prepared soundtrack – and he’s encouraging everyone else to participate too, either in Trafalgar Square if you can make it in person or via the web if you can’t. The Ultimate Plinth Mix is up and ready to be downloaded or streamed – though the idea is not to listen to the songs beforehand so no peeking.
As I’ve mentioned, I’m a sucker for popular music telling a story, and this reponse to the project emphatically does that. Plus, as anyone who has at some point in their life waved their arms above their heads with little regard for public safety will know, there is something totally wonderful about closing your eyes and flailing your body to music.
Maybe most importantly however, and the thing that really made this idea stand out to me, was the fact that this is about both the individual and the community. Yes, Troubled Diva will be the man on the Plinth and the songs chosen are ones that mean something to him but if you close your eyes and dance then you are part of the narrative too. And you can create your own story whether you’re on the Plinth, in Trafalgar Square or watching a computer screen in a room hundreds (or thousands) of miles away. And that is exactly why this is a little bit special.