Friday, July 24, 2009

Stripping on the plinth

Are you one of those people who always seems to miss the really funny moment, or the moment when someone gets egg on their face, and you wish you had been there? I always reckon that I am one of those, but today I caught the moment on my PC screen.

Last November I wrote about Christmas catalogue shopping, and posted this picture of actor Sacha Baron Cohen, not so much in admiration as in astonishment that anyone should want to either buy or wear such a thing. In fact I found the picture so lacking in appeal that I nearly withdrew the post. But I'm glad I didn't. I did comment though that the garment did not look very secure, and I wondered if the shoulder straps went down the back to a sort of g-string between the legs. Well, this morning I found out. It isn't; and they do!

One of the 'plinthers' doing his hour-long stint as a live statue in Trafalgar Square, was a young man calling himself Piehead, and describing himself as Cynical, Bewildered and Disorganised. Well, he seemed pretty well organised to me: he took up with him a lavatory bowl and seat (and toilet paper), a bubble blowing device which blew bubbles out of the toilet, a lot of notices on cards, and a small tent. He had dressed himself in combat trousers (over pants), and layers and layers of T-shirts with different slogans on them.

He spent most of his time sitting on the toilet with his trousers round his ankles, and as his hour rolled by he alternated holding up his notices to the cameras with stripping off a T-shirt, until he was down to his last one of each. His final notice was "Do you want to see me put the 'man' into 'mankini?" When he got an affirmative (though not madly enthusiastic) vote, he stood up, said "this is my crowning moment", pulled off the last T-shirt and revealed that he was wearing one of those horrible garments modelled by the actor. Next his hands went to his pants and down they went, only to be be pulled up again at top speed. The young man's personal tackle had become somewhat disarranged and needing restoring to modesty p.d.q.!

I was interested to know whether such an unfortunate moment would be censored by the editors, and this evening I went back to the website to click on the video of Piehead's performance. The joke is that although it appears that they have tried to stop the video just before the awkward moment, they have actually ended it precisely at that moment, so that there is now a still picture of it on the One&Other website. If you don't believe me have a look for yourself here. Tune in at 59.00 minutes through his run.

I should say that aside from that unfortunate accident, the young man comported himself with absolute propriety while I watched him, and provided one of the more interesting performances that I have been able to catch. I am laughing, not at him but with him, in heartfelt sympathy.


herhimnbryn said...


Susan said...

That gave me a giggle! Thought it might have been censored here but as it is an "Arts" site it slipped though.

Judith said...

Yesterday there was a fella who did "the full Monty", stripping completely, and absolutely by design. It wasn't just a flash, either, he stood proud and tall at the four corners of the plinth for quite a while, before putting his clothes on again. It set me wondering if it is still against the law to "expose yourself" in public in Britain, other than in designated nudist areas. Probably not - I must look it up. Anyway, the organisers of the Project don't appear to mind.

Pam said...

Actually you can see the rest of his performance if you look at the next video - he actually takes up over four minutes of that! (

(Her name is Ellen Ziegler if that link doesn't work)

Pam said...

PS I'm sure I read somewhere that Anthony Gormley said participants could do anything they wanted to, and he was hoping that someone might take their clothes off!

Pam said...

Me again - I've just watched Lilac Bonzai (the "stripper") and loved his performance! It was beautiful; he had several changes of costume, and for me the best one was when he became The Angel of the North.

Towards the end he described himself as "The People's Plinthess".

I think this is what One and Other is all about.

Judith said...

Yes, I watched Lilac Bonzai too. I find it strange that his simple and total nudity seemed somehow less of an 'exposure' than Piehead's accident with the apalling 'mankini'. I suppose it's a question of context and style of presentation.

printer cartridge supplies said...

Nice one! Thanks for the laugh. Good thing I didn't miss this one.

Anonymous said...

hmm, well on another forum I read there is a link to an (apparently)superimposed head of Gordon brown on the body of the stripped man. This is also coupled with an (apparently) reported 'rescue' of poor Gordon by some other liar/politico. Very funny and so sorry I can't find the piece to add as a link.