The South Bank is odd. It’s one of my favourite places in London, the brutalist architecture around the Southbank Centre speaks of a brighter vision of the future born out of the ashes of the Festival of Britain and to an extent still retains that sense of optimism, of being a place for the people, of embracing different kinds of culture. However, wander towards County Hall, under the bridge and it will be like you’ve emerged from some kind of tack vortex. By the post-millennial waste ground in the shadow of the London Eye you’ll find all manner of diverting crap designed to part gullible tourists from their money. The very worst of which has to be those bloody “living statues”.
I’ve mentioned them on this site before… here. In fact the above “statue” may have even been prompted to change his look after I publicly speculated that his entire set up may just be an elaborate way for him to masturbate in public (here). There is just something about their misplaced smugness, the fact that none of them stay still anymore. Yes I accept that they are living statues and therefore might be expected to move but half of these people don’t even look like statues anymore. They’re just people in fancy dress. You used to get committed, professional people standing around Covent Garden wearing specially treated clothes that looked like they were made of bronze, layered in bronze effect makeup, staying perfectly still for weeks at a time. One guy even had a bicycle painted bronze that he would stand next to whilst wearing a top hat. I’m a peace loving, scared-of-violence, type of guy but for some unaccountable reason whenever I saw him I had to resist a base urge to knock his bronze top hat off with a swift punch to the head. Maybe it was the horrendously pompous look perma etched on his bronzy visage that did it to me, I’m not sure. ( I haven’t seen him for a while now. In my mind his prolonged use of bronze make up has left him shrivelled and irreparably poisoned in a specialist unit somewhere, regretting forever his career choice) Whatever it was about him it broke a floodgate and now I actively despise these people.
Let’s meet a few I spotted in just five minutes on the South Bank.
Holyfuckingchristallmighty! Is that Michael Myers from the Halloween movies dressed up as Michael Jackson? At least this guy has gone to the effort of looking at least a little statuesque….even if the results are terrifying.
So hang on, you’re supposed to be Margaret Thatcher dressed as the Queen? Or even the Queen wearing a cheap Thatcher mask. Either way I’m not sold on this. Sorry, you wanted some money for me taking your picture? I think not.
Donald and Daisy Duck. Not still like statues, merely wearing fancy dress and waving at people. On a cold and windy day next to the Thames this seems absurd, at Disneyland magical, here absurd. They could also do with a wash.
Uh oh. Trouble brewing between Minnie and Mickey here. She’s probably asking why the hell Mickey listened to Donald and followed him down here when they could still be living it up at the Magic Kingdom.
Another Michael Jackson?! Equally as frightening as the one before but this time animated and mysteriously clutching a Norwegian flag….as well as a small boy. Weird. The kids parents clearly have a great sense of humour.
I didn’t stick around long enough to discover if there was an inter-Jackson rivalry between the two kings of pop. There was one other statue I didn’t photograph, a silver man dressed in Elizabethan clothes who struck all sorts of carefully considered and graceful poses every time I approached with my camera. He made me feel uneasy, like I was mocking his years of dedication to his art…which of course I was.