Freezing out in the cold – Flashmobbers strike again

Posted on December 13, 2009 by

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Flashmobbers once again took to the streets of Southampton yesterday, with over 100 people ‘freezing’ for 5 minutes outside West Quay shopping centre.

Participants 'freeze' in the CPR position during Saturday's Flashmob

This is the 4th such flashmob in the last year in Southampton, but the first to be organised not specifically by Southampton University students.  Although over 3000 claimed to be intending to attend on the facebook event page which organised it, enough people still turned out to make it into a noticeable spectacle in the midst of the height of christmas consumerism.

The event was timed to occur on the same day as many similar events around the world meant to highlight the ongoing Copenhagen Climate Talks and public willingness for climate action, although some questioned whether the attendees we’re present to support this message or just to enjoy the flashmob.

Some also raised concerns about the close links between the event and a local club, Wahoo, which offered pre and post-drinks to attendees, with some suggesting that the club might have been using the opportunity to greenwash a promotional event for themselves.  However, the Blowhole has learnt that Wahoo only became involved at a later stage and didn’t instigate the event, and was also offering free food and coverage by video cameras as they felt it was a worthy cause.

Some local residents have poured scorn on the event, as has been the case for the previous flashmobs, claiming on online comment sections that the flashmobbers we’re ‘silly’, ‘lazy’ and ‘irresponsible’, and others suggesting that if they wanted to help the world they should do more useful charitable acts.  Participants, however, have been fighting back against their armchair internet critics, pointing out that it did not harm anyone and was simply a fun event with a message too.  It would seem that anything out of the ordinary in this very ordinary city is considered by some as a threat to be feared, not an opportunity to be enjoyed.  Perhaps to the dismay of their critics and to the joy of participants, the organisers have promised more, with at least two dedicated flashmob groups now present in the city with new projects in planning.

Meanwhile, local environmental activists – from local groups of friends of the earth, greenpeace, green party and others –  held a Climate Emergency Rally outside the Council Offices in the morning, as well as a candlelit vigil in a nearby park in the evening, calling for a good deal at the Copenhagen Climate Talks.  Activists from SU Green Action are also planning to travel to the Climate Camp currently camped out in London’s Trafalgar Square to call for action at Copenhagen now that the university term has ended.

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Posted in: Global, News, Southampton, UK