Last week, I got an email inviting me to an early Monday morning sneak peek press briefing of a “fresh and ingenious … iconic moment for this Summer Like No Other … inspired by some of Britain’s greatest visionaries from the world of fashion and design.” So I got up a little earlier than usual and headed to Trafalgar Square for the peek, only to find somebody’d put a funny hat on top of Lord Nelson (you know the stoic dude atop Nelson’s Column with the lion’s surrounding its base?) and other statues of very serious and important looking dudes around the square.
Fine. Commissioned by the Mayor of London, in partnership with BT, Grazia magazine, the British Fashion Council and the London 2012 Festival, the cheeky make over is part of a “visual spectacular” called Hatwalk, which sees 21 stalwart statues around town be-hatted (Queen Victoria, Shakespeare, Roosevelt …). Click here for the Hatwalk map.
I’m all for irreverence, and I guess I like this idea. The Trafalgar Square hat thingy amused me and probably brightened up and will continue to add a bit of fun to some otherwise mundane moments. But when I showed up for my Monday morning “surprise” my first reaction was to ask myself why had I even bothered getting up for this and how seriously should I take futures press releases from the sender who had invited me. I also wondered to myself if my initial response would have been a lot different if this had a Banksy-style stunt pulled off by some street artists. Maybe I’m just cynical and have become inured to such gimmicks.
Also, If someone had travelled all the way to London from who knows where (and to be sure there are a whole heap of tourists in town right now), would that visitor have been even as amused as a smirking local yocal like me or would they have been bummed to find the opportunity to see Nelson’s Column or whatever other monument had been co-opted by the Mayor’s corporate Hatwalk fashionistas? Or would a patriotic Brit take rightful offence to having such heroes glammed up and clowned down for the sake of publicity and to divert attention away from more pertinent news stories?
Come to your own conclusions. Find out much more at molpresents/hatwalk.