Thursday, 28 July 2011

Zero Hour Bus Tours - Greg McLaren and Abigail Conway

Wow. I can't believe I'm actually doing this. But I figure when you set yourself a challenge - say the challenge of writing a daily blog entry late at night during the busiest month of your year - the first few days are the hardest, and most important, time to come through. So here we are. Day two of my monthly blog writing challenge, and day four (the final day) of the Zero Hour Bus Tours. I finally have my post-midnight hours back to sleep and watch episodes of cancelled American sitcoms.

Tonight was the first time I had experienced Greg and Abi's pieces. Because of the bizarre nature of a late night bus tour complete with the dedication of late night volunteer performers dress runs were sparse. But it seemed fitting that on the final night of the tours I was able to actually get on the buses, and all told it was an important, bewildering and pretty exciting experience.

In total contrast to Abigail's piece, a quiet and meditative longing for sunlight, a melancholy top deck bus ride for tourists, Greg's piece made us complicit in what other passengers must have thought was a flash mob - which gave me, as one of the privileged few wearing headphones, a thrill, while I made contact with the other audience members wearing their gas masks. And mobile phones held by the young and slightly drunk Chelsea kids on their ways home filmed and photographed every minute. But past their future youtube plans, none of the passengers interfered, and of course as Greg had all of the audience members holding tupperwares full of toast and wearing latex gloves, we were part of the spectacle they stared at silently, entirely bemused. What was so nice about this reaction was that it seemed to reinforce Greg's conceit - that London is a cold place full of a remote distance from humanity which is clearest on the tube. But of course when we watched these quiet teens exit then from the window saw them burst out laughing and start pointing as soon as they'd left, you realised that past being utterly weirded out, maybe they just hadn't wanted to spoil it. Gawd I would have loved to have been one of the people who stumbled onto that bus with no sense of what was happening or why.

I really wanted to type "It's been a wild ride" and then rolled my eyes at myself. Which is no small feat. But goodnight bus tours. See you round the bend.

(See I quite like that one.)

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